Thursday, December 14, 2006

Following Your Bliss

CAMPBELL: ... Have you ever read Sinclair Lewis' Babbitt?


MOYERS: Not in a long time.



CAMPBELL: Remember the last line? "I have never done the thing that I wanted to in all my life." That is a man who never followed his bliss. Well, I actually heard that line when I was teaching at Sarah Lawrence. Before I was married, I used to eat out in the restaurants of town for my lunch and dinners. Thursday night was the maid's night off in Bronxville, so that many of the families were out in restaurants. One fine evening I was in my favourite restaurant there, and at the next table there was a father, a mother, and a scrawny boy about twelve years old. The father said to the boy, "Drink your tomato juice."



And the boy said, "I don't want to."



Then the father, with a louder voice, said, "Drink your tomato juice."



And the mother said, "Don't make him do what he doesn't want to do."



The father looked at her and siad, "He can't go through life doing what he wants to do. If he does only what he wants to do, he'll be dead. Look at me. I've never done a thing I wanted to in all my life."


And I thought, "My God, there's Babbitt incarnate!"



That's the man who never followed his bliss. You may have a success in life, but then just think of it—what kind of life was it? What good was it—you've never done the thing you wanted to do in all your life. I always tell my students, go where your body and soul want to go. When you have the feeling, then stay with it, and don't let anyone throw you off.



[...]



MOYERS: Do you ever have this sense when you are following your bliss, as I have at moments, of being helped by hidden hands?


CAMPBELL: All the time. It is miraculous. I even have a superstition that has grown on me as the result of invisible hands coming all the time—namely, that if you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will oepn where you didn't know they were going to be.




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