Thursday, April 29, 2010

Magick Without Tears. Chapter LXIII: Fear, a Bad Astral Vision

Examined Crowley's advice on fear and combating fear.

Crowley relates being full of fear and abused by the other children in school due to his physical weakness. To combat his fears he attempted to strengthen his courage by picking up the most dangerous and courage needing hobbies he could think of. He reports success from this attempt and then proceeds to suggest other extreme methods, making a habit of walking dangerous areas of town and moving to plague stricken areas, before presenting a summation of how to put this into practice.

"But the essence of the practice, as a practice, is to seek out and to face what one fears. Do not forget that courage implies fear—what else should fear be useful for?"

The direct route. Discover your fears, then face them by doing the opposite. Further, without fear there can be no courage. Fear is useful in that it can be overcome.

"One excellent practice, the general idea of which can easily be adapted to a host of particular cases, is the use of the imagination."

From the general to the practical, he then outlines a specific practice to overcome a particular fear you may be dealing with, which is the use of active imagination, much like meditation AAA in Liber CCCXLI. One lies down in Shavasana, relaxes, then you vividly place yourself into the scene and presence of your fear. This must be done with absolute clarity to actually induce the fear accurately in your mind. Repeat, you must be afraid for it to work, take it as far as you need to. If done correctly the fear will soon begin to fade, then you will become indifferent to it, before succeeding in having the fear vanish. Familiarity breeds contempt, as he put it.

"There is comfort in the thought that the persistent practice of seeking out one's fears, analysing them and their causes, then deliberately evoking them to "come out, you cad, and fight!" (W.S. Gilbert), presently sets up a habit of mind which is a strong fortress against all fear's modes of assault; one springs automatically to action when a patrol sneaks up within range of one's guns."

Fear is a basic primal human emotion, a survival mechanism, evolved to help keep us alive. As such it is hard wired into the species and will never be fully removed, nor should it be, but there is value in seeking within, discovering, naming, and then combating them. This should be an ongoing process that progress can be made in but never fully completed.

Note:
We shall put Crowley to the test. Utilizing the outline above I have devised two meditations to specifically deal with the fears as expressed in Fear: Part 2

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Thoughts on Liber III vel Jugorum, Part 1: Control of Speech

The monitoring of speech seems to involves three distinct phases:

1. Being vigilant and thinking of what you are going to say before you say it.

2. Actually monitoring what you are saying while you are saying during the moment. Already I have caught myself while speaking about to say the forbidden word and instantly switching the word out for something else or ending the sentence abruptly. I am also quickly noticing a cheat where you begin to notice certain sentence patterns where you would normally use the word that serves as a sudden warning flag to draw back and pay attention to what you are saying.

3. You find yourself constantly reviewing the last sentence/s you just uttered again in your head looking for the word in case you made a mistake. You will often do this if you begin speaking rapidly without thinking.



RESULTS OF JUGORUM

Notice:
The chosen word was the first example given, "and". The punishment was
a stinging snap of three thick rubber bands to the inside of the
wrist. The maximum allowed was 10 errors per day. Upon reaching ten,
efforts were discontinued until the following day.

Record of Liber III vel Jugorum: Part 1: Speech - "and" First Attempt
Day One: 7 - Discovered the difficulties of practice.
Day Two: 10 - Shameful loss of control.
Day Three: 10 - Improved control, accompanied by improved monitoring.
Day Four: 0 - Surprising control.
Day Five: 5 - Lapses and exhaustion.
Day Six: 4 - Slight improvement.
Day Seven: 4 - Steady.


Notes:
The first day I discovered just how difficult this practice was going
to be, more so than even I imagined. The second day my mind rebelled
and complete failure came quickly. The third day, also a complete
failure, sense of far greater control, but consequently greater
monitoring of the speech which resulted in a count over the maximum.
Strangely by the fourth day the practice suddenly became easy with a
hyper awareness of speech that resulted in perfect control. By the
fiftieth day I encountered the shear exhaustion of maintaining the
level of awareness needed. Everything in me screamed to be able to
speak freely and quit. I truly hated it. The sixth and seventh day
moderate control returned, but still not to the degree I want or
demand of myself.

Observations:
Your first reaction to this practice is finding yourself trying to avoid the issue by speaking less or only when you absolutely have to. It really begins to dawn on you just how much useless chatter you use on a daily basis. Talking just to talk, filling the silence between yourself and others. Next, you begin to realize how many repeated sentence and phrase patterns you regurgitate over and over again without conscious thought or notice. Not only of the chosen word but discovering a host of repetition with words and phrases, like a parrot or a bad eighties sitcom character with a catch phrase. Finally, precision of word choice seems to be a natural result of this practice.

