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The Purpose of Archetypes

The Purpose of Archetypes

Discovering archetypes is a highly personal experience. Vedic science, the ancient wisdom tradition of India, says that unless you can get in touch with that embryo of a god or goddess incubating inside you, unless you can let that embryo be fully born, then your life will always be mundane. But once that god to goddess expresses itself through you, then you will do grand and wondrous things.

These days, we tend to seek symbolic archetypes in celebrities, but we need to nurture a full expression of the archetypes in ourselves. They are part of what creates us. This is the stuff our dreams are made of. This is the stuff of mythology, of campfire stories, of legends. This is what inspires great movies.

Mythology is the wellspring of our civilization. One of the consequences of depriving people of mythology is that they join street gangs. Why? Because gangs have a leader, they have rituals, they have initiation rites–the stuff of mythology.

Mythological stories are the deepest wellspring of civilization and identity. Gangs and movies and soap operas and celebrities are seductive precisely because they strike this mythic chord. But they are second-class substitutes for mythology. Real archetypes are enacted by people like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, anyone who reaches beyond daily life into the realm of the wondrous.

They are able to achieve greatness because they tapped into the collective unconscious, which gave them the ability to see several event lines simultaneously and predict the future based on choices in the moment. These events create a shift in cognitive and perceptual mechanisms. These are the powers that bloom as myth.

Adapted from The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire, by Deepak Chopra (Three Rivers Press).

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Deepak Chopra

Acknowledged as one of the world's greatest leaders in the field of mind body medicine, Deepak Chopra, M.D. continues to transform our understanding of the meaning of health. Chopra is known as a prolific author of over 49 books with 12 best sellers on mind-body health, quantum mechanics, spirituality, and peace. A global force in the field of human empowerment, Dr. Chopra's books have been published in more than 35 languages with more than 20 million copies in print.


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5:20AM PST on Dec 1, 2011

Thanks for the article.

1:24PM PDT on Apr 8, 2011

I have to agree 100% with Andrew Kadir-Buxton. God comes first in my life and all else comes second.

1:21PM PDT on Apr 8, 2011

Thanks for sharing another great post.

11:26PM PST on Jan 2, 2011

interesting - thankyou

1:29PM PST on Dec 28, 2010

My inspiration has been my friends and stories about people that defy the odds given them. I have been lucky to have a few friends that just went for it and followed their dreams. They did it without the back and forth I did to myself but I am finally doing it too. I may not make it look as graceful as my friends seem to but I am following my dreams to the greatness that was gifted to me! Thank you.

8:12PM PST on Dec 26, 2010

Interesting article. I've been real bad about predicting the future. When I'm sure of something, it's turns out opposite of what I expected. I don't trust my instincts anymore. Interesting fact about gangs. They always said that people join gangs to get the family structure that they aren't getting at home. I guess this is similar.

8:08PM PST on Dec 26, 2010

It's interesting that we think of celebrities as archetypes; that's why, when they are revealed as humans with clay feet, we get so disappointed and outraged with them.

10:20AM PST on Dec 25, 2010

The thing is we are all interconnected so in war or competition we are fighting and competing with ourselves. If you don't understand that then nothing can be heroic and it is essentially ourselves and others or to others and ourselves

8:05AM PST on Dec 23, 2010

thanks for sharing.

1:06AM PST on Dec 23, 2010

Thank you for this eye-opening article. I have never seen soap operas and gangs as substitutes of mythology. It is the mission of education to restore the mythology in such a way as to resonate with the values of the young generation. This could be a goal of the new educational system.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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