Friday, July 2, 2010

group-think, lone wolf

Funny in spiritual endeavors: On the one hand, you are encouraged -- even implored -- to find-out-for-yourself. On the other hand, the rebellious child within bristles at the idea of anyone's telling them what to do ... I can do it my-SELF!

Group-think religion vs. the lone wolf! Happy-happy-happy vs. growling within. Gnashing of teeth vs. saccharine prostrations. Certainties from every corner.

The other day, a woman asked me what the physical set-up of her home altar might be, how should it be laid out. She wasn't being cranky, just curious.
Since she was serious, I tried to be serious too. Keep it neat, I said; keep it simple, I said; keep it clean, I said; if you can afford it, make sure this space is not used for something else, I said. Maybe a picture, maybe a statue, maybe some water, maybe a candle, maybe a fresh flower, maybe an incense bowl ... whatever it was, this was a space in which to keep your promises.

My group-think was ladled out for her lone wolf.

I wonder how long it takes for practicing students to get the drift: there is no group-think and there is no lone wolf.

But there is this.


1 comment:

  1. Hi Adam,

    I tried that lone wolf approach. Started in the mid seventies and finally came to the end of it about five years ago.

    That end was my ability to generate sustaining spiritual and creative energy on "my" own.

    I found no grrrrrrrr in any of it. Worth the price of thirty plus years of trying to get it right. No right or wrong "there" at all.

    Loneliness teaches its own lessons and I learned in loneliness what matters.

    Kathleen Norris has written extensively on this aspect of the spiritual journey and has done so quite well I think. Lots of echoes, for me, in those books.

    Godd luck.