Enlightenment and Modern Psychology

Monday, August 13th, 2012

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I want to wrap this series up with a discussion of how consciousness integration actually works, based on the model of modern psychology that Ananael presented in these comments and this post. (By the way, I also have a degree in psychology, and I can confirm that what he’s saying is essentially correct.)

And, having already thought about this model before writing the post, it does lead to good questions for future work. Which is what models should do: Suggest new ways to use and improve a technique. I’ll start with the model, then apply it to consciousness integration, and finish with the questions.

Ananael’s Basic Model

To paraphrase Ananael’s comments and post, there are 3 main parts of the psyche:

  • The thinking system, which handles your conscious thoughts. When someone asks you what’s on your mind, you report the contents of the thinking system.
  • The feeling system, which handles emotions.
  • The conditioning system, which processes classical and operant conditioning.

When I talk about the conscious mind, that’s probably the same as his thinking system. (Which is totally different than my term “thinking mind,” which encompasses all of these parts. Just so you’re aware.)

When I talk about semi-conscious areas, those areas live inside either the feeling system or the conditioning system.

(For more, read Ananael’s post.)

Consciousness Integration in that Model

Let me start with a few examples:

  • Starting simple: When I updated my behavior to brush my teeth earlier in the evening, that seems to live at the intersection of the thinking and conditioning systems. Conditioning because it’s a behavior pattern, and thinking because I had to focus on some logic of why this was good.
  • When I made myself more confident that people like me, that updated ingrained emotional responses, but also updated how I interpret situations and which clues I pay attention to. So, ingrained means it uses the conditioning system, but this pattern involved the other two, also.
  • When I increased my patience, that was a combination of eliminating triggers that made me impatient (conditioned emotional responses) and establishing a new emotional pattern based around the idea that staying calm reliably produces better outcomes. Again, all 3 systems.

So, consciousness integration seems to involve all three systems. But it does it in an interesting way:

The main technique involves magickally supporting your conscious mind while causing it to interact more heavily than usual with your conditioning and emotional systems. The support is so you can ensure that your conscious mind stays the same, while the other systems update to align to it. (Optionally, you can focus on a particular change you’d like to make.)

Now, what I’m about to say will sound strange, because we normally think of our conscious mind as ourselves. But when we’re talking about areas of my mind interacting, it’s most correct to say that my entire mind is me, and that my conscious mind is one component of that mind-as-a-whole.

Now, the strange-sounding observation: My conscious mind mediates the changes for me. See, I don’t connect directly to the conditioning or emotional systems and try to rewire them. Instead, I just help my conscious mind interact with them by exposing conflicts between the systems, and I make sure my conscious mind wins those conflicts. Unless I particularly try, I’m not even conscious of what the particular changes or disagreements are about.

That’s the key: You’re engaging the normal updating process of your mind — various systems conflicting and updating one another — while making sure the one you want to win, wins.

Future Work

Now that we have a better model of consciousness integration, I see new questions:

Should I use a different technique for updating the emotional system vs the conditioning system? My gut says yes: They operate quite differently, so they probably respond to different techniques. The differences might not even be magickal, it might just be a change in the thoughts you focus conscious mind on as you run the update.

Should I update my conscious mind? What system would I update it against?

Is it better to network all the emotional areas together before networking them with my conscious mind, or is it better to network each emotional area to conscious mind separately? Same question for the conditioning system. And, is it best to integrate the emotional and conditioning systems with each other, or just integrate each of them with conscious mind?

Are there other systems that require updates? Or other parts of each system that I haven’t networked into the integration yet?

Those are questions I’ll come back to next time I do enlightenment work.

At this point, I’ve spent roughly twice as long writing about enlightenment as I did actually doing the magick. Largely because of all the backstory, and all your great comments. It’s been fun, and educational, and a great growth experience for me as a writer. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Next, I think I’ll write some beginner-focused posts. Any requests?

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

Why Enlightenment Improves Your Magick

Friday, August 10th, 2012

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Last week, I wrote:

The day after you ascend, nothing much changes, except that now you’re treated as an equal by other ascended. You don’t become magickally skilled because you ascended; instead, you ascended because you were magickally skilled. And, after ascending, you still have a human body, and no beam of light wisks you away.

