I love to cook. There is something so connective in working with fresh ingredients from the earth, and turning them into delicious nourishment for the body and soul. The other day I was working with a recipe that I found on line by one of my favorite food blogs, The Minimalist Baker, called Eggplant Bacon. I did not have every ingredient for the recipe; however I was working my magic in order to make something still super tasty within the realm of what I was looking to accomplish. While I was prepping I began to muse about how much many of my friends loved my cooking and baking, and being truly grateful that such a wonderful chef exists, and shares her creations, so that I may cook and feed those I love. As I mused I wondered if anyone would ever call me a chef and my response would be, “I am a cook, not a chef. I can not create these recipes; but I can remake and experiment with them.”
Although it was a silly musing, it got me thinking about all the ways that we tend to identify ourselves. Many times I find people identifying themselves without proper cause; and this can often devalue the artistic genius of those whom are truly gifted and work hard at mastery. For example, Etsy has given rise to many different people looking to make a living off of a craft of some sort. Many of these people will in turn tell people that they are, artists, crafters, metal workers, wood workers, and all sorts of other labels to their profession. Although I know there are many whom truly have training and are just looking to get their start in the world, there are also others whom have no real training or investment in their chosen art form, whom many times are just mimicing others’ work for cheaper.
We should be careful about the words we choose. When we lock ourselves into labels we are taking a lot on karmatically and energetically; and if we are not truly trained, or understand what it is we are usurping, we can get in some pretty murky water. Going back to craftsmen, let us say you have decided to undertake wood working; but have no real training/experience. You decided to watch a few videos, read a few books, and maybe pick up a few techniques. You begin to recreate some projects, and charge less because your investment in this venture was so low. Besides you have another source of income. But, what do you truly know about wood? Had you taken the time to get to know and respect the energy of that element? Could you create a new technique and market it on your own, or are you left stealing the ideas of others? It is no big deal to you surly; but because you have driven the price down of that one product, the artist that has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into their education, created their technique, and truly prices their work according to their worth, is now left struggling to make ends meat. Besides what if there is a step you could not foresee because you do not truly know the process? Now you get returns because you missed something and your product is falling apart. You have now just devalued a person, and a craft.
By being unable to answer any of the above questions, we have a few karmatic entanglements. For one, not understanding or respecting the element, while proclaiming that we do through our craft, can cause the element to turn on us. Either in this life or the next we can expect that because of this truest disrespect to Mother Nature and wood energy, we will have a hard fall. By stealing from others, we are telling the universe that we are okay with that type of behavior, and in turn allow others to steal from us – in any and every way. If you can not create and market a truly unique technique or style you are devaluing your own individuality. Finally you have also incurred all the negative energy of devaluing an entire craft, as well as a person’s lively hood, possibly causing a unneeded shift, or poverty.
If we tell ourselves that we are something, that we have no business claiming, we are first and foremost lying to ourselves. Then when we begin to tell others, we are lying to them and the universe as a whole, creating and perpetuating negative energy. Further when we market this out to the communities, we do a disservice to those whom have spent thousands of dollars in training, and have true artistic skill and craftsmanship – as well as ourselves – by devaluing the process as a whole. We are telling people that what their whole passion, and possibly purpose, in this life is meaningless; because someone can just come along, figure it out, and make it cheaper, as they are not relaying on it to make a true living. We have in effect devalued ourselves and our own passions in the process.
I would like to point out here that there are different ways of mastery a skill that may not all lead back to schooling. Some people grow up in a chosen field and learn from Grandparents, parents, or have burned with a passion and creative impulse in it their whole lives. Others do go to school and learn from books and teachers. I am also not trying to dissuade anyone from following their dreams or finding interests in hobbies. Still we have to be honest with ourselves, and be able to make the distinction between if we are a cook, or a chef. For if we want these great handmade goods, spiritual teachings, or truth in life to happen; we must understand the difference and where we fall. If we truly want to be chefs, then we need to invest the proper time and energy – including financial energy – into that which we wish mastery in.
Just like those of us whom instruct in the ways and asanas of yoga are not true gurus or masters, if we market ourselves as the “truest yogi”, or “superstars” we are devaluing the practice, and ourselves, as a whole. The way that we chose to see ourselves, and present ourselves to the community and universe as a whole can have massive effects, some of which we can be blinded to. To be a Guru or Master of yoga takes many lifetimes of training, dedication, and persistence. Can we whom have been studying for maybe only a few, with a few hundred hour certification, call ourselves masters? Or are we just playing into wishful thinking? However by believing this, as well as marketing this, we are opening ourselves up to the universe’s tests of truest understandings. We are also telling people that enlightenment is as cheap as a RYT-200 hour and a few classes under our belts, with no regard to linage or true enlightenment mastery. Further we are devaluing other yogis in the process.
I truly like the Shamanic way of thinking. To many that are called Shamans, they are not the healers; but rather are the guides. They lead someone to the door of healing, and it is their “clients” duty to open that door, and walk through. To many who walk the Shamanic path, only the one seeking the healing can heal themselves – the Shaman does nothing but help guide them. If only we could all take up this mindset. We could all understand that we in fact have no bearing on those around us, but can only help guide them to the way. Maybe then we could see the true value in those whom have walked the path authentically, and recognize those whom are only looking to imamate.
Practice in Peace and Love ❤