As a general piece of advice to any Thelemite it serves as a very important reminder. We all have SO MUCH to do, not just to maintain our chosen professions and relationships, but to discover and then advance our True Will. In an effort to TAKE this advice to heart, I am going to give several instances from my own life.
I have plenty of books to read. I enjoy having the latest editions of books I already have, particularly if the commentaries, introductions, and footnotes are superior to earlier editions. Really though, I have enough spiritual instruction for an entire lifetime on a single shelf in my extensive library. Writing reviews of books I don’t care for? Is that really of any value? I get that it could be useful to other collectors, but could it be possible that I should let others spend their time doing this?
There is some rather complex organizational politics happening in one of the organizations I have some responsibility to. What compels me to involve myself in endless discussions of the motivations of others who have no direct, immediate effect on my small corner of the whole? Between myself and the other few of us who are working together we have PLENTY of work to complete and immediate issues to tackle.
Everybody KNOWS that arguing with other people over items of very little immediate consequence is a complete waste of time. Nobody cares that you posted that perfect zinger on Twitter. Any response it garnered was forgotten the minute it was given. This is the most immediate example. I need to remind myself of this point more often.
Why would I try and convince anybody of anything? I am much happier asking questions about other people, what they are into and what they find important or interesting. There is virtually zero value in changing an acquaintance’s opinion about something, particularly if there is a risk of alienating that person in the case of something important to them. How do I know what will or won’t offend somebody? I am much better off asking questions and keeping my snap judgements or contrary opinions to myself. Why judge at all? Doesn’t that person have the right to hold different opinions? How much of what other people act on REALLY effects me at all?
There could be specific books, political fallout, or ideas in these examples that COULD be exempted from this general piece of advice. My point here is not to suggest we shouldn’t try and effect the world around us. Far from it. My point here is to suggest that MOST of the energy we expend on these things are distractions from the Great Work. We all should remember the sole sufficient rule and mind our own knitting. As an exercise in discipline, an extension of forbearance, and the practice of freedom of conscience this should be top of mind of ALL aspirants on a daily basis.