Ananael replied:

According to the Golden Dawn and Thelemic magical schools […] there’s a big jump when transitioning to the state of consciousness represented by the sphere of Tiphareth (the Sun) on the Tree of Life and that represented by the sphere of Binah (Saturn). A magician who has accomplished the former is called an Adept, and one who has accomplished the latter is called a Master of the Temple.


The state of consciousness resulting from Adept-level work dramatically increased my ability to shift probabilities and so forth in the material world.

How do I square those two statements?

Ananael’s report doesn’t surprise me, actually. The apparent disagreement comes from focusing on different metrics.

I usually focus on the core skills of direct magick: How well can you make or follow a connection? How well can you match a signature? Can you set up an effective shield, and how good does someone have to be to bypass it without you noticing?

Those things do not change with enlightenment, in my experience, and I would not expect them to change with ascention.

But remember that ethereal software I’m offering with my book? Before releasing it, I thought about how to keep everyone safe — the mages using it, and the non-mages around them. My answer: It will require consciousness integration (or other enlightenment work) before it will allow you to access more advanced, powerful functionality. Your access level is limited not only by your technical skill at issuing commands, but by your enlightenment work.

Here’s how it works: Say you haven’t done any enlightenment work, and you make a request of the ethereal software. (For my software, requests are words, but other software could use rituals or visualizations as requests.) Some requests, such as asking it to significantly affect someone else’s body, will simply be ignored. Other requests, like dramatic changes from manifesting, will produce a weaker, safer version.

Once you do enlightenment work, some of those restrictions lift, and the software will respond to more commands more fully. The more enlightenment, the fewer restrictions.

So, that’s my best guess on the enlightenment-based upgrade that Ananael describes.

(Another possibility: Spirits could trigger mental muscles to awaken as a reward for reaching a certain level. This could be delivered through ethereal software, similar to my ethereal software’s command to awaken a few mental muscles to get you started. But I consider this option to be much less probable, because (1) it’s more difficult to do, (2) while theoretically possible, I have never seen this actually happen, and (3) there are prohibitions on awakening someone else’s mental muscles, beyond the first few required to get someone started. But it is possible, so I wanted to mention it.)

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

Rewiring Unconscious Thoughts

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

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There’s one more technique I want to share, before we leave this enlightenment series. It lets you choose a new thought pattern to sink into your mind, rather than just letting your mind update whatever it wants.

The technique is simple: Hold the desired thought in your mind, and synchronize all the networked semi-conscious areas using that update algorithm. Ideally, you’ll also focus on the reasons you believe the desired thought pattern is true, and the reasons that your current thought patterns are false and should be updated.

Here’s what happens: Most of your semi-conscious areas won’t care about this idea, and the update won’t affect them. But eventually, you’ll hit a semi-conscious area that disagrees with this thought. Your conscious mind will talk with that semi-conscious area and “convince it” to update.

I put “convince it” in quotes because that’s more of a metaphor than I like to use. As Ananael has been pointing out, it’s not really accurate to say that these semi-conscious areas have beliefs and views. It would be more accurate to say that they trigger thoughts in my conscious mind, or that they have conditioned responses, or some other explanation that doesn’t turn each bit of your psyche into a homunculus. But, I do find that it’s important to be clear on what the semi-conscious areas believe, and on why exactly that belief is false, and therefore, it helps to think of this as convincing the semi-conscious area to change its mind.

Once I learned it, running this sort of update takes only a few minutes. Let me share a few new thought patterns I’ve created:

  • Being more confident that people like me, and paying attention to the right clues (like how often they seek out my company) rather than more obvious but less accurate ones (like compliments).
  • Brushing and flossing are important, and I’ll be happier if I do them before I’m tired, rather than postponing them until the latest possible. (Trivial? Yes. But if you don’t practice your magick on trivial things, how can you expect to be good enough when something important comes along?)
  • Increasing my patience: I focused on how staying calm reliably produces better outcomes than becoming frustrated. It doesn’t make me never get frustrated, but it has caused me to calm down much more quickly, which I’ll count as a win.
  • When I’m down, rather than playing video games and waiting for it to pass, I should make myself do something to change my mood (like go for a walk in the park, see a museum or meet up with friends.) This felt more like creating a new thought pattern than updating old patterns, and it was inspired by Ananael’s comments about these thought patterns really being conditioned responses, so thanks!

