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    To simplify my answer to the question: How to teach a child to believe in a kind, helpful, and wonderful reality?

    Teach them to apricate both the language of Science (measurement) and of language  Art (story, poetry, song, symbol , myth, religion…) Both languages can lead to wonder if in different ways. Having the ability to engage with both is a gift, a discerning mind also open to wonder.

    The language of Science is great when you want to build a house but it the language of Art that has the ability to turn a house into a home and ‘warm’ things up. A transformation that is a wonder…


    Hi Weirword

    Its a great question.

    There are those that argue that only the objective world is real.  If we can touch it, smell, it, see it, measure it, it is real. But when I see, smell, and touch an object the experience is filtered through memory, emotions, associations, and the experience something more, the inner world often at apparent odds with the objective one. What is real? Where is the Wonder?

    To navigate these waters, we become story tellers – ‘At our most basic nature, we are social creatures who love to tell stories. Stories that may or may not be true, designed to be taken into deep consideration rather than believed.’ – In Ireland when asked if a story is true the answer might be a some Yes, some No and you are left to discern which is what. I’ve always liked that answer. Their may be an objective truth, yet the best stories touch something deeper, a inner truth.

    How to teach a child to believe in a kind, helpful, and wonderful reality?

    Your question reminded me of 1897 book ‘Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus’. A kind of question every child faces at some point in life.  ‘Does Santa Claus exits?’ is the question of what is real, the objective reality of sight, smell, touch, measurement… or that which touches something beyond measurement?  (is it a either or? I trust not, however society of late seems to prefer a imagined certainty of all or nothing… In other words the death of wonder) Is Santa Claus a true story?  Some yes, some no… what is it you wish to connect to? The wonder of generosity and Love or a reindeer flying not as metaphor but an impossibility.

    At our most basic nature, we are social creatures who love to tell stories. Such stories often become Mythic, the “dreams of the universe”, stories that may or may not be true, designed to be taken into deep consideration rather than believed.

    I might argue that a door to wonder is becoming conscious (mindful) of the ways in which we relate and engage in stories.

    Joseph Campbell suggested that there are Four Basic Functions of Mythology.  Four ways to engage with story. In my opinion learning to be conscious of ‘which lens’ we are engaging with a story is the key to wonder.  – “It would not be too much to say that myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human cultural manifestations.” ~ Joseph Campbell

    Joseph Campbell’s “Four Functions of Myth” From Pathways to Bliss

    1. Mystical Function: The first function of mythology [is] to evoke in the individual a sense of grateful, affirmative awe before the monstrous mystery that is existence
    2. Cosmological Function: The second function of mythology is to present an image of the cosmos, an image of the universe round about, that will maintain and elicit this experience of awe. [or] …to present an image of the cosmos that will maintain your sense of mystical awe and explain everything that you come into contact within the universe around you.
    3. Sociological Function: The third function of a mythological order is to validate and maintain a certain sociological system: a shared set of rights and wrongs, proprieties or improprieties, on which your particular social unit depends for its existence.
    4. Pedagogical Function: the fourth function of myth is psychological. That myth must carry the individual through the stages of his life, from birth through maturity through senility to death. The mythology must do so in accords with the social order of his group, the cosmos as understood by his group, and the monstrous mystery.

    The second and third functions have been taken over in our world by secular orders. Our cosmology is in the hands of science. The first law of science is that the truth has not been found. The laws of science are working hypotheses. The scientist knows that at any moment facts may be found that make the present theory obsolete; this is happening now constantly. It’s amusing. In a religious tradition, the older the doctrine, the truer it is held to be.

    In the scientific tradition, on the other hand, a paper written ten years ago is already out of date. There’s a continuous movement onward. So there’s no law, no Rock of Ages on which you can rest. There’s nothing of the kind. It’s fluid. And we know that rocks are fluid, too, though it takes them a long time to flow. Nothing lasts. It all changes.

    In the social realm, again, we don’t regard our laws as being divinely ordained. You still hear it from time to time, as in the current abortion problem: God is talking to Senator So-and-so, or Reverend  Thus-and-such. But it doesn’t seem to make sense otherwise. God’s law is no longer the justification for the nation’s laws. Congress decides what a decent aim for the social order is and what the institution is that should bring that aim about. So I would say that in this secular society of ours, we can no longer really think of the cosmological and sociological functions as a problem.

    However, in all of our lives, the first and fourth functions do still play a role, and it’s these that I will be addressing. We are going to find ourselves far away from the old traditions. The first is the problem of awe. And, as I’ve said, you can have one of three attitudes toward it.