You truly fail to see the beauty of this practice until you actually attempt it. You must be fully conscious and aware at all times to achieve even the most modest success at it. You cannot allow yourself to sink into automatic stimulus / response consciousness. Once you have extended this awareness to action and thought the results would be god like.

I have noticed the record of my results becoming worse rather than improving. I believe this is due to improved monitoring and vigilance of speech rather than a break down of control resulting in errors. Regardless of observable improvement, the practice does far more than assist control and would be invaluable to anyone.

Fear: Part 2

The first post on this subject can be found here.

Child of Earth, fear is failure. Therefore be without fear, for in the heart of the coward virtue abideth not. -Neophyte Ceremony of the Golden Dawn

My issue is a two edged sword. I crave approval and fear disapproval from those I consider authority figures. This realization is so upsetting to me because I believe only true self confidence can come from inside. The only approval you need is from yourself and fear of outside disapproval limits yourself.

The roots of this fear run deep. Even my parents have commented that they never had to spank me as a child, only verbally dress me down and I would instantly cry and make amends. The fear has been there for so long that it has metastasized and seems to be at the heart of any other fear I come across within myself. In a child like manner I am afraid of getting into "trouble" with some sort of shadowy amorphous authority / parental figure. I am very much a rule follower. I never speed, never drink and drive, am always on time, always concerned with what I am allowed to do and not allowed to do. There is nothing wrong with that per say but the reason behind it is my concern, this paranoia of getting into trouble, being a disappointment, to and from who or what I have no idea.

It is almost crippling as I do not allow myself to be my true self, show my true self, do the things I want to do, or express the things I want to express because I am afraid others would disapprove. It seems I need some sort of "permission" most times before I allow myself to do most things openly, even things that would not be considered wrong. Without that implied permission from someone (wife, boss, whoever) I tend to either not do it or most of the time keep it a secret, even with completely mundane things.

It is completely juvenile and silly I realize but it is there none the less. Strangely this fear for the most part largely disappeared while in college, but has returned stronger than ever the last few years. I guess it has something to do with becoming a responsible adult (job, family, mortgage) that intensifies this fear. I am unsure.

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Upon further reflection I am beginning to wonder if my fear is really two fears rather than one lump. My need for approval seems more masculine oriented. Possibly a left over of always wanting and rarely receiving approval from my father. I want to be liked and respected by men more so than women, and of course I desperately want/crave/desire respect and approval especially from male authority figures and become paranoid and frantic if I believe there is a possibility that they disapprove of me.

The child like need for permission seems more feminine in my mind. My mother always did a number on me and I wonder if that is a cause. Also modeling is an issue. My father is extremely passive in the face of women, especially my mother who would dominate him. So perhaps a good deal of it is learned behavior.

So where does this leave me? What would be the proper course to overcome my fears? How can I apply the equal and opposite application to achieve equilibrium?


"When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But, when I became a man, I put away the things of a child." -1 Corinthians 13:11

Passivity seems to be one natural outcome of my fear/s. Courage must be strengthen. Action the equal and opposite course. Secrecy is another aspect when dealing with the permission issue. Truth above all else. Transparency at all costs.

But perhaps this is concentrating too much on the effects rather than the cause. If I am correct then I should put my focus on approval / disapproval and need for permission. Permission seems an easy fix. Do not seek it, do not ask for it, do not even look for it. Then apply it with total and complete transparency and openness.

The approval / disapproval issue is more intangible. One immediate idea is to do the opposite and actively seek disapproval, but that would be a high cost professionally when often reputation is the most important quality you possess. Perhaps I could isolate it. Actively seek my fathers disapproval. That would be hurtful but if it is the heart of the matter then it is not off the table. Although if the root cause stems from modeling , my efforts should directed towards my mother or women in general.

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I find myself reluctant to press the "publish" button. I rarely if ever discuss personal topics on this blog. One, it is more than a little embarrassing. Also reading others full on verbal emotional spewing diarrhea generally makes me want to vomit. Something so intimate, honest, and important to the individual tends to promote the exact opposite reaction in others. Now I find myself guilty of the same sin of perpetual personal disclosure. But there is a practical reason for posting this. I discovered the act of labeling my fear was a big first step. Further sharing my secret shame was another step in the right direction in internally dealing with my fears. So this is another act of public humiliation to further humble the pride and come to grips with myself.

