Saturday, July 28, 2012

Just something to remember...

Every single one of us is always a teacher and a student. Every single one of us brings some unique bit of knowledge or perspective - and every single one of us can always learn more. It's true of people who've been practicing for fifty years, and it's true of people who've been practicing for five days.

Every time you sit down in conversation or debate with another person, remember that. They can teach you something. Every time you begin to doubt your own self-worth, remember the same is true of yourself, as well. I bring this up because I've seen an increase in some troubling trends lately...

The first is a habit that people who've been practicing can fall into after so many years. They've been at it so long, they think they know everything. They look down on those just starting out, or at least, don't really listen to them - they think 'oh, I know all this beginner crap' and may miss out on a perspective they've never heard before. This is a pretty fatal blow to their spiritual path. They've stopped walking, stopped going forward, and are just stagnating.

On the other end there are two similar groups. First is the beginner who feels they're useless because they 'don't know everything.' I've literally seen them wishing they could just wake up one morning and know everything. Here's the truth... No one knows everything, and those that are knowledgeable were once beginners as well, and certainly had to work hard for their knowledge. Every beginner must actually put in the work to learn and grow. Meanwhile, though, these beginners are the people bringing in fresh life, and brand new perspective to paganism. They're far from worthless.

The second is the beginner who wants to paint themselves as an adept. If you've been practicing for a year or two, guess what? You are very likely not an expert - and that's okay. Really, it is. As I said, a beginner can bring much to the table without having to pretend to be more advanced than they are. It's okay to be new. Everyone was at some point. This type of person puts themselves into perhaps the worst situation... they know little, but since they think they're experts, they shut down to actual new knowledge. They've fallen into the 'I know everything' trap before they've even started.

So don't just pay lip-service to this idea of always being both student and teacher, regardless of where you are on your path. Really know it, and really live it. Not just with listening to other pagans, but when it comes to interacting with anyone, because this is not just a pagan thing. Learn when you can, from whoever (or whatever) you can, and let others learn from you when they can.

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