    The fourth function now is the pedagogical. Basically, the function of the pedagogical order is to bring a child to maturity and then to help the aged become disengaged. Infancy is a period of obedience  and dependency. The child is dependent on the parent, looks to the parent for advice and help and approval. There comes a time, however, when the individual has to become self-reliant and not dependent but himself the authority. Now here we come to a distinction between the traditional attitude toward this problem and the contemporary Western one. The traditional idea is that the adult who has moved from dependency to responsibility should take over without criticism the laws of the society and represent them. In our world, we ask for the development of the individual’s critical faculties, that you should evaluate the social order and yourself, then contribute criticism. This doesn’t mean blowing it up. Nor does it mean blowing it up before you’ve found out what it is. ….


    • This reply was modified 5 days, 3 hours ago by Peter.

    Hi Felix
    Did you ever get a chance to view the YouTube movie FINDING JOE? I really do think that you might find it interesting if not helpful.

    I should leave the comment at that… but want to say something about the word ‘G o d’ which ought to transcend all words and duality. Its true  the word ‘God’  to day is associated with a Santa Clause like being ,judging the good and the bad, rewarding and pushing the good and the bad – reward and punishment theology.

    Yet every wisdom tradition (when allowed to speak to the heart) points out that such a limited view of G_d is at best unskillful, (if useful politically But then we are talking about something else not G_d).  When the word ‘G_d’ allowed to be a holding place for that which transcends the language and opposites… now we might learn something.  The language of religion and the wisdom traditions is a language of symbol, pottery and song. a language that is meant to point past it self, to something greater then the words them selves (the word ‘tree’ is not a tree, the word ‘God’ is not G_d. )

    All words are symbols and a wonderous world opens up when we learn to read and ‘see’ by looking past the words. For example even a simple story like Cinderella transforms from being about a prince that saves a princess, to a heroic story about overcoming depression, or working through the dark night of the soul where the end goal of the story is the “Alchemical Marriage” between ones Being and Doing, ones Thinking and Feeling, the union of duality.

    When I read your post, the call to the hero journey screams out to me…. The question at the heart of the quest is “How am I responding to Life as it Is, to the Universe as it is, to G_d as it is if you will. The question I hear you asking in your posts is similar, How should I respond to Life as it is?

    My own experience is that when I answer that question with a ‘No get me off this ride’ or ‘No I can fix’ I will  end up frustrated, disappointed and or depressed.  Fighting against the flow of life as it is, is exhausting! A answer of Yes, accepting Life as it is, the wonders and horrors, allows one to enter into the flow of that which is. This Yes is not a giving up but a engagement with life.  It may feel counter intuitive, yet It is when we are in the Flow of that which ‘is as it is’ that we have the opportunity to influence it as we may hope it to be. This I believe is the Zen art of doing by not doing. You can’t fight your way out of the rip-tide, you can “influence” your way out by working with it…

    I know easier said then done.  To the question ‘How should I respond to Life as it is’ it seems to me that you have rejected the answer of No while not fully embracing YES. Now the task is accepting what it means to say Yes, that is the hero journey.

    “What is it we are questing for? It is the fulfillment of that which is potential in each of us. Questing for it is not an ego trip; it is an adventure to bring into fulfillment your gift to the world, which is yourself. There is nothing you can do that’s more important than being fulfilled. You become a sign, you become a signal, transparent to transcendence; in this way you will find, live, become a realization of your own personal myth.”

    “Make your god transparent to the transcendent, and it doesn’t matter what his name is.” — Joseph Campbell


    Though it still has me questioning whether or not I am doing something wrong and more specifically but maybe I’m trying too hard and that’s what’s putting people off and they disappear.

    Hi Sofioula

    I very much relate, and wonder myself if my own attempt at finding better ways to relate to expectations wasn’t really a attempt to manage them and avoid disappointment.  As in all things I guess a balance and healthy bounders are required. To have reasonable expectations without allowing those expectations to close the door to other possibilities.

    I don’t know why it so difficult making and keep in friends. Why for some people it seems effortless while for others nothing seems to work. I hope you find your tribe and wish you well.


    Hi Sofioula
    My first thoughts when I read the beginning of your post was that wow this person was engaging with life. Sure not everything has gone the way may have wished but you went for it and more importantly took steps to learn for the experiences and work on yourself.

    Then I read the word that so many of us trip over. “Expectations”.  Have you heard the line “Expectations are premeditated resentments.”

    Nothing wrong with having Expectations, dreams, goals, desires we just have to keep our eyes open as we engage with them. Note that expectations, dreams, desires and goals are all very different engagements but that we often group them together as if they were the same thing. There is a big difference between having a dream which we enjoy thinking about, even fantasizing about, and turning that into a goal to peruse.  If we then have a expectations that our dreams will come true without having turned the idea of the dream into a goal…. the expectation becomes resentment, disappointment, maybe even depression.

