On the first episode of the New Year, Michael Meade begins an exploration of the myths of creation and tales of re-creation that allow time to renew and the world to begin again. Any serious consideration of creation must also include the energies of chaos that continually dissolve and disintegrate what creation establishes in the world. An ancient story from India describes the “two hands of creation” through which the world recreates itself from emptiness as well as from abundance, from sorrow as well as joy and from despair as well as wonder.
Michael Meade tells a story about a boy orphaned from his community who must find his way back, a journey that reveals threads of fate and destiny. Meade suggests that we all have orphaned parts of ourselves that are needed when we are feeling lost, disempowered or rejected and are trying to awaken to the dream of our life. He describes how genius hides behind our wounds and how the awakening energies in our life can be found within the rejected aspects of ourselves. Seen this way, we don’t transform to be another person, we transform by bringing into awareness parts of ourselves that could not be present earlier in our life.
This episode begins with a poem about how easy it is to become lost in this world, in this time of conflict and growing darkness. On the eve of Solstice, Michael Meade takes the image of darkness and light and weaves it through a consideration of holidays and holy days, Christmas trees and the Tree of Life. The word solstice means “sun stands still”, and Meade elaborates the moment of standing still as a way for people to connect with each other and reconnect to the essence of life and the moment when light returns to the world from the depths of darkness.
Michael Meade reports on the increase of isolation and loneliness in the world and comments on the new cabinet post in England entitled “The Minister of Loneliness.” He contrasts the old ideas of having genuine “friends of the soul” with the modern sense of “friending” people online. He then draws on ancient traditions from India, Ireland and Mexico to illustrate the importance of having “soul friends who nourish the inner spirit and true aim of each other’s lives.”
Michael Meade responds to the current international climate talks and recent alarming reports on climate change by turning to the old teaching story of the blind men who encounter an elephant. In this case, the elephant represents the overwhelming challenge of global warming and climate change that can make any of us feel numb, blind and helpless. After considering some of the literal problems, Meade turns to the psychological dilemmas that accompany the huge challenges we face and then takes the issue to a deeper level of myth and imagination in order to find new ways of seeing the crisis and envisioning ways forward.
Although it may often feel that we are running out of time when it comes to the great issues of the world and the struggles of daily life, Michael Meade suggests that it is not more time that we need but a stronger connection to things that are timeless, and therefore eternal. Meade tells an ancient Bushman story from Africa that depicts the dilemma which humanity faces with each crisis that involves issues of meaning, truth and the human soul. When great troubles abound, whether it be on the world stage or at a critical stage of life, what we need is the touch of imagination and a hint of the eternal.
“Gratitude is a sign of nobility in our souls” and yet “gratitude can also be difficult to express because it comes from a deep place in the heart where pain can also dwell.” Thus begins Michael Meade’s mythological consideration of the essential place of gratitude in human consciousness and at the core of human nature.
A potent telling of the Mayan creation myth leads to a surprising array of images and the idea that unless the human capacity for technological invention can be placed in service of the ongoing story of creation, we will continue to turn the natural world against us.
We are most human and most alive when we allow ourselves to be touched by the beauty of the world and when we feel genuine gratitude for the life we have been given, no matter how hard or how dark the world around us may become. In this way, feeling grateful and expressing gratitude helps to bring grace back into the world.
Michael Meade answers the question of why he often delves into the territory of the soul. At a time when it seems the whole world is falling apart, and we seem to lack the capacity to deal with unprecedented problems occurring in both nature and culture, Meade points to soul as a deep place of untapped resources. He then draws upon the personal experience of his own world turning upside down to show how the greatest resources of life are found in the depths of the human soul.
No matter what threats and disasters occur at the surface of life, the underlying soul remains an endless wellspring and vital source of change and renewal. In these times of great fear and trouble, it becomes our work to bring to the world this hidden abundance, for when we see with the eyes of the soul, every event, inner or outer, can be seen to have meaning.
This episode of comes directly on the heels of the midterm election and the chaotic events and unfortunate tragedies that followed in the aftermath. Michael Meade leads us from the immediate news to the ground of myth in order to better understand the nature of the chaos and confusion currently afflicting the entire culture. Meade opens up the old idea of “metanoia” which involves both personal and collective levels of transformation that not only cause a change of mind, but also involve moving the mind closer to the heart, and therefore touching humanity’s deep capacity for healing and change.
Hey Living Myth listeners, thank you for being a part of this podcast. We wanted to let you know about the Living Myth Premium Podcast, a new offering from Mosaic that gives members access to additional content beyond the free weekly edition of the podcast. Go to mosaicvoices.org or livingmyth.org to learn more and become a member. Your membership helps grow Living Myth and ensures we are able to continue developing and expanding this creative project. To give you a flavor of the premium content, we have included an excerpt from the first bonus episode.