To Follow Your Bliss, First Follow Your Dread
Tayu Meditation Center Staff
Tuesdays, 7:30 pm: April 4, 11, 18, 25
Joseph Campbell famously advised "Follow Your Bliss." Inspirational advice—but offered with no clear operating instructions, no means to accomplish the goal. St. Paul described the inherent difficulty with high aspiration when he admitted that he did not live up his own commitment to do good. We reach upwards toward bliss, but something pulls us back, as we find ourselves speaking harshly to a loved one, lying to make ourselves look good in comparison to others, or grasping after more than our fair share. To effectively address this pattern, it is crucial to lay a foundation that can support our ambitions to realize indisputable joy.
Follow Your Dread is the starting direction that points toward a realistic route to bliss. We need to see the operation of the mechanical habits that structure our experience. And we need to grasp viscerally that those mechanical habits keep producing the same results in our lives. That means we must acknowledge the effects that our actions produce, not as an abstraction in the mind, but as something we can taste and smell. Furthermore, we need to widen our perspective to include the actual effects of our mechanical habits on the lives of others as well. This can be extraordinarily difficult because we have big investments in fooling ourselves about who we are and what we're up to. It is far more comfortable to settle for the excuses we make to ourselves than to admit that we have ultimate responsibility for our actions—even for our actions that are the product of ingrained mechanical habits that we fear to examine.
The difficulty of the undertaking demands help. The weekly Follow Your Dread group meeting offers substantial practices for self-inquiry, and an ongoing forum for practical mutual assistance. Only with such tools can we hope to comprehend what we fear, and make Follow Your Dread more than just another slogan. Take up the challenge if you dare.
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