Leo Gura is the founder of www.actualized.org, and the host of a popular Youtube channel on finding your life’s purposes and deep spirituality beyond stories. Leo and Gregory discuss the mythological principles of the Hero’s Journey, and what on earth all of that has to do with the path to finding one’s true self in life.
Most people attempt to solve existential level problems with superficial ego-serving solutions that, at best, temporarily alleviate the symptoms of being non-actualized. They ignore the existential cause of deep suffering. Spirituality is reduced to emotionally jarring clickbait titles because real analysis challenges the ego instead of feeding it. Most marketing is design to appeal to the ego, therefore distracting from raw truth.
Self-help authors prey on the weaknesses and fears of their audience. They don’t promote true growth and self-actualization. People stay stuck at one level of development and are never able to go after what they really want in life. Without solving the surface level needs of ordinary human desires, they will not ascend to the profound truth of their existence.
People frequently get stuck in lifestyle loops resolving the same problems and addressing the same needs time and again. They chase the wrong things in the wrong ways. Even if they are aware enough to know they want more sex or more money, they don’t know how to get these things. If no one ever introduces the idea of higher level goals, we do not move on. Popular media, more often than not, keeps us chasing our tails for the duration of our lives.
A human mind can only contain a certain quantity of problems to solve. A problem is simply any time your mind desires something to be different than it is. If it does not succeed it its desired change or accept the way things are, it cannot move on to higher level problems to change. You are always being manipulated by your brain to achieve what it sees as its survival needs.
Without outside influences to guide you to higher truths, you must have a deeply inquiring nature that forces you to move beyond what you already know. No experiences is inherently good or bad. It matters what meaning your mind adds to it: what you get from it. It can distract or serve as progression, such as watching a powerful movie or having sex.
Existential personal development is about moving beyond the realm of physical needs and mental beliefs. It’s about identifying yourself as what you are before any stimulation or value judgment. It is present in every single moment, always unchanging. Most religions and forms of spirituality think of this as a Godly presence, but it is only the authentic you.
Underneath the world of our gross physical experiences lies the subtle realm of what happens within us. It is underneath our thoughts and emotions even. Most people consider their spirituality a series of thoughts and beliefs, and therefore it only serves to distract them from the subtle truth of what they really are. They are setting themselves up for an unending trap of distraction from the truth. They must learn to stay grounded in the subtle unchanging part of reality, regardless of what problems they encounter.
The Hero’s Journey is about facing your deepest fears, even your physical death, and emerging on the other side in a higher state of existence. The Dark Night of the Soul is the lowest point on the Hero’s Journey where one must face the parts of themselves they have been avoiding their entire lives. They experience painful separation from the experiences they are most psychologically attached to. It is the only way to move into the subtle realm of their identity. Emotional release only comes when the loss is complete.
The Hero must learn to break away from the stories of his culture to follow his own path. He cannot act in resistance to what other people choose. He must place his own development as his highest priority above all other forms of ego gratification. Our education system, our politicians, and our popular culture are misleading almost everyone to pursue fruitless ends instead of knowing the truth about themselves.
Parents pass along the emotional loop they get stuck in to their children, getting them to value the same thing they arbitrarily picked up during their own lives. Almost no one teaches their offspring the fundamental values of the pursuit of self-knowledge from an early age. They remain forever unfulfilled, even if they acquire what they thought they wanted.
Every experience you ever have is biased by constantly changing chemical imbalances in your brain. Psychedelics and other substances can instantly show a person a radically different manner of experiencing reality, but there is no neutral control group even when a person is totally sober. The perspective of vast new experiences shows us the filter through which we see things, and a gateway to the subtle ongoing experience underneath everything.
In most Hero’s Journey stories, a mentor who has already completed their own journey guides the hero with the lessons they have already learned by overcoming their trials. Young people today lack adequate mentors because education and parenting are generalized for the masses. It is difficult to find someone uniquely suited to guide you on your quest. You need someone to show you what is possible if you stay on the path before you. Knowing that something can be done is what makes it viable to the uninitiated.
Negative emotions by themselves can be the starting point for major changing actions, but they cannot exist alone. They must be complemented by inspiration and a positive desire for greatness. Everyone needs a vision for their life to become everything they are capable of being.
Actualized.org by Leo Gura:
Highest Hero’s Journey video:
Leo Gura’s YouTube channel:
Leo Gura’s Life Purpose Course: