This year at Life Paths for Better Endings we are conjoining twelve universal archetypal figures with twelve positive, goal-affirming Life Metaphors. This month we are focusing on The MYSTIC archetype in connection with the metaphor, Life is an Epic Journey. For our third week of the month, we bring these two ideas together, and it is natural to recognize that since life is an Epic Journey, the Mystic serves as a Guide.
I am very familiar with this fortuitous awareness of being able to follow a mystic Guide, as on my own spiritual path I recognize an Inner Master who appears often in my dreams and contemplations to offer his amazing, loving guidance, insight and protection. For me, acceptance of this inner guidance has been a major blessing in my life. I am deeply grateful to have discovered that life is so much more than outer appearances and that there are other-dimensional guides available always, for everyone, at any time. While I work in a very worldly job outwardly as a professor, I feel extremely fortunate that this sphere has not confined my awareness or limited my perceptions of spiritual realities, and I will not deny nor apologize for my acknowledgement of the wonderful experiences this spiritual awareness has afforded me, time and time again.
The Mystic Guide—however else it may appear to you—is available as an archetypal persona that is a part of your Self and that you can call upon for clarity and direction whenever you are wondering what your next step could be. Allow me to share an example.
When I was an undergrad in college many years ago in Buffalo, New York, I was on a quite successful intercollegiate fencing team. The last college tournament I participated in was a nationals qualifying event during my senior year of college. Our team had placed 9th of over 125 universities (by two touches we would have been 7th) the previous year, but two of that team had graduated, and two less experienced, junior varsity teammates had joined me and my friend Ro (we had been the strongest fencers at that previous nationals, placing highly ourselves as well). Our coach, Denny, became overly aggressive in trying to force our younger teammates to step up beyond their level of skill, and he was also becoming overly forceful and aggressive with these teammates at meets. So at this last event, I did well as did my friend Ro; the rest competed as well as they could yet came up short of our coach’s demands. I found myself at that tournament at Ohio State University cheering on every good ‘touch’, whether by a teammate or by an opponent or by myself. I congratulated if an opponent won a bout as much as if a teammate did. Something was turning in me; my sense of competitiveness shifted to an appreciation of the sheer beauty of fencing as an art and of the endeavors and talents of each individual.
When we left that event, I sat in the back of the team van for the long ride home to Buffalo from Columbus, Ohio. I had recently discovered the practice of mantra singing, and for nearly the entirety of that road trip, I closed my eyes and chanted a single word: IS. I sang that word as a mantra over and over: Is-is-is-is-is-is-isssss! I was contemplating existence itself, or ISness. And something amazing happened inwardly: I found myself in a round, high, turret like room with library shelves and books all around me, many stories deep, and a dome at the top. I was seated at a round table in the center, and all I had to do to get a book was to think of that and one of the books would come to me. ALL of the books in that round library were about the same subject: Language. I absorbed book after book, studying the titles, drinking in the immensity of the topic; its breadth and depth. All the while listening inwardly to: IS-IS-IS-IS-IS-IS…
When we arrived back at our gym at the university in Buffalo, I approached Denny and announced to him that I was quitting the team from that moment forward. I took my own fencing equipment with me, and left. (My friend Ro did the same some weeks later.) But from the deep contemplation experience, I had found my next step in my own journey. That next week I started studying language intensively at the college library, and the next year I entered a graduate program in Linguistics at SUNY Buffalo; this has been the basis of my career foundation ever since.
It was something within me which I can now recognize as my inner Mystic Guide that set me to singing IS that day and showed me my inner passion for language that would become central to my life’s journey. Something shifted inwardly while at the tournament that day, and this subtle shift in consciousness allowed me to be open to the inner direction of this mystical calling.
You and I only need, ever, to be willing to Listen and Learn!