Trust me to lead you to a successful path. It will not always be an easy path, but it will feed your soul.
Archetypes are recurrent symbols that offer spiritual advice to men and women as we travel the journey of life. This is the ninth in a 12-part series, in which this ancient wisdom is made relevant both to ecumenical (book) religions and to the non-spiritual as well through real life examples and everyday application.
While I highly encourage a spiritual path, as it feeds the soul, this wisdom will resonate regardless because it is within our bones and sinew as men. Twelve is a very significant number in spiritual circles. There are 12 months, 12 signs of the Zodiac, Jesus had 12 disciples, 12 indicates a complete cycle.
As we complete our cycle through the archetypes, we will experience the ancient wisdom offered to us around manhood. Whether you are gay, straight, bi, curious, confused, trans, married, unattached, looking, or fearful, this wisdom has the power to meet you where you are and help you experience the slice of divine that is you, as a man.
Life is all about the journey, not the destination, and we all know no one gets out alive. This certainly isn’t new. If anything, the phrase has lost its power in its overuse. It seems simple enough, but we don’t give credence to the importance of this realization—we might not ever “get there.” If we think about that it, though, it can change the whole way we approach life.
This archetype is all about finding your way on life’s journey. From finding the right partner to the fulfilling combination of career and hobby, the Guide is here to remind us about the importance of having direction, guidance, enjoyment, and mindfulness in our journey.
The archetype of the Guide is rather enigmatic. In our modern age of GPS, the need for an actual human guide or someone who is so aware of where they are on the planet that they can tell you how to get anywhere is a bit of a lost art. In our age of self-teaching and free tutorials, the unique guidance of a teacher has taken a back seat to self-direction and motivation. In this environment where we rely less on people for guidance and more on our internal compass or the passive guidance of others, we have to be sure of our pathway forward. This is why mindfulness is so important. You can’t go forward until you know where you are to begin.
The Guide in Spiritual Practice
I always encourage the reader to have a spiritual practice. Throughout this series, the real secrets behind the archetypes can only be unlocked in meditation or other spiritual practice. One of the best ways to use this archetype requires such meditation.
As a spiritual path, the Guide helps us choose the course of our life and helps us through what is beneath. You will sometimes hear people talk about their Angels or Guides. Guides are beings/ancestors that exist in the subtle and unseen realms that can provide some needed perspective. These unique guides can only be accessed through prayer/meditation or other spiritual practice. Many traditions believe, as I do, that they will help you get to your highest and greatest good.
To become fully present, to become your own guide, you have to attune to your place on the planet. This can seem really abstract at first, but there is directional energy all around you.
In meditation, once you’ve stilled yourself of movement and established a consistent breathing pattern, you can find what direction is before you, behind you, and to each side. Then feel what energies are passing through your body as you analyze the awareness of these directions. From this very physical attuning you can begin to find your way both within and in the material world.
You can seek out answers through a variety of means. It may come to you as a being or it may come to you as a flash, thought, feeling or even a short movie-esque sequence. Be open in your meditative practice to what comes to you or how you get clarity.
The best part is that within the journey there is a chance for great joy. The benefit of the meditation is that when you are tuned in to your inner voice and you find your inner direction, you can find the joy in the difficulties and the problems along the way. Rather than lashing out in anger, over time you can tap into those joyful reserves and realize the simple fact that we are all on a journey, and life is about the journey and not the destination. It’s a cliché quote but it still has salient truth, and that truth is embodied in joy. Enjoying the journey of your life by listening to your inner guide.
Understanding Your Inner Guide
Finding our way through life is not an easy process. In various situations we can’t see the forest for the trees. From what school to send your children to how to plan a family event or vacation, we can get lost. Getting lost can have serious consequences. A misstep or poor decision can cost money or a promotion. Discernment is key. Sometimes we need strict guidance and other times we need to “live into the answer.” By knowing your inner guide, you’ll now which course of action is best, which sometimes means getting lost.
Getting lost has it advantages in the right situation. Leaving space and time to be with the one you love or perhaps just to be present and out of time and place can be a helpful moment to re-center and find one’s place again. Being your own guide leads to that easy, effortless confidence in a man that everyone admires. He knows where he is going and how to get there. There is nothing worse than a man who depends on the opinions of others for his own life.
I know that I’ve been guilty of that in the past. Constantly checking in with other people to make sure that I’m doing the right thing or going the right way because I failed to have the self-confidence or trust that I knew what was best for me. Often times, you are your own best guide and a guide only works when you trust him. That’s where the discernment part comes in and that is a true secret to effortless inner confidence.
The Importance of Mastery
So how do we find our way? How do we make sure that we can find direction and clarity at the right moment? If only there were a map for life! As much as I would like to give you my complete compendium of life with directions personally specific to you, I cannot. But, I can suggest some ways to stay on track.
We already know how important it is to stay on track. To trust ourselves. To develop that effortless confidence that gives us calm and allows us to stay in control. But often we do need to reach out for expertise when we’re entering new territory. It’s ok to ask for directions. This is where having a solid mentor is helpful. They serve as a living embodiment of the Guide.
Mentoring, whether that means serving or being served, while not a map, is very helpful. It is a good way to find your clarity at the right moment. Mentoring especially in your career is one of the best ways to learn quickly and make the right moves with in a company or an industry.
Seek out a mentor. You will want someone who is 5-10 years older than you and is higher up in your organization or career path/business. Meet with this person once a week, and come ready with questions. Be ready to receive advice.
Through the mentoring process you can move through the steps to achieve mastery. The old adage goes that it takes 10,000 hours to become a master. In this day and age, I’m not sure that is still true, but achieving mastery in a hobby or career field takes showing up and moving through the journey with a purpose and plan. Expending energy in an unplanned and wasteful manner isn’t going achieve your goals. The central question to bring to the Guide is, “How do I arrive at that place on my journey?”
As hard as it might be, don’t be afraid to consult with your family or your friends on family matters. It can be embarrassing to have to bring someone into help you with private problems at home or in your relationships. If you don’t find your family helpful, seek out other resources. Even problems with your children can be remedied with the right kind of guide or advice from another family, friend, or even a professional if the need arises.
You may also find you want to bounce ideas off of another couple or friend to help in your relationship. Seek out those relationships because the archetype of the Guide means that we are vulnerable in a safe space and willing to seek guidance for a fresh direction if the journey becomes difficult.
Life is the most exciting and exhilarating journey we will ever encounter. Our life is our one enduring masterwork, and to live well takes not another product or even a service but simple presence and contemplation.
Find the Guide, and he will help you find your way.
Image credit: Wiertz Sébastien/flickr