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  The Coven - A path to spiritual development

by Blue

A coven is a group of like minded people who come together in the name of The Spirit for worship and sharing of knowledge, help and support. Spiritual harmony, spiritual development, self help, perfect love and trust are the basic goals of the coven. The relationship between the members is much like that of a family - loving, trusting and close. The rules that are applicable for a harmonious family life are very much applicable here too.

Every family has two heads - the father and the mother; one who is supportive but a strict disciplinarian if necessary and one who is tender and loving. All family members treat each other with courtesy and respect. While squabbles and arguments are common, rules must be followed - no unwarranted attacks, no name calling, no physical injuries or bitching. Those who initiate and those who participate in squabbles must apologize and make up without calling in the authority figures and reunite with tenderness and love.

The family members are at different stages of development - physically, mentally, qualifications wise and spiritually. This does not make any member lesser than the other in any way. Every member is loved and accepted for what he is and all must keep in mind that they too were once young and callow. The younger ones get their knowledge and information from elders by being observant, respectful and open minded. The same should be the unwritten rules of the coven.

Rules are laid down by the elders of the family to delineate and define boundaries. While certain amount of flexibility is necessary, without rules chaos prevails. Generally the younger ones protest and baulk when rules are imposed. They don't understand that rules are enforced for their well being, protection and/or as a part of their education. At such times it is best to ask for an explanation instead of screaming and getting confused.

Everyone gets ample chances to practice many spiritual adages whilst dealing with the group:

· Speak the truth but speak sweetly. Do not use truth as a weapon to hit or hurt but speak it gently, kindly and compassionately. Truth is beauty, it is a balm to heal sore wounds and it is loving and tender. Truth is uplifting. It is never a weapon to slay anyone with.

· Overcoming self-centeredness. We rarely feel the pain of others when we are self centered and egoistic for our attention is centered towards ourselves and we do not feel compassion for others. The more we dwell on others, the more we feel their needs and pains. Each time when we grieve over the hurt caused to someone by our words or actions we learn essential lessons in life far more valuable than a college course. We receive our credits when we realize we have hurt someone and immediately change our behavior to heal the wound and not repeat it again.

· Practicing patience with cheer and goodwill towards all. The coven relationships give ample opportunity to bear patiently the unprovoked attacks, the petulance and the tantrums of others. This is done knowingly and willingly, not blindly. It is consciously keeping our eyes on the core of goodness in others and treating them with love and courtesy. It teaches us that the only way of making others more loving is by being more loving ourselves.

· Many times when we practice the rule of kindness and courtesy towards Tom, he may not even be aware of our efforts at kindness and compassion towards him. It can be quite frustrating when we tap on his shoulder and say: Tom, I have been kind to you since last two weeks! And he looks up and says: Duh!! Tom is sunk in his selfishness and does not see beyond his nose. Practicing such self restraint may not benefit the self centered Tom, but it will definitely benefit us - those who practice it. It makes our will power and good intentions stronger and helps us overcome our lower selves.

· Letting go of rigid views and expectations from others. Most of the time, when we interact with others, we expect them to speak and behave as per our inner views and expectations. We do not hear what they say but are put off when they don't match with our inner expectations. We relate with others, not for what they are but for what we think they are and then get annoyed when they insist on being themselves. Makes for an interesting A Midsummer Night's Dream.

· Judge not anyone lest one be judged, and badly too at that!! Each of us sees the truth and reality from the levels we are in and we are sometimes not able to see the other's point of view. Yet each is right in his stand for that is his reality, so passing judgments or name calling is not the solution. Understanding the circumstances of the other with compassion and love helps to give a loving smile and when the time comes, a healing hand too.

· Spiritual knowledge and experience bring about humility and modesty in self and speech and the purity of The Spirit does not reflect in arrogant and egoistic minds. The right way to approach a teacher is with respect, open-mindedness and trust. Else the learning process will be incomplete and unrewarding. This is not blind faith but the essential reliance on the teacher to help and teach.

· Living with the family in a coven also teaches the art of saying NO to an attitude which is harmful or destructive. Loving the family members is not agreeing to all their desires and needs!! But the opposing must be done tenderly without anger or condescension. And one must never react in the heat of the moment.

· Every event, every minute of interaction with others in the coven and in life is an opportunity from the Spirit for self improvement. When the Spirit taps us on the shoulder and says "pay attention and improve…" we must pay heed; else a brick will be heaved at us leading to a lump on the head.

· The creeds of spiritualism are practiced in the rooms and halls of the family home; here in personal meetings and on net and not in the caves of forests or mountains. It is not glamorous to deal with irritation, egoism and anger on daily basis but it is infinitely more rewarding to do so. We need to live in harmony with those around us right now to bring out enormous inner toughness.

· By nourishing the family, we nourish both the persons who were helped and ourselves too. We realize that we are not a selfish, separate fragment but an integral part of life.

Trifles make perfection but perfection is no trifle - Michelangelo. The coven is an extended family of fellow brothers and sisters in spirit and it takes great love and labor to nurture the relationships and develop the potentials of the self and family. Family relationships are The Spirit's way of teaching mankind about the development of finest qualities of character. When we extend this caring and development to all of the community and later on to the nation and the world, we truly walk The Path well.





Copyrighted 2002 by The Wayfinder for and on behalf of The Temple of the Way. All rights reserved.