with MICHAEL MEADE
This episode of Living Myth begins with the report on the increase of perfectionism in the world. Whether caused by comparisons found on social media or notions of meritocracy, young people especially suffer from perfectionism. Beginning with the idea that something perfect is finished, and therefore closer to death than to life, Michael Meade turns our attention instead to the value of trouble. Not just any trouble, but the importance of getting into the right trouble, the kind of trouble intended to grow our souls. The right kind of trouble serves to awaken inner capacities we didn’t know we had and draws upon resources we didn’t know were there. Recent studies in education indicate that the right kind of struggle makes all of us more resilient, creative and less anxious in general.
This episode of Living Myth takes up the issues of tragedy in America, specifically the latest mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida. In considering the long history of men and guns, Michael Meade states an old Irish proverb: “You don’t give a man a weapon unless you’ve taught him how to dance.” After lamenting the lack of leadership when it comes to guns and violence, he introduces and an old idea from Africa. The term “litima” describes the volatile spirit found in youth that can either be the source of creativity and ideals or else become a trigger for violence and destruction. The difference is often decided by the amount of acceptance, care and guidance a culture brings or fails to bring to its youth.
This episode of Living Myth begins with the fantasies of huge military parades and the swirling of conspiracy theories in the nation’s capital. Michael Meade shifts the issues of collusion, delusion and transparency from politics to the deeper grounds of depth psychology and mythology. As the world seems to tip upside down, we experience a “lifting of the veil” that can reveal things usually hidden or covered up. Although old structures may collapse and once vital systems may fall apart; yet other patterns and barely imagined designs are on the verge of being revealed.
This episode of Living Myth begins in the aftermath of the recent State of the Union address and tries to turn our attention to the state of the soul, both the soul of the country and the individual souls within it. Michael Meade describes the importance of the second adventure of life, the soul’s great adventure, which is unique to each person and must be risked despite, and because, of the state of the country and the world. As he states, “often the choice comes down to adventure or complacency, since life is rarely neutral, complacency does not simply lead to stasis, but to decay and increasing loss of life purpose.” In the face of life’s challenges, either we grow bigger lives or become smaller people.
This episode of Living Myth focuses upon the idea that a genuine tension of opposites can produce something imaginative, vital and unifying. “Meaningful transformation is the secret aim of the tension inside life,” Michael Meade states while considering the current political impasse that pits “the dreamers” against “the wall.” Surprisingly, he argues that the solution cannot be found in simple negotiation or compromise, and certainly not in the art of the deal. Rather, imagination, as the “hidden third,” is the key to meaningful change and creative progress.
This episode of Living Myth focuses upon the growing distance between the speeding up of time in the modern world and the lost connection to time eternal. Michael Meade tracks the fall of time from its ancient connection to the timeless expanse of night to its breaking down into minuscule bytes and bits. After considering the workings of the sundial, he follows the fall of time into the sands of the hourglass and the surprising origin of alarm clocks in practices of prayer in the dark ages intended to prevent the end of the world. All along, the story of time has been secretly trying to find again the connection to “once upon a time” and the blessing of time’s secret relation to all that is eternal and able to restore and renew the world.
This episode of Living Myth is about meaningful words and how words really matter. Beginning with Donald Trump’s claim that he is a “stable genius”, Michael Meade begins to open up the meaning of words like stable and genius, fate and fame. He follows the old roots of words and winds up at the intersection where an obsession with fame turns into the danger of living in infamy. Whereas genuine fame would involve a revelation of one’s natural genius, infamy involves an inevitable fall into disrepute, discredit and ultimately disgrace. Infamy proclaims the underside of fame, the shadow side of power and the hollow shell of seeming success.
“It doesn’t take a genius to see the writing on the wall. The operative word when it comes to the destiny of Donald Trump is more likely to be infamy, than the epitome of genius and stability.”
This episode of Living Myth begins with a question asked by two young people feeling overwhelmed by the troubles of the world. Meade responds sympathetically, offering a discourse on the importance of the human soul and showing how the modern world suffers from a loss of soul on many levels. The growing loss of soul leads to increasing disconnections between people and widespread intensification of oppositions and conflicts.
