When I was younger I recall a teacher warning us that if you try to put yourself out to be something that you are not, you will eventually get caught out. The statement may have been made in relation to cheating on school exams or maybe even the age-old advice as we left the protected life of school and entered the dreaded work force. Regardless of circumstance, there are only a certain about of time that you can "wing it" before you come across people whose eyes you simply cannot pull the wool over.
Some people simply do not realize that what gives their inner truth away can be an erroneous comment which, on the surface, may appear logical and appropriate to the lay person, however to those who are of a deeper learning/experience, it does not seem exactly appropriate from one of a certain standing or background. Thus, the (carefully guarded) mistruth is picked up on.
I am sure that we all have on occasions fudged the edges, bent the rules just a tad to make our own egos shine that little more brightly that what they really are. However, if we are going to start weaving a web of half truths and misrepresentations, we should start at the actual beginning – not half way through, allowing such half truths be exposed to those who know where to look. For example, telling one person you are trained here however stating elsewhere that you are trained somewhere else only leaves you (not to mention your integrity and reputation) open to questions.
It is like we are under the expectation that we all NEED to have a certain level of experience or qualifications before we are deemed "important" and our opinions worthy to express. We feel we need to have years of in-depth knowledge that can only be accessed from secret schools, handshakes, imaginary grandparents, walked passed a person who knew someone who once had a book that passed through the school that someone remotely important went to back in the dark ages. Sounds ridiculous? But why do we do it?
With so much information available these days, it is impossible for anyone to know "everything" – why do we feel ashamed to admit that we are a beginner, have failings, have made mistakes in the past, not trained this way or that, aren’t as attuned to things as the next person.
One of the first things I tell any new student is that despite my 15 plus years of the Craft, I do not know everything and what I do know probably accounts to very little in the whole scheme of things.
Why do we, who are supposed to be following a spiritual path, do it? One of the key goals of most spiritual paths that I am aware of is for the practitioner to rise above their own ego – that is, after all what the concept of enlightenment is about.
Why do we then play up to not only our own fragile egos, but also to those of others?
I found it amusing a while back when I was advised after a "falling out" with a certain person that it would be best for me if I "sucked up" to their ego for they were, after all, in a position of "authority".
Playing mind games, especially simply to appease another’s delusional self-appointed status is not part of my make-up. If such a person desires my respect and recognition of the position or status they believe they hold, should hold, are entitled to etc, then let them prove themselves worthy of holding such a position – and doing it honorably and with just cause … not by abusing the responsibilities and/or power simply when they interpret something as a personal slant. A task I realize can often be difficult to do and one which I doubt I would succeed in. but then again, I am not the one appointing myself to such loftiness, especially if I have any doubts on the stability of my pedestal!
Another piece of advice that was bestowed upon me, that being I should adapt the tactics of another who seemed to be (and I quote) "very good at manipulating" various people and situations. Each to their own I guess but I have a little more self-dignity than that.
If people expect me to "worship" them as Gods incarnate then they need to prove to me that they are indeed worthy of such "worship" ... for I am not a mere sheep that will follow the flock whether they are led. I am more than prepared to acknowledge and give credit to where I believe it is due - but only if I deem it appropriate, NOT to simply be "popular" and part of the self-appointed "in" crowd. If this means cutting of my nose despite my face, well, I am more than happy to take responsibility for my own actions - that's what us alleged magickal/spiritual people do ... right?
To those who get off playing mind games, who endeavor to weave their webs of illusion – I wish you all the best, especially if you are endeavoring to "woo" those you perceive to be important without realizing that you are in fact caught up in their own mirrors of delusion.
At the end of the day, you know the truth and you have to answer to that.
At the end of the day, the Gods know the truth, even if you end up deluding yourself.
As far as I am concerned, in order to gain the respect of others, you first need to be true to yourself and gain your own self-respect.
(Originally posted on Witches Voice 15 February 2009 - http://www.witchvox.com/va/dt_va.html?a=ausa&c=words&id=13047)