(This is a continuing discussion line by line of the full Wiccan Rede. See the first post in February for the full rede and beginning of the discussion.)
Live ye well and let to live; fairly take and fairly give.
Many websites, commercials, and books are dedicated to the art of living well. Our consumer driven society is obsessed with it. What does it really mean? From a material point of view to live well, might be to live comfortably from a financial standpoint, have a few things that make you happy. Have a few people with whom you are close to and exist in a somewhat enjoyable manner.
Lets look at this from a different perspective. Living well, can also be a standard to which to hold yourself. We as wiccans and pagans, actively work to create a better life for ourselves, better communities and a better world. In doing so, we take on the role of the steward, the caretaker. As stewards we have a responsibility to our charge, namely the earth, our communities, families and selves. Thats a heavy burden! We are taught that one person CAN make a difference. It is true. As a single individual, there is a finite amount of work we can complete. We have a short life (this incarnation) and can physically only effect so much. How much can we effect as a spiritual being. By living well, holding ourselves to our highest standards, and living according to them. We do not even need, to shout our ideals from the highest mountains, it would fall on many a deaf ear. Instead we need to simply live our highest ideals, and let them radiate from our beings. In doing so we become illuminators, and much like our butterfly effect, both our illumination and our physical work, will leave a far more profound effect on ourselves, families, communities and world, then we could have otherwise.
Let to Live
As easy of a concept as this would appear to be, most people have a difficult time simply letting others live! How often has the well mean local religious proselytizer ended up on your door step touting the salvation of their paths? Perhaps the well meaning co-worker who is a bit to nosy on your personal life? The friend who feels that they can best advise you on a course of action with your personal life. How often have you done these same things? Ahhhhh the mirror is not as comfortable is it?
We each have our own paths to trod in this life, our own lessons, our own successes and failures. This is part of our acknowledged lessons before our incarnation, and it is the playing out of our respective karma's. While each person comes into your life for a reason, and you into theirs. you are each part of the others lessons. There does come a point, though, when your will, to help, assist, teach, overrides the person with whom you are interacting. At this point, the lesson becomes lost to them, and you instead interject yourself into their lesson, and possibly into a karmic cycle similar to theirs. Wisdom is to know when to share yours, and when to step back and let them walk on their own.
What of more serious lessons, such as drug abuse or alcoholism, as an example? We have all seen the shows like intervention, and the profound effect someone can have stepping in. Sadly, I will say as someone who has worked with those suffering from addiction. Your intervention, may free the person for a time, the addiction never goes away. From my experience , addictions are incurable. We can, however find ways to live with them. they will continue to be a battle fought for the rest of our lives. That is a lesson I think everyone should understand.
The take away lesson here, is that we all teach, effect and influence each other. The wisdom of the rede is to understand that we have to let each person experience and work through those lessons to fulfill their growth potential.
Fairly Take and Fairly Give
Ah yes, we can all be greedy little bastards can't we? Everyone loves to receive things. We do love to give as well, there is a satisfaction, a joy and yes we get something in return when we give. What the rede is talking about here, is setting up flow.
Think for a moment about a river, lets say the Nile. The Nile would flood each year, bringing in silt-laden waters; when the waters receded the silt would stay behind, fertilizing the land,the silt would be helpful for growing crops. If a flood was too large it would wash over mud dykes protecting a village. A small flood or no flood at all would mean famine. A flood must be of just the right intensity for a good season. You can see flow on several levels here. The flow of nutrient rich silt, which is important for the growth of the crops. The growth of the crops and the ability to feed the people directly corresponds to the growth of the population, and thus to the civilization. the ebb and flow of the Nile corresponds to the ebb and flow of the people who draw sustenance from her shores.
Now what would happen, if we put a dam in that river? We horded our resource. there are points of the river bed which would revert to the desert, It would dry out, farmlands would die out, and the people would dwindle or migrate, as would the wildlife. The areas of water held by the dam, would flood and override the shore, covering valuable farmland, and creating new farmlands and marshes. The dam, or hording would stop or hinder the flow of the river.
Now apply this to your life. You take fairly, never more than you need. that which you need to live comfortably and exist in this world of ours. Then you let it flow from you. Money is usually the best example, since we are a consumer driven society. However, the same may be said of our skills, time, energy, and power. Power ??
That's an interesting thought. Back to flow, when it is coming in, it moves through you unhindered and out to those who are in need, The flow out making room for more to flow in. So we really like our time, money, energy, power ....... we want to keep it! Now we decide to horde it! My precious! Because we have halted the flow out, the flow into our lives will dwindle. As it dwindles, so does the opportunity for lessons, growth and development. Until we stagnate, and die. Ouch! Doesn't sound like silly advice does it?
(Next Blog : Speak ye little!)