Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Mundane Life Mirrors the Spiritual: What is Yours Saying?

As a neophyte, I was taught that ones mundane life had to be in order for one to get his or her spiritual life in order.  That is a concept that, instinctually, I understood, but I had issues grasping the concept in a real world setting.  Until now, that is.  It occurred to me that I haven't had very good examples of that, but that I also haven't been a very good example of that, either.

There is this thought within the pagan community that leaders must near impoverished.  Why?  Why is that, exactly?  Can pagan leaders not have a nice place to live, a decent vehicle, and be able to pay their bills without asking for hand-outs?  Is there some unwritten rule that, as leaders and clergy within the pagan community, we must turn our back on materialism in all forms and struggle to make sure that our most basic of needs are met?  Is there some unwritten rule that we must take into our homes any and all who are in need and ask for nothing monetary in return?  Why?  Why do we do this?  Is it our duty to overextend ourselves to the point of breaking?

On more than one occasion, I have seen leaders in the community do this.  I have seen them take in mouths that they couldn't feed.  I have seen them quit jobs, on a whim, that were needed.  I have seen them get in a bind and have to ask the community to help.  I have been one of the ones helping, even when I didn't, necessarily, have it to give.

Another notion I whole-heartedly reject is that paying dues to ones church or group is akin to tithing.  I wonder, often, if this is an excuse by the members of the group.  Do the members of the group see their spiritual leaders living an unconventional lifestyle and not want to help out because, due to their own concepts (and if said leader is able), they believe many of the money issues would go away if the leader simply got a regular job?  Alternately, maybe the members see the communal living situation and believe that one or more of the able bodied people living there could find work.

I have been there, living with some of my spiritual family, with no income and wondering just how in the fuck I was going to contribute.  Very quickly, I found a job and, very quickly, I worked out with them just how I was going to contribute, not just monetarily, but with sweat equity.

So, if our mundane lives mirror our spiritual lives, what does it say about those who give to the point of poverty?  What does it say about those who take to the point that their leaders are impoverished?  What does it say about those who prefer to take hand-outs to doing the work themselves, physically (if they are able)?  What does it say about those who refuse to do the 'Christian' thing to help out their leaders?  What does it say about the few who see the need in their church and seek to fulfill it, not out of some selfish need to be recognized, but because there is a need to be filled.

When we, as pagans, stop seeing this effort over another with our leaders and start seeing the needs that need to be fulfilled, we come together better as groups.  We grow as people and as groups.  My own thinking, as a student, was that if I had the money to buy myself 5 candles, then I could give 3 of them to my own group.  If I could afford to buy 4 boxes of incense, then I could give 2 of them to my group.  If I could spend $20 on food for myself, then I could spend a little more and make sure that my high priest and priestess had what they needed, even if I was just buying sweets that they normally wouldn't buy themselves.

I did these things, not because I had to.  I did these things because they were needed and I had the means.  Unfortunately, I do not have the means to give like I used to, at least not in a monetary way, and back then, I resented some of the people in my church because they didn't see things the way I did.  However, I have come to learn that most people don't see the world in the way I do.  They don't look at the world in terms of 'what can I give'.  That isn't something I can change in them.  I can only do my part and be a good example of giving when and where I can.

If the mundane and spiritual mirror each other, maybe we should all stop and examine our lives for a moment.  What parts of our mundane life cause us discontent?  Why is that?  What is the spiritual equivalent? The wheel is turning to Samhain and the light is turning inward.  As we come to the final reaping of this year, the time is approaching to look inside ourselves and decide what we will manifest in the coming year.  Think about, not yourself, but your teachers, Elders, and friends.  Think about how you can manifest the things in your life that can benefit others.  Think about how you can set an example.  Think about how your mundane life mirrors your spiritual life and how you can grow and improve it.

Brightest blessings, friends!

1 comment:

  1. People call themselves Christians, yet they don't take care of members of their own congregation, or even their pastor. I have always been a giving and caring person. Taking in people who needed shelter and food for a while. Feeling the need to give someone some of my groceries, only to find out that their cupboards were bare. Stuffing a $20 bill in someone's pocket, and finding out they had no gas money. To me these things come naturally. But I have had friends and members of my congregation ask, "How can you do that? Take in people you don't even know." Then a friend told me one time, "You have the gift of hospitality, something that is rare, and few people have."