Book Excerpts: Awakening Your Mental Muscles – How It Works

by Mike Sententia on November 14, 2012

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Today’s excerpts are from the chapter on awakening mental muscles.

(Soon, we’ll get into how to actually do it. But you need to know what to expect first.)

How Traditional Styles Awaken Your Mental Muscles

It’s possible to awaken your mental muscles simply by trying to use them. Daily energy meditation, Tai Chi practice, or other energy work will eventually produce results. But it takes months, and it only awakens the mental muscles required to move that energy.

Most styles of magick want to awaken more mental muscles, and want to do it quickly. The key is ethereal software. When you receive an initiation, whether it’s an OTO initiation ritual, a Reiki attunement, or a tradition with some other name, the master will connect that style’s ethereal software to you. The ethereal software helps awaken your mental muscles, and then usually stays connected to you so you can use it to perform magick.

(The practitioners wouldn’t say it quite like that. They might not even be aware of this aspect of their initiation. But awakening your mental muscles is one of the primary benefits of initiation.)

I’m not one for rituals or ceremony, but when I see an elegant solution, I copy it. So, I’ve programmed this book’s ethereal software to awaken your mental muscles. I’ll tell you the command after explaining how to use it and what to expect.

How The Ethereal Software Works

Before we start this work, I need to make one thing clear: Magick doesn’t “work like magic.” It doesn’t provide instant, dramatic results, at least, not as a beginner. Like any other exercise or training program, learning magick is a series of small improvements, built up over time, that eventually results in valuable skills. A good training program can accelerate that process, but awakening your first set of mental muscles still takes several weeks.

Here’s what happens: The ethereal software sends energy to your mind to awaken a few of your mental muscles, then it waits for you to use them. When you do, through an energy meditation or communicating with a spirit or some other magick practice, that strengthens and solidifies those mental muscles, which lets the ethereal software awaken a few more mental muscles.

The key, then, is daily practice, so the software can repeatedly awaken a few muscles, which you then use, allowing it to awaken more. It only has to be a few minutes, but practicing 5 minutes a day will result in faster gains than practicing 60 minutes, once a week. And practicing a variety of skills will awaken more mental muscles than practicing the same technique day after day. The coming chapters are designed to provide a daily training program with a good variety of skills.

After each chapter, you’ll learn to consciously engage the mental muscles we just awakened. I call this “mental posture,” and we’ll get into the details after awakening a few mental muscles.

If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Ananael Qaa November 15, 2012 at 11:15 AM

I’m glad to see that you’re making progress on the book. With all due respect, though, I hope that you didn’t mean this the way that it comes off:

“(The practitioners wouldn’t say it quite like that. They might not even be aware of this aspect of their initiation. But awakening your mental muscles is one of the primary benefits of initiation.)”

What the second sentence there reads like to me is “I know how these traditions work better than the people who have been studying and working with them in great detail for many years.” I would highly recommend that you avoid such statements about practitioners of other established traditions in your book, or at least be clearer that you’re talking in the context of your model and not trying to pit your metaphors against theirs.

I can assure you that initiators in every tradition I’ve been involved in understand and would agree with you that (A) the initiation is connecting the candidate with “something” and (B) one function of that “something” is to awaken their mind in such a way that they can do more effective magick. You’re right that they wouldn’t use your terminology, but to imply that not doing so is a sign of ignorance is just incorrect. The metaphors they use to explain how the rituals work are just different.

Personally, as I’ve stated here a number of times, I’m not a fan of the “ethereal software” metaphor even though as a computer programmer like you one might expect me to be. I think it’s potentially at least as problematic and confusing in terms of unintended connotations as “energy” is among the New Age crowd. At the same time, there are plenty of cases where there really are no “good” metaphors given how imprecise and open to connotative confusion as English tends to be. I use “energy” myself sometimes, even though I know it’s be sub-optimal.

If you’re going to claim that your metaphors somehow better represent objective reality than those employed by others, the only way to do it is with solid empirical data. That is, you would have to identify the implications of each model and then set up some sort of physically verifiable and repeatable test to demonstrate that fact. Statistically significant probability shifts would do it in my book, but subjective results like apparent healings or making parties more interesting will not. I can do those things too, and without decent samples to compare there’s no way to objectively determine which of us gets better results.

Just as a point, I’m not trying to just gripe here and I’m hoping these criticisms can be taken as constructive. My main point as a fellow writer is this – if you’re hoping to market your book to scientific-minded magical practitioners (as you’ve previously stated) who have been involved in organized traditions, I think it’s rather likely that statements like the one above will turn a lot of them off. As before, I still wish you the best and I hope that the book turns out to be everything you hope it will be.

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Mike Sententia November 16, 2012 at 8:17 AM

Hi Ananael, thanks for giving me this feedback. No, that’s definitely not how I intended to come off. I’ll think about how to change that paragraph, or maybe just take it out.

When I wrote that, I was imagining a reader who practiced a style that didn’t teach them about (B) one function of that “something” is to awaken their mind in such a way that they can do more effective magick. From your comment, it sounds like maybe all styles teach that, but I didn’t know that at the time.

Anyway, if a style doesn’t teach initiates about (B), then yeah, I guess I am saying that I know what’s going on better than they do. But I think that’s fair, and I don’t think that’s unique to me — I’d also say that you know what’s going on better than they do, too. But I can see how that sentence could come off poorly, and if everyone already is aware of (B), then I probably don’t even need to address it.

Thanks for the feedback.

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Carl November 15, 2012 at 8:28 PM

Interesting teasers, Mike. I think it will be a great book, looking forward to it.

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Yvonne November 16, 2012 at 11:41 AM

Mike
Can you explore the analogies between identifying the ethereal software with energy work/spirit work a little further? Maybe a sentence or two. Many of us who do Reiki or Qigong sorta kinda know what you are talking about, and then again, maybe not. Those of us who work intimately with Vodou spirits or angels might be able to relate to what you are saying, or…nah, I just don’t get it. Your system might be completely different. Please fill it in a little bit to get me to your way of thinking, and I will be grateful. Thanks

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Mike Sententia November 17, 2012 at 9:56 AM

Sure. I don’t think I can do it justice in a comment, but I’ll do a post on this coming up. Thanks!

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Barracuda Surf November 16, 2012 at 3:21 PM

I can’t wait to read the book!

I have been meditating a lot on the sigil and tried different things, I even printed it on a series of papers, one I carry with me on my packsack and use from time to time. However I didn’t practice much of the other exercises.

I feel I need to restart from the beginning, practice the exercises and do everything in a linear manner.

It would be cool to have an unfinished draft as soon as possible, we could then comment on that.

By the way, I was wondering if there is a reason to have many symbols in duplicates on the sigil? Does each symbols link to different parts of a systems? I sometime am unsure if I should look to the whole thing or just one symbol. It would be easier to concentrate on one single symbol than on a series of symbols in duplicate. So I wonder if there is a technical reason to it?

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Mike Sententia November 17, 2012 at 9:59 AM

Awesome. I’m always glad to hear when readers are practicing what I post. Thanks.

On the sigil, I made it with multiple symbols for redundancy. That way, even if I messed one of them up, making it similar to another symbol, the rest of them will carry the connection. (In fact, one of them is similar to a Japanese letter, I think, so it’s a good thing I did.) Then I doubled them up because I thought it looked better, no technical reason for that.

I get a connection when I just glance at the sigil, looking at all the symbols at once. But if you want to focus on one symbol, that should work too. Just move from one to the next, focusing on each one for a few seconds.

I’ll have more techniques posted about all this soon.

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