Self discovery is never pleasant or a happy making situation. If it is, then your doing it wrong and not being truly honest with yourself.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Outline of Liber LXI, Liber Vel Causæ

This text is a very general introduction to the A:.A:. and it's methods and purpose. It is divided into two sections the first being the preliminary lection, followed by a history lection covering the rise and fall of the original Golden Dawn and the beginnings of the A:.A:. I will begin in reverse order taking a look at the history lection first. Overall it is a very brief treaty upon what actually happened. Although the narrative is a bit distorted concerning the facts as we know of them today, but generally it is more or less true, to a degree. That being said, there are some interesting learning points made within the story that bear looking at outside the context of the historical summery that we can learn from.

THE HISTORY LECTION

Line 7: A point many of the introductory texts make over and over again. Truth is self evident and the source has no bearing upon it.

Line 9: The absolute rule of the adepts is never to interfere with the judgment of any other person.
"The word of Sin is Restriction." -Liber AL I:41
"Thou has no right but to do thy will. Do that, and no other shall say nay." -Liber AL I:42-43

Line 9 &11: The two absolute priories of any order or society is to form the magical link with the adepts and initiate, without either or both the order does not exist.

Line 21: The temple must be built before the God can indwell it. Equilibrium must be established before all else.

Lines: 22 - 24: Language is limiting. Language systems are loaded symbol patterns, preconditioned thought patterns, and we should never fall into the habit of mistaking the map for the territory.

Line 32: For Perfection abideth not in the Pinnacles, or in the Foundations, but in the ordered Harmony of one with all. A brotherhood in equilibrium.


THE PRELIMINARY LECTION

Line 1: Initiation and equilibrium is and always has been, the key to the mysteries.

Line 2: Only through initiation can you come to learn of the unknown crown.

Line 3 & 4: Advancement in the great work cannot be given or taught, only achieved through the effort of the individual, but guidance of those who have tread the path before can assit in the work.

Line 9 &11, Gives the requirements of the order. Line 4, Gives the mandate of the individual. Overcome your own obstacles and expose your own illusions. Know thyself. Overcome thyself.

Line 6: The call only comes once. Examine yourself and prepare yourself carefully so that you will be ready when the time comes.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Fear

I have been in a very weird place the last few weeks and it has seemed to have culminated the last few days. I have experienced almost a total loss of direction and lack of any joy or excitement in my life, especially spiritually. I have reached a place where I am asking myself, what's next. Sadly, I cannot seem to come up with an adequate answer to "What do I really want?", "What's next?", and "Where do I go from here?"

The last few days have been very pronounced with a feeling of apathy towards any magical practice, feelings of slight depression, and generally being in a over all bad pissy mood. The black phase of alchemy. It has painfully come to my attention that I am full of fear. Fear of criticism, fear of what others think of me, afraid of being my self around others, and the possibility of condemnation by others. I hide my personal thoughts, spiritual and religious beliefs, even my political views from others who I know are opposed or even possibly opposed to them. People do not seem to realize I never have a strong opinion on anything other than playing devils advocate or using mocking humor as a shield.

I am not even really certain of what exactly I am so deadly afraid of. That people might think differently of me. Think poorly of me. Think I am odd, weird, or even possibly insane and evil. When I say it out loud it sounds silly and pathetic even to myself. So why the fear?

It goes further than that. This is a fear I have always held, hiding myself from everyone, even at times when I had nothing to lose. It is something I have had as long as I can remember, even in childhood. I think it has something to do with my parents and being afraid of how they would see me and get disapproval from them. That is really not true anymore for my parents but for some reason I have transferred this need and fear upon everyone I come in contact with. I think that is the key to the whole thing. I, for some unknown reason, have a severe need for approval from others. Even from people I could care less about, but most especially from those in authority. I am deathly afraid of disapproval. Why do I need this acceptance and approval from outside myself!?!?

I loathe this characteristic in myself as it makes no logical sense and I can clearly see the harm and chains upon me, but it remains. How do I become free and obtain liberty?

I think this feeling of self loathing over my weakness is part of my attraction to Thelema. Thelema is all about freedom and especially personal freedom. I want to be free but do not see how to break the chains. This illogical fear is so crippling because it prevents me from being my true self. I dispise this as it blocks me from being the person I want to be. I hide behind a persona of indifference in my outer daily life but in truth, inwardly I am a coward desperately trying to hide my shackles from the world and especially from myself.