By the way, none of those are meant to be deep insights into life. The point isn’t the ideas themselves, it’s sinking those ideas into the semi-conscious parts of my mind, so they affect my thoughts and actions and emotions even before I’m consciously aware of what I’m feeling. It’s a way to rewire your mind, to produce better responses without having to consciously think about each one.

And with that, we’re up to date on my enlightenment work. There are a few comments that require a post-length reply, and I’ll probably write a summary, but we’re almost done with this series. Thanks for reading, thanks for sticking with me through all these technical posts and procedures and algorithms, and most of all, thanks for the excellent comments.

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

3 Results from the Enlightenment Technique

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

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We’ve been talking about direct magick techniques for enlightenment, and I want to share the results of that work — how this magick changed how I think and respond — but that’s difficult. See, they’re not vague updates. It’s not like I used to think money was important, and now I value friends more. No, the changes show up when I consider specific aspects of my life: My path with magick, my relationships with friends and lovers, and how I respond when my beliefs are challenged. The changes live in the details, which makes this difficult to discuss in a public forum.

But, I do want to share this part of my journey. So, here are three changes triggered by the integration. I hope you’ll understand when I leave some details vague.

Action, Not Guilt

I often have a feeling that I need to get better with magick. Not that it would be nice to be better, but that I need to. Like I’m racing against some deadline, and slowly losing. It’s the same irrationally-guilty feeling as thinking I haven’t put in enough hours at work, all the while knowing that hours worked isn’t really what matters.

Shortly after integrating my mind, this thought started bothering me. But something new followed it: The idea that, no, I don’t need to get better in general, I just need to work on the 3 tasks I’ve already picked as my main project for the next several years. It refocused me away from guilt and onto thinking about how to advance those projects, and it did it effortlessly —  I know what it feels like to consciously redirect my thoughts, and this refocusing felt totally different, like it came from the same unconscious regions as the initial feeling of needing to get better.

At the time, I wrote, “It’s like the automated patterns of thought that I normally have are being interrupted and updated, which is excellent.”

Is this enlightenment? Not quite. But it shows the results of integrating a lot of areas of my mind, and it’s definitely a change for the better.

Clarity in Relationships

Next, I thought about relationships, and I could easily focus on what was healthy. Not just “this person is healthy, this one isn’t,” but a sense of what sort of relationship would be healthy with each person: What to share, how vulnerable to be, and so on. I used to be distracted by unimportant annoyances, like a minor disagreement or scheduling problems, but they didn’t even enter my thoughts. (Until I sat down to compare my thinking now with my thinking previously.)

I know, this is terribly vague. Sorry. The point is, without consciously trying to clarify my thinking, my thinking simply clarified on its own. Which tells me that my mind was working better.

Insight, Not Reactions

The next day, I called the spirit who taught me the technique, and asked him about the metrics he uses to determine how well an enlightenment technique worked. His answer:

We look at stray desires. Not thoughts, but drives, urges, things you can’t control that cause inner conflict. If you’re not aware of any, that’s a good indication they’re not there. Can you easily cast your mind around to subjects you’d find painful before?

I do, asking “What if magick isn’t real?” Of course, I have thought about this in the past, but it’s always something I have to force myself to do, consciously stepping through the logic while avoiding gut reactions. But this time, I got an effortless, intuitive answer: “I’m going to act like it is, and that’s enough. We all have to take some gambles to accomplish anything great.”

I also thought about death, conflicts with my parents, and some other topics, and felt clear on each one. Not necessarily deep, but I didn’t have my normal instant reactions, and I was able to get to some insight about each topic. It’s good. Healing, even.


That’s a quick smattering of the changes I observed after doing this integration technique. If you’re considering using direct magick for enlightenment yourself, hopefully this gives you some idea of what to expect.

(I’m fully aware that skeptics will say this was all placebo. This series isn’t for them.)

I have one more technique to share tomorrow. And, for those of you eager to try some consciousness integration on yourself, I’ll program a basic technique into my book’s ethereal software with it later this year.

Also, between yesterday and today, I’ve replied to most of the comments on this series. If you were waiting for a response, it’s probably there by now.

