Nature only produces originals. Just as no two trees are the same, each person born is a unique soul with a specific way of viewing life and being in the world. That’s part of the message of the Genius Myth, which also suggests that the Hero Myth may no longer serve as the best way of seeing the role of the individual soul in the world.
The Genius Myth suggests that diversity is essential to humanity, just as it is the essence of a growing forest or ecological system. The struggles around diversity at this time are essential for social justice; but also shape a context for awakening to the radical nature of the human soul.
Radical means the ‘deepest root of a plant or tree’ and genius is the radical root of the soul. From the soul’s radical view, the turbulence of the world can stir the genius seed within us and help reveal the true reason we each came to life. In times of comfort the genius may sleep; in times of trouble genius awakens. Being true to one’s genius path in life becomes a potent antidote to all the lies and falsehoods in the world.
Following an ancient myth from India, Michael Meade uncovers old ideas about the troubles in the world and human creativity. One idea is that trouble and conflict are not in the world to diminish or harm us, as much as to push us to a greater sense of creativity. The story shows that offering a helping hand to those more endangered than ourselves, can alter our connection to nature and to the divine hidden in this world. Myths try to remind us that the divine is always nearby and trying to get our attention. The problem is that we must listen for the little voices and bend down to find the roots of survival and threads of imagination that otherwise might be lost.
In the midst of the national health care debate, the latest episode of the Living Myth podcast addresses issues of a country divided into opposing villages. Michael Meade tells a Native American story about the Old Salt Woman and her grandchild who wander the world hungry and unwanted. The old tale sheds light on the dangers of a culture becoming so harshly divided that people blindly deny each other basic needs. The surprise in the story involves the necessity of finding the inner Salt of Wisdom that can produce lasting solutions for problems in the outer world. More people have to become worth their salt and that may have to begin with the ‘olders’ becoming elders.
On this episode, drawn from a recent talk, Michael Meade weaves poetry, humor and story to illustrate the need for poetic imagination and soul truth. The poet’s role is to act as a counterweight to feelings of isolation and fear by stating the truth of the human soul. We must trust now, more than ever, in that which is in us to begin with – the seed of genius that aims our life. He concludes with an evocative story that shows we are as deep as the earth goes and as high as the planets stretch.
"Take your well-disciplined strengths, stretch them between the two great opposing poles, because inside human beings is where God learns." - Rilke
This episode begins with the old idea of three intersecting layers of life. The first layer includes the basic courtesies and practices of daily life. The third layer involves the deeper sense of joy and love as well as a genuine sense of belonging and spiritual fulfillment. The problem is that the only way to go from the limited surface of life to the deeper ground of spirit and soul is to pass through the second layer. The second layer seethes with turmoil and disruption and it boils with fear, anger, resentment and other “negative emotions”. In this historic moment the turmoil of the second layer seems to be flooding into the surface level of life. The question is whether that places us closer to the healing of the third layer or just closer to oblivion.
This episode includes a mythological and cosmological tour of the many realms in which we live. This mythic survey includes the discovery of seven new planets in a nearby galaxy, it touches upon the chaos happening in the White House at the center of our American universe, then descends into the inner cosmos of the human soul, a place that remains surprisingly equal to everything that exists in the world outside.
Meade arrives at the idea that each person has a deeper name inscribed in their soul, a name that is connected to the script of the story they came to live, and there is no better time to live out the story inside the soul than this time that is a mixture of cosmic order and chaos, what James Joyce called the “chaosmos”.
Listen as Michael Meade finds remarkable parallels between an eastern European folk tale and the drama currently going on in the White House. This little known folk tale opens up the psychological implications of lying, cover-ups and intimidation in the halls of power. Meade shows the importance of understanding how a personal lack of soul and warm embrace in a ruler can lead to the banning and deportation of many people and an increase in the sense of isolation.
Michael Meade speaks about longing and the soul. In the current condition of the world, because of fear and an excess of identity politics, our natural longing becomes reduced. Our longing comes from a speck of eternity set within the soul and because the longing is part of something divine, it is also something other than us. In light of the immigrant ban and the intensification of the fear of the “other”, Meade describes how the “other” always represents an otherness within ourselves that is trying to awaken. Because the human soul longs to grow a bigger life and become more diverse, the longing and the sense of otherness go together.
Michael Meade tells an older version of the classic story "The Emperor's New Clothes" as a way of shining a psychological light on the current President. He explains the old meaning of the word king as a way of considering what qualities make a ruler truly legitimate. In laying out a psychological rather than political assessment, Meade argues that the deep personal insecurity and narcissism of the president make the entire country less secure.
On this episode, we draw from relevant and compelling archival audio where Michael Meade argues for the need to respond poetically to division and fear. His message then, set amidst political protests and a loss of meaning, resonates strongly today during this time of uncertainty, upheaval and unfolding protest. He speaks to the ongoing struggle for the imagination and soul of America, as well as our search for refuge, and ends by singing a powerful song to the earth from the Yoruba tribe in Africa.
Michael Meade reflects on two recent and significant events that unfolded within 24 hours of each other - the inauguration of Donald Trump and the worldwide women’s marches - and he speaks to how meaningful actions and lasting change ultimately requires transformation on the level of the individual soul.
Michael Meade addresses the upcoming inauguration of President-Elect Trump, the deeper meaning of the word inaugurate and how, at this critical time, we are each called to follow the thread of our soul and be agents of ongoing creation.