The story of a common person in an epic journey. The path is long and treacherous; the odds are insurmountable. Overpowered, outwitted and outnumbered. Again and again, mortality is questioned. Again and again there are miraculous escapes and unexpected allies. The hero repeatedly steps into the unknown, love for purpose outshining the fear and doubt. Vulnerable and not weak, complying and not yielding. Armed only with sincerity and innocence, the hero continues, for the cause is noble.
The story is as new as this moment and as old as the most ancient tale. A perennial quest spanning generations, cultures and continents. Mahabharata, Homer, Sinbad, Noah, Ali Baba, Rocky, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars. Why are we so drawn to this fable? Why does this never grow old?
A tale that withstands the test of time, almost by definition, addresses a fundamental human condition. It typically starts in an idyllic setting with a being, not significantly different than another, enjoying life’s simple pleasures. Then there is a sudden disturbance and all that is precious is in jeopardy. The unreasonable journey towards the seemingly unreachable elixir thus commences.
An interesting aspect of the hero’s story is often hidden from the spectator. It is the journey that simultaneously happens within. The hero is forced by circumstance to let go of the notion of merely being thoughts and physical attributes. Circumstances coax the hero towards a more intimate understanding of who the hero is. It is this ‘Hero’ that transcends reasonable capabilities. This ‘Hero’ that is unaffected by situations that reasonable people find inconceivably stressful.
Perhaps this is what keeps us coming back to the story and experiencing it as if it was the first time. The inner journey that goes beyond the physical noise of external events and mechanics; beyond the mental noise of self-discipline and willpower. The journey is happening and the hero is merely a part of this. It is being done to the hero just like digestion and circulation. The journey and the hero are happening.
The journey of true yoga practice typically begins with a disturbance, either a personal discontentment or at least an openness to greater potential. Attention is then directed to the inner adventure that follows. The outer journey naturally and simultaneously arises and unfolds. It is a difference in perspective on the same journey. Either one can be premeditated while the other simultaneously occurs.
It is not unprecedented that we may soon share this hero’s quest together, as a global community. Caused by anything from economic, technological, geopolitical to environmental instability. Our Hero’s Quest.