I walk off Fifty-first Street and Fifth Avenue into St. Patrick's Cathedral. I've left a very busy city and one of the most economically inspired cities on the planet. I walk into that cathedral, and everything around me speaks of spiritual mysteries. The mystery of the cross, what's that all about there? The stained glass windows, which bring another atmosphere in. My consciousness has been brought up onto another level altogether, and I am on a different platform. And then I walk out, and I'm back on the level of the street again. Now, can I hold something from the cathedral consciousness? Certain prayers or meditations are designed to hold your consciousness on that level instead of letting it drop down here all the way. And then what you can finally do is to recognize that this is simply a lower level of that higher consciousness...I think that that's the clue to how to transform your consciousness. -Joseph Campbell in conversation with Bill Moyer, The Power of Myth A Learning Moment

After finishing my final lecture of the semester, I left the university campus and headed into the sweltering streets of Tokyo in hopes of clearing my head a bit before diving into a looming stack of term papers.

Operating largely from the position of ingrained habitual patterns, I unwittingly stumbled through an internalized routine. As I approach a red-lighted cross-walk, I fumbled for my smartphone and earbuds. Arriving at the corner, I thrust the buds into my ears, then begin absent-mindedly scrolling through podcasts looking for the perfect quantity of information to fill my hour-long stroll. I still had not decided upon which one to listen to as the signal changed to green. I stuck the phone back in my pocket and decided that I will stroll quietly to a small nearby park, sit down, and find a podcast then.

Moments after I cross the street my phone is somehow in my hand again. Facebook. Instagram. Messages. Nothing important. I put the phone away. ...[Continue reading on Culture Counter Magazine]