Personal Myths

Myth is about forgetting, or about remembering selectively. Which of course amounts to the same thing.

We humans are adept at mythologizing. I know this well enough. I’ve listened to myself tell a story, surprised at how easily I could leave out certain elements that reflected unfavourably upon me. When the story is repeated enough, those elements are entirely forgotten and the story takes on the hardened form of permanence. What was somewhat awkward for me is now my "truth". But what it really is, is Myth.

Myth from the Greek muthos…from the root mu…where we get words like muse, mutate, mutilate, has to do with change; a change that misleads. Myth makes us look away.

Now the fascinating thing is that while myth has this slurry of truth and half truth, there are traces within every myth that can lead a dedicated and intrepid anthropologist-of-the-conscience to uncover the truth, or at least the greater truth, that the myth obfuscates.

Any honest self-explorer, will usually uncover the truth he has concealed within his personal myth. The intrepid explorer of self is what I would call a contemplative. Contemplation after all is learning to see in a certain unfettered de-mythed way.

There is of course the exploration of self which "reveals" only more self-inflamed desires. This is the romantic pursuit of "finding oneself". However, there is a "finding of oneself" that involves the self in moving along, often in fear and trembling, excavating her inner-world–with the assistance of the Spirit who promises to "guide us into all truth"–for the truth that will set her free.

There is another dimension of myth-as-forgetting that is more tragic, and I would not call this myth in any formal sense. This is the truth that our bodies, our cells, that is, our consciousness matrix, has had to conceal–for a time–to guard the basic structures of our emotional and mental health. The uncovering of this will require the prayerful assistance of a well grounded, highly intuitive and loving counselor. In other words a counsellor who is well on her way to being personally de-mythologized.

Jesus called the de-mythologizing process the "removal of the plank in our eye so as to see the splinter in the eye of the other". It’s easy to see how living within our personal myths keeps us from true intimacy, keeps us from caring for others properly, and keeps us from an accurate assessment of the culture around us.

Technorati Tags: Christianity, Spirituality, Myth, Contemplation

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