“All the works of man have their origin in creative fantasy. What right have we then to depreciate imagination.”
My inner rockstar is the latest archetype I want to manifest. Ever since I was a kid I knew I wanted to be some sort of musician, actor, or artist; in a way I still have the spirit in me.
I like having dreams. I am not afraid to follow them, and I think it is never too late to try and pursue something new unless you are resting on your deathbed cold and numb.
But who am I kidding? I am only 21 years old. I have so much time, energy, creativity, and passion waiting to manifest. I have the world in the palm of my hands. Yes, I really do – so why not aspire? Light the candles of my inner passions a little. Not just avoiding death, but living life. Let my rockstar come out!
Who is my inner rockstar?
If Carl Jung were here giving me some counseling – he would probably ask, “Who is your inner rockstar? What is his personality like and what are his values in life?”
Jung would agree that my inner rockstar is a construction of my mind: a product of my background, society, culture, attitude, and experience.
When I think “rockstar” a few key ideas pop into my head:
Rockstars do what they want. They don’t take shit from anybody and if you try to suppress a rockstar’s will or desire, you bet he is going to topple over you to get to where he wants to be. This rebellious attitude is so often what impressionable children and teens find so attractive in rockstars.
Whether it is in the tour bus or sitting in the studio, rockstars are always exploring. Exploring new sounds, new themes, new artwork, new ideas. Once they put together a CD they begin touring; seeing new sides of the country, maybe even getting a chance to travel to Europe and Japan if they are big enough. Being a rockstar is both an exploration inwards (artistically) and outwards (socially).
Jamming on stage is spontaneous, meeting new people backstage, having fans come up to you in five star restaurants, trying to keep the fellow bandmates from strangling each other during another long bus trip. Living the life of a rockstar, you never know what is going to happen next. Life can be hectic, it can slap you in the face from time-to-time, but it is a sign that you are alive and in the fast lane. It may bring you moments of pleasure and pain, but they certainly won’t be dull.
Rockstars often have big egos, which isn’t necessarily a good thing, but it is a price to pay when you are put in a position of power. You are in the limelight. People and paparazzi follow you around asking questions and concerns. You have young teens and adults coming to your shows, feeling inspired, using your music as a gateway towards a more fulfilling life. In some ways, a big rockstar can be even more influential in shaping society than most politicians.
In the end I think a lot of people just want to become rockstars because it looks fun and enjoyable. Think about how much better your life would be if you got to do something that you absolutely loved each and everyday of your life. You’re getting paid massive amounts of money to play guitar, bang away on the drums, or scream into a microphone. If you have never had the urge to play an instrument before, or if you’ve never had the dream to make a living doing what you love…get the fuck out of here… you are lying (don’t take my harsh words too seriously – I am just in my rockstar mindset).
I don’t want to over psychoanalyze my inner rockstar. Just become more aware of it. I want to discover which characteristics about the idea resonate with me most. I want to activate that “little me” that has been hiding inside, as if it were a little switch in my mind that I could just flip ON.
Using archetypes to build character
Of course it would always be nice to be a real rockstar. But I don’t seek to be other people, I seek to be a better me. And using role models (even in the form of abstract symbols or archetypes) can help guide us in improving certain aspects and characteristics of our life.
Let’s say for example that I wanted to be more spiritual. I could consciously create an archetype in my head by integrating different aspects of all my favorite spiritual leaders. People like the Dalai Lama, Buddha, Gandhi, Robert Thurman, Thich Nhat Hanh, Lao Tzu, Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, Osho, Mooji, Jesus, etc.
Then once I created this prototype of a spiritual leader, I can begin to extrapolate certain characteristics that I find are universal about it:
- Compassion and loving-kindness towards others.
- Dedication to one’s practice.
- Calmness and patience.
- Wisdom and acknowledging the unknown.
This is just a rough start, but as you can see you can create an archetype fairly quickly – just open up Microsoft Word and start jotting some things down. The idea here isn’t to yearn to become one of these other individuals, but to extrapolate a lesson from them. To use their example as an inspiration to be more like them.
I may never be a real rockstar…but it doesn’t matter, because the point is that what I really want is more rebellion, exploration, spontaneity, leadership and enjoyment in my life. That is where this archetype comes in handy.
Energy flows where attention goes
When I bring my inner rockstar into consciousness I am simultaneously giving it life. As the popular Huna saying goes, “Energy flows where attention goes.” Even just the simply act of writing this blog post is beginning to awaken these new facets of my rockstar being.
I could expand further by meditating on my inner rockstar – imagining him in different situations and how he might think and behave. This act of visualization is a great way to send attention (or energy) into different actions one can do to build character. In mentally prepares me to manifest these new rockstar tendencies throughout my day.
In particular, I believe that wakening my inner rockstar will help facilitate my motivation, allow me to take more risks and strive to achieve greater things, like stuff within this blog, in my social interactions, and in my daily habits.
Here are some fantastic ways to “draw energy” from your archetypes, some of which have already been touched upon in this article:
1. Write about them. That is what I am doing here.
2. Meditate/visualize/contemplate. Use your thoughts and imagination to awaken your mind to new possibilities and new ways to act.
3. Roleplay. May sound a bit silly, but by acting out your archetypes you are building up your neurology towards these new behaviors.
4. Integrate into your life. Can’t just spend all your time thinking, imagining, and role-playing in your room. Now it is time to incorporate these into your daily moment-to-moment existence.
Change only occurs through effort
Everyone who is involved in self-improvement is looking for that magic pill. Let me tell you what it is. Are you ready? Bring your face closer to the monitor…
There is no fucking magic pill!
If anyone could follow the law of attraction and be famous, successful, and happy…then everyone would be. But I am not going to sit here and tell you that using archetypes will change you over night. They require work and dedication to build.
The “Archetype Route” of growth and healing
All of that being said: I don’t think the “archetype route” for personal development is necessarily the best route for everyone. It depends on what you want to change.
If you only want to change a behavior – stick with habit-building techniques: 30-day experiments, classical conditioning, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and mindfulness.
But if you want to make a personality change you need to dive deeper. You need to learn how to see through the eyes of different minds.
Archetypes and role models are a great resource for that.
There was actually an old NLP technique I learned through an acquaintance (if anyone can remind me of the name of the technique it would be really helpful).
The technique went something like this: create a mental experience of an interview between you and a role model in your life (presumably some sort of expert). By asking them questions and filling in the answers (all in your mind’s eye), you would be taking part in a creative cognitive mechanism for solution-building. Theoretically, it could be used for any kind of problem-solving: business, relationships, health, or spiritual growth.
Humans are actually very good at dissociating from themselves and getting into the minds of others as an evolutionary trait (it is know as theory of mind). We love it. We do it all the time. Think about it: we even role-play every night in our dreams, and when we don’t get sleep for a long period of time we begin hallucinating.
Minds like to imagine things, and I think cognitive scientists should focus more research on imagination as a general mechanism for effective human learning. Even Einstein used a thought experiment (by imagining himself chasing after a beam of light) which aided in the development of his theory on special relativity.
There have also been some studies showing how dreams play an important role in consolidation of memories. It would be interesting to see what other cognitive benefits our imaginations may have.
Building archetypes should probably be considered an “advanced cognitive skill.” I don’t do them myself, but I know that they work and I know how they work.
However — I’m going to try and use this blog post as motivation to further explore the power of archetypes. Particularly this inner rock star idea. From a general standpoint in my life, I want to be more rebellious, explorative, spontaneous, leader-like, and just enjoy myself more. So I am going to continue to use this symbol as a tool of inspiration. I will try and meditate on it a couple times a week and see what fruits it reaps.