“Spirituality is not to be learned by flight from the world, by running away from things, or by turning solitary and going apart from the world. Rather, we must learn an inner solitude wherever or with whomsoever we may be. We must learn to penetrate things and find God there.”
“Saying the mantra is like reciting the genetic code of God.”
If you don’t know which God to believe in (if any) then do what Piscine does in The Life of Pi – believe in them all. Bob Hope was asked why he does benefit gigs for all religions. “Why risk the afterlife on a technicality”, he quipped.
Joseph Campbell who developed the idea of the universal ‘monomyth’ in his seminal book ‘The Power of Myth’ held that numerous myths from disparate times and regions share fundamental structures and stages, which he summarized in The Hero with a Thousand Faces:
A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won:
The formula works for every hero’s story from Homer’s ‘Odyssey’ to Simon Beaufoy’s ‘Full Monty’. In essence, there are three stages of the journey – the call/departure, initiation/crisis and the return/victory. Works for all religions and all vocations … try it for your own life and journey.
In the case of Pi he is confronted by Richard Parker – a tiger in the boat. For me, this represents a mirror of our deepest fears – in this case of being eaten. We all have our fears which co-habit the same boat we’re in. Like Pi the only way through is to embrace them and make them our friend. Grrrr ….
Pi says to the Canadian novel writer who comes to hear his story, “my story will make you believe in God.” Our own story is to make us believers. That’s why we can be grateful for the perils as well as the thrills of the journey we experience as Life.
“(the monomyth is) the one, shape-shifting yet marvelously constant story that we find, together with the challengingly persistent suggestion of more remaining to be experienced than will ever be known or told.”