Normally I would never openly admit to something like this, especially broadcast it to the world via the internet. It wounds my sense of pride to speak of such a severe weakness and I never show or admit weakness to anyone willingly. But lately I have felt the need and the importance of total truth and brutal honesty in everything and especially to myself. I feel it is an important part of my current spiritual journey. Again this goes back to my need for approval. To show weakness brings the risk of disapproval. Perhaps this is a needed first step in liberation.

Every man must overcome his own obstacles, expose his own illusions. - Liber LXI


The Experience of Dhyana

Dhyana is not something that is very well explained in eastern texts, or not that I have seen. Crowley's explanation is the most direct and simple. The object meditated upon and the meditator become one. The mind becomes blank and a spiritual experience happens.

Recently I have been experiencing something close to this. I only place significance upon it because the experience continues to repeat itself. I assume asana and regulate the breath to a four count. Then practice Dharana upon the breath, specifically the physical sensation of the lungs filling and deflating.

I perform my meditation and after a time my body disappears. I cannot even feel my hands upon my lap or my own head. I become a balloon that inflates and deflates. At first I thought this might actually be dhyana. This seems to match the experience as it seems I become the lungs and nothing else. Although upon further reflection and outside confirmation I realize it is not. Accompanying this transformation comes a strong feeling of claustrophobia and a degree of fear from loss of self. Overall it is not a pleasant experience. The very fact that I still retain enough awareness to realize I am a balloon along with the rising emotions shows it was not truly dhyana.

Although from this reflection I am reminded of a past experience that I happen to think was actually Dhyana. The event came about from an enochian aethyr working. In the experience I saw the entire galaxy spinning and lighted from billions and billions of burning suns. In the next moment I became the galaxy. I have no idea how long this went on as I did not exist or think other than just being. At some point I thought to myself "I am the universe" and instantly the experience ended and I again entered the duality of I am this and that is that. Although it probably did not last more than a few seconds it had a profound effect upon me. One thing I was left with was the sense that everything is connected and one thing. Even to this day I still feel a degree of guilt whenever I eat store bought meat. Not because the animal had to die to provide it, but the suffering imposed on the animal by factory farming. Part of the experience was knowing life, death, and suffering. That life and death did not matter, but rather the everyday experience of your life while still living.

I am going to stop right here. Reading over what I just wrote and what I was trying to explain makes me realize that the words make little sense logically and are shallow compared to the actual experience. It cannot be described in words and any further attempt would only cheapen the experience. But I am still going to post what I have for others. So far I have not found descriptions or actual first hand accounts of Dhyana in my readings. So I wanted to provide something for others who actually obtain the experience or the semi-experience I have been running into lately in my practice in the hopes it may be of some assistance to someone else.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Outline of Liber XXXIII, An account of the A:.A:. with reference to Liber X, Liber Porta Lucis


The society has always existed and will always exist. It is composed of the elect who are admitted by the light, taught by the light, and whose sole purpose is to guide humanity by revelation of that light. The members are diverse, span the globe, and remain hidden from the world united in wisdom, truth, and perfect love. V.V.V.V.V. alone is the revealed chief and only publicly known member.

The society is the source of all truths that have been hidden in religions and veiled in ceremonies and rituals that men may discover the truths when they are ready to receive them. When the world is in need the order brings forth events to lead mankind.

Mohammed was sent to bring freedom to mankind by the sword, but he did not go far enough. Luther was sent to teach freedom of thought and liberation from the totality of the church, but the result was even greater bondage and slavery of belief. Science and the Renaissance was delivered but it was perverted. Finally V.V.V.V.V. have been sent to declare the light.

The illuminated community is the true school of L.V.X.; it has its Chair, its Doctors; it possesses a rule for students; it has forms, objects for study, and degrees for development. Although the society knows none of the formalities which belong to the the works of man. No arranged meetings or choosing leaders and members and crass things of so called secret societies. All outward forms cease leaving only the brotherhood of adepts united in truth and light. Systems are banished.

Though not all men are called, many of called are chosen, and that as soon as they become fit for entrance. Worldly intelligence seeks this Sanctuary in vain; fruitless also will be the efforts of malice to penetrate these great mysteries; all is indecipherable to him who is not ripe; he can see nothing, read nothing in the interior. To become fit should be the sole effort of him who seeks wisdom.

