“The yes man is your enemy, but your friend will argue with you.” So says a Russian proverb. I reflect on this proverb today as I think of our obligation to be truthful to ourselves and to those that we love. Yesterday, I had to remind a friend that his behavior and explosive temper is holding him back from achieving his full potential. His main enemy, despite what he wishes to believes, isn’t outside, it’s deep within. Until he changes his behavior and the way that he thinks, he’ll never attain his goals. Nor will he ever be happy.
I also reflect on this Russian proverb as I think of sad stories that I’ve recently heard of priests and priestesses in the Ifa/orisa tradition who cause more harm than good. Why? Because some of them are deeply troubled individuals who clearly are in need of psychological (and perhaps spiritual) counseling. Instead, they dole out “advice” and wreak havoc on others with conduct so outlandish that it truly amazes me how they could ever call themselves priests or priestesses.
Rather than condone bad character, we should confront it. There can be no growth without truth.
Wisdom has never been and will never be merely about what you know – it’s about how you live. The foundation of Ifa/orisa practice is supposed to be humility and iwa pele (gentle character). May we all never forget this.