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The Circle

In one of his last lectures Joseph Campbell spoke about the universality of the circle, or the mandala as Carl Jung called it. Campbell pointed out that the circle appears in all of nature, in our behavior, and in our psyche. Witness the apple and the round earth, the circular patterns of our behavior, the circle of life, birth, and death, and the appearance of the mandala in our dreams in all forms. One of the circular patterns that Campbell spoke of is the circle of the hero’s journey. The hero goes out on his adventure of discovery, whether it be physical, spiritual, or psychological. He gains from his adventure then returns back to give help, wisdom, understanding, and knowledge to others. Sometimes this adventure is not chosen consciously. Sometimes we are thrown into the adventure reluctantly. For example, consider the mother whose child is killed by a drunk driver who returns from her grief and rage to form an organization that increases awareness of the problem and helps many cope with the same tragedy that she experienced. All of us are on some kind of hero’s journey if we recognize its potential. Whatever challenges you may experience are an opportunity to learn and grow from them and in doing so give back to others in some way.

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