Not knowing or not trusting the presence and power of the soul leads to the common idea that we can’t change ourselves, much less change the conditions of the world. Using a story of a lonely woman and a golden fish, Meade offers the critical idea that the individual soul can grow, and in growing help add soul back to the world.
The latest episode of Living Myth begins with an ancient myth from a tribe along the Amazon River. The story tells how the inner soul of each person travels at night all the way the center of the cosmos. Once there, the soul receives a message that is brought back and shared with the tribe as a dream. Meade draws on this link between the individual soul and the cosmos to describe how ancient cultures imagined each person to be born with a speck of star hidden in their soul, buried in their heart, just waiting to become a person’s “guiding star.”
Each person is intended to contribute presence and meaning to the world and liberation happens each time we become conscious of the contents of our soul. We are here to awaken and learn how to express the uniqueness of our souls, and if we do that we add presence, being and creativity to the world and we become irreplaceable. If we don’t find the meanings hidden in our souls, the world loses presence and people who have no idea who they are come to dominate society.
Rumi wrote that: “The world inside is bigger than the world outside.” Meade argues that in this time of darkness and conflict, hatred and bigotry, we have to revive the sense of the inner magnanimity and enduring brilliance of the individual soul.
This episode of Living Myth focuses on initiation and the vital need for awakening the soul. Michael Meade suggests that one way to view the chaos in the world around us is to imagine we are in a collective initiation of the soul. The storms and tragedies of contemporary life can be seen as a spiritual crisis where we must find a greater sense of self or become more subject to increasing feelings of anxiety and helplessness. Initiation means to awaken to who we are at our core. Amidst chaos and confusion, the soul instinctively seeks to awaken and grow the original design that it carried to life. Meade shows how the exacting struggles encountered in life open pathways to the center of the self where purpose waits to be found, where vitality can ever be renewed, where spirit whispers its precise calling.
This episode of Living Myth considers practices of gift-giving from mythological and psychological perspectives. Starting with an old Mayan tale about a child born with gifts that only the midwife can see, we begin a journey that leads to the reclaiming of natural gifts in the holy hills of imagination. When the misuse of power throws the entire world into a period of massive storms, torrential rains and extensive dislocation, a re-imagination of human giftedness is required. Drawing on the ancient roots of the word gift, Meade reveals how the practice of gift-giving is related to inner giftedness.
Illuminating the deeper meanings of gift-giving naturally leads to seeing that what we commonly call holidays were originally an essential period of holy days and holy nights intended to reconnect us to the gifts of the human soul.
This episode of Living Myth begins begins with the fierce fires burning in the hills around Los Angeles and moves to the flames of trouble newly ignited in the divided city of Jerusalem. Then it descends into the more personal crises and wounds tearing at the heart of culture. Meade works into the deep ground of poetry in order to find ways of genuinely witnessing the widespread revelations of betrayal and corruption in the halls of power and the corridors and backrooms of institutions.
Meade asks: Are we not in that moment when the veil lifts and deep levels of wounding are uncovered. And the betrayal appears not simply in the denial that it happened at all, but also in the cultural sanctification of it? And are we not in a moment that calls for deep healing and a cultural shift that views each soul as noble and renews the sense that each person deserves dignity and respect.
This episode of Living Myth begins with a Native American story of the origin of healing rituals. In telling the tale Michael Meade emphasizes a remarkable point in the story when knowledge, healing and songs all enter the world at the same time. The songs become central elements in the original healing ritual which brings those that are sick or wounded to the center of the community. Having established the importance of healing songs, Meade introduces an excerpt from Mosaic’s new recording “A Song is a Road”. The podcast concludes with a chorus singing a song of praise and gratitude to the healing energy of the Earth.
This episode of Living Myth draws upon the Mayan origin story which describes human beings as the missing ingredient in creation. Specifically, humans were fashioned to be the conscious witnesses to the wonder of the world and to express gratitude for the gift of life. The big problem in the story, which is reflected in the increasing dilemmas of the modern world, is that humans tend to be too soft-headed or too hard-hearted to be vessels for genuine imagination. The old tale tries to help us find new ways to recover the gift of life and live with genuine vision.
