We are all familiar with the rhetorical expression, “Is your glass half full, or half empty?” The question, of course, can be answered both ways, illustrating how a given situation can be perceived in more than one way by different people.
When it comes to Pagan spirituality, we each have the choice of approaching life from either of these perspectives. Unfortunately, far too many people today are “half empties:” their focus is on what is lacking in their lives, rather than on gratitude and celebration of their blessings. Their Paganism is all about spell casting for gain: spells for a boyfriend, spells for a better job, spells for an A+ on next week’s history test.
There is nothing wrong with magic. I love magic, and I think that I am pretty good at it. For many of us, in fact, magic is an integral part of our Paganism. For Christopher Penczak, one of the founders of the Temple of Witchcraft, magic is the defining quality of his religious expression. But Christopher is nevertheless very much a “half full” person, and this is reflected in both the rituals he conducts and in his personal life. His magic is shaped by his “half full” perspective, emphasizing personal growth rather than gain.
Although the glass is both half full and half empty, how you perceive the glass influences how you will approach challenges in your life. A person who is focused on the glass being half empty will tend to be less successful. You probably know at least one person who complains endlessly about how hard it is to find a boyfriend or girlfriend, about how awful it is to be single. Without realizing it, this person is shouting out, “Nobody would ever want to date me!” And why would anyone? Most of us want to draw happy, positive people into our lives.
The person who sees his career as half empty does indeed have a lousy job, if for no other reason than his own attitude. Some jobs do not pay very well, and some have very little status (or even negative status) associated with them; but for the person who cannot find employment, any job at all is a “half full” position.
People who focus on the glass being half full tend to enjoy more success. The single person who wakes up each day with gratitude for his or her health, friends, and family is more likely to attract potential dating partners. The worker who perceives his or her job as an opportunity is more likely to be considered for a raise or a managerial position. Success is never guaranteed, but focusing on the empty portion of the glass is usually a guarantee of failure.
Of course we should always strive to improve our lot in life, but it is equally important to acknowledge that the glass is also half full. When we focus on and give thanks for our positive blessings, we are more likely to attract future blessings from the universe.
Our thanks to Alaric for his guest post! For more from Alaric Albertsson, read his article “As Within, So Without: Making Daily, Mundane Activities Spiritual.”