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

Algorithms for Consciousness Integration

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

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Today’s post is about the algorithm I created to speed up yesterday’s enlightenment technique. (If you haven’t read that post, read it before this one.)

Here’s the idea: I have roughly 100 semi-conscious areas to integrate. Doing each one is not too difficult, but doing all 100 will take a while. So, instead of consciously stepping through the process 100 times, I want to create a recipe, tell my mental muscles what to do, and let them do integrate those areas faster than my conscious mind can handle. As a computer programmer, I call this recipe an “algorithm.”

Also: This is technical, advanced magick. If that’s not your thing, come back tomorrow to read about how it feels to use this technique, and how it changed my thought patterns.

Algorithms and Magick

Algorithms are detailed instructions. They step you through a task, telling you what to do at each step.

Take cooking, for example. If a recipe says, “Stir at 1 rotation per second for 2 minutes, then pour into a 2x8x8 pan and bake at 300 degrees for 20 minutes,” that’s an algorithm. It’s detailed, and you can follow the instructions precisely. If it says, “Stir until ready, then bake until golden brown,” that’s not an algorithm. It leaves a ton of decisions to the chef, and as someone terrible in the kitchen, I’d surely end up with lumpy brownies, burned on the outside and runny on the inside.

My background is in computer science, so I’m good with algorithms. For years, those skills seemed fairly useless for magick, because there’s no need for automation when you always direct every step consciously. Then last year, I started reprogramming ethereal software, and developed better solutions by applying standard computer algorithms. Then I found that, by awakening my mental muscles more thoroughly, they can learn algorithms quickly and execute them faster than I can consciously track the action. And so, in the past couple of years, my computer background has become fairly useful. Sometimes, spirits even ask for help to improve their procedures, too.

Automating the Integration

Yesterday, I told you about a technique with an incredibly vague step 3:

Once all those paths are active, you update all those semi-conscious areas to be consistent with one another. Yes, this step is quite vague. It was actually his area of focus when we talked. He gave me a few pieces of advice:

  • Your conscious mind should stay mostly the same.
  • Semi-conscious areas that are already integrated with your conscious mind should stay mostly unchanged as you update other areas.
  • If an area won’t integrate easily, use conscious reasoning to resolve the conflict (and possibly get help from a mentor).

The problem is, how do you know where to start? Which of the 100-or-so semi-conscious areas should you integrate first? How do you avoid painting yourself into a corner, where you’ve grabbed all the easy-to-integrate areas, and you’re just left with a bunch of hard-to-integrate ones? In all, his technique was closer to “Cook until golden brown” than “Cook at 300 for 20 minutes.”

I went through a few revisions, and ultimately came up with this algorithm. (For the computer scientists in the audience, it’s recursive, more or less.)

  1. Start with your conscious mind. Since we’re integrating all the areas with the conscious mind, we’ll consider the conscious mind to be integrated already when we start.
  2. Find all the semi-conscious areas that connect to the already-integrated part of your mind. (For the first iteration, this is simply the areas connecting directly to your conscious mind.)
  3. Integrate all of those areas, using the normal consciousness integration technique: Support your conscious mind, then integrate each area one at a time. Support semi-conscious areas that are already integrated, too, but support them slightly less than conscious mind. (The farther they are from conscious mind, the less support they get.)
  4. If two integrated areas are ever in conflict, stop and notify me. If any areas require significant changes to synchronize them with the rest of my mind, stop and notify me. (Neither problem came up when I ran my integration.)
  5. Now that you have more areas integrated, you have a larger “already-integrated part of your mind.” Repeat from step 2, finding the areas that connect to this larger “already-integrated part of your mind.”
  6. When you stop finding new areas to integrate, you’re done.

(I knew the algorithm would terminate because I’d already found all the areas I wanted to integrate, so I knew it was a finite, not-hugely-large amount.)

That’s the algorithm. You can follow each step, and if you do, you wind up with the desired result. No judgement calls along the way, just a concrete procedure.


I went to the mental muscle that does magick on thinking mind, stepped it through the algorithm, and told it to integrate everything. Now that it had an algorithm to follow, it ran faster than I could consciously watch. I became slightly tired and distracted, so I couldn’t work, but I was able to reply to emails and watch a movie. Once I created the algorithm, running the integration only took a few hours.

