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Thread: I want to be "spiritual sheep" again

  1. #1

    I want to be "spiritual sheep" again

    (I just couldn't come up with any other title than that. It is kind of fitting after all... Baaa.)

    I've recently started missing my weird past with a spiritual podcast constantly on my ears, reading books and you know, being a poser with spiritual identity. (I'm not going to lie, that feels awesome from time to time, if you can put up with yourself acting that way!) I miss having some guidelines to obey (as if I could ever obey them, I certainly didn't!)

    I do have some Pagan reading materials, I do spend time in the nature but it seems like I just miss... something. I had that "getting connected" thread here before but this is a bit different. Now I can get connected but it feels a bit superficial. A bit less authentic than it would be to have a spiritual authority to quote and listen to. (Which is not necessarily something I'd like to do.) I'm still, mostly unconsciously, looking at paganism through the frame of authoritarianism: is it an old belief that promotes "spiritual values" instead of hedonism and comes from an old guy with a white beard? If it is, then YES, I'LL ACCEPT THIS PATH AS MY LORD AND SAVIOUR. But quite often, it is not so. (And no, I don't want to get into team Jesus either.)

    In a rational sense, one thing I like about Paganism that the wisdom doesn't have to come from a rigid set of beliefs promoted by a priestly figure who has probably been brainwashed his entire life and still has nasty carnal inclinations (I'm not referring to anyone spefically, this things happen everywhere!) But at the same time I'm afraid of getting into the biggest ego trip every because the wisdom can come from anyone, even from myself which I still consider as something really, really blasphemous. Me as my own spiritual authority? Heck no! (To be honest, I'm not sure if I want to get rid of that thought because I do have selfish tendencies and boosting them with spirituality would lead to a disaster.)

    Tl;dr, I want someone to tell me what to do and how to behave - but I suppose it would be a bit better to grow up and make up my mind?
    baah.

  2. #2
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    Re: I want to be "spiritual sheep" again

    There will always be people that are willing to tell you what to do. I prefer positive encouragement over being told what to do, personally. I live by less of a set of rules and more by guidelines, or more of a balance in the totality of life. What I mean by this is; at work I do what I am told in as an efficient manner as I possibly can and allow my boss and seniors to 'guide me', but in my daily life I am in control of the music I write, play, and what emotion is behind what I am singing about. When I am training under my martial arts instructor I do exactly as he informs me to the very best of my ability and practice the exact way he showed me to the very best of my ability, but when I am practicing my other martial arts or fitness routines I am lenient on myself in that I allow creativity to flow to make the exercises, just as hard, but less of a boredom issue. It really depends on who you are, though.

    I never liked authority much but I finally realize that by rebelling against everything outside of myself I am useless, even to myself. On the other hand, if I only do what others tell me I am still useless because there is nothing left of me, I am just a cog in the wheel, a slave where masters rule, instead of being someone interesting around other people I find interesting. I think it's all about balance: express your emotions when you feel they need to be expressed and indulge in your pleasurable life as long as it is not damaging (such as causing relationship drama or ill health), which religions and certain lifestyles seem to try and control. Be yourself but also realize that we all share this planet together.

  3. #3
    Member Taulmaril's Avatar
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    Re: I want to be "spiritual sheep" again

    Quote Originally Posted by Näre View Post
    (I just couldn't come up with any other title than that. It is kind of fitting after all... Baaa.)

    I've recently started missing my weird past with a spiritual podcast constantly on my ears, reading books and you know, being a poser with spiritual identity. (I'm not going to lie, that feels awesome from time to time, if you can put up with yourself acting that way!) I miss having some guidelines to obey (as if I could ever obey them, I certainly didn't!)

    I do have some Pagan reading materials, I do spend time in the nature but it seems like I just miss... something. I had that "getting connected" thread here before but this is a bit different. Now I can get connected but it feels a bit superficial. A bit less authentic than it would be to have a spiritual authority to quote and listen to. (Which is not necessarily something I'd like to do.) I'm still, mostly unconsciously, looking at paganism through the frame of authoritarianism: is it an old belief that promotes "spiritual values" instead of hedonism and comes from an old guy with a white beard? If it is, then YES, I'LL ACCEPT THIS PATH AS MY LORD AND SAVIOUR. But quite often, it is not so. (And no, I don't want to get into team Jesus either.)

    In a rational sense, one thing I like about Paganism that the wisdom doesn't have to come from a rigid set of beliefs promoted by a priestly figure who has probably been brainwashed his entire life and still has nasty carnal inclinations (I'm not referring to anyone spefically, this things happen everywhere!) But at the same time I'm afraid of getting into the biggest ego trip every because the wisdom can come from anyone, even from myself which I still consider as something really, really blasphemous. Me as my own spiritual authority? Heck no! (To be honest, I'm not sure if I want to get rid of that thought because I do have selfish tendencies and boosting them with spirituality would lead to a disaster.)