    How do we engage with our ‘expectations’?  Like boundaries there are healthy ones and unhealthy ones.

    I found it helpful to be specific about my expectations by writing them down.

    Is the expectation related to something I am actively working towards or wishing to magically happen?  If its the latter can I let the expectation go or do I want to keep my eyes open for ways to turn a dream into a direction?

    Is the expectation an attempt by my ego to control the outcome, Force the experience I’m engaged into to trying to make it look and be a certain way? Is it possible our expectations are holding us back?  That by trying to force a experience to look a certain way we miss the opportunity of experience something that would be transcend the expectation.

    How do we engage in Life as it shows up with intention and direction while being open to change?

    That is one of the questions the wisdom traditions and the hero struggle with.  How can I enter the whirlwind that is Life and be calm? Even enjoy the ride? In the Zen tradition their is the cultivation of the practice of doing by no doing. To have a goal and work towards it without being attached to our expectations of how it turns out. I know easier said then done. Thus we have the practices of mindfulness, meditation, detachment (that isn’t indifference).  Ying and Yang, Action and Being, Thinking and feeling. In the stories the marriage at the end of the journey represents the union of what appears to the ego as opposites. Flowing with Life as we influence what we can. I think of getting tossed out of the boat on a white water trip I was on.  You don’t fight the rapids and currents but work with them to direct yourself to safety. Or sky diving where you work with the air resistance by spreading out your limbs to stop you from tumbling. Your still falling but can avoid tumbling franticly through the air and maybe even enjoy the moment.  When I look at my expectations and disappointments I often imagine my self as that sky diver. Am I tumbling frantically? If so can I ‘spread’ out a little and work with the ‘resistance’?

    I really believe that Joseph Campbell was on to something when he said  “We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”  The key words are I think – ‘willing to let go’ – this isn’t a giving up or indifference to the moment but the practice of detachment and at the same time the full engagement with the moment.  The creation of healthy boundaries as it concerns our expectations and desires with the moment.

    “People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.” ― <span class=”authorOrTitle”>Joseph Campbel</span>

    At the start of your post, though many of the experiences were difficult and unwanted, you came across as being very much alive. Your still here! I hope you dive in again.

    I know the above is more of philosophical approach and that not everyone will find it helpful. We each have our own ways. If you google ‘The Psychology of Expectations’ you might find other approaches.



    Hi Greg

    It sounds like your really struggling and I’m sorry to hear that.
    You may be surprised but I’ve meet many people who have had similar thoughts and feelings. Praying, wishing, longing to ‘just disappear’. I wonder if we all at some point in our lives haven’t had that thought as well as that longing to find the right person who will fix everything for us and make us ‘happy’. Its not a great place to find oneself but perhaps there is some comfort in that your not alone.

    Am I correct is implying you are a person of faith? Early on in my own experience of belief I feel into the trap of magical thinking. I trusted that If I followed all the rules, did everything ‘right’  God would magically fix my life as I desired it. When things didn’t work out, well I must have broken a rule and was being punished. Life was not going as I hoped and I began to feel very bad about who I was. I couldn’t like myself so how could I expect others to like me… even God.

    It wasn’t that I wasn’t working towards my goals and dreams so much as I expected God to do most of the heavy lifting.  I wanted to “win the lotto without buying a ticket”. I wasn’t saying No to life but I wasn’t saying Yes either. I was trying to fix life… well praying that God would fix it for me. The theology of reward and punishment was not working and I needed take a closer look at what I believed.

    I have since come to develop a better relationship with Life, God and myself. My prayers tend to be more about listening then pleading as I attempt to enter into the flow of life. We are I think co-creators in our experience. We are influenced by life, often in ways that we wish were otherwise, but we also get to influence life. The intention is to spend more time focused on what I can influence.

    So here is the question. What would life look like if you were able to stop pleading that it be different then it is and instead engage with it as it is in the moment? Eyes open for the path G_d is providing you? Could you take a breathe, accept were you are and take a step towards your dreams without forcing life to conform to our ego desire that it look and be a certain way? Open to possibilities to arrive at a place totally unexpected? Like will attract like and others are attracted to people who are able to flow with life while at the same time engaging it. That may sound like a contradiction but it isn’t.

    The art of doing by not doing. The engagement between Contemplation, mindfulness, stillness and Action.  The holy grail. Imagine being able to fully engaged in the whirlwind that is Life and in the same moment be still, quite, content… God and life will provide plenty of opportunities the practice, more then we may want.  What we practice… is ours.


