Michael Meade uses elements of myth to consider the origins of the pilgrimage to the Olympic Games and the essence of the human dramas that unfold when people go seeking for the gold.
“In these troubling times, institutions all over the earth are rattling and shaking, and becoming unable to keep up with all the changes and complications that are underway. During times of great change, the symbolic level of things becomes more important, as the literal levels of life become more chaotic and confusing, and the psychological levels become more intense and demanding. And that pattern would include those who have made appearing at the Olympics the pilgrimage of their life.
On the path to arrive at the Olympics and compete for the gold, everyone will have a misstep, and some can literally slip and fall off an apparatus or just be off their game. That doesn't mean something has gone deeply wrong. Rather, falling and failing is actually a step on the way to finding the genuine gold.
Olympic hopefuls are likely to encounter deep moments of despair, not because they have done something wrong, but because we have to lose our naive and simple sense of hope in order to tap into something that is much deeper and more important than simply winning in literal terms. Sometimes, we must be willing to enter the waters of change, and in a metaphysical version of sink or swim, simply manage to not abandon ourselves.
The trick in this realm of high aspirations and deep disillusionment is to learn what really carries us when the seas of life get rough. Psychologically, it becomes more important to understand that the actual goal is the inner gold. And that the moment of awakening can happen anywhere along the way; it can happen after we fall or fail to accomplish what we aimed at.
In other words, the genuine aim and purpose of a pilgrimage is to arrive at the center of oneself. The reason for a practice, any practice, is to awaken to the essence of oneself. Those who would be seekers need to know that the source of buoyancy and vitality, as well as the knowing center of life must be found inside. Because in doing that, we begin to recognize what brought us to life to begin with. And we also find what secretly carries us all along the way.”
You can hear Michael live by joining his new online workshop “The Soul of Change” this Saturday, July 31. Register and learn more at mosaicvoices.org/events.
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