Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Is your spiritual practice healthy?

Before anyone rolls their eyes and starts wondering just how awful this post is going to be, take a breath and relax.  This post is more about questions than answers.

How do we define a healthy spiritual practice?  It's not religion-specific, in my opinion, and I think it's an individual and personal question.

A friend of mine was recently accused of not being a "real witch" over something that was none of the accuser's business.  My initial reaction to hearing about that was "that's unhealthy" - which prompted this train of thought.

I think that in order for my spiritual practice to be healthy, it has to meet the following criteria:

1.  Make me strive to be a better person
2.  Remind me to be kinder to others
3.  Fit into my daily life
4.  Help me find inner peace
5.  Help me find a state of harmony with the natural world around me
6.  Inspire me to go out into the aforementioned natural world instead of just thinking about it
7.  Inspire me to make good choices
8.  Attract like-minded people, so I'm surrounded by good friends

That's my list in a nutshell.  If what we're doing is not helping us, then why are we doing it?  I know, that last statement really is open-ended and general, and applies to lots of different situations, but that doesn't make it any less valid a question.

I hear a lot of unconscious snobbery and elitism in the pagan community, reducing people into categories and otherwise demonizing them, and I just don't think that's healthy for either the snob or the snubbed.  Those attitudes put out a lot of energetic garbage, in addition to being basically unkind.  Thinking of myself as a "pre-Llewellyn Traditional Wiccan" is descriptive, and I have to confess it's because I think Wicca has changed in large part due to the Llewellyn books over the years, and not in ways that resemble what I do at all.  I don't intend it as a slight to folks who learned the Craft a different way, but I realize it may be interpreted that way.

We say a lot to ourselves and each other that "all life is connected to everything" - I think I still have a pin with that on it from back in the 80's in a drawer somewhere.  So if all life is connected, then being rude to others is a form of self-hate, but it's worse than that.  It also prompts a negative reaction in the other person, and it spreads from there.  Calling people "elitist" is just as nasty as calling someone a "fluffy bunny".  Saying that "New Age" rhymes with "sewage" is dismissing something that may be very important to someone else and reducing it to garbage.  You might as well just bend over and spread your cheeks all day if you're going to be that much of an ass in public.

So, with that rude image in your head either making you uncomfortable or making you laugh, let's get this back on track.  What does a healthy spiritual practice mean to you?  Is that what you're doing, or at least working towards?  If not, why not?  We can't all afford to eat organic or have personal trainers whip us into shape, but one thing we all can do is think healthier about ourselves and others.

Just my 2 cents.

1 comment:

  1. I find I constantly have to keep redefining who I am and what I believe because it's the process of evolution...I'm also from the pre-Lewellyn period, although Scott Cunningham's books helped me put names to things. I think the Craft, and more importantly, YOUR OWN craft is something you evolve. Too many in our community are jumping on the train along the way and expecting to become the conductor without working for it. Everyone starts out new, there is no shame in being new, not everyone becomes the 'nth' degree or gets a title ( I personally hate titles)...and it's okay. The Universe doesn't care, the gods don't care what degree you are or even what tradition you are...they only care that you are and continue to grow and discover.