“All knowledge is remembering.”
­-Plato, Meno

I was sitting in church the other day, listening to a sermon about the tension between wanting to be happy and wanting to be “good.” At some moment, the minister was talking about Joseph Campbell’s oft-quoted advice to follow our bliss. We Americans have certain ideas about how, exactly, bliss is defined. I’ll tell you right now that my definition includes Hagen Däz Peanut Butter and Chocolate ice cream. But Campbell was thinking more of the Pali word that we might translate as “nature.”

Follow your nature and you will find your bliss.

In fact this is not a revelation. We’ve heard it many times, in many ways. It is essentially the theme of the entire self-help aisle and at least 50% of Oprah’s programming. The problem is we get a lot of other messages too―from TV, movies, magazines, our families, and our culture―that drown out this simple, profound, and true advice. And so we need to hear it over and over and over, just to have a chance at holding on to it. That’s why the self-help aisle keeps selling.

And if asked I would say this is one of the myriad reasons I go to church. Remembering. Church helps me remember what I already know but forget over and over.

Not only does it help me remember that if I follow my true nature I will find my bliss. It also reminds me what my true nature is―under those layers of grasping and looking out for myself and all my insecurities. When I am reminded of my true nature, I find I quite like myself.

What do you do to remind yourself of your true nature? What is one of the things you like about your church/synagogue/mosque/pagan circle/hiking club, etc? What is one of your valuable takeaways?

A word about comments


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