This episode of Living Myth begins with the flood of revelations of sexual harassment and abuse being revealed in all areas of contemporary culture. Michael Meade uses the metaphor of lifting a veil that reveals the structural and pervasive imbalance between men in positions of power and women who are wounded by their actions. He asks the question: how long is the road from the place where men have often stood to the areas of deep wounding where the hearts of so many women reside? Things take a mythic turn and lead to one of the great myths from India in which the loss of the feminine and spread of poison brings the entire world to the brink of disaster.
This episode of Living Myth begins in the sorrowful aftermath of the latest mass shooting in America. The dark atmosphere becomes compounded by the realization that the United States is now the only country in the world that has not signed the Paris Climate Accord. After considering the grief and fear caused by the procession of tragedies and the practices of denial, Meade turns to the old idea of the Friends of the Soul as a way for people to find meaningful levels of support and encouragement in the midst of these troubling times. He draws upon ancient traditions from around the world to bring back to life the sense that we need soul friends, whether it be in the form of a confidant or companion, a mentor, teacher or lover.
"If we are to survive the flood of tragedies and growing climate threats it becomes more important than ever that we find genuine Friends of the Soul. If we are to create a collective transformation of culture we need genuine friends who can help nourish our inner spirit and sustain the true aim of each other’s lives."
This episode of Living Myth begins in the midst of all the chaos in the world that includes terrorism, misogyny, bigotry and social injustice. It tracks the origins of human resentment and misdeeds to a shared alienation that derives from the loss of a meaningful cosmology and a shared mythology. A consideration of the universal dynamic of chaos and cosmos leads to the edge of the world where the human soul waits for a new vision of the interconnectedness of all life.
“This is a time that requires the transformation of the collective as well as the awakening of the deep self of the individual.”
This episode of Living Myth looks at the darkest time of the year and considers the ancient ideas of facing the darkness to find the hidden light of inspiration and renewal. Michael Meade looks at the origins of Halloween and the Day of the Dead and follows threads of mythology and cosmology all the way back to the beginning of the world. In the course of this journey, Meade weaves a personal story of facing darkness with an ancient Celtic story, leading to “the drop of eternity that is the threshold and hinge between darkness and light, between time and eternity.”
This episode of Living Myth focuses upon abuses of power and the shadow that forms when power is given to those who remain unconscious of their own wounds and neediness. Michael Meade follows an ancient story into the village under the world where a person in power undergoes a ceremony of cleansing and healing.
“Those who rise to great heights and handle power have need for repeated healing if they are to develop some inner nobility. For whoever rises closest to the light must also cast the greatest shadow. Whoever would become elected would best submit to continual cleansing and healing or else suffer a great fall when the shadow erupts and the inner decay becomes revealed."
This episode begins with a consideration of all the conflicts in the world and how the underlying oppositions of life become increasingly revealed before us. Michael Meade uses the sense of increasing polarization as an indication that something deeper and more unifying is also trying to appear. Amidst the growing uncertainty, he suggests it is important to find meaningful paths to follow and soulful ways to live. Using old stories about spiritual conflicts of belief, he works his way towards the ancient Tree of Life and the old idea of the Great Way and how the many ways of art and practice are intended to lead us to the unifying tree at the center of life.
This episode begins with a distinction between signs and symbols, specifically the sense that a sign points to something evident whereas a symbol can connect to the mysteries of life and death. In the aftermath of the most recent mass shooting in Las Vegas, and amidst the ongoing tragic conditions in Puerto Rico, Michael Meade talks about the necessity of having a meaningful practice for finding psychic grounding and places of stability. He also laments that the battle between life and death has become the story of modern culture and argues for the necessity of “living symbols” that connect us to the enduring presence of the other world and the deep imagination that is the genuine legacy of the human soul.
Michael Meade begins with a poem that suggests that the big dream of the world may be increasingly obscured by the nightmare of endless war and the growing number of conflicts throughout the world. In a heartfelt response to many who write in about being discouraged about life, he argues that freedom is found in the active, imaginative mind and in the hidden poetic union of the soul. Weaving ideas about the roots of human creativity and the articulation of beauty and meaning in the world, the path leads to ideas of the deep self as being the center of life and source of the ongoing dream of the world. In the midst of annihilating storms and threatening culture wars, the individual self and soul become the necessary place to turn to and the essential place to stand when the future of the world is at risk.
