A few days ago I had a little sliver of insight into the prevalence of death and resurrection myths. To die and be reborn is to have the opportunity to leave some things behind, but still go on living.
Over time we tend to gather up a lot of cruft. Rename it to something more flattering if you like, but the point is that over time people tend to settle in to certain habits and patterns of thinking, which they may or may not consider beneficial. Appearing only slowly, these tendencies tend to creep up on you. By the time you even notice they are there, the habits are fully ingrained, they are part of you. Sometimes, even part of you self identity. Something that seems as though it cannot be separated from you until death.
So, die the metaphorical death. Leave your dusty old self behind and charge forward into life with a new unburdened self image. “Sure, there used to be someone who wasted his time cooking, but he died. Too many hobbies? Dead. I do two things and do them well.”
In the mythological aspect, one example should be quite sufficient:
The son of god dies for the sins of man. He is reborn to the righteous life and so ascends to heaven.
Now lets reconsider this as a story of personal transformation, using my own personal secret decoder ring:
God – the universal principal of beauty and order in the universe. Quality, Tau, Life, Goodness, etc.
Son of god – man, and in particular I, am in incarnation of the god principle. I contain everything that is wonderful in the world; I am worthy and powerful.
The sins of man – containing the god principal doesn’t mean perfecting it. Some actions, sins, run counter to it.
Dies and is reborn – after gaining understanding of the god principal, one ceases the ‘sinful’ life and begins living the righteous life.
Righteous life – broadly speaking, living harmoniously with one’s fellow man and environment.
Heaven – the perfect state of the world, where everyone lives in harmony with the god principal. Each person who embraces right living brings the world one tiny step closer to heaven.
(I didn’t entirely plan the extended decomposition there, but having neglected to use the example in the first part, there was nothing left to do but put it center stage.)