The Hero's Journey — Illusions And Pitfalls

The Hero's Journey — Illusions And Pitfalls

The Hero’s Journey is an archetypal story pattern in which the main character conquers challenges, finds purpose, defeats enemies and becomes the idealised version of themselves. The hero is the centrepiece of their own world: the liberator, the achiever, the cream of the crop. 

For those who find themselves struggling in some way, maybe with addiction, lack of purpose, anger, anxiety or any other form of fear and insecurity, the hero’s journey is attractive. And to some extent, it is indeed helpful to be raised from the depths of despair that one might be suffering. 

But it is only a crutch. It must be something that we use to help ourselves up with initially, but then let go of so that we can walk freely once again.

After all, who is the hero’s journey or hero’s story for? Is it for our essential self of awareness? The one that is with us at all times, behind and prior to thoughts, feelings, sensations and perceptions? Or is it for the story of ourselves, which is synonymous with thoughts and the ego?

By definition, we can’t be any thoughts, image or story that is created by the mind. After all, we are there before the story is created, we are there whilst the story is there, and we are there when the story is changed or the story goes. So who we really are, has nothing at all to do with stories.

As soon as we believe and place ourselves as the hero in this story called life, we create a story and unconsciously put ourselves at odds with everyone and everything else. Neutral situations become challenges we need to overcome. Those we don’t agree with become enemies that need to be convinced, changed or vanquished. If our story is at odds with what is happening, we suffer until we manage to change it (or can’t).

Would it be possible for people to commit atrocities towards others and inflict suffering on themselves, if they saw themselves as a mere function of the whole story, not as a main character?

Certain characters that are universally despised, such as Vladimir Putin and Adolf Hitler, put yourself in their shoes. Do you think they saw themselves primarily as a part of the whole, or a “hero” in their own stories of their mind?

Certain people that are universally looked up to, such as Mother Theresa and the Buddha, put yourself in their shoes. Do you think they saw themselves primarily as a part of the whole, or a “hero” in their own stories?

The examples may be extreme, but the roots are the same - the idea of separateness, illusion and ego, versus the abandonment of those things.

It is a mistake to believe that to make the world better one has to add something to it.

Most often, we just need to focus on removing the things that are causing its problems. In our case, that is undoubtedly the human ego, which is entrenched within the fabled “Hero’s Journey”. 

The world is overflowing with people who see themselves as main characters and heroes in their own stories. We don’t need any more. What the world lacks are those that are quietly adding love, peace, joy and compassion to everything that they do, every day, without any story attached to themselves.