Michael Meade takes the occasion of Donald Trump’s address to the United Nations to look at both the abuses of power and the genuine roots of power. Meade tells an ancient myth from India in which the deity Indra becomes inflated and unbalanced after a victory that makes him the ruler of this world. In order to bring Indra down to earth, Vishnu, the God of Creation appears as a ragged beggar boy who instructs the ruler on the limits and delusions of power. This weaving together of contemporary events with mythic perspectives helps reveal how power and authority repeatedly need to be re-imagined and grounded in the human soul where the roots of nobility and humility reside.
This episode begins with the idea that we all suffer the mutual fate of living in a time of tragedy and trouble. And yet, the way through the troubles of the world must depend upon the individual thread of fate woven within each person. Although the thread of fate implies limitation in each person’s life, it also ties each person to a destiny waiting to awaken. In order to illustrate the dynamic of personal limitations and calling, Michael Meade tells the story of how he came to write the book called “Fate and Destiny”.
There may be no greater time than these troubled times for understanding how the exact limits of an individual life can lead to the specific destiny that was the aim of that life from the beginning. As Meade says, “destiny is purpose seen from the other end of life.”
This episode takes place in the open moment that is both the aftermath and devastation of Hurricane Harvey and the imminent arrival of another catastrophic storm. Amidst the nightmare of overwhelming storms come political actions that threaten the future of the Dreamers with nightmares of their own. In the face of worldwide adversity and uncertainty it takes a certain kind of blindness and cruelty to reject the young dreamers; for no one knows who carries the seeds of the dream trying to be born after the storms have passed.
Using poetry and ancient myths, Michael Meade points out that when the whole thing seems about to fall apart, revelations of the deep self and the deep dream of life might be closer than ever. The threat of collapse and utter loss can also provoke a deeper sense of the unity of life where nothing but our total involvement and soulful inclusion will work.
This episode takes place during the record-setting rainfall of Hurricane Harvey and the tremendous tragedy and displacement that follows the storm. Michael Meade uses the metaphors of the tough-minded and tender-hearted as ways of understanding the two sides of heroic efforts to save people and survive the disasters of life. Using James Joyce’s idea of living in the time of chaosmos, Meade looks into the eye of the storm of tragedy in search of the underlying nobility of the human soul and its capacity to survive by the surprising elements of altruism and cooperation.
Beginning with reflections on whiteness arising from Mosaic’s recent multicultural conference that came on the heels of the tragedy in Charlottesville, VA. Michael Meade seeks to analyze and deconstruct white supremacy by looking at the cosmological trick that led to using color as a primary aspect of identity. Pointing out how whiteness claims purity at the same time as it produces oppositional thinking, Meade reveals how the misuse of a symbol contributes to centuries of oppression. Breaking the spell of whiteness as an aspect of collective identity turns out to be a necessary step for stopping oppression and finding cultural healing.
Drawing from relevant and compelling archival audio and building on themes from last week's podcast, Michael Meade tells an old and timely story from Japan while arguing for a poetic response to conflict, uncertainty and fear. Meade suggests that genuine peace requires a poetic basis, a relearning of ways to weave the fragile fabric of culture with threads of imagination, meaning, and healing; not a quick fix or a simple protest, but a reclamation of radical roots and practices that affirm and nourish the genuine spirit of humanity. This is the real battle, the battle for beauty and meaning trying to break through the spells of the obvious and the fogs of war.
Michael Meade speaks about moments when myth and fact approach each other, momentous times that the Greeks called Apocairos. Addressing the moments of threat and uncertainty created by the bombastic statements made by Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un, Meade opens up the mythic ground of “apocalypsis” that remind us that the world has been on the brink of annihilation many times before, and yet continues because of the slight edge that the energies of creation have over the energies of destruction.
This recording is full of surprising ideas about war and peace, the role of elders in times of threat and what each of us can do to be on the ground of creation, on the side of peace and in the fields of endless imagination.
Michael Meade tells a dramatic life and death story from his life that shows how we are each shaped by compelling threads of fate and destiny woven in our souls. Having been cornered and under threat by members of a rival gang, the youthful Meade suddenly finds himself telling a story that, in effect, saves his life. Having established the sense of an archetypal pattern present in each soul, the tale leads us back to ancient Greece and the myth of the Sisters of Fate.
