Monday, June 25, 2012

Respect within the Community

As of late the subject of respect within the pagan community has been a dominant subject in my life.  I have been in the community just shy of two years myself and I have never been accused of being disrespectful.  I have also not been instructed on etiquette.  I've not been instructed on how ones elders are supposed to be treated.  So, I have to wonder just exactly how there can be so much disrespect within this community because I know that many of the people who have been here longer than I have been properly trained and know how to treat their elders.

I've been told by many people within the community that I have been Craft-raised 'right', but the reality of it is, I was simply raised right.  My mother is one of the few true southern ladies left in this world.  She is kind, respectful, and dignified no matter the situation and no matter how she might feel about someone personally.  It is a rarity that she loses her cool, but when she does, it's like an atomic explosion that sends everyone running for cover.  I was taught to treat everyone equally and respectfully until their actions no longer deserved it and then, simply walk away.  There was no reason for fanfare, fighting, indignation, or slander.  This lesson has been driven home to me within my Craft family and, once the energy was expended, there truly was no reason for anger and hatred.  All I could do (and still do) is love and respect that person for the individual she is.  Walk away and keep loving is all we can do.

I bring that teaching into the Craft, but take it to another level.  I am on a path of service, therefore, I treat everyone as though they have been here longer than I and I treat them as though they are of an equal or higher degree than I am.  This means if I have food, drink, or anything that can be shared, I will offer to share it.  If I am standing in line, I will happily let another go in front of me, or at least offer it for them to make the choice (unless they are Anita, one of my High Priestesses, and then I drag her into the line ahead of me because I hope to be half as hard-headed as she is when I am a Crone and I hope my students do the same to me when I get there).  The community and the health of it is much more important to me than any one individual, including myself.

I have friends (whom I love dearly) who are students within the Craft.  I would never deign to see them as 'below' me, even though they are not as far along as I am in their training.  I see their struggles and their triumphs, and I cheer them on because I know how hard they are working and how hard they have worked and, in my mind, that deserves almost as much respect as I give my elders.  Their dedication is something to respect and on this path, no one is 'just a student' at any level of their training.  So, even with those whom are not as far along, I show respect by doing tasks with them as opposed to asking them to do tasks for me.

I find working together and showing mutual respect as a way to build our community.  It doesn't mean that we all always have to get along.  It doesn't mean that we all have to see eye-to-eye on every situation.  Respect does, however, mean to me that we all must put away our egos and at least attempt to meet in the middle.  It means stowing away our egos and allowing our Higher Self to examine the hurts that have been caused to us, so we can see the lessons in those hurts and just why we were offended, and moving past them, instead of trying to 'get revenge' and passing those hurts along.  Extending respect to everyone in such a way nourishes us individually and as a community so that we may grow and learn together no matter what path we may be on and no matter our how far upon our path we may be.

I believe it was the Buddha who said, "You will not be punished for your anger.  You will be punished by your anger."  Wiser words were never spoken and we should each and every one take heed.

Brightest Blessings my friends

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