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Dissolutions - The End of the World


The final stage of the Cosmogonic Cycle is called "Dissolutions", or "The End of the World".  There is one final cycle after this in the Hero's Journey, but this is the end of the focus on the spiritual realm found in the Cosmogonic Cycle.  In previous stages, the Hero has already had a death of ego of sorts, and while this stage is similar, it is also something further.  The Hero realizes that not only was the projection of self in the form of the ego an illusion but the duality of the world, the boundaries we draw around everything, the labels we use, were also illusions.  It is not the end of the world in a real sense, but the end of the construct of the world held in the mind of the Hero.  The preconceived notions of truth and reality dissolve, and the Hero views everything with a beginner's mind.  

We have an interesting window into this way of thinking in the newest Star Wars Trilogy.  In The Force Awakens, Rey wanted to become a Jedi but lacked the training.  She tracked down Luke who had been missing for years.  Luke went missing after one of his students had gone rogue and destroyed the school and killed all of his other students.  The final scene of the movie ends with Rey finding Luke on a mountain top.  They made meaningful eye contact, she was filled with hope and held out Luke's lightsaber, a symbol of the Jedi and all they stood for.  The camera zoomed out and panned around them as the music faded up and we were all left waiting for the next movie to find out what happened next.  In the first scenes of The Last Jedi, Luke takes the lightsaber, looks at it, and throws it over his shoulder and down the edge of the cliff as if it was a piece of trash.  Luke had gone through what we might call an existential crisis.  What had once held meaning to him was now meaningless.  This is the Hero's Dissolution.  If we think back to meeting Yoda in the original trilogy, we realize that Yoda was in the same place when Luke found him on Dagobah.  

The whole book of Ecclesiastes is about King Solomon's Dissolutions. In all of his wisdom, he discovered that there is nothing to any of it. He discovered "The End of the World".

"Smoke, nothing but smoke. [That’s what the Quester says.]
There’s nothing to anything—it’s all smoke.
What’s there to show for a lifetime of work,
a lifetime of working your fingers to the bone?
One generation goes its way, the next one arrives,
but nothing changes—it’s business as usual for old planet earth.
The sun comes up and the sun goes down,
then does it again, and again—the same old round." - Ecclesiastes 1:2-5 (MSG)

Paul joins in as he describes all of the things he found valuable before Christ and how he now realized they were all nothing at all in Philippians 3.  There is something about our faith walk that shows us that there is a deeper meaning to all of this mess we call life, but there is also something, a little further along on the journey, that confronts us with the meaninglessness of it all.  We come to a place where we set aside the labels we used to put everything into neat categories.  We realize that the world we thought we understood is far more complicated.  That is the end of the world for the constructed illusion of reality we carried with until that point.  That is our Dissolution.  Then, we experience that over and over as we go deeper and deeper.  

God, help us to navigate the disorienting feeling of dissolution.  Help us to keep our faith as we discover new levels of meaning and meaninglessness.  Draw us ever closer to you and help us to set aside our old self and put on beginner's mind as we approach you.  Amen


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