Let’s talk about dogma and how it may be hiding in your life where you may not realize. Try the dogma meditation exercise at the end of this post to help unearth sources of limiting beliefs.
What is dogma?
This is a heavier topic, but a good one as we come into the Harvest and winter months. It’s a good time for introspection.
Dogma is defined as a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true.
In many spiritual and metaphysical communities, there’s a lot of talk about “the right way” to do something.
The right way to cast a spell. To offer a prayer. Perform a ritual. Honor your ancestors.
If there is a “right” way, the implication is that there is a wrong way.
By extension, some also say that if you are not doing something “my way,” it won’t work.
This is an inherently limiting idea.
While a person may choose to work with a set of guiding principles, they’re just that: There to guide you.
Why be so inflexible that you can’t follow your intuition or internal guidance?
After all, there are a thousand ways to bake a cake. If each way produces a cake, which one is right?
I’ve trained with some of the big names in various spiritual discipline—in Salem and outside of it.
With many, what I was taught was: This is the right way to perform a ritual. If you leave out an ingredient, do the steps out of order, or arrange your altar in a different way…your magic…prayers…offerings…Will. Not. Work.
And you know what? I call bullshit.
This is the same in many ways as the dogma offered by many traditional institutions.
“If you do this and not that, you’re going to Hell.” “If you do this, you’re a good person. If you do THAT, you’re a bad one.”
My personal experience
Here’s where I’m at right now: I’ve walked through a lot of traditional and nontraditional training.
I’ve sat in circle with folks who call themselves Guru. It was all invaluable experience—and gave me a strong base of knowledge to draw from.
(One of my best lessons from a very famous witch? How NOT to teach. More on that in another post.)
In the end? I learned that you learn rules so that you can eventually shed them like training wheels.
I’ve come to reference my experience and training, then trust my own guidance, spirit, and will.
Am I still learning? Hell yeah. And I will be until the day I die.
The quote in the picture is from Japanese samurai Miyamoto Musashi’s seminal work “A Book of Five Rings.”
It’s worth reading, then reading again.
Dogma meditation exercise
Close your eyes. Focus on your breathing until your heart rate steadies and slows.
What is one steadfast belief I have in my life? Something I would be uncomfortable at my very core to defy?
Consider: Why do I feel so strongly? Where did it come from? Myself? A source outside myself (a parent, a religion, a teacher, etc.)?
How could this belief be considered limiting?
If I didn’t hold this belief at my core, how would I feel about it if I encountered it for the first time?
Would I feel the same conviction? Or would I feel differently?
And then? Listen.
Write down any thoughts and impressions you have when you are finished. Look back on your notes over the next few days.
Continue to sit in meditation with them to explore what you unearthed in greater depth.
As Musashi said, there are many paths to the top of a mountain. Find the one that works for you.
Did you try this dogma meditation?
What was your experience? Drop me a comment below, I’d love it if you shared.
Explore more meditation exercises
Try this meditation to help you step more into your personal power and trust your instincts more.