Last weekend I went to DemiCon. I don’t get there as often as I’d like, but this year it worked. Bonus – at DemiCon I’m not responsible for anything and I see many of the same people from ICON. (Plus I got to roadtrip with a good friend who is also one of my ICON writers.)
I often stick to writing panels, but we (because nearly every panel I attended had another ICON friend with me) also attended several more metaphysical panels. Maybe every con has them.
However, this time I went, and I was between the ideas from yoga conferences past and science fiction conventions present. One of them allows a lot of latitude for not believing in the thing even if you go, and one of my writer friends realized his character would be very into what the panelist shared. The experience also made me question credentials. How do you get credentials in metaphysical pursuits? Also, what do those credentials mean?
Those are deep questions. It’s not just about metaphysical pursuits, either. All of my physical teaching modalities might fall under this, as well as all of my artistic ideas.
In engineering, a degree is necessary. There’s also a professional licensing board to stay current with your specialty. That was not always true – my father in law once practiced engineering from the school of hard knocks, but he started work in 1963 I think, so times do change.
When I started teaching yoga, I wasn’t certified. I was recommended by the current teacher, who had been through training. I was practicing every day and I was the most flexible person in the room, and I didn’t feel qualified at all. I took a training to learn more, and I studied hard. I taught while I did this, starting with what I had learned in the books I had purchased to create my home practice, and adding in the details from the training. I’ve gone through the same level of training at another time, and I may do it again. It seems redundant, but each time is a different experience and it covers new areas – even though the base material is supposed to be the same.
Writing has always been a passion. I’ve learned far more outside of school than I did in it, partly because I didn’t take that many writing classes. Not that I didn’t want to, but I didn’t often get the opportunity. I can’t tell you how many writing books I’ve read, how many sit on the shelf near my desk, nor how many times I’ve asked and received assistance on my creations. I’ve grown and changed over the years, and it’s amazing to see how my stories have transformed. I won’t say a degree on my wall wouldn’t have changed my progress, but I’d still be pursuing more.
Metaphysical things I have had interests in for years. Partly I find myself trying to ground things in science, and partly I know there are simply concepts which we cannot prove or disprove. I can take an introductory course or find a book in almost anything, though the practice of it day to day will teach me more. To what degree do we hold those who create the books? What about those who teach the courses?
As far as opinions, we’re allowed to disagree. One of the books I’m reading (Body Work by Melissa Febos) talks about how her wife allows more than one version of the truth in their home. Fascinating, since my house is often rooted in science and there are mathematical and scientific proofs running around. Yet human experience doesn’t follow that way, and our brains are far from perfect. We do remember things differently. What we mark in our journals may not be the experience that we speak of as the one that moved us years later. Those experiences are what make us who we are, and having an allowance for a memory to be different in two (or more) minds is a good one, if a difficult one to hold. It reminds me so much of one yoga teacher I had, and he often said, “The truth of the situation ends at our senses.” Our senses perceive something and our brain wants it to be a story. We look for patterns to match with the input we receive. Our brains lie to us. I feel that so keenly when I share something that my brain tells me even though I know it is false. (Depression sucks.)
So often in childhood, and in scientific pursuits, we call for proof, we want see credentials, and we want to trust in an entity to be able to certify or register professionals. There are many places where these things are mandatory, though there’s also the idea that some humans don’t mesh so you still need to search for a professional to work with. Not just anyone will do. And very lately I’ve been reminding myself, and finding comfort in the idea, that there is no proof. Maybe that is also the human experience, and something I should write about.
Something I will write about. Soon.