Joseph Campbell is one of my modern time heroes (3/26/04 – 10/30/87). An American philosopher, writer and lecturer, he is best known for his work in comparative mythology. He wrote several books that will no doubt become classics: The Power of Myth, A Hero With a Thousand Faces, among others. I think he coined the term,
“Follow Your Bliss”
Here are a few of his conclusions:
How do you find the divine power in yourself? The word enthusiasm means ‘filled with a god’, so what makes you enthusiastic? Follow it.
That’s been my advice to young people who ask me, ‘What shall I do?’ I taught once in a boys’ prep school -when they had to decide their life course. You know, where are they going? And they’re caught with excitement. This one wants to study art, this one poetry, this one anthropology. But dad says study law; that’s where the money is. OK, that’s the decision.
And you know what my answer would be: ‘where your enthusiasm is.’ So I have a little saying: follow your bliss. The bliss is the message of God to you.
If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living becomes the one you are living. Wherever you are – if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment… the working out of the plot of your own life.
The basic story of the hero’s journey involves giving up where you are, going into the realm of adventure, coming to some kind of symbolically rendered realization, and then returning to the field of normal life.
The way to find out about happiness is to keep your mind on those moments when you feel most happy, — not excited, not just thrilled, but deeply happy.
This requires a bit of self-analysis. What is it that makes you happy? Stay with it, no matter what people tell you. This is what is called, “following your bliss”.
The Power of Myth
Thinking Allowed: Understanding Mythology
Pathways to Bliss