Our adversities as part of our hero journey
An American superhero film, Doctor Strange, depicted a “Hero journey” by a wealthy and famous neurosurgeon. Dr. Strange, the arrogant neurosurgeon was severely injured in his hands in a traffic accident. In his journey in searching for the cure for his hands, he went to Kamar-Taj and sought help from the sorcerer. Through his studied under the sorcerer and the Ancient One, Dr. Strange’s hands were recovered and he was then destined to a journey of protecting the earth. According to Joseph Campbell, an American professor of literature, it is possible that everyone of us has our own “Hero journey”. It is a journey of finding our true self and living our lives for inner fulfillment of doing something greater than for ourselves. It is to sense our authentic meaning of living our own lives.
In “Hero journey”, a person is first living one’s ordinary life in this world. For instance, Dr. Strange worked as a neurosurgeon and had a ordinary life, despite his wealth and fame. Then the person receives a call and he refuses to act according to the calling. The person often is encouraged by a mentor to act according to the calling. For example, Dr. Strange studied under the sorcerer and the Ancient One and pursued in his journey of protecting the earth. In this journey, the person usually has come across lots of difficulties. In theses encounter, they turn to their inner world and find their true self. By finding their true self, they pursue to overcome the difficulties and complete their mission. Thereafter, they return to the ordinary world and are transformed by their experience. They live their lives through benefiting to the ordinary world.
No matter what kind of adversities you are going through now, you may perceive these challenges as the opportunity for you to reflect and grow. Through indepth reflection, we become more aware of our inner issues or our true self. For instance, through a serious physical illness, a person may realise his workaholism and avoidance of coping with his family issues. After thorough reflection, he reduced his workload by changing to a less stressful job and invested more time to cultivate healthier relationship with his family. He realised that his true self is his treasuring of connections and relationships with others.
After the awareness, we need to commit ourselves in change in order for us to living our “Hero journey. We need to tolerate any uncomfortable feelings associated with all the difficulties we are facing. We also need to embrace the anxiety for facing the uncertainty and unknown in this new journey. In this process, commitment is necessary for us to grow and achieve our goals, because setbacks and failures are inevitable. For example, the person who decided to cultivate better relationships with his family needs to overcome lots of difficulties given the differences in personalities among family members.
The fruits of this “Hero journey” are our reborn due to living our true self and having survived all the difficulties. We completed our transformation through overcoming all the challenges and completing our mission. Thereafter, we return to the ordinary world and sharing our knowledge and wisdom with others. For instance, the person who successfully reconnect with his family members started a practice in relationship counselling to help others with similar issues and problems.
In fact, we do not have to have a dramatic change and a mission for saving the earth like Dr. Strange in the movie in our “Hero journey”. All we need to do is to turn our awareness inward when we face difficulties and challenges. Through self-reflection and commitment to overcome our problems, we will have a transformation and this leads to a possible inner fulfillment of our lives greater than our own self benefits.