    That was well said ‘Anyone’!

    In Gratitude we a all connected, Anyone becomes everyone.



    Thanks Anita you have caught my intent

    I know that many teachings talk about climbing the mountain and finally reaching some “enlightened” state, or a completely healed state. I don’t believe that, because we’ll never be perfect human beings, there’s always room for growth, so I don’t believe that we can reach some ultimate state of perfection.

    The Zen quote I was referencing agrees. We climb the mountain, and the mountain becomes more then a mountain,  after achieving the view (can’t live on top of the mountain though we may be tempted to try) we return and the mountain becomes what it always was, a mountain (seen as if for the first time).  Returning life asks of us to proceed where their will be other mountains and rivers. That is the human ‘tragedy and gift’

    My observations was that many people get trapped in a cycle of retuning to the same mountain and climbing it again and again.  I was trying to explain through personal examples that I understood that temptation to return as I have in the past done just that. Realizing that tendency to return in myself was part my journey in learning to ‘let go’.  My intention was to encourage  those that may find themselves in that predicament. That they might ask themselves the question and not to panic if they find themselves stuck.

    The mountain and rivers will always be part of our scenery. Depending on the lighting somedays these mountains may appear wonderous and beautiful and on others daunting and dangiours.  Actually they can appear as both beautiful and daunting, even horrific in the same moment. That is the nature of mountains.

    Using Anita example part of the process of healing is getting to a place where we can look at those mountains as they are, without becoming desperate about it.  That is no small thing.

    This has been very helpful.

    I know Felix is feeling alone and is looking for a specific kind of relationship to help heal that hurt. I hope he finds what he is looking for. I also hope he can see that as Anita said he is not alone. Here in this odd ball community are people that he may not know but that generally care about his happiness and progress.


    I often fail to communicate my thoughts effectively. I apologized for any confusion.


    Hi Teak
    I didn’t understand why I was giving you the impression that the realizations and lettings go I experienced wasn’t complete or real. I know that wasn’t your intent but I felt that you were trying to push me back into re-analyses and put in doubt my experiences.

    When you were asked the question ‘how do you know when you have let go’ you avoided any personal information about the experiences that were related to that.  When I talked about my parents I opened the door for you to question my experience of letting go. I thought adding some personal information would help the point I was trying to make and that seems to have been a error.

    Anyway all good

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 4 days ago by Peter.

    Felix you may find The YouTube movie FINDING JOE interesting


    Nice. You focused on the outcome and avoided giving to much detail about which specific wounds you had to deal with. I see my error. Thanks


    Thanks for taking a interest TeaK

    I would be very interested in your answer to the question of when do you know the work, a healing, forgiveness what ever has been accomplished?
    It seems to me its something that is extremely difficult to communicate and many of those you share the experience with won’t or maybe can’t believe you.



    You enter the forest at the darkest point, where there is no path. – Joseph Campbell

    Hi Felix.

    Campbell has been one of my guides. A question behind the hero journey is how are we to respond to Life. Life as it is, the wonder and horror. Yes we flow with Life, No we can/must fix it, No get me off this ride…..  Were indeed to find the strength? That is the call.  (Google Bill Moyers interview with Campbell if your interested in a summary)

    We have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known; we have only to follow the thread of the hero path. And where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god. And where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves. And where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world. – Campbell

    Everything you express about your experience feels very much like a call to enter dark woods which we each do alone. If, and I believe this, we heed the call and enter the wood bravely (feeling the fear) we will come across those that would aid us. In the myths these are often the “small animals” (unexpected sources that before the call we would overlook but heeding the call and keeping our eyes open we might notice)  This may sound like a paradox but “Entering the woods” and the practice of being “Still and waiting” are related if not the same thing.

    I wish you well, something tells me you will find your way.

    FYI I very much liked  Campbell book “Pathways to Bliss: Mythology and Personal Transformation”


    Hi TeaK

    I suspect we are speaking past each other.  The question I asked about When does the seeker become a finder?  How we can know for sure if we’ve forgiven and let go ? Was a question I was asking you.  I have had my experience that answered that for me, which after failing badly to explain in words suspected such a experience was one of those that could disappear when ‘explained’.  So best to leave it at that

    In this context ‘clinging to the raft’ might be clinging to ‘being a seeker’  forgetting that the goal of a seeker is to find and then take what they find and make it theirs. If you have ever met someone adducted to self-help, picking at wounds so that the scar can never fully form and close the wound,  you may have met a person that is clinging to the raft, a label, a wound, a unhealthy relationship, unskillful story…  Anything to avoid entering into the woods and continuing the journey.

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