Multi-Faith and Belief Chaplaincy, For All Faiths and None

Into the Subtext

This week's blog post has been written by Associate Chaplain, Geoffrey Baines.

An image of a white and black doodle with text above the doodle. "What matters most, lies beneath the surface"

Text means the surface of a work of art and its execution in its medium: paint on canvas, chords from a piano, steps by a dancer. In the art of story, text names the words on the page of a novel, or the outer life of a character.  Subtext means the inner substance of a work of art, the meanings and feelings that flow below the surface.* Robert McKee


The heart never forgets. Everything of significance is inscribed here. The heart is the archive of all our intimate memory. What is truly felt leaves the deepest inscription. Each of us carries the book of our life inside our hearts.* John O’Donohue


Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey takes the protagonist from their familiar though ordinary world into an unfamiliar though special world.

Their call may be some difficult circumstance in life or a desire to become unstuck, and so their journey begins.

They encounter a guide, at least one person who will journey with them, someone who has experienced something not dissimilar and knows something of what lies in front.

There comes a point of commitment, a leaving of the familiar as the protagonist throws themself into their quest.

There will now come trials and challenges which both test and prove the content of the “hero.”

When these are completed, their journey is far from over: everything so far has made it possible to approach their most important engagement of all.

Demanding everything, in this moment they wonder if they will be enough.

Their gained treasure is to find that when they pour themselves into the vessel of this adventure, they fill it up and more.

They have what they need.

It is now time to leave the special world and re-enter their own world, but something has shifted.

They notice a shift within towards a new beginning.

Their old and new come together into a greater story.

It is a larger familiar, an ordinary plus.

Welcome to dreamwhispering where we explore your journey, which I like to think of as exploring the subtext of our lives.


*From Robert McKee‘s newsletter: Why Dialogue is Critical to Character; **From John O’Donohue’s Benedictus.