Later, we also used the algorithm in another technique to consciously trigger updates to your mind. It worked well there, too. (I’ll tell you about that coming up.)

And, most excitingly for me, the ascended spirit liked the algorithm and added it to his official technique when he teaches it.

Tomorrow, I’ll share some of the changes I’ve noticed in my own thinking as a result of this work.

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

An Advanced Technique for Enlightenment

Monday, August 6th, 2012

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Sometimes, I call techniques advanced because they’re difficult for mages new to direct magick. This is not one of those times. This technique is genuinely advanced, and at the edge of what I can do. Enjoy.

Yesterday, we talked about a systematic model of how enlightened minds operate. I told you that I trusted that model because it lead us to a useful technique to improve enlightenment. So, today, let’s talk about that technique.

Both the model and the technique come from an ascended spirit I know, who is working to improve his own enlightenment, and wants to develop a generally useful technique to teach to his friends, too. He enlisted me to help test the technique, and to help turn some of the more vague steps into a precise procedure.

The Ascended Spirit’s Technique

Step 1: Find all the paths between all the semi-conscious parts of thinking mind. Previously, I’d only noticed the semi-conscious areas that connect to my conscious mind, but it turns out, there are a lot of semi-conscious areas that only connect to other semi-conscious areas. To find the entire network, you engage the mental muscles for affecting minds, and you keep asking, “Take all the areas you’ve found so far and find any other paths that lead away from those areas” until you stop getting any more paths.

Step 2: Activate all those paths. Yes, that’s one step. That’s part of why this is an advanced technique. It took me an evening to do this, but I would have been completely unable to do it if I hadn’t done consciousness integration a dozen times or more in the past few years.

Step 3: Update all those semi-conscious areas to be consistent with one another. Yes, this step is quite vague, and improving it was his area of focus when we talked. He gave me a few pieces of advice:

  • Your conscious mind should stay mostly unchanged.
  • Semi-conscious areas that are already integrated with your conscious mind should stay mostly unchanged as you update other areas.
  • If an area won’t integrate easily, use conscious reasoning to resolve the conflict (and possibly get help from a mentor).

Now, you could certainly work through each semi-conscious area individually, adding them one at a time and hoping that none of the un-integrated areas were too far out of sync with everything else. And if you’re an ascended spirit and don’t need to sleep or make money, maybe that isn’t a big deal. But that sounds like a lot more time than I want to put in, and you know my stance on fast enlightenment.

So, instead, I made an algorithm, which let my mental muscles run faster than my conscious mind. I’ll share that tomorrow.

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

Enlightenment: A Systematic Model

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

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The first step to good magick is building a good model.

The first model is usually a description: Enlightened people don’t act out of anger or pettiness. Useful for recognizing the thing you’re talking about, but if you try to build techniques based on a description, you’ll tend to focus on individual factors like anger, rather than solving the underlying problem.

To solve the problem, you have to build a systematic model: A description of the moving pieces that cause those behaviors. It involves a lot of observation and research, and it takes a lot of practice to become good at systematic models, but they’re the key to building good techniques.

Quick example: We can describe a car as, “four wheels, moves fast.” But to build or repair one, you need a systematic model of all the pieces that make up the engine.

And so, I’m quite excited to have a first systematic model for enlightenment. It comes from an ascended spirit I work with who’s trying to further his own enlightenment. Here’s how he put it:

An enlightened mind is one cohesive unit. All the parts are integrated, and synchronize with one another. As a result, the mind is fully internally consistent: There’s no part of it that holds a belief that contradicts the beliefs of another part.

In other words, no doublethink. He’s saying that an enlightened mind won’t accept doublethink because all the components communicate with one another, even the semi-conscious ones. Which immediately prompts us to investigate how to enable all the components to communicate with one another. (Hint: Revisit consciousness integration.)

(Of course, this is just one aspect. That’s how these models work: You explore one aspect of enlightenment, figure out how to add it to your own mind, then explore the next piece.)

I’ll cover the technique in tomorrow’s post. Don’t get too excited, though, it’s not easy to learn. But it might be useful for some of you.