Fate appears as whatever limits, restricts or even imprisons us; yet fate is the territory where we must go if we are to awaken to our inner destiny. Facing the elements of one’s fate and seeking the destiny hidden within it are part of the art of truly living and of living truly. Fate ties us to the world and keeps us in it, while destiny calls us to a divine errand set deeply within us.
Beginning with an old tale of an eagle that grew up believing it was a chicken; Michael Meade considers the necessity of a second birth that frees the spirit and the soul. Being born is a kind of miracle of life; especially in the sense that each soul that enters this world is unique and never to be repeated. Yet, in order to be fully alive a person must be born a second time. The second birth involves the cracking open of the shell of the little self and a conscious awakening to the inner nature of the individual soul.
It is never enough to simply fit in or just survive; for the soul aims at a destiny from the beginning. A culture that views success in simple terms of money or power will lack the imagination and vision necessary for shaping a meaningful and inclusive future. What really changes the world and what saves us from chaos and despair is the revelation of the spirit within us and the genuine expression of our own souls.
Michael Meade examines the differences between spirit and soul. After describing how spirit rises like air, like fire and soul descends like water, like earth, he turns to the struggle of spirit and soul in each human life. Without the lift and the light of spirit, soul can become too heavy, sodden with earthiness, too tragic or stuck in the mud to move anything forward. Without the shading of soul, what could become wise can become way too sure of itself, too certain of the way and too blinded by the light.
What is most often missing in the modern world is depth of soul and soulful connections. The deeper a person grows the roots of their soul, their instinctive embodied way of connecting to the earth, to the breath of creation, to the ground of being, the more that person can handle the heights and the flights of spirit. Wholeness requires descent as well as ascent. In the end, we can handle as much spirit as we grow our souls.
Soul doesn’t want a sudden solution to the problems of the world, or a sudden enlightenment that takes us out of this world. Soul wants us to live further and further into the depths of this world and into our own being, and thereby draw spirit down and bring heaven right down to Earth.
Secretly, spirit and soul are trying to come together, to unite, but it’s usually the depth of soul that’s missing. By growing more soul each person can become a unique example of the middle ground of creation where spirit can descend and soul can rise. Human beings become the place of ongoing creation where the tremendous energies of spirit and soul can come together in a conscious way.
This episode begins with the old Irish idea that we can experience the world in opposing states called “the glam and the gloom.” The world has glamour when it shines with beauty and wonder, but it also has shadows and gloomy depths which can be experienced as anxiety, grief, and sorrow. Michael Meade connects this old idea to the current condition of the world where the constant drumbeat of troubles ranging from climate disturbances to political devastations creates more gloom in the form of fears and sorrows and even despair.
Antidotes for this modern condition are found in an old myth from India. The story begins when the god Vishnu dreams up the world while sleeping on the cosmic ocean of night. When the first human sage falls out of the dream of life, he winds up lost in the ocean of despair. Surprisingly, the sage finds a dream in the depths of his own soul that gives him both buoyancy and a spiritual orientation. That leads the storyteller to describe the ancient paths of spiritual practice that may once again be the way to find the touch of the divine and the dream of life.
This episode begins with the increasing tension between North Korea and the United States. The war of words between the two nations takes place with the threat of nuclear attacks in the background as levels of collective anxiety rise throughout the world.
In addition to all the politics and history involved, there can be an unconscious stirring of the elemental polarity between the contrasting world views of the Orient and the Occident. Michael Meade shows how East and West, aligned with the rising and setting sun, can also represent a beginning and end-- revealing an even deeper opposition than the North/South divisions that afflict countries like Korea, Vietnam, Ireland, etc.
As this opposing tension mounts, Meade digs deeper, looking for the third thing that can hold beginning and end together and also provide the imaginative ground needed to find new ways to shift the world-wide tensions into creative directions.
Michael Meade takes us all the way back to the beginning of Western culture as depicted in Homer’s Odyssey. He leads us into the moment when the young prince is lamenting the collapse of the realm and the loss of nobility in culture. He encounters an old sailor who has survived many storms and disorienting experiences and therefore embodies a sense of deep knowledge and wisdom. This mythic moment involving the coming together of youth and elder becomes a seminal point from which to view our current cultural issues and conflicts. In the midst of the current arguments about national health and human care, Meade finds a way to lead us to an old and knowing place where the nobility and wisdom of the human soul appear and blessings might be imagined again.
