Pathways to Bliss still remains one of my favorite books by Joseph Campbell. While The Hero with a Thousand Faces contains an incredible amount of information, Pathways to Bliss has a distinctly human feel, perhaps because it represents a collection of transcripts from Campbell's lectures.
As Campbell's quote intimates, an individual doesn't find their path pre-formed and waiting for the right person to find and simply stroll down. Instead, each of us is responsible for creating a path that is an expression of our own unique individuality. As Antonio Machado states in Campos de Castilla:
"Wanderer, your footsteps are the road, and nothing more; wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking. By walking one makes the road..."
Both Campbell and Machado challenge the idea of a pre-existing path, choosing instead to embrace what should be an obvious truth:
...the road is made by walking
Every step we take has the potential to carve a path that is uniquely our own, regardless of the other travelers we might meet along the way. From Campbell's perspective, the road to bliss lies upon the path that no one else has traveled yet. Like the story of Arthur's knights, embarking upon this type of journey requires us to embrace the Unknown, which can appear as dark and foreboding as a haunted forest.
This approach may make little sense to our intellect, which tends towards the tangible with its peculiar penchant for perfection. Within the realm of myth (which is how most of us navigate our reality), intellectual ideas of perfection make no sense - if for no other reason than this type of perfection doesn't exist.
The Bhagavad Gita addresses the incompatibility of perfection and living, even going so far as to state that:
It is better to live one's own life imperfectly than to live another's perfectly.
The amount paid for such perfection comes at a prohibitive price - the cost of the life that one might have lived by exploring the uncertainty of the Unknown.