For today, though, I want to close with two thoughts and a question:

  • First, how do I know this model is accurate? The answer is, it suggested a technique which works well, and which I wouldn’t have seen without this model. That’s how I validate pretty much all of my models.
  • Second, talking with this guy, it strikes me that “enlightened” is a matter of degrees. It’s not enlightened vs unenlightened, it’s more and less enlightened.
  • And my question: This concept of “a unified mind, incapable of holding contradictory beliefs,” is that common to other styles focused on enlightenment?
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From Psychology to Enlightenment

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

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I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: The best part of blogging is reading your comments. And because of them, I’ve realized that I can’t half-tell this story. I need to share my whole thinking on enlightenment, and the path I took to get here. That’s why I told you about ascention yesterday.

Today, I want to share my journey as I developed this model, so that tomorrow, I can tell you about my current work in enlightenment this past week.

I first encountered ascended spirits somewhere around 2004. A friend introduced me to a group of them. At the time, we noticed two differences between the ascended spirits and other spirits: (1) the ascended spirits were much more skilled, and (2) where other spirits seemed petty and human, the ascended spirits did not.

Until then, I had only encountered the concepts of enlightenment and ascention in TV shows and whatever new-age bits I happened to read. It wasn’t something I studied, read, or even thought about. And so, I didn’t have any overarching model of it. The terms basically referred to these spirits I was working with, and didn’t need any definition beyond that.

That’s also why I focused on behavior, rather than internal mental state: Observing ascended spirits, I could see the behavior, and feel their calm and focus when they sent messages, but I didn’t know anything about the internal state of their mind that produced it. And for around 5 years, enlightenment remained something that these ascended spirits did, rather than something I was working on.

In 2009, I developed that consciousness integration technique I told you about. At the time, I still wasn’t thinking about enlightenment. I just had something bothering me — I can’t recall what, but probably something about work or relationships or something — and wanted to stop my mind running so I could focus on something more fun. There’ a reason it sounds like psychology and mental health: That’s what the technique was designed for.

Then I showed the technique to the ascended spirits I worked with, and they told me it was part of the path to enlightenment. I still wasn’t thinking about enlightenment much, but it was neat to have a technique related to it, and they seemed pleased, so I was happy.

Since then, I’ve improved consciousness integration several times. Until this last time, I’ve focused on psychological benefits, rather than on ascention-related enlightenment, because I tend to focus on problems I can actually solve, instead of grand problems that I can’t make progress with.

For my technical readers, here are the main improvements:

  • After activating the connection between conscious mind and the semi-conscious area, leave that connection on, so the semi-conscious area contuously updates. (In my terms, “semi-conscious” is for parts of your psyche that intrude into conscious thought, while “unconscious” is for strictly unconscious processes that you’re almost never aware of.)
  • Rather than connecting one semi-conscious area at a time, activate a network of paths between conscious mind and many semi-conscious areas, you can update many unhealthy thought patterns, even if you aren’t exactly sure what they are yet.
  • When you do that, be sure to use your mental muscles to support your conscious mind, so it shifts the semi-conscious areas, rather than the other way around.
  • Then there’s one more I learned last week, which I’ll post about soon.

With each advancement, consciousness integration moved away from a one-time fix for an unhealthy thought pattern, and toward a lasting change to how the parts of my mind are networked together. And each time, my view of enlightenment changed.

And, writing this series, I’ve realized that my view of enlightenment — maybe my view of most magick, even — is based around what I can do right now, plus the one or two steps further ahead that I can see. It’s based on experience, rather than a grand vision of what enlightenment ought to be.

It’s really only in the past 6 months that I’ve started to think of enlightenment as something I can work on, rather than something impossibly advanced. And I only got a good structural definition of enlightenment in the past week, from ascended spirits working on improving their own enlightenment. And so, I have advanced techniques relating to enlightenment, developed for mental health purposes, but I’m at the very start of my own thinking on the subject.

This series so far has captured much of my view on enlightenment up until that training last week. Which means that now, we have the background to talk about my current work on enlightenment. That’s the next post in this series.

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

Enlightenment and Ascention

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

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I never thought I’d write about ascention. Even now, writing this, I’m not sure if I’ll ever publish it. The topic has been taken over by new-agers, filled with ridiculous models based on wishes and self-important daydreams, without any real observations, techniques or models.

And yet, to properly discuss enlightenment, I have to discuss ascention. So please, bear with me, as this is my first time explaining this in writing.

