For as long as I remember, which is an increasingly shorter time period as the years roll by, I have searched for a connection to my purpose. Like many, I looked for this connection in religion. I started, also like many Americans, with Christianity. I studied the Bible, I prayed and meditated, and I never felt the connection; the calling. Then I came across the Nine Noble Virtues (9NV). When I discovered that they were connected to a pantheon, even if only loosely, I began exploring this pantheon. The lore was appealing; I felt called by it. The catch was that most of what I found in the beginning ranged from covertly to blatantly racist.
I questioned how I could feel called to a group of deities that existed on a racist creed? I am married to a Japanese woman and we have three children. I was reading about furthering the white race and keeping the bloodlines pure. All while seeing the core, the gods and goddesses and the honoring of the ancestors, the premise of the belief system as belonging to me. I fit here if not for the racism. So, I searched and researched. I found The Troth, a group of Heathens united in the lore and deities yet staunchly inclusive – meaning they didn’t believe nor accept the racism as being an intrinsic part of the package. I joined this organization and soon learned that they go back to the beginning of the reconstruction of the ancient ways.
I began to see that I am not a reconstruction type. I believe the gods and goddesses want us to bring them into the modern world, not constrain our efforts to recreating what once was. I have experienced many personal gnosis that support my belief. This is a great thing about a polytheistic spiritual walk with gods that desire personal relationships, in fact who want to be known as kin folk to us, they expect us to find our own path.
Until I found this path, I have separated, in my thoughts, the pursuit of spiritual connectiveness and personal development. I have been reading books in the personal development for a decade or so. I have lacked consistent application of the principles and ideas I read about. Most of the authors tie their success to their God and celebrate the relationship in their writings. I always felt that was missing in my studies of their works. Since I have made the connection between the two I feel more inspired and seem to be more consistent in my application. At this point I am centering my studies around two sources. Dr. Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and the 9NV.
The Nine Noble Virtues:
- Courage – doing the right thing despite any fear
- Discipline – self-discipline, forming good habits
- Honor – personal ethics
- Truth – sincerity, both to self and to others
- Fidelity – loyalty
- Hospitality – the relationship between host and guest
- Self-reliance – the ability and practice of being independent
- Industriousness – work ethic, finishing what you start
- Perseverance – never giving up
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:
- Be Proactive – respond not react
- Begin with the End in Mind – know where you want to go
- First Things First – know your priorities
- Think Win-Win
- Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
- Sharpen the Saw – its cyclic – keep refreshing and studying
Looking at these two lists there is some correlation that can be easily seen and with some study, and the right perspective, the correlation can be expanded so that each Habit encompasses a number of the 9NV. Habit #1 – Be Proactive, for example, utilizes Honor, Discipline, Perseverance, and Truth. Dr. Covey describes the first Habit as being proactive. He talks about acting within your circle of influence and choosing to respond to circumstances instead of reacting to them. When we react, we chose to be a victim of the circumstance. Discipline is required to make that choice. Truth (to self) and Honor guides us to knowing when are making a proactive choice and being honest when we don’t. Perseverance is the virtue that shows us how to keep doing the right thing, even when it is easier just be a victim of circumstances.
Do you need to follow any religion to make the changes that Dr. Covey described? Nope. Does it make a difference if you are religious? Only if you are religiously active in making the right choices. So, why combine the two? I believe in a higher purpose than just existing; in a purpose for my existence. This leads me to the divine. The gods and goddesses I follow are honored by my deeds and accomplishments. When I grow and advance my self I honor my ancestors, which includes the gods and goddesses.
Vincent Enlund wrote this poem to explain our purpose in life, or at least some of our purpose:
My name is not my own,
It is borrowed from my ancestors,
I must return it unstained.
My Honor is not my own,
It is loaned from my decedents,
I must give it to them unbroken.
My blood is not my own,
It is a gift to generations yet unborn,
I should carry it with responsibility.