by Maharishi School website blog
12 June 2020
How can heroic narratives help teenagers?
We can look at “the hero’s journey” as a framework for what we are collectively experiencing as a society today.
Joseph Campbell is perhaps the world’s most renowned expert on mythology and advisor to the likes of George Lucas, who based Star Wars on this archetypal journey. As adults, we need to help our students/children find their own archetypal journey amidst the grief and loss they are experiencing. We seek to reframe these challenging times in a way that is realistic, while observing quarantine protocol, but also give them hope for the future.
I want to talk about what has become an important topic during this time of isolation: the social-emotional well-being of our students. The stress and anxiety that adults experience are felt even more intensely by our adolescents. They may express their feelings in ways that are hard to interpret and even downright exasperating. That’s why the Hero’s Journey can be a useful template to young adults and I am including a diagram of the journey, as I think it might be helpful for you to share with your children.
The Hero’s Journey
The Hero’s Journey is a classic story structure that’s shared by stories worldwide. Designed by academic Joseph Campbell in 1949. Many author’s draw on it to illustrate a wide-ranging category of tales in which a character ventures out to get what they need, faces conflict, and ultimately triumphs over adversity.
[You can read about the stages of the Hero's Journey at the Maharish School blog.]
Life slows down and growth speeds up
You may be wondering what all of this has to do with being a teenager during a pandemic. Well many who study Joseph Cambell have related the coronavirus to a similar catalyst in the Hero’s Journey, the dark night of the soul.
Here is an article by Vogler that he wrote a number of years ago explaining the hero’s journey. The website actually includes a new article that specifically likens Covid 19 to the “dark night of the soul.” Vogler explains in the following paragraph what that means.
“If it (coronavirus) really is the global darker night where the self-destructive complexity became as bad as it could get and in order to survive we had to hit a wall, then the virus is going to remain long enough to complete what it needs to do to create the circumstances needed to complete our transformation.”
Today’s experience of isolation can push us to the brink of what we previously were comfortable with in our minds. Perhaps we are forced to examine unhealthy habits of eating, or parts of ourselves that need closer work. This anxiety and/or depression that people are experiencing can be channeled into a drive for growth, adventure and challenge.
One way that inner growth can be achieved is through the Transcendental Meditation technique. To transcend, by definition, means to go beyond human limitations and to break boundaries. At Maharishi School, we teach you a technique to break internal boundaries and to sink deep into yourself, to tap into your essence and live in a state of flow.
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