Death lies heavy upon one
who, known exceedingly well by all,
dies unknown to himself.”
Seneca, Thyestes, 400
Who am I? What is important to me? What do I like? What do I need?
Why does this characterization-of-spirit happen? Heck, I don’t know. Who can say for sure? While I can’t say for sure, I’ve worked in-the-field (as it were) for some time, and have, as a result of that time spent and work completed, gained a particular perspective into the lives of pagan folx, myself definitely included. That being said, I believe that the farther a pagan person gets away from the present moment by putting their spirit and religious-self in a time that’s not now and a place that’s not here, while at the same time supporting a strong dichotomous relationship between their pagan life and their non-pagan life, the more dangerous the ground upon which they build their spiritual life becomes. Being oneself would feel like putting on a play, production, or taking on a character. It’s all an act. It’s not real. Living that way is out of touch with reality. It’s not really who we are, and this whole production is being performed… why, again? (#ego) Consequently, the same is true if one is “pretending” to be someone else in the secular world and being their “real self” in pagan spaces.
Is this a “problem” unique to paganism? Unlikely, but I don’t believe I’m qualified to speak for the entire human species with regard to how and why we behave how we do. However, I do believe I’m in a position to see “into” a large cross-section of the pagan community. It’s from that place that I can say: while perhaps not unique to paganism, it’s a “problem” we can frame through our pagan experience.
I’m left asking myself, how do we stop this whole characterization-of-spirit in the first place? How do we not engage in the process as a whole, avoiding ego’s pitfalls and worse yet, an ignorance of self? By consciously engaging in self-exploration with diligence and zeal… that’s how. By committing to oneself to not make excuses when it comes to understanding one’s own body and mind… and being REAL about it… that’s how.
That’s it. Just that.
We just have to choose to do it without bullshitting ourselves, or thinking that what matters in the right-now has anything to do with what happened in wherever-the-hell-else over two-thousand years ago.
But hey, I guess if one needs to believe that a divine being in a far off time and place caused one to do good in the world in the present moment, that’s totally cool, too. As long as there’s good getting done in the here-and-now then maybe, just maybe it’s getting done because people come to know themselves in different ways other than my own martial-informed way.
Remember, at the end of it all, our “story” is just that… a fucking story. Remember, what LOVES stories, especially ones about itself… the enemy: ego.
Know what matters. Know thyself. YOU matter.
(See y’all tomorrow)