This text should be studied in tandem with Liber X, Liber Porta Lucis. While Liber XXXIII is a history and general overview, Liber X is an open epistle to mankind and seekers of wisdom.

It describes the sending forth of V.V.V.V.V. to the world.
Declares his mission, to save our fellows from from sickness and from old age and from death. To bring Absolute Truth, Absolute Light, Absolute Bliss.

The seeds of truth have been hidden in all religions and all systems, and all are but veils of the truth. There is no difference between Buddha and Mohammed, between Atheism and Theism, but in the beginning one system may be suited for one seeker, another for another.

Therefore the society leads the seeker by the path which is best suited to his nature unto the ultimate end of all things, the supreme realization, the Life which abideth in Light.

In Summation:
The society is tangle and intangible. There is but one truth hidden all around you in every faith, creed, and science. You but have to remove the dross to see it. You will be guided along the known paths until you are ready to see. When you are finally ready, you will discover the society and be admitted, not as a student but as a brother.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Initial Results in Pratyahara

The body is contained in asana. The body and mind calmed through breath. It takes a subtle knack to move the point of view from thinker to observer, but once obtained is easily repeated and maintained. Initial attempts to concentrate are immediately assaulted by a riot of thoughts. Through the den I have noticed three main voices.

The first voice encountered was, The Planner. Considering my personality and my profession this was not surprising. Sadly he does not deal in the general or broad and far reaching dreams, but rather the very specific. Always planning, always list making, even plotting out how best to write up the current meditation in my journal. He is the task manager of the trivial and mundane.

The second voice encountered was, The Commenter. He also known by his other names, the Questioner and the Quoter. Once identified he persisted to even comment upon himself! He is the background radiation of thought, always on, always rambling.

The final voice is, The Rememberer. Although non verbal he is persistent in dwelling in the past, drawing up images and events from days to years earlier. There seems little rhyme or reason to the events he chooses to focus on.

I find it interesting in the fact that none of the voices are of the present. The near future and the past are well represented, but it seems my mind rarely deals with the here and now. The commenter aside, although he only indulges in idle and useless chatter, the unimportant. It would indicate that attention and action in the here and now is lacking in myself, and there is some truth to that.

My findings reinforce the idea that the practice of dharana is essential to silence these voices and learn to be present in the now. The past is done and will never change, the future is unwritten, the only power we have is in the now. Stream of thought is an illusion. The mind we dwell in most of the time is a turbulent storm of conflicting thoughts and voices. It is amazing any thought can be had at all above the noise. Higher forms of consciousness can be achieved and are desirable, bringing order the chaos. As it said in Liber Libræ, "The strife of contending forces must be reconciliated".

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Outline of Liber XXX, Liber Libræ

The bulk of this text is taken almost word for word from the speeches within the Golden Dawn initiation rituals. As stated in the opening the focus of this work is equilibrium.

Important Points to Remember:
Equilibrium is the basis of the Work.
The strife of contending forces must be reconciliated.
The path will not be easy, but must be accomplished.
Beware the vice of Tiphareth, false pride, be not vain in your supposed accomplishments, do not condemn others, and do not seek magical powers for their own sake.
We are both physical and spiritual creatures. Do not neglect the physical body nor needlessly worship it, control your passions, your emotions, your reason, and nourish the Higher Aspirations
Act passionately; think rationally; be Thyself.

Number thirteen I find interesting, "True ritual is as much action as word; it is Will." This is a concept not found in the Golden Dawn initiations but speaks directly to Crowley's foundational understanding of magick, that any willed act is a magical act. That will must be paired with action. This also relates to the four powers of the sphinx: To Know, To Will, To Dare and To Keep Silent.

The sin which is unpardonable is knowingly and willfully to reject truth, to fear knowledge lest that knowledge pander not to thy prejudices.
Fixed thought is a means to an end. Learn to focus, meditation is a tool to accomplish this.

Number twenty-one I again find interesting, "In the true religion there is no sect, therefore take heed that thou blaspheme not the name by which another knoweth his God; for if thou do this thing in Jupiter thou wilt blaspheme YHVH and in Osiris YHShVH." This is again from the Golden Dawn, but I find it interesting Crowley would include this considering some of the comments in the third chapter of the Book of the Law. Although I believe it pertains to what is said in the Equinox, "The Method of Science, the Aim of Religion." In short accept truth regardless of its source and do not be hasty to not consider concepts just because it does not readily agree with you.