Michael Meade takes the period of the Summer Solstice as a time to consider the hidden sun within the human soul. Using the ancient notion of a “dark sun” within the self, he considers both the overheating of the planet and the need for finding the abundance of golden qualities hidden inside people. “Unlike the outer sun, which can be so searing and burning in the contemporary world, the deep radiance of the inner sun of the self is both creative and healing.”
In the modern world, where so many things are dedicated to the surface of life, the notion of turning deep inside to find what is truly needed takes courage. Each person is golden in some way. Yet, if it were easy to move from the narrow ways of the ego self to the deep presence of the great self within us, more people would be doing it.
With poems from Hafiz and Machado as guides, Meade wanders in the territory of the heart seeking to touch the deeper realms of self and soul where the “treasure hard to find” and the inner radiance of the soul wait to be discovered and be delivered to an outer world which grows steadily darker.
This begins with a description of the youngest sisters and youngest brothers in fairy tales. They seem out of place and behind everyone else, yet they are the only ones able to break the collective spells of materialism, resentment and despair. They represent the genuine dreamer inside all of us and they are deeply connected to the dream of life and the wisdom of mythology. As agents of myth they have exactly what this troubled world most needs. However, it is the attitudes of the older brothers and sisters that prevail in the daily world. Only after all else has failed will people turn to the youngest sister or brother within who has been holding onto the true dream of life all along.
Michael Meade lays out the old idea of the Three Kinds of Thinking: the logical, the psychological and the mythological. Following the trail of the youngest aspects of the psyche, he shows how “when all else makes no sense, mythic imagination makes the most sense.” Myth is the deepest layer of life where grace and wisdom and even redemption can be found.
Michael Meade responds to President Trump’s abrupt backing out of the Paris Accord, leaving the US as one of a few countries out of accord with the increasing need for nations and communities to come together for the sake of the planet. This mythological response leads back to creation stories and an old idea suggesting that when the way forward is unclear, go back to the beginning, because origins retain possibilities and potentials waiting to be revealed. The mythic beginnings of human culture include a depth of imagination capable of generating long-term visions, the exact thing lacking in short-term, self-serving political acts.
A telling of the Mayan creation story describes how when the hard rain comes down upon this world, some people melt out of fear or lack of courage; while others become rigid, narrow-minded, and hard-hearted. Ancient myths help explain how human blindness causes great damage in the world, but also make it possible to see how the whole situation might be redeemable. If people become capable again of connecting to nature and the deep imagination of the human soul, a new narrative might begin and the pulse of creation might be renewed.
Michael Meade speaks about soul as the essential connective tissue of life and the missing ingredient in the current upheaval of culture and nature. He addresses how myth can be an antidote for fear and anxiety and delves into the surprising relationship between genius and wounds to the soul.
Each human soul is the bearer of genius gifts, but each soul also has core wounds that need to be acknowledged. There is a necessary balance between our learning our gifts and healing our inner wounds. Awakening the genuine self within us requires the courage to feel and face inner wounds and seek their healing. This can lead to discovering the genius hidden behind our wounds and understanding how to fully express our genius in the world. We live at a time when everyone’s gifts are needed, but also a time when both culture and nature need healing. The world needs us to awaken to our innate gifts and we need genuine “friends of the self” who can help us stay on the path of giving our gifts and healing our souls.
This episode begins with a dream in which Michael Meade is singing and teaching an African song that implores people to become elders for the sake of their troubled community. Michael sings that song and then takes up the notion that we are all in a collective initiation, part of the point of which is to awaken the inner sage and hidden wisdom in people of all ages.
He makes the point that wisdom has to be specific to the lives and conditions of people. General wisdom is not that useful as something that is wise is one situation is unwise in another. The lack of wisdom seems to be demonstrated by recent government proposals that reduce a safety net already struggling to hold children and old people as well as those dealing with disability and caught in the traps of poverty. When people already feel anxious and fearful, it is truly unwise to remove cultural supports.