First, why am I even talking about ascention? It’s not something I ever expected to be in my model, and I’ve always found the idea a bit silly. The standard depictions just never added up for me. But the spirits I work with use the term, and consider it quite important. And so, I’ve started using the term, too.

When I say “ascention,” I worry that I conjure up the image of a person disappearing into a beam of light and becoming some sort of spirit, which sounds entirely too Hollywood-special-effects-ish for me to take seriously. In my experience, magick just doesn’t work like that.

I think of ascention as more of a political designation. Like becoming a senator. You don’t change from human into something else, and you don’t suddenly gain more skills — to get elected, you had to have good oratory skills, a good understanding of human nature and politics and so on, and you keep those skills, but they don’t magically increase the day after the election. What does change, though, is how people respond to you.

It’s the same with ascention: You have to have good technical skills with magick, along with strong progress in enlightenment. The day after you ascend, nothing much changes, except that now you’re treated as an equal by other ascended. You don’t become magickally skilled because you ascended; instead, you ascended because you were magickally skilled. And, after ascending, you still have a human body, and no beam of light wisks you away.

Of all the areas of magick I study, I probably understand ascention the least. My model is based more on training than on personal experience, and there are parts that my trainers won’t explain until I’m further along. If you’re wondering, “Why bother calling this something as grandiose as ‘ascending,’ rather than just talking about collaborations and access,” it’s because I’ve adopted their term, and because it’s quite important to them.

One more item: Many people say that the spirits they work with are ascended. Perhaps some of their spirits even claim to be ascended themselves. In my experience, few are, based on the level of skill that I associated with ascended spirits. It’s not an argument I intend to have with individual mages, because it quickly devolves into a schoolyard “my dad can beat your dad up,” but it’s something I want to mention to you, my readers, as something to be aware of.

So, the enlightenment work I do is in service of this form of ascention. And I had to explain that for the rest of this series to make sense.

Also, a quick note to Ananael and Ona: Thanks for the great comments lately. They keep sparking thoughts that I’m pulling into this series. Will reply to them soon.

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

My Main Technique for Enlightenment

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

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We all have divided psyches. Some parts developed as children, then remain focused on pleasing our parents long after we’re grown. Some were formed during intense emotions, and forever anticipate the return of a pain that we rationally know will never come. Some simply reflect the helplessness of childhood, carried over into our adult selves.

If you’ve ever had a nagging guilt that you knew was illogical, but you couldn’t quite drop it, you’ve experienced these divisions in the human psyche.

Until recently, my enlightenment work focused on updating these old, maladaptive parts of my psyche. I call the technique consciousness integration, because it focuses on integrating these unconscious and semi-conscious parts of your psyche with your conscious mind.

I initially got the idea in 2009, reading the fluent self, a non-magickal self-help blog. She talked about letting the dark parts of yourself surface enough to speak, then talking with them, listening to what they want, and embracing them. Shouldn’t be too foreign to anyone who’s done meditation or spiritual journeying, or even psychology or hypnosis. And it was helpful, but not helpful enough.

Well, you know me: When a solution doesn’t cut it, I see if a little magick can help. And so, I looked in my thinking mind to find the unhealthy part of my psyche that I was trying to talk to. Then I looked at my conscious mind, found the path between the two, and activated it. That let me talk with that unhealthy bit more easily, and ultimately solved the problem.

When I say it like that, it sounds like I had a plan. Really, I didn’t. I knew there should be something involving the signature of that unhealthy bit of my psyche, or the connections around it, or my conscious mind, or, you know, something dealing with my mind that would help. And so, I tried about a dozen wrong answers before stumbling on this one.

But once I did, it worked well. I had only intended to weaken the unhealthy thoughts that kept nagging me. I would have counted the technique really successful if it had gotten rid of them entirely. But it went further: Once my conscious mind explained how the adult world was different, the unhealthy part of my psyche didn’t just go away, it became healthy, and its nagging changed to useful ideas and encouragement.

Since then, I’ve refined the technique several times. We’ll talk about those later in this series. But the underlying idea is always the same: Connect the unhealthy part of my psyche with my conscious mind, let my conscious mind bring that unhealthy part into the adult world, and watch it become healthy.

That’s the essence of enlightenment in direct magick.

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