137: The Hero’s Return

Many of us understand the basic structure of what Joseph Campbell has named “the hero’s journey” and the wrestles and transformations it requires. But one element that is usually underemphasized is the final step in the journey, which is when the hero returns to community. In most cases, the journeyer comes back to the society and culture she or he had left, but even in the cases when it isn’t back where they began, their journey isn’t complete until they bring their transformed selves back to the real world, back into community. They left “home” because their society was sick, but now, through their journeying, they have obtained the secret elixir, some sort of healing knowledge and power that can overcome the disease and inspire others to go find the cure for themselves–and ultimately transform that society.

In this terrific conversation, Stephen Carter joins LDF host Dan Wotherspoon to discuss various aspects of the hero’s return. Does the hero have to physically leave her or his community in order to complete their journey? And if they can’t or do not want to separate physically, what sort of things are helpful in assisting them in gaining a different kind of distance and some breathing room to do their healing and gain new perspectives? How will the hero know they are ready to fully reintegrate into community? Are there clear internal signals for them to watch for?

This episode also contains an intriguing take on “judgment.” How does a lens of judgment affect our experience in community, as well as in our healing work? The answer is “profoundly,” but listening to Stephen’s explanations and own experiences with judgment are critical for understanding why it is so.

Listen in! You will be glad you did!

Links:

Book mentioned by Stephen as helpful in understanding meditation, including how and why it works:
Culadasa John Yates, The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science (Atria Books, 2017)

U. Carlisle Hunsaker, “Mormonism and the Tragic Sense of Life,” Sunstone, Sept-Oct 1983

Latter-day Faith Podcast, “Hallmarks of Mature Spirituality, Jana Spangler and Dan Wotherspoon, May 2019

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