You are a hero. I am a hero. We are all, every single one of us, on what Joseph Campbell calls “a hero’s journey.” We all have within us a Nelson Mandela or Joan of Arc or Luke Skywalker or Mother Teresa or Harry Potter. Like all of these classic heroes, we are all little sparks of divinity on a mission to step into our true nature and fulfill the Divine assignment our souls were sent here to earth in order to fulfill.
Who Will Save The World?
But if you’re like most of us, you may not realize yet what a hero you really are. In Finding Your Way In A Wild New World, Martha Beck describes us heroes as “wayfinders,” who possess a set of characteristics that distinguishes us. Most of us feel a sense of mission involving a major transformation in human experience, a strong sense that whatever that mission is, it’s getting closer in time, a compulsion to master certain skills in preparation for this half-understood personal mission, high levels of empathy, an urgent desire to lessen the suffering for humans, animals, and plants, and a loneliness stemming from a sense of difference, despite being generally social. According to Martha, other common characteristics that typify us include high levels of creativity, an intense love of animals, a difficult, often abusive or traumatic early life, an intense connection to the natural world, resistance to religion accompanied by a strong sense of the spiritual, high levels of emotional sensitivity accompanied by a predilection for anxiety, addiction, or eating disorders, a sense of connection with particular cultures, languages, or geographic regions, a brain-centered disability like dyslexia, retardation, or autism, a gregarious personality contrasting with the need for periods of solitude, a persistent or recurring physical illness, and a tendency to dream about healing others. Martha calls us superheroes “the Team,” and I can tell already that you are one of us.
The Dysfunction Of The “Ordinary World”
We only discover we are heroes when we get disillusioned enough with the dysfunction of our present circumstances. When we feel sad enough and lost enough and hopeless enough, something deep within us has the opportunity to emerge, something stronger and wiser than we may ever have known existed within us. We all have this heroic spark that never dies, even when we’re in our darkest moments. I call this part of you your “Inner Pilot Light,” which is your inner superhero. This spark within you is fueled by a pressing sense that there is adventure out there, that your life has purpose, that you’re on a quest you may not understand yet, that your small little existence on this very big planet could mean something, that there is more to life than the ordinary, dysfunctional world, and that perhaps all it takes is a cape and a mask and some really cool boots in order to save the world.
The Phone Rings
Right when you might start to question your inner superhero and feel tempted to lose hope that your little blip of existence in this great, big world could really make a world-changing difference, you’re likely to hear the phone ring. It usually rings very softly at first, perhaps so softly that, like your cell phone with the ringer off, you miss it altogether. But when you fail to pick up, the phone is likely to ring louder. Some Divine force turns the ringer on.
When this happens, this is your calling ringing you, just like that, with a loud BRRRRRIIIIIIING that you can’t help noticing. It’s your life’s purpose calling, complete with instructions not just for how you can change the world in your own precious way, but with the Prescription for how you can lead a wholly healthy life that will prepare you to fulfill this calling.