Dealing with the Grey

My new friend, Tchipakkan, just published an amazing post on her blog entitled, “Why is anyone still surprised that human beings are fallible?” It reminds me of several topics that I’ve thought about over the past few years. One of them is dealing with the “grey areas” or our humanity.

Even though I see myself as having pretty good instincts and some psychic ability, there have been numerous times when someone whom I thought I knew well would do something totally out of left field and I’d think, “Why didn’t I see that coming?”

When I was younger, I thought, in these instances, that I had been “wrong” about a person or had used poor judgment or that I was a failure as a psychic. That’s because I wanted to see people as being one way or the other, as good or evil, right or wrong, victim or aggressor.

Life would be really simple if we could place all people, places and events into piles labeled good, bad and undecided. But, NO ONE is all good or all bad and life, in terms of human relationships, is rarely simple.

One of my favorite sayings is that there’s no such thing as a one-sided coin. In the moments of being thrown off by a person’s negative actions, it’s good to take a deep breath and remember the good things about them. The good and the positive aspects of that person aren’t suddenly less real or rendered invalid because we finally got a glimpse of the other side of the coin. The good in them is really genuine and so is the bad.

Whether one is psychic or not, we have to allow people their humanity and acknowledge the grey areas. When we do this, we are less apt to be “shocked” by the actions of others or to have unrealistic expectations of someone because of their “goodness.” For all you psychics out there, you weren’t “wrong” about John or Jane, you were simply picking up on their positive attributes which aren’t suddenly meaningless or unimportant now that everyone knows that John or Jane is a human being.

Whether or not an individual is a good person who sometimes does bad things or is a bad person who sometimes does good things is a matter of opinion. Truth can be a matter of perception. I can’t tell you how many times someone in the Pagan community has “warned” me about someone else who is supposedly evil or unethical.

I took these things to heart when I was younger but I don’t anymore. Having been the victim of people’s perceptions and assumptions and the gossip generated by these, I am now cautious about causing the same harm to someone else.

As Tchipakkan said, someone’s religion doesn’t guarantee right action or make them immune to dark desires. In the end, we’re all on our own path, accountable for our own actions. A religious or spiritual community can give support but in the end, whether someone walks their talk or not depends on them.

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Developing Psychic Talent is NOT Necessarily “Spiritual”

This is the first in a series of random posts about mistakes I’ve made over the years with regard to my spiritual path.

When I was young, I walked away from the church and immediately began running here, there and everywhere to obtain information on how to develop my psychic ability. This was before the New Age so I did not have the New Age shops and bookstores as a resource. I was also interested in a variety of topics from unexplained phenomena and hauntings, to world cultures, etc.

As we moved into the 1980’s, more resources became available. I have a lot of time and money invested in psychic development workshops, books, lectures, etc. If you had asked me, at the time, why I was doing all of this I would have told you that it was my “spiritual path” and that I was trying to develop my gifts and increase my knowledge so that I could “help people.”

The issue is, when I was in these learning modes, there really wasn’t much spirituality in it at all. I wasn’t actively praying or humbling myself to any higher power at all. I was on a path of self-improvement, strengthening my talents and gaining knowledge. The Divine did not have a lot to do with it but I would have been offended if someone pointed this out to me back then.

In my previous post, I stated that my spiritual mentors were able to distinguish between intellectual knowledge and spiritual knowing. I was well along in my path before I made that distinction and I am sharing this in hopes that one day it may benefit someone else.

I love books! I’ve been a voracious reader and an almost compulsive collector of books since I first learned how to read. But they can only take you so far.

Back in the early 1990’s there was a young girl in our community who developed Leukemia. Some of the neighbors got involved with the Leukemia Society’s Team in Training program in which you train to run in a marathon to raise money for Leukemia research–each runner participates in honor of someone who has the disease.

I decided to sign up! It was just after the new year and I had nine months to prepare for the Marine Corp Marathon in Washington, DC that fall. I was in terrible shape and I had never been a runner.

Of course, being the queen of reading, I ran out and bought half a dozen books about training to run, training for marathons, fitness and nutrition programs for runners, etc.

I’m not kidding when I say that I would sit on my couch with a bag of Doritos and a can of Pepsi READING about becoming a runner! I did this for a couple of weeks before I finally had to face the reality of putting on a pair of WALKING shoes and taking a walk around the neighborhood as that’s all I was capable of when I started.

As the weeks went by, I walked farther and faster until the day came when I bought my first pair of running shoes. Then I started adding short bits of jogging to my walks until I was completely jogging.

By that fall, I was running about 50 miles a week and was in the best shape of my life. The point of this story, of course, is that reading about runners never could have made me a runner. Only walking until I could run accomplished that.

Reading about running made me knowledgable about running. Walking until I could run made me a runner. This applies to spiritual disciplines as well. Reading about ceremonies cannot take the place of actually participating in them.

Just a simple walk alone in the woods can bring one to profound encounters with Spirit. I still enjoy books but I’ve definitely become someone who prefers to learn by direct experience.

Thanks for reading! Spend some quiet time with the Divine today!