KRT: To live Ma’at

How does being a Kemetic affect your daily life? Do you do things differently than you used to because of your faith

How could my faith not cause me to do things differently?

Whether nor not your path influences your behavior or routines likely depends on why you practice it in the first place. The primary reason for my practicing my faith is to live Ma’at. I have already made a post on Ma’at, and as I continue to read about it, I anticipate more posts on it in the future. Simply, Ma’at is cosmological order/balance/truth/justice that also manifests itself in society. This KRT question asks us to tell how our faith changes our behavior and influences our daily lives.

Education: I try to learn what I can of myself and my world. This includes formal education, self teaching, and keeping a sense of wonder and curiosity with regards to one’s career, interests, self, and spirituality. Education includes admitting when your wrong and being humble enough to let someone teach you the correct way of doing things. In includes allowing each to live and be unintimidated or unfazed by habits or beliefs that have no overreaching negative consequences. We are told by various texts to learn what we can-the Wisdom Texts are one example. However, we must remember to think critically! In one autobiographical inscription of the scribe and mayor at Nekheb, Paheri says, “I have reckoned the limits of books.” (Karenga, 84).

Improving the self: What makes a person the best they can be? Many of the traits we think of as “good” are designated as such by culture and are actually neutral. In general, judging whether or not behavior is appropriate is relative to the context of the behavior. But if we have core values and standards which we strive to uphold, judging how to behave in each situation can be made easier, so long as we remember that context influences how/whether the virtue will manifest. I try everyday to remember and evaluate the things I value and stick to the standards I set for myself. This means constantly keeping these values in mind and assessing my behavior against them while also remembering that when I make a mistake, there is no need to degrading myself. Ma’at is not about guilt. Its about doing better next time and learning from each experience. Its a process, not really a goal.

Knowing the self: I try to understand my own interests, personality traits, motivations, and hang ups. WHY am I doing what I do? WHY do I value what I value? I use this information to improve my own behavior and to better direct my efforts to live Ma’at. In the Wisdom texts, we are told that we must know ourselves.

Experience life: There is a parable about a man who gives his sons money as an inheritance. The son who hides his money in the ground is chastised, but the man who invests his money is applauded. I realize this is a Christian parable, but I think it is quite applicable in this respect: we have bodies and talents and hearts which we should use to live life to the fullest. Not only does using our selves to improve the world help everyone else, it also allows us to live happier, fuller, appreciative lives. But we have to know ourselves before we can make the most of life–do we really want to be a mechanic, or is it just pressure from our family that makes us feel this way? Is there something that better fits our personality and skill set that we could do as a profession? And what about how we handle our emotions and relationships? How could we improve how we interact with others? How could we best give to society? I seek to know myself and apply that knowledge in order to make the best of my life.

Leaving a Positive Mark on the World: Ma’at is cosmological order/justice/truth/balance that manifests in society. However, it is up to US to manifest Ma’at. Put shortly, I try to think before I act. How do my own hobbies, interests, and career influence the world around me? How do I treat others? When I see a void in the world I might be able to fill, do I make an effort to change things? I try to volunteer at least once a year and help others when I can. I am an educator- I am interested in helping everyone to help themselves while also being a firm believer in learning in general. I am trying to help the local Pagan community to better organize itself to lend itself to charity efforts, educational opportunities, and social support. I try to listen to friends and family who are frustrated and pick up a bit of trash on a trail in a national park. I try to remember respect others in my attitudes and actions. Its not that I do this ALL the time. I fail, too. Sometimes I know better and choose the less Ma’atian action. I am human, you know! But this aspect of how my faith influences my life means learning how to balance selfishness with altruism. It calls for reflection and contemplation of ones thoughts and attitudes.
Piety: My path is focused on personal piety; its a large part of my Ma’at. I keep a schedule of regular devotions or prayers. However, piety is not abandoned when I leave my shrine. Piety also entails recognizing the Netjeru in our world-whether They are telling us something or simply present at that moment. It also means honoring the gods at the appropriate moments or simply when you feel Their influence and have entered into a state or circumstance governed by a particular Name.

As I write this, I am en route to the Grand Canyon. At one stop along the way, we hiked a little and took in the view. I’m looking for other things I might buy for other Nejteru I honor, and upon arriving home placing each item on its respective shrine as a way to say thanks for all the blessing I have and to say that I recognize the beauty in the world, and how all of You are ever present in it. When I take in the beauty of the desert and the love of my family, I remember the attraction with which Het-Heru embues Ra and all of the world. I praise Aset when I see the power of life to survive in a barren place. I whisper to Shu when I look across the vast open spaces and soak up the sunlight from the top of a canyon. I contemplate Geb when I feel the sturdy silence of the large sandstone monoliths jutting from the ground. I praise Them and offer Them my time and thoughts and awe. I open my heart to Them.

This is piety. It affects how I see the world and analyze my experiences. Furthermore, the Netjeru and Their myths help me to live Ma’at in the other aforementioned ways. Living Ma’at is the primary goal of my faith, but another goal is to know and feel the Netjeru around me constantly.

Honoring the Akhu: I honor the Akhu by visiting their graves and giving offerings of incense there. Those whose grave I cannot access, I give offerings of food and beverage and incense and tokens which strike their fancy or heirlooms they owned in life. I also honor my Akhu by recognizing the struggles they made to give me the life I have. I honor my Akhu by becoming the best I can be. I honor my Akhu by discovering my family origins and taking pride in my cultural heritages. I try to learn recipes and hobbies that have been past down through the generations. I try to remember the stories and experiences I have had with the Akhu that I have known and loved and I use these lessons as I live my life. I treasure what physical things I have from them–from furniture to books to my body and attitudes.

This is not to mean I will deny parts of myself for fear it would shame my ancestors–I am who I am, and I do not feel that is against Ma’at. But it means that I do seek to respect my Akhu through who I am as well as what I leave behind.

This is not to say that I did not try to be the best I could be before I came to Kemeticism. Quite the contrary. If anything, I came to Kemeticism as an attempt to better these efforts when I realized how much I agreed with the bits and pieces that make up Kemeticism. However, in attempting to live up to my potential, Ma’at has helped me to refocus my attention on certain arenas, given me new motivation, and allotted me a different perspective. That being said, I have had to find my Ma’at. I feel that Ma’at is different for every situation as well as for every person. Each of our hearts and cultures and potentials are different. It is up to us to discover it!

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Kemeticism’s Effect on Daily Life | Kemetic Round Table | Kemetic Round Table

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