Michael concludes with the story of a wise old rabbi who on his deathbed gives sage advice and crucial wisdom to his students, the kind of wisdom we all need to learn in a world that is so troubled by sorrow and loss, by trouble and tragedy.
Michael Meade draws upon one of the oldest manuscripts in the world, a 4,000 year-old papyrus scroll in which a world weary man argues with his “Ba soul.” The man feels deeply troubled by the increase of injustice, the spread of greed and loss of civility in life.
Amidst growing anxiety and despair at the fate of his culture, he considers ending his own life. His soul speaks back to him, encouraging him to honor the gift of life he has been given. Not only that, but to turn to the ground of his soul and learn the nature of the message he was sent to deliver to this world.
The ancient script sounds contemporary as we also live at a time of dissolution and cultural anxiety. The Ba soul is a reference to the uniqueness in each of us that would have us become our true self. Michael uses the old lament to show how these things have happened before and how the deep soul always calls us to live a bigger life despite and because of the troubles that we face in the world.
This episode, part two of "The Origins of the Soul", Michael Meade returns to old ideas about the genius or angel hidden in the soul of each person and needed by the world at this time. He picks up the notion of a guardian angel or inner spirit that tries throughout our lives to awaken us to a meaning we already carry within and an aim the soul has for us. The light of the soul often emerges when we find ourselves in the midst of trouble and confusion. If we can tolerate the tension that develops between the ego and the deeper soul, then the troubling times can become creative instead of discouraging. Then, our core imagination and deepest desires can become more conscious and a deep vitality more available. In considering the growing sense of urgency and emergency, Michael reminds that the word emergency also includes a sense of emergence as what is trying to emerge from each of us is the natural wisdom and genius of our souls.
This episode begins with Michael Meade’s description of his morning practice of study and writing and seeking meaning in both events of the outer world and the inner life. The consideration of the soul as the essential vehicle of meaning in the world leads to the impassioned telling of an ancient Jewish folk myth about the birth of the soul from the roots of the Tree of Life and the role of angels as messengers and intermediaries between the seen and the Unseen. Somehow, that story leads back the mundane world and an experience of being stuck in a traffic jam that involves a surprising appearance of an angel and that returns the listener to the practice of finding meaning in both external and internal events.
This episode begins with a contemplation that expands the notion of Earth Day, steps into ancient ideas about the qualities of earth energies, and touches on the element of earth as it exists in our own body, in our psyche and especially our heart. The episode ends with a dramatic story about the Old Grandmother Eagle willing to sacrifice herself in order to bring all the people who are fighting with each other back into the deep rhythm of this earth.
In the midst of the national health care debate, the latest episode of the Living Myth podcast addresses issues of a country divided into opposing villages. Michael Meade tells a Native American story about the Old Salt Woman and her grandchild who wander the world hungry and unwanted. The old tale sheds light on the dangers of a culture becoming so harshly divided that people blindly deny each other basic needs. The surprise in the story involves the necessity of finding the inner Salt of Wisdom that can produce lasting solutions for problems in the outer world. More people have to become worth their salt and that may have to begin with the ‘olders’ becoming elders.
On this episode, drawn from a recent talk, Michael Meade weaves poetry, humor and story to illustrate the need for poetic imagination and soul truth. The poet’s role is to act as a counterweight to feelings of isolation and fear by stating the truth of the human soul. We must trust now, more than ever, in that which is in us to begin with – the seed of genius that aims our life. He concludes with an evocative story that shows we are as deep as the earth goes and as high as the planets stretch.
This episode begins with the old idea of three intersecting layers of life. The first layer includes the basic courtesies and practices of daily life. The third layer involves the deeper sense of joy and love as well as a genuine sense of belonging and spiritual fulfillment. The problem is that the only way to go from the limited surface of life to the deeper ground of spirit and soul is to pass through the second layer. The second layer seethes with turmoil and disruption and it boils with fear, anger, resentment and other “negative emotions”. In this historic moment the turmoil of the second layer seems to be flooding into the surface level of life. The question is whether that places us closer to the healing of the third layer or just closer to oblivion.
This episode includes a mythological and cosmological tour of the many realms in which we live. This mythic survey includes the discovery of seven new planets in a nearby galaxy, it touches upon the chaos happening in the White House at the center of our American universe, then descends into the inner cosmos of the human soul, a place that remains surprisingly equal to everything that exists in the world outside.
