In the introduction of The Symbols of Transformation, C.G.Jung posed a simple – yet potent -question “…what is the myth you are living?”
That fundamental question of finding symbols and stories through which we may discover the meaning of our lives seems to be a very old one, as old as the human consciousness itself.
What makes asking and answering Jung’s question particularly significant and urgent for any human being is we are living in a time when the collective culture offers little alternative to disputing personally with this question and finding answers from our individual experience.
For people living in the modern world, it seems that we are living well enough without a mythological context and that, as a species, perhaps human beings have outgrown the need for a mythic consciousness.
Since collective mythologies no longer generate a sense of existential meaning for most people, the alternative has been to turn the mythic consciousness inward and attempt to find the mythic dimension of each person’s life story, to seek what we today call a “personal mythology.”
Much of the power of personal myth derives from its ability to envision historical, cultural, and spiritual images and symbols, through the lens of our individual life stories. The mythic perspective gives us a larger, more universal, and timeless context for our life stories.
Personal mythologies are far more than collections of entertaining stories. Underlying the narrative dimension of any mythology lies a vast network of beliefs, expectations, and assumptions — many of them largely unconscious — about ourselves, each other, the world, and life.
Often distilled as children from the equally unconscious mythologies lived out by our parents and our families, our myths produce patterns of behaviour which limit our ability to adapt to life’s changing circumstances and to evolve intellectually and emotionally.
By recognizing our unconscious patterns of behaviour and consciously exploring and evolving the personal myths underlying them, we can develop more effective and creative relationships with ourselves, others, and the world around us.
If you want to know more about personal mythology I’d suggest reading Pattern To Bliss, one of the best books authored by Joseph Campbell. Otherwise, stay with me, and I will try and teach you some exercises to discover your personal myths.