Every word of every tongue is
Love telling a story to her own ears.
Every thought in every mind,
She whispers a secret to her own Self.
Every vision in every eye,
She shows her beauty to her own sight.
Every smile on every face,
She reveals her own joy for herself to enjoy.
–– Fakhruddin Iraqi (1213 – 1289 C.E.)
When Joseph Campbell’s invitation to “follow your bliss” first caught the attention of the world, it was certainly in tune with the hedonistic vibe of the time. First published in 1988, his interview with Bill Moyers, The Power of Myth, spawned a mini-industry of self-help gurus urging us to ditch whatever activities, relationships, or habits we didn’t like. Anything that is a downer should just be dumped.
Sounds a little like The Secret, doesn’t it? Only the message of The Secret adds a twist that if you don’t drop the sad, frustrating, unpleasant thoughts and activities in your life, you are going to attract even more bad stuff. The proof being the unhappy things that may happen to you that you didn’t even mean to attract (but obviously must have).
Of course, I don’t believe for one moment that this was what he was saying. True bliss, as Joseph Campbell knew quite well, has nothing to do with selfish indulgence, and is not found in the pursuit of moment-to-moment lusts and pleasures.
Bliss doesn’t even depend on whether you are in your ultimate dream job. Luckily for most of us, bliss does not depend on what you are doing to make a living, nor is it if or who you are married to, what you look like, or what brand of deodorant you buy (although the Powers that Be would have you believe otherwise). It has nothing to do with how much money you make, although it is also true that if the wolves are truly at your door, bliss may be harder to come by.
If you follow your bliss, Campbell tells us, doors will open for you. But, surprise! They are not necessarily the doors at corporate headquarters. Bliss calls your name in a uniquely, deeply personal way, and it may have absolutely nothing to do with your life’s work.
So for today, I invite you to think of bliss way outside the box of career placement. Have you ever experienced something like bliss? What was happening at the time?
Join me tomorrow, as we dive a little deeper into the seas of bliss.