    Tl;dr, I want someone to tell me what to do and how to behave - but I suppose it would be a bit better to grow up and make up my mind?
    I think when we remove the ego and understand ourselves and the why of what we do, we can actually find much wisdom in ourselves. For me that is not to say that I am all wise just that through experiences in my life I have gained much in the way of wisdom. Don't sell yourself short on what kind of wisdom you may have.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I think one of the most erroneous pretexts in western society is the subjugation of the individual self. We all are born with needs and we all are born with emotions and with that comes the ability to find and use wisdom that comes from within ourselves. That wisdom does not make us an authority. It only means that through many experiences, trials, tribulations and victories we have wisdom that we can draw on for ourselves and to share with others.

  4. #4
    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: I want to be "spiritual sheep" again

    Remove the ego and there is no self to understand, or thing to understand it with...
    Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand.

    I can't do everything, but I can do something.

  5. #5

    Re: I want to be "spiritual sheep" again

    But how is the ego removed?

    Many traditions suggest that it's done by sheepishly following someone.
    baah.

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    Re: I want to be "spiritual sheep" again

    It depends on the school of thought. If you look deeply in Buddhist and Martial Arts philosophy, ego is annihilated by adhering to strict training. If you take away the word 'Buddhist' you can annihilate your ego by concentrating on your breath during meditation letting all other thoughts arise and fall with each inhalation and exhalation and taking this practice with you throughout your day, thus negating your 'monkey minds' ability to overthink in every situation. Distress (what your ego desires and fights) stems from thinking too much about the past or future, but if you were simply at peace with the moment in breathing you avoid the mental jibber jabber and emotional ups and downs; of course this takes years of practice. It is also the ability to realize and act accordingly when you discover the power of loving kindness.

    When it comes to martial arts or fitness the only person you are listening to is your trainer and body, and all the trainer is there to do is help your body get into alignment for the technique, from there you just work your ass off and let your thoughts go as you gain strength, flexibility and mobility.

    Basically, by pushing your body to the limit you are pushing your mind to the limit which helps balance your emotions. What is called an 'ab reaction' in fitness is when you cry (literally, tears well up and you feel emotions pouring out) or scream during intense exercise is an emotional release, and when you are not attached to the emotion itself but finishing your repetitions and sets you are lessening the power of your ego for the flow into the moment passed in pain.

    The ego is multi layered as well and is usually understood as the negative aspect of self. What many mystics refer to as 'ego' is the lower nature of your false ideals of need. Wanting to strengthen your body is not ego as it is the process of pushing your physical limits towards physical perfection (warrior monks); ego is strengthening your body just because you want to be better than others. Practicing day and night at music is not ego because you are learning an ancient skill that still holds great beauty and power in the modern world; ego is practicing day and night because you want to play for a sold out crowd and anything less is a waste of your time or just a stepping stone to achieve your ideals, not really caring about the journey just the destination. Ego is not the acquisition of power, but using power to demean, harm, and destroy others. Of course, these are my ideas of ego over living a full life where need and desire should be balanced and not one shunned over the other.

    With a the rant aside, if you follow others explicitly and deny yourself its originality you are only destroying yourself by feeding another ego whether it be an individual or group. From my limited understanding, you can only rid yourself of your ego when you stop caring what your ego is controlling and not controlling and just living your life.

  7. #7
    Member Taulmaril's Avatar
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    Re: I want to be "spiritual sheep" again

    "With a the rant aside, if you follow others explicitly and deny yourself its originality you are only destroying yourself by feeding another ego whether it be an individual or group. From my limited understanding, you can only rid yourself of your ego when you stop caring what your ego is controlling and not controlling and just living your life.[/QUOTE]

    That sounds about right. I also think that getting rid of ego is also accepting our limitations. That's not to say we focus on those but just accept them. We must focus on our strengths in order to build ourselves up. Remember that no matter what we have wisdom to share with others and when we do the right things for the right purposes we at the very least limit our ego. As far as wisdom goes, knowledge can be learned but wisdom must be lived. "wisdom is the process of living unfolding. It often waits for us where we least expect it." I got this out of one of my spiritual readings called "Native Wisdom for White Minds." Great book.

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    Re: I want to be "spiritual sheep" again

    The Native American path is one path that I feel strongly towards, even if my understanding is limited, and it is the lessons of spirit animals appearing in my dreams or heart that let me know I am on the right path. If my ego was to have any part in the lessons I don't think their medicine would work as well for me, but letting my idea of what is right go I am able to better accept the teachings of the spirit world. I think allowing yourself to be open to 'higher frequencies' of nature is very powerful process of understanding limitations - I may not be able to jump ten times my bodies length, but I am able to take Frog medicine with me as I face challenges through my changes. Basically, get out of your own way.

  9. #9
    Member Taulmaril's Avatar
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    Re: I want to be "spiritual sheep" again

    There is a difference between ego, self esteem and self worth. Ego can be good to a degree but in the end we humans tend to not know how to use it properly. When we elevate our self esteem we gain a sense of self worth that is not inflated by the erroneous ego.

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    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: I want to be "spiritual sheep" again

    Ego can be over inflated.

    Ego can be under inflated.

    Both are equally flawed.

    Ego needs to be just right, like Goldilock's porridge.
    Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand.

    I can't do everything, but I can do something.

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