Knowledge, Wisdom, and Gnosis — TPE March Week 1

Staring at this topic, I think: how am I going to write this? What am I going to write about? I think: I’ll go to the dictionaries, get some working definitions, and talk about how those definitions inform my path. I’m thick in some more academic focused books right now (Osun Across the Waters, edited by Joseph M Murphy and Mei-Mei Sanford,  and The Myths of Narasimha and Vamana by Deborah A. Soifer) and this certainly influences my approach to my writing. I want this to be well thought out and reasoned. I want it to be articulate, and I want to back my points up as I go. I want  —

But, no. Wasn’t I just staying to a friend yesterday how much I value anecdotal writing over the more dry, more structured scholarly writing? I enjoy both, but when I want to connect with something, when I want to bring in deep into my heart, rather than letting it live just in my intellect, I prefer the former over the latter. When I saw this topic in the prompts, I had an immediate thought about what I’d write about. Why am I then going to bury it for a form that I only want to want to write?

The touchstones of my path, the pillars that hold the roof over my head, the cornerstones that shore up my foundation? Awareness, mindfulness, and compassion.

Knowledge is a different way of saying awareness. It’s a gathering of information, a building of intelligence. I’ve paid attention to expanding my awareness, not so much in a metaphysical sense as a here and present sense. My path isn’t geared toward attaining a detachment from the living world, as much as I talk about detached compassion. Awareness was the first mantra Poseidon gave me, the first assignment, the first task, and it’s one that He’ll never retract. I gain awareness by reading and studying. I gain awareness by putting myself in other people’s shoes, by considering their back stories. This person jostling past me on the bus so hard that I stagger and hurt my sprained knee — I could get mad, and maybe I do anyway, but I try to hold within me also the awareness that there may be things going on in their lives that caused them to not be in the moment, to not see me or not have empathy for me. This customer that wants to stand and yell at me for the way corporate retail works — I could roll my eyes and give back as good as I get; I could conjure up my passive aggressive words, smile sweetly, and make them feel like assholes, and maybe sometimes I do, but I try to hold within me the awareness.

It goes beyond me and my immediate space. Social justice has been on my mind a lot since November, in a more constant, more present way than it’s ever been. I’m marveling at that, because historically I’ve retreated into a bubble of ignorance for months on end, have come out of said bubble to look at the state of the world around, have been numbed by all the suffering, only to retreat again. Lately, that hasn’t been the case. Lately — between educating myself by reading, studying, and listening — I’ve been holding an awareness of various issues in my mind at all times. It’s heart-breaking, and it’s overwhelming, and I feel utterly helpless . . . but I’m holding onto the knowledge, onto the awareness, because Poseidon says to.

Wisdom? Wisdom is knowledge applied, right? Wisdom in the combination of experience and knowledge and thought. To me, this goes nicely with Mindfulness. I realize that Awareness and Mindfulness can be seen as different words for the same thing, but in Their pushing for both Awareness (Poseidon) and Mindfulness (Odin) created a distinction between the two, a fine nuance. Mindfulness is more than just awareness. It’s awareness carried forth into how I interact with the world. It’s the more active version of this state of being. Awareness is knowing something. Mindfulness is holding that awareness when speaking, or acting, or thinking, or making decisions. It informs how I treat people, and it informs the standards that I hold myself to, even though I often fail to meet those standards.

It’s why I strive to not take things personally when people treat me like crap at my day job. It’s what drives me to think things like, they obviously need an outlet and I’m providing them with that. It’s why, when people are talking about injustices they’ve had to deal with and I have the urge to say, “but, *I’m* not like that!” I keep my mouth shut. It’s why, when people are talking about white privilege, I strive to listen and learn and not wade into the conversation as if what I have to say matters more — soothing the feelings of discomfort to make myself feel better about the world does not matter more than the fact that other people’s right to the pursuit of happiness pretty much does not exist.

What about gnosis? “In Christian, Islamic, or Jewish mysticism, mystery religions and Gnosticism gnosis generally signifies a spiritual knowledge or “religion of knowledge”, in the sense of mystical enlightenment or “insight”‘ 

Simple put: gnosis defines my life, certainly my spiritual life, and my spiritual life is the lens through which I view the rest of my life. Gnosis is how I interpret my relationship with my gods and spirits. It’s the delivery system for the lessons They teach me, the guidance They offer me, and the tasks I see to for Them. Yes, I look to the past, past cultures, past relationships, previous ways of approaching Them . . . but my relationship with Poseidon is not based in any of those things. My relationship with Odin is not determined by how relationships with Him came about, according to ‘the Lore’. My relationship with my spirit beings are not based on anything other than our interactions — the same way I strive to let my own interactions with human people inform my opinion of them and the relationship we may or may not have. In short: how Poseidon is with me, how Pops is with me, is what the relationship is based on. How Their input in my life influences my life and trust determines how w/We go forward. My lens is what matters most, not the lenses of other people in other times or places. They can be interesting to know about, and they can be valuable, but they cannot be what my relationships are based on. Personal gnosis. My life with my gods and spirits is my own walk in Their Mysteries. There is no substitute for that. There is only my immersion.

 

http://thepaganexperience.com

 

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