The Hero's Journey to the Other Side
The Analects of Dawud Kringle part 18
At the beginning of every classic Hero’s myth, there was a turning point in the Hero’s journey where he is ascendant. In the course of his life, he has setbacks but manages to achieve great things.
This is where people usually stop telling the stories. The most popular ones in our day and age never go any further than this.
The reason for this is that as the hero approaches his middle-age and beyond, the story always goes to a darker place. People are frightened of the reason for this. Myths are not here to promote fantasy and merchandise. They are here to instruct us of the most difficult transitions we go through in this life.
Those who've seen THE LIGHT know sorrow. Consider the realization after this experience, that you'd been forced back to a banal existence. Why do you think the Bodhisattvas in Buddhist paintings are always depicted standing in hell, why Zarathustra disliked coming down from his mountain, and why the Prophet Muhammad (sas) said that the world is like a prison for those with faith?
The Prophet Muhammad (sas) said that call life of this world is like a prison for those who have faith, and like a paradise for those who do not.
There is an arcane term in Islam: Zhud. It describes the state of mind and spiritual station where in one perceives that the world and everything in it is completely worthless.
The more I look at this world, and the more I see the kind of people that are in it, Zhud is no longer a mystery.
It’s a sad and hard fact, but we must face it. The more we develop spiritually in nearness to Allah, the lonelier we become. Or more specifically, the less we are able to relate to the majority of humanity. The changes we experience when the more subtle aspects of reality are exposed to us, the less interesting and useful the "herd" and the "world" becomes to us, and the more incomprehensible we are to them. It's a lonely path; and often times it seems we have little more to guide us than our own spiritual homesickness.
Which brings us to the problem with many people who study religion (regardless of whether they accept it or not) is that they think of it linearly, and in one dimension. To truly understand it, and erase the barriers between religion, science, art, etc. once and for all, one must think non-linearly and multi-dimensionally. This is extraordinarily difficult; but not impossible.
Intellectuals, artists, and mystics are never completely comfortable in mundane reality. The world their spirits are compelled to create, and the world of the mundane and bourgeois are strange and hostile to each other. The only truce that can be made between these warring factions is a resignation to destiny.
The blind love of money, fame, and worldly power belong to the small and shallow people. To the rest of us belongs eternity.
All fanaticism is an overcompensation for secret doubts. Any fanatic exposes to the world what he himself does not truly believe in but lacks the strength and courage to admit to himself. Among the people who fervently embrace an ideology (political, religious, etc.) you will find those who are desperately seeking approval and a community. These lonely spiritual / political window shoppers will attach themselves to whoever offers a sense of purpose, and successfully promises them the realization of their dreams.
It's no mystery where they come from. They are everywhere: confused, empty, with a core of depression and self-loathing hiding behind a facade of self-righteous anger. They dive headfirst into their newfound club, seeking to fill the howling void in their hearts.
Sometimes, the people around them who are as lost, lonely, and weighed down with a ton of emotional baggage hurt the people they interact with, or somehow shatter their illusions. They crawl away, licking their wounds, cursing their former community, looking for the next cult that will take them in and immerse them in a new illusion. Or they stay; and overlook the house of cards collapsing around them.
In the end, they'll accept almost anything, as long as they don't have to face their own reality. For such people, hell is a dark abyss where they meet no one but themselves.
The Quran has revealed that Allah taught the names of all things to Adaam (as). These True / Real names are inseparable from their true essence: they are, in fact, one and the same.
We lost, for the most part, the ability to know these names. We are blinded to the inspiration that Allah gave Adaam and the other Prophets (as). We don't even know our own Fitra. Insha Allah, slowly we will become awakened, and capable of receiving and withstanding the weight of that inspiration.
And in this dark age, we will be more alone than ever. Fewer and fewer people will understand us. We will be like someone who has climbed a mountain, and while they will see less and less of us and say "He's lost in the clouds" we will see more than they can possibly imagine.
A bit of advice to the authentic and sincere Seeker. Once you visited the Other Side, it is best to return to This Side, and make use of what you learned on your journey. But do so very carefully; some things are not interchangeable between worlds.