Tradition and Traditionalists

So often when working with organizations, tribes, segments of society, they have traditions.  It takes time and a certain amount of finesse to begin working with any group or organization.  We have to be inculcated in their traditions.  Traditions are for lack of a better word, repetitive behaviors which give a sense of cohesion to the group.  They are passed along from generation to generation in large groups, religions, and tribes.  The generations will justify the reasons for a tradition often without knowing exactly where they come from or why these traditions occur within the tribe or group.  Traditions are tied to fuzzy memory lost in the programming of in our childhood.  A memory that runs deep within our being and speaks to our ultimate need, humans want to belong and feel safe.  So many traditions are there for the sake of this root value or drive.

But traditions can be the death call for fluidity and true survival.  Certain repetitive behaviors in every generation need to be carefully evaluated and changed or dropped all together.  Traditions are hidden contracts, binding alliances that can keep us from seeing what is really going on.  And many of them are unspoken, assumed and filled with hidden self-criticisms.  A warrior of freedom rejects any contract to which they were not actively part of creating.  It binds our energy and limits our discipline which kills our liberty.

We drive on a certain side of the road because of tradition.  There is certain logic to this: safety.  If a road is narrow, we look ahead and take the side that is traditional when we pass another person.  The right hand is traditionally the hand with the weapon.  When we pass each other, the right is far from the other person’s right.  We shake hands with the right hand because it traditionally represented that there is no gun in our hand, its open to receive.  All of this adds up to why we drive on the right side of the road.  Without these traditions we would in many ways be lost. But the roots, which are actually cultural, have been elevated to law and applied to other unconscious situations.  We sense the inherent logic of tradition, now law.  It just makes sense.  But travel to another culture and there are many things we will never understand because of unspoken traditions.

When one is standing before a fire in a traditional plains native ceremony, one should walk around the fire clockwise, or as they say, sun-wise.  Why?  This tradition is rooted in observations.  The sun goes from left to right when facing the south where the sun is in the northern hemisphere.  So natives at some point felt that this walking movement was a way to honor the sun.  But in reality the original reason for walking sun-wise around the fire is lost far in the past.  We keep doing it; we do so with all sorts of mythological reasons, which are often just superstition.  This is not to say that it is wrong to walk in this way, or for the tribe to share a similar action to honor the sun.  It’s all good.

Where we cross into territory that we question as warriors of freedom is when the tradition is a block to walking in freedom.  Traditionalists often beat up anyone for not doing it the right way for no other reason than that is the way they were taught.  They are fixated on the position of their traditional assemblage points.  Our fluidity is compromised when the traditionalist runs over others with the tradition, or worse judges those who do not know.

Intent is the power behind all things.  Intent has no direction or focal point until it is activated.  There is nothing wrong with right or left.  Yet at one time right, dexterous, was always associated with good while left, sinister, was associated with evil.  These traditions are sacred and held so stiffly that we may never change the words or the results.  But our goal as warriors of freedom is to discipline our lives so that we are not attached to left, right or the meanings therein.  We watch and observe.

Warriors drive on the right side of the road, at least here in America, for the simple fact that it is easy to go with the flow.  Why question it?  It would cause too much distress and warrior choses his battlefields wisely.  But many traditions are silly and filled with fallacies that are keeping us trapped.  Think about it.  Make a list.  Recapitulate!  Then walk around the fire sun-wise because it goes with the group flow.  But leave judgment far from the beauty of the ceremony.  The thing that is killing the fluid traditions is the traditionalists.  The thing killing humanity is the fixation of our assemblage points.

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