First Published on “The Juggler”
Wow have I been remiss
I made a promise to myself when I was invited to be here that I do at least one post a week, seems I’m falling down on that.
So, here goes. I’m posting on several things I note in the various forums I visit and in those places that I post to regularly.
Compassion: There seems to be a trend in online communities to give until it hurts. Giving time, giving energy, giving money all combine to make the communities compassionate and that’s a good thing to see. However, I want to interject a word of caution here: You MUST be careful. Not only are there many scam artists out there who would readily take your money just as fast as legitimate orginizations, but you have to watch out for the “hurts” syndrome.
“Give until it hurts” is a phrase that is bandied about, but when does it hurt? When you spend your DVD money on Rita victims? When you have to get Bubba down the street to babysit because you spent the daycare budget? When you miss two meals on every day, or when you can’t pay your Cable bill?
The point of this is that you MUST look after yourself FIRST, and only then can you look after others. I’m in a situation that I don’t like that was brought on by my own stupidity, and I see those who can least afford it donating money to me to help. It’s touching and flattering, but I would rather they took care of themselves than try to help me out. I assure you that my LAST thoughts are of their plight, it’s on my own plight and how to get through it.
Maturity: I’m heartened to see that many things are looking up in this area. More and more people are understanding that just because you disagree that doesn’t mean that the end of the world has happened. They are realizing that you can disagree, violently in some cases, and still be friends.
On the flip side, it’s taken several years for the online community to mature to this point, and with the influxes of new users from various places, it doesn’t look like it. But understanding that the newbies are only new because they don’t know, and that it is our job to educate them when they ask, it’s good to see that more and more people are stressing losing the trappings of spirituality for the real thing. I am proud to note that many pagans with under a year of experience are more inclined to patience and really striving than just spouting the various catch phrases.
I truly think that this signals a turn in the community’s collective life.
BUT THIS DOES NOT MEAN WE CAN SLACK OFF. This shouldn’t be said, but it needs to. There are some who will read this and go “whew, okay, I can stop trying now.” Not so. Maturity is like being positive, it takes constant effort to be mature, and only after a LOT of time can one relax for then it’s almost habbit. So keep trying and striving.
Community and personal development: I have seen three different debates on this topic, and it’s compelling. The basis of the argument is that one cannot give 110% to the community and community growth without sacraficing something, and most often that is their own personal spiritual development. On the flip side of the coin, if you do and be and live a hermit’s existance of meditation and study and walking in the Spirit World, you don’t have time for community and all those playettes going on.
My thoughts are confused on this issue to be honest. I see both sides of the argument and understand both positions, the path of the world and the path of the heart. The problem is that the balanace is necessary and it’s a fine line to tread. So, I would like all readers of this to make a choice, if you could only have one, which would it be? You don’t have to tell me what it is, you simply have to know so you can work that way.
Personally, I feel that inner spiritual work is more important. The community is nice and it’s wonderful to talk to others of the same mindsets, but I feel that a LOOSE community is better than one that is regulated and hemmed with rules and charters and so on. The bad thing is that it’s been tried and the community melts down because of immaturity in memebers. So I would rather spend my time and effort improving myself than trying to get everyone to play nice.
So this points out the dichotomy between the CLERGY, those who are the spiritual wise people of the community, and the MINISTERS, who are the orginizers and cat-hearders of our community. Both have very important roles to play, and both should be supported by the members who are benefiting from their work. And they should support each other as well.
The way of the Mystic is not easy. The way of the leader is even harder. Both are necessary in any group or the group has missed something important.
So right now that’s it. Take care everyone.