Meade arrives at the idea that each person has a deeper name inscribed in their soul, a name that is connected to the script of the story they came to live, and there is no better time to live out the story inside the soul than this time that is a mixture of cosmic order and chaos, what James Joyce called the “chaosmos”.
Listen as Michael Meade finds remarkable parallels between an eastern European folk tale and the drama currently going on in the White House. This little known folk tale opens up the psychological implications of lying, cover-ups and intimidation in the halls of power. Meade shows the importance of understanding how a personal lack of soul and warm embrace in a ruler can lead to the banning and deportation of many people and an increase in the sense of isolation.
Michael Meade speaks about longing and the soul. In the condition of the world we are in now, because of fear and an excess of identity politics, our natural longing becomes reduced. Modern life has gotten more and more narrow and one of the disturbing ways is the collapse of vertical imagination which leaves people thinking you can solve all life’s problems through politics and economics, which is just one layer of human life. The longing comes from a speck of eternity set within the soul and because the longing is part of something divine, it is also something other than us. In light of the immigrant ban and the intensification of the fear of the “other”, he describes how the “other” always represents an otherness within ourselves that is trying to awaken. Because the human soul longs to grow a bigger life and become more diverse, the longing and the sense of otherness go together.
On this episode, Michael Meade tells an older version of the classic story "The Emperor's New Clothes" as a way of shining a psychological light on the current President. He explains the old meaning of the word king as a way of considering what qualities make a ruler truly legitimate. In laying out a psychological rather than political assessment, Meade argues that the deep personal insecurity and narcissism of the president make the entire country less secure.
On this episode, we draw from relevant and compelling archival audio where Michael Meade argues for the need to respond poetically to division and fear. His message then, set amidst political protests and a loss of meaning, resonates strongly today during this time of uncertainty, upheaval and unfolding protest. He speaks to the ongoing struggle for the imagination and soul of America, as well as our search for refuge, and ends by singing a powerful song to the earth from the Yoruba tribe in Africa.
Michael Meade reflects on two recent and significant events that unfolded within 24 hours of each other - the inauguration of Donald Trump and the worldwide women’s marches - and he speaks to how meaningful actions and lasting change ultimately requires transformation on the level of the individual soul.
Michael Meade addresses the upcoming inauguration, the deeper meaning of the word inaugurate and how, at this critical time, we are each called to follow the thread of our soul and be agents of ongoing creation.
Michael Meade introduces the role of myth in making sense of our complex and challenging world and he answers the question “Why Myth, Why Now?”
On this episode, drawn from an interview on Voices of Vashon Radio, Michael Meade shows how trouble and collapse can awaken the soul. There is something in each of us that we came here to give – our gift of genius – and there is no better time to find it than now. Because no single hero will save everybody, we need a collective awakening of the genius within to reweave the world and anchor community in the deep ground of the soul.
On this episode, Michael Meade takes the old notion of the Gordian Knot and handles it both mythologically and as a way of looking at the Syrian knot - the ongoing tragedy unfolding in Syria. He connects each to the idea of a wasteland, that once it starts, can spread in all directions and he concludes by offering antidotes that have to do with the authenticity of the soul of each person.
Michael Meade addresses diversity, the genius myth compared to the heroes myth and how we can respond to challenge at a soul level. Just as no two trees are the same, each person born is a unique soul with a specific way of viewing life and being in the world. The Genius Myth suggests that diversity is essential to humanity, just as it is the essence of a growing forest or ecological system. From the soul’s radical view, the turbulence of the world can stir the genius seed within us and help reveal the true reason we each came to life. Being true to one’s genius path in life becomes a potent antidote to all the lies and falsehoods in the world.
Following an ancient myth from India, Michael Meade uncovers old ideas about the troubles in the world and human creativity. One idea is that trouble and conflict are not in the world to diminish or harm us, as much as to push us to a greater sense of creativity. The story shows that offering a helping hand to those more endangered than ourselves, can alter our connection to nature and to the divine hidden in this world. Myths try to remind us that the divine is always nearby and trying to get our attention. The problem is that we must listen for the little voices and bend down to find the roots of survival and threads of imagination that otherwise might be lost.
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