Complacency is one common and dangerous state of mind. It’s easy to slip into self-satisfied distraction in the face of deficiencies or even danger. Complacency was probably on the mind of whoever thought up “inside and outside the box”.
We know we should know better than to become complacent about life. We all fall into automatic patterns of thought and behavior because we’re probably hardwired to do so. We take shortcuts in life and become lax about not only our personal safety, but become lazy in our ways of thinking.
My friend, Anders, once told me that when we become comfortable and confident about the way we live and attached to our opinions and beliefs, we have issued an invitation for a visit from Loki. Anders enjoys using Norse mythology to illustrate his personal life philosophy. His reference to Loki was half in jest, yet grounded in serious thought. Loki is one of the major deities in the ancient Nordic pantheon.
He’s the shape-shifting, heroic trickster, son of giants in Scandinavian folklore. His cleverness made him a useful companion to the greater Gods Odin and Thor, but his actions often resulted in difficulty and embarrassment for everyone concerned. Tragically, Loki accidently helped cause the death of the God of Light, Balder. He has been punished by being bound to a rock. His fate has been compared to that of the Greek God Prometheus.
Figuratively, we all have aspects of Loki usually hidden in our nature. We become overly comfortable inside our own skins. Complacency sometimes leads to overconfidence or arrogance, symbolized by Loki’s lower aspects. These feelings have clouded our thinking so much that we have failed to expect the unexpected. Then, some sort of accident, illness, or mistake affects us. As Anders says, we have sent an invitation to Loki.
If we are to take anything away from this myth, we must expect the unexpected, but not lock ourselves into a hyper-alert state of being that keeps us rigidly defending fixed beliefs and points of view. Despite eternal vigilance, harmful events happen to us all. Will a harmful event be seen as misfortune or as a positive life lesson? In other words, will Loki harm us or help us?
When we find out that Loki has issued his own invitation into our lives, we can use his myth as a tool to explore the depths and foundations of our minds. Loki provides the opportunity to discover our hidden mental resources and strengths. If we choose to look beyond the conventional, we’ll find a wellspring of life. We eventually find out that to benefit from this wellspring, we need to share what we find there.
Loki can help us turn from a shortsighted, self-centered point of view towards a more benevolent worldview. When we have nourished ourselves in the wellspring of life, we may discover that there is more than enough to share with others.
Loki is the reminder that even scoundrels and shapeshifters can be the bearers of great wisdom.
The Blue Jay of Happiness notes the wisdom of Loki lies in the feeling that everything, including irreverence, is ultimately worthy of reverence.