With his seminal work, The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell made the phrase “Follow your bliss” one of the most memorable pieces of wisdom. But what is bliss? And how exactly do we follow it?
In English, bliss is defined as a state of joy and happiness. But Campbell’s concept of bliss goes beyond mere emotion, as he was deeply inspired by mythology and Sanskrit terminology. In Campbell’s philosophy, bliss is about aligning ourselves with our soul’s true nature so as to follow the path we were meant to. Bliss isn’t a feeling, it’s a state of being.
Here are three spiritual perspectives on what it means to find your bliss and the steps we can take to begin.
"When you stop searching and you calm down and you put your books away, and you confront yourself and see what you are all about, that will bring about bliss faster than anything you can ever imagine or ever do."
We cannot find bliss outside of ourselves, it can only be cultivated from the inside. When we truly look at who we are and accept what we see, we tap into a deeper truth that sustains us.
"If you want to reach a state of bliss, then go beyond your ego and the internal dialogue. Make a decision to relinquish the need to control, the need to be approved, and the need to judge. Those are the three things the ego is doing all the time. It's very important to be aware of them every time they come up.”
Bliss is about shedding the outer layers of our ego, the part of us that churns out so much mind-chatter and anxiety. Once we release our ego’s notion of how things should be, we discover the inner peace that was there all along.
Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
"All happiness comes from awareness. The more we are conscious the deeper the joy. Acceptance of pain, non-resistance, courage and endurance - these open deep and perennial sources of real happiness, true bliss."
Part of finding bliss means confronting life exactly as it is, finding both strength and peace in that moment of acceptance.