If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are — if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.
-– Joseph Campbell
Here we are in that season of raging bliss, High Summer. Sparkling with the erotic, the juicy ripening, the lush, wild possibilities beginning to bear sweet fruit all around us, Summer’s magic, full of passion and transformation is right in our sweaty faces. Bliss! It seems to be all around us, but connecting to it personally can seem elusive.
What, exactly, is bliss? What was Joseph Campbell talking about anyway? In his brilliant collaboration with Bill Moyers, The Power of Myth, he explains, “I came to this idea of bliss because in Sanskrit, which is the great spiritual language of the world, there are three terms that represent the brink, the jumping-off place to the ocean of transcendence: sat-chit-ananda. The word ‘Sat’ means being. ‘Chit’ means consciousness. ‘Ananda’ means bliss or rapture.
“I thought, ‘I don’t know whether my consciousness is proper consciousness or not; I don’t know whether what I know of my being is my proper being or not; but I do know where my rapture is. So let me hang on to rapture, and that will bring me both my consciousness and my being.’ I think it worked.”
Do you know where your rapture is? Have you any idea of what bliss means for you? When was the last time you visited your bliss? When did you last let it carry you like a wild river of ecstatic living?
Author Sarah Ban Breathnach points out that when Joseph Campbell’s advice to “follow your bliss” first caught the imagination of a discontented generation or two, many people interpreted it simply as an exhortation to find their life’s True Work. Maybe you should quit your job doing other peoples’ taxes if what you really want is to be a jazz singer or a forest ranger. When people thought, “bliss,” the thing that often jumped out first as “NOT bliss” was their job.
But bliss is not only about a career choice, although certainly that may be a part of it.
Tomorrow, we’ll explore this a little further.