Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Spiritual and the Social

Years ago, there was a conversation within a discussion group on the topic of spiritual behavior. Someone defended the terse and cranky magician-types by saying that socially acceptable behavior wasn't always a sign of spirituality. In fact, a person like Aleister Crowley could be both a prophet and a jerk. When I read about the Jewish prophets I feel that most of them would not be allowed in a modern home. Their behavior fell to far outside the norm of their times. Oddly, the same things would fall outside of our norms today. For instance, one of them didn't wear clothes for a couple of years.

Also, the job of the prophets was to tell people, especially the king, when he was off course. "Hello Your Majesty, you are out of alignment with God," is not likely to be deemed socially acceptable. Confucius had the same problem. Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoism, told Confucius, "The problem with you, sir, is that your intelligence enables you to evaluate people critically. And when you evaluate people critically, you bring danger upon yourself." Obviously, Confucius was not engaging in socially acceptable behavior. Yet, he is deemed to be one of the wisest men to have ever lived. Wisdom is a sign of spirituality.

While not comparing myself to the venerable Confucius, I too speak truth to power and I can evaluate denial, willful blindness and rationalization quite well. I can do it so well that I've been told by more than one person that I am rather intimidating because people cannot hide their issues from me. Even when I do not speak, people can tell I see through them and it makes people uncomfortable.

However, there are a few people out there that find this of value. Apparently, those that want to grow past denial, rationalization and the like use me as  mirror from which they cannot hide. I take this as a good thing and a spiritual virtue. That said, there are few people with such courage. It is a trait I do possess and have made the mistake that most others, despite all evidence, do as well. A friend actually had to tell me the other day, "Robert but most people do not think that way." I know this is true but I am egocentric enough not to really get it. To me, if you are in the occult crowd that growth is the point. Even the unabashed thaumaturgist sees the value in personal growth, even if is only to increase one's power.

There is an inverse side to this as well. When people want to stay in denial, I have little patience and get angry. I literally forget why people want to remain self-deluded and I get a bit angry. By this, I don't mean that I get mad when people cannot see their own denial. I get mad when they see it or I think they see it and rather than growing they add another coat of paint to make things look good. What I fail to remember is the pain people are in that do this. The only reason to hide from the obvious is pain and fear.

As a point of service, my forgetfulness is not helpful. I do not think it makes me less of a person or less spiritual. It simply isn't helpful.

So, I am taking steps to resolve the issue so that I can serve those who wish to be served, whether they know it or not, without causing further pain to those that want or need to remain where they are.

I will undertake the following steps:

  • Continue to practice mindfullness. The easiest way for me to do this is to concentrate on my breathing. "I am breathing in. I am breathing out." During times when the mind is not engaged in a practical task, the brings the emotions to a state of calm and the mind to rest. Both of these allow me to more fully engage in step two.
  • Compassionate Listening is the practice of listening to a person express their pains without judgement. Even if their pains are about you correct or not. 
  • Measured response. I did a healing the other day. I revealed my visions during that healing to the person. This was extraordinarily personal and a bit disturbing to the person I was talking to. I am thinking I should have kept some things to myself. Fortunately, she took it very well and I believe it inspired her to do more to heal herself.  This has earned her respect in my book. She knew herself well enough to know I spoke the complete truth. However, as the Manifestation Meditation improves my abilities and my sight, I need to be a bit wiser in its revelation. Getting lucky does not count as wisdom.
  • Lastly, I am going to practice a social thing that I do not do very well. I am going to work on seriously enjoying the conversation of others. I know that sounds silly but if you really look at it, most of what humans do and think is important is really silly. Before you get offended, I include myself in that statement. I think baseball is the greatest game ever invented and love to watch it. However, caring who wins or loses is a bit silly. Learning the hows and whys people enjoy things is important for friendships and service. I am in a place now where both are important. 

1 comment:

Andrew B. Watt said...

I'm not sure it's possible to work on 'seriously' enjoying yourself at social functions. My general habit is to either
A) talk about something I care about to someone who seems interested, or
B) try to get someone else to talk about what they care about.

But I find that I agree with the idea that I'd rather talk about ideas and processes than people or things. I can't abide conversation about celebrities, and I often bow out of such conversations.

In magical circles, I'm increasingly aware of how I 'camped out' as a solo magician on GD turf by starting my training with Israel Regardie's book from the 1960s (although I didn't buy it until the 1980s, and I didn't USE it until the 1990s, and I didn't really practice any of it until the early 2000s). Yet when I read the blogs and about the controversies within the wide-spreading GD community today, I'm kind of glad I didn't ever find them back in the day. I'm glad I've found this blogging community and you all now of course, but as a newbie I'd have been overwhelmed, and probably taken advantage of.