I know this feels like we are dragging on before getting into the heart of the heroic journey, but there is one more concept that I want to share with you before we embark on our journey.
This idea is the foundation for the journey.
Certainly, you can begin the journey without understanding this concept, but you likely won’t get very far.
In the book, Joseph Campbell, talks about something called the World Navel. Or in other words, the center of the world.
This center is usually focused around objects of significance such as a special mountain, a temple, a fountain, or a tree.
Or as a native american priest once described it to Campbell, the center is the exact point where north, south, east, and west intersect.
Whatever the navel may be, it is the source of wisdom, and knowledge. This is why the ancient Romans and Greeks built their cities around temples and altars to their deities. This is why they felt they could receive such wisdom from the oracle of delphi for example.
For those who are nerds like me, think about the movie The Avengers; Age of Ultron. Ultron is the villain who has a contempt for humanity and their foolishness. One of these examples is how he makes a big deal about a certain church he was in. This church was built in the exact middle of town, so that all the residents could be an equal distance from the church. It was the town navel.
So What’s the Point?
The navel is a metaphor.
You see, the navel is a place where wisdom and knowledge flow freely to the seeker of them.
Simply put, the navel is a place where you can receive wisdom beyond yourself.
I know that seems contradictory “wisdom beyond yourself.” But hear me out.
Have you ever had a thought pop into your head, and you have no idea where it came from? Have you ever had a flash of brilliance that enlightens your understanding? Have you ever had a moment where you are truly amazed that you could come up with what you came up with?
Maybe this wisdom was always in you, but the circumstance was just right that this new thought just flowed right out of you.
This is the wisdom of the navel.
I believe we all can have our own center.
I know a lot of people who say they receive insight and understanding beyond their own when they go to a place of worship.
I know a lot of people who say they receive insight and understanding beyond their own when they meditate.
I know people who say they receive insight and understanding beyond their own when they go on a pilgrimage, or sabbatical.
I know a lady who walked the Camino de Santiago and she said it changed her life.
Your Own Center
When I need to go to my center, I have a spot along the canyon here in Twin Falls Idaho. I walk along the path just behind the sportsman warehouse, cross both of the small wooden bridges, walk 42 paces, then follow a path that leads out to the edge of the canyon.
I sit on a rock overlooking the canyon, with a beautiful view of the Perrine Bridge. Also, it is a great spot to watch base jumpers…
Just sitting there is peaceful, watching the hawks soar overhead, while the snake river winds it course down below.
But the power of the center is not the beauty around it, rather the power is what comes from it.
This is my thinking spot.
All the distractions are off (meaning I don’t bring my phone!).
It’s just me and a notepad.
How do you get the wisdom and knowledge to flow?
Tony Robbins once said that the key to getting better answers is to have better questions.
When I need an answer I go with a question. I ask my question, and demand the answer.
Perhaps to get even more meaningful answers, after every answer I ask why? At least five times in a row.
Or some follow up question that will help explain the process better, or clear up my motivation better, or deepen my understanding.
This process seems to help you make connections, and understand in a way that you hadn’t considered before.
The Bible says many times, “ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you.” To me, this is how I ask seek and knock.
The power of the center is that at any point along your journey, you can come back to it.
If you are in the abyss, you have the opportunity to seek your center and figure things out.
If you are finding yourself wanting to refuse the call, you can go to your center and figure out why.
If you are facing challenges and trials along the way, you can go to your center and receive help.
This is why the center is so central to the heroic journey.
Quite simply there will be times when we don’t know what to do, or how to proceed.
Think about Luke Skywalker while he was in the trench during the first death star run. His goal was to shoot two missiles into a tiny shaft, causing the destruction of the death star.
Everyone around him had failed in their attempts, been killed, or damaged enough that they had to retreat.
It was just Luke.
As he approached the shaft he felt Obi Wan tell him to trust the force.
He switched his computer off that was responsible for telling him when to shoot the missiles.
When the time was right, he pulled the trigger and blew up the death star.
Where others had been unsuccessful, Luke succeeded because he received help from beyond his self.
The force is symbolic of Luke’s center.
If you wish to access the benefits of the center, then you must find something that centers you. For me it’s a specific spot along the canyon. For others it’s through meditation, prayer, reading scriptures.
Whatever it is, make sure there are no distractions.
Make sure you come prepared with questions, and don’t be afraid to dig deep into those questions to really understand what’s going on.
Next time, we will begin the heroic journey!