Recently, I have been exploring my past habit of looking at the world through a black and white lens. It either is or isn't. My point of view was becoming very narrow and had no room for a gray area. Where is that "between" place or the place outside that very small labeled box that I was so eagerly trying to fit myself and my views into? I was ignoring it, not really looking at it and definitely not acknowledging that gray area even existed.
Being open to fresh perspectives means one must be open to the idea that there is a different perspective (point of view) than one's own. It is nice to use buzz words like esoteric, spiritual, authentic, or traditional. These words actually have their own meaning and did not originate from a place or purpose to give us a label to identify ourselves or to feel elevated. They actually mean something that many people don't really understand. Not that they are bad or stupid people but they simply misunderstand the actual meaning of the word.
Of course, it is often implied that general knowledge of how to make infused oils, incense, read Cards or symbols, or things that can be taught in any conventional way to pretty much everyone who is interested is not what it means when we use the word Esoteric.
1. Esoteric is a word to describe a knowledge that is not so easily understood by everyone but is complex and requires deep thought or contemplation to reach a truly connected and accurate understanding of the concept being considered. The concepts discussed in the book written by Carlos Casteneda titled Teachings of Don Juan, I would describe those concepts as esoteric. However, I would not describe Wicca or basic concepts of Witchcraft as esoteric. These are more Traditions for performing tasks.
To me, describing Wicca or Witchcraft as esoteric is similar to saying knowing how to cook is esoteric. Knowing the difference between esoteric and tradition could help alleviate a lot of angry disagreements. Understanding that tradition is a way of doing something in a familiar way that has been taught and passed down from generation to generation and the method or way of doing that task is kept the same without changes. That is when a way of doing something becomes traditional.
2. Traditional does not equal a Law of what is Right or wrong. It is just a traditional way of doing something. Honoring tradition is nice and important to keep because we all want to know where we come from as we search to discover who we are but there is more than one traditional way of doing a single task.
3. Spiritual is also another label that has become a misused buzzword. Not everyone is spiritual. Not every belief is of a spiritual nature and just because someone practices a specific tradition and has become an expert in the knowledge of something religious or of old ancient practices and rituals, does not mean they are spiritual. Going through basic training of a traditional religious path does not make one spiritual. Being proficient in the knowledge of a belief or practice does not make one spiritual.
I have met many who are Preachers, Sunday school Teachers, self-proclaimed devout whatever, High Priest or High Priestess and I can tell they can't be any more disconnected from the spirit than they are at that moment in time. Knowing about a spiritual path does not make you spiritual. Just as taking a semester in Fine Arts and learning about the history of the past great famous artists does not make you an artist. Neither does knowing the name of every painting technique and how they are executed makes you a painter. Being well versed in ancient Rome does not make you Roman.
4. Authentic has become a cool buzz word like the word artisan or gourmet is being used to sell food products that are mass produced in a machine located in some factory somewhere. We hear or even use these words ourselves. We use these words interchangeably and lightly. They have become just like the word "cool", "love" or "friend". Today these words have many meanings and are rarely used in the context of their original meanings.
It is as if we don't really understand what it means to have "secret knowledge" that is not understood by everyone. We all want to know the secret of everything but we are searching and accepting other people's understanding as the ultimate secret knowledge without truly understanding the concepts ourselves. Secret knowledge is discovered for one's self and confirmed by listening to the opinions of others but it doesn't make it the Truth or the Way.
I have been in the "Pagan" or "Witch" world for almost 20 years. Yes, I know how to do a lot of stuff and I know a lot of basic ideas of what the labels and terminology mean in Paganism much like being Catholic or Protestant or Muslim or even an Accountant. Just because you study Art doesn't make you an artist. You can know everything there is to learn about Music but knowing doesn't make you a musician. Being these things isn't what you have learned about them, it is actually being them because you DO them and learning more about them and perfecting or improving what you already are and what you already do is what makes that label belong to you.
It goes with everything we do. I aim to be as authentic as I can. Translating authentic as being as real as I can. I want to be able to address issues such as oppression, injustice, discrimination and many other issues from a place of love, a place free of judgment, with true understanding. When I can do those things, I will consider myself an Authentic Spiritual person with an esoteric view of what it means to be Authentic.
The only way to do that is to look at the whole picture and try to see what you are looking at from various points of view or perspectives. Things are only good or bad when you look at them from a place of judgment. When we take away the judgment, it is no longer good or bad, it just IS. when you look at others from a perspective of love or through eyes of love, it is easier to see things with more understanding and less frustration.
To truly understand something, we have to look at it from a place that is not skewed by our own judgment and from as many unbiased points of view as we can get and to try to see things from all sides with as much love for all sides as we have for ourselves and those we love. That is a path to understanding. Stepping out of the box (situation) and looking at it from a perspective without attachment to the situation.
when you look at others from a perspective of love rather than judgment, it is easier to see things with more understanding. To truly understand something, we have to look at it from a place that is not skewed by our own judgment and from as many unbiased points of view as we can and to try to see things from all sides with as much love for all sides as we have for ourselves and those we love. That is a path to understanding.
Considering the situation by listening and looking at the perspective of other people especially the views that are different than our own with an open mind without prejudgment through a perspective that is from a place of love, Then we can really benefit from the fresh perspective that will increase our understanding of the issue or situation. As we try to understand ourselves and figure out who we are and what labeled box we belong in, we must first step outside that box and get a fresh perspective of what that means. We need that broad view with a fresh perspective before we can decide on the answer with a greater understanding.
That is why I talk from a place of opinion. As I listen to the opinions or perspective of others, I am expanding my understanding. My opinion may change with the new knowledge found in a fresh perspective by another point of view.
In Love and Light,