Strategic Sorcery on Enlightenment

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

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Jason and I have been discussing magick for enlightenment. You should read those links, and particularly the latest post, before continuing.

First, let me say I really enjoyed Jason’s post. This isn’t my field, but I love exploring new things. I’m going to mostly discuss ideas and ask questions rather than giving answers. (Or I’ll try to, at least.)

What Enlightenment Is (For Jason)

Jason wrote:

It is about waking up from the fragmented and mechanical awareness that we all have so that we can see what reality is. Once it is found it is about allowing that non-dual awareness to regain its natural stability. In this way we understand the ground of being.

I had to look up “non-dual awareness,” which means being aware of the universe as a whole entity, rather than seeing yourself as separate from it, more or less. (Feel free to leave comments and tell me how wrong I am about that.)

Like some of you, I’m fairly new to Jason’s writing. I think this is one of the keys to understanding him, though: He views enlightenment through a meditative, non-dualist approach. (Buddhist, perhaps?)

My approach focuses more on understanding emotions and bringing your responses in line with what they are when you’re at your best. But non-dual awareness sounds interesting, so let’s explore.

Magick for Enlightenment

My second question was, “What magick practices focus on enlightenment?”

Jason’s answer seems to be “a lot of them.” Which is fair, since there are lots of approaches. But it’s not that useful for someone new to this enlightenment-based magick. So let me ask a slightly different question: What are some identifying features of practices that lead to enlightenment? Perhaps an example of a ceremonial practice focused on enlightenment, and one that isn’t, would make it clearer.

Also, my real reason for asking is so I can try it. If you have a good practice for someone with very little ritual experience, but a good deal of other magick experience, that would be awesome.

How Do You Know It’s Working

This part I really enjoyed. Three items to note:

First, Jason makes a great distinction between reaching the state occasionally vs reaching the stage of development where you can sustain the state. I find the same thing in a lot of magick: There’s a difference between being able to do something on a good day vs being able to do it on most days vs being able to do it whenever you want, even if you’re distracted.

Second, I like the way he explains that the proof is in the putting*, and calls BS on some “Crazy Wisdom.”

*That’s the original phrase: Putting, meaning “the doing of the thing.” Not “pudding.”

Third, and this is may be something I have to experience: I don’t see the connection between a non-dual view of the world and acting in an enlightened manner. I believe that you can be both, and there is probably a correlation between the two. But I don’t understand the causal connection, and ultimately, focusing on non-duality seems like a round-about way to change your reactions to situations and behave in a kinder, more thoughtful way.

Given that I’m new to this type of work, that’s probably a matter of me not seeing something, rather than a statement that there is no connection. But if I’m confused about this, other people probably are, too. And finding the way that A causes B usually helps design a more efficient version of A that causes B better.

Other Projects

A quick note: I owe a bunch of you posts and emails, all the way back from February when Mike asked what I see when I connect to my knee. Those are all coming. I just finished the article for the anthology book today, and I’ll start responding to your questions tomorrow. Thanks for your patience. I haven’t forgotten you.

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Magick, Mind and Enlightenment

Friday, March 9th, 2012

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Jason Miller has an interesting post on the relationship between magick, psychology and personal growth. I agree with a lot of it, and yet, it somehow feels like it isn’t quite right. This post is me trying to make sense of that intuition.

You should probably read Jason’s post first.

Magick Explained as Driving a Car

In response to:

I have even run across some who reject the idea of mind as having any role within magic, at least not any more than driving a car or any other task. This is a grievous error on many levels.

On one level, I agree. Having the proper mental posture is quite important, and I talk about that a fair amount.

But I also compare magick to cars, and engines, and walking. And there’s a reason for that: Most of the interesting stuff happens outside your mind.

Connections are external magickal structures. They have an independent existence outside your thoughts. So does ethereal software, spirits, the energy pathways I use for energy healing, and basically everything else I talk about. Just because it’s non-physical doesn’t make it mental.

If you’re new to magick, learning the right mental posture to engage your mental muscles is quite important. But once you’ve learned that, I think it’s a lot more productive to focus on the external magickal structures, rather than focusing on your mind.

Magick As Curiosity

In response to:

If you are not in the game for some kind of awakening, orĀ improvementĀ of the self in a spiritual sense, I really just have no idea why you are bothering. If you seek power, or money, or sex, or anything else there are better and surer ways of achieving those ends than magic.

I’ve also said that magick is a bad path to material gain. At very high levels, a mage can probably solve problems that a non-mage cannot. But it takes years or decades to get there. If you want to heal people, becoming a doctor or nurse is a faster path to truly solving the underlying problem. And if you want money, you can build a company more quickly than you can learn enough magick to pay the bills.

Aside from Mike: More and more, I’m seeing how adding a little magick to your non-magickal efforts can really improve the results. I think developing useful , easy-to-learn techniques that give a small bump to normal effort — for manifesting, energy healing and other domains — is an important step to growing magick into a mature field.

But Jason’s focus on awakening doesn’t do it for me, either. I mean, I’ve developed effects for personal growth (consciousness integration in particular), but it’s like how Jason treats magick for financial success: I’m glad to know it, but it’s not the reason I practice magick. And if you took it away, I’d still practice everything else.

For me, magick is really about curiosity. How do all these parts work together to change the physical world? What are the underlying mechanics of the world that most people never notice? It’s that sense of exploration that drives me.

So, I’m not exactly disagreeing with Jason. I agree with the basic idea, that someone pursuing magick for money / power / etc. won’t get very far. And I’m sure that personal growth is a drive for a lot of mages. I just think he’s missing other paths.

Magick Doesn’t Cause Enlightenment

I like Jason’s point at the end, about magickal skill not necessarily coinciding with enlightenment. That’s something that’s been on my mind, to, as I think about the limits of the techniques I would teach in a public blog.

So, I have a question for Jason, and anyone else thinking about these things: If you are doing magick for an awakening / enlightenment / personal growth, which techniques focus on that? How do you go about it? And how do you know if it’s effective?

I have my answers for consciousness integration, but it’s definitely not a traditional approach to enlightenment, and I’m curious what the traditional approach entails. Thanks!

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