Michael Meade addresses two questions sent in by listeners. The first, “Why are you always saying a person’s gifts and wounds are connected?” leads to a wide ranging discussion on the concept that everyone in this world is gifted and everyone is wounded. Each person’s gifts are god given or innate, yet are rarely recognized by their own family. Each of us has to leave home in order to have our gifts recognized and find a genuine path in life. The second listener asks “How can finding my own soul possibly help with all the problems in the world?” Meade answers by describing the role of individual genius in changing collective life and explaining how we may be more in need of the genius myth than the hero's myth.
Beginning with the whiplash effect of rapidly changing stories and disturbing dramas of this time, Michael Meade takes up the issues of collective anxiety and increasing rates of suicide in contemporary life. He describes how a loss of soul at the collective level of life leads to increasing levels of cruelty and inhumanity. At the same time, the loss of soul creates isolation and alienation, pushing more people to the margins of life and the edges of despair. Meade concludes with the idea that we are each in a struggle for the connective power of the soul, individually, nationally and, given the global turbulence, we are in a struggle for the Soul of the World.
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Part two of Thresholds of Initiation picks up Michael Meade’s story of imprisonment and eventual confinement in a solitary cell. A fascinating part of the narration occurs when the idea of fasting arises, not simply as a way of protesting, but as a way of demonstrating that a radical change in life was underway. This leads to the idea of radical initiation, the role of rites of passage in traditional cultures, and the concept of initiation being not only valuable, but vital in this time of radical change and confusion.
“We live in betwixt and between times,” says Michael Meade, as he considers the uncertainty and disorientation that so often characterize contemporary life. After drawing connections to ancient ideas of the thresholds of initiation, Meade tells an unusual and deeply personal story from his own youth. The result is a rare look into the territory of initiation where trials and obstacles can lead to a deeper understanding of the nature and purpose of one’s life.