The key to all progress is the willingness to risk, to adventure into the unknown. A hero is the one who has the courage to encounter and embrace the life adventure which waits for her or him. This true hero is not foolish or reckless, but recognizes the critical moment, the time of trial which calls for a personal sacrifice to be made. In following this moment, the hero becomes that bit closer to the person she or he was made to be, fulfills part of her or his purpose, and returns with treasure to benefit the world.
Embarking on the journey not for glory or power, the hero is nonetheless rewarded: in engaging with conflict and pain the hero achieves a lasting joy. The heart opens in compassion and she or he learns that wonderful contentment that comes from following your path, expressing your vision, and doing what you most needed to do.
In the PBS series first televised in 1988, The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers popularized the concept of life as the "hero's journey". Joseph Campbell suggested that you would know the critical moment - the invitation to your journey - by following your bliss, "if you do follow you bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living."1
In part, Campbell built this vision of life on the work of Carl Jung, who also saw life as an encounter with the mythic. Jung warned that the invitation to one's essential journey, the process of individuation, might actually be felt in illness or pain:
"The actual process of individuation - the conscious coming-to-terms with one's own inner center (psychic nucleus) or Self - generally begins with a wounding of the personality and the suffering that accompanies it. This initial shock amounts to a sort of "call", although it is not often recognized as such."2
In The Inner Beloved I present one man's journey, my journey, towards individuation. As an authentic account and an analysis, I present adult themes with content which may be uncomfortable at times - I certainly find it so. But our journeys are generally not made for comfort and the discussion of this journey is not for everybody. You have been warned.