Posts Tagged ‘Mental Posture’

Techniques for Energetic Fitness

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

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Being an experienced practitioner is more than knowing rituals or having attunements and certifications. It’s about having a mind that’s in good shape for energy / magick / this-practice-has-many-names.

That energetic fitness is called inner work. It’s a combination of mental skills like focus and visualization, and energetic skills like engaging the energy-driving parts of the mind. In most people, those energy-driving parts are dormant, and they must be awakened before a person can achieve success in their practice. This happens naturally through practice, a little at a time, and after years of steady practice one may have many fully-awake energetic muscles.

(Outer work is the rituals, certifications, etc.)

This post is about speeding that process up. It covers techniques for awakening those energy-driving parts of the mind, not by using them, but by finding and energizing them directly. It also includes a technique for engaging them to your will. These techniques will help you achieve greater energetic fitness more quickly.

I’m teaching this material at the OTO temple in Oakland, CA on Tuesday Nov 1. If you can attend, please RSVP on Facebook. If not, I’ll post the video of the class when it’s up in a few weeks.

Note: These techniques are equally applicable whether you call your practice “magick,” “energy healing,” or something else. Because the OTO calls it “magick,” I’ll mostly use that term throughout this post.

Mental Posture

Physical posture is about engaging the body’s muscles, so one’s body is in a good position for the task at hand. Mental posture is about engaging the mind’s muscles. For magick, we want to engage the parts of the mind that drive magick.

Think about doing your practice (ritual, visualizing energy, etc). You know that mental shift that happens when you feel the energy or forces you’re using? That’s the mental posture. Most practitioners can engage their mental posture with time (in a long ritual or other session), and experienced practitioners can engage their mental posture quickly. And by teaching mental posture as an explicit technique, we can help everyone learn to engage it quickly, at will, so even short sessions can be effective.

To learn mental posture:

  • Do your usual practice, such as a ritual or energy work. Do a full session, until you feel the energy or forces you’re using. That’s how you’ll know you’re in the mental posture for magick.
  • Notice how your mind feels. That’s your mental posture for magick. If you like visualizations, associate a visualization with this mental posture.
  • End the ritual and enter a silent meditation. Maintain the mental posture for magick.
  • Practice those steps until it’s comfortable. Once it is, add this one: Do a mental ritual (visualize the ritual), while maintaining the mental posture. (Or do whatever other practice you do.) If done correctly, you should feel the energy and forces immediately, because your mind is already engaged.
  • Once you can sustain your mental posture easily, try engaging it just through silent meditation, without doing your normal ritual or other practice. This may be slow at first, but with practice it will become fast, and you’ll be able to quickly drop into a mental state for doing magick.

For more on mental posture, see these posts.

Ethereal Muscles

It’s clunky to talk about the “magick-driving parts of the mind.” We need a term, and the term I use is ethereal muscles.

Think about it this way: The difference between a daydream and a magick visualization lies in engaging your ethereal muscles, like the difference between imagining walking vs moving across the room lies in engaging your leg muscles.

Everyone has ethereal muscles. If a person doesn’t use magick or energy, their ethereal muscles are usually dormant and atrophied.

Like the rest of the mind, ethereal muscles seem to be special-purpose. Some are used for communicating with spirits and other forces, others are used for creating connections and shielding, and others for altering energy signatures like in energy healing. There are even ethereal muscles devoted to awakening other ethereal muscles.

The rest of this post focuses on awakening ethereal muscles.

We can awaken our ethereal muscles through practice. In most people who practice magick or use energy, some ethereal muscles are fully awake (the ones they use often), some are partially awake (the ones they use rarely), and others are fully asleep.

Awakening one’s ethereal muscles makes everything a little easier. When I was trying to get better at sensing ethereal structures, I awakened more ethereal muscles related to that, and I improved at that skill much more quickly than I had been through practice alone.

Realize there’s no ethereal muscle for throwing fireballs, or teleporting, or other movie special effects. Awakening ethereal muscles doesn’t instantly make one an experienced practitioner.

Awakening ethereal muscles makes everything a little easier, so you can progress more quickly. But you still need to practice.

(Awakening enough ethereal muscles also seems to open up new avenues for exploring magick. More on that later.)

Awakening New Ethereal Muscles

Different magickal practices use different parts of the mind. (So Golden Dawn rituals will use a different set of ethereal muscles than, say, energy healing.) When one learns a new practice, new ethereal muscles will awaken. This is especially true for learning one’s first practice, when all the general-purpose ethereal muscles must also awaken.

Simply practicing will awaken those ethereal muscles, but with the right techniques, we can accelerate the process. Here’s the first technique for awakening ethereal muscles more quickly:

  • Find and connect to the ethereal muscles that are awakening. (Details below.)
  • Build energy in your body and send it to those ethereal muscles. Not just into your head or brain, but into those ethereal muscles.
  • When you build that energy, think about the energy signature of the ethereal muscles that are awakening, and try to match that signature.
  • Hold the energy in your ethereal muscles for a few minutes, then exercise the muscles by doing your magickal or energetic practice.

Remember to release the energy after you’re done (ground).

Options for finding your ethereal muscles:

  • As with mental posture, do your practice and notice how your mind feels. In particular, pay attention for the parts that get tired or won’t quite engage. Those are the new ethereal muscles. Learn them by feel, or create a visualization if you like.
  • When I first found my ethereal muscles, I’d already learned to use sensory connections to feel and follow other ethereal structures. Here’s how I did that: I made a connection to a person or something, it’s not important where. Then I made another connection to that first connection, so I could feel it and follow where it goes. I followed it back to myself, into my mind, and found the ethereal structures that created it. Those were my ethereal muscles. I explored them for a while, and after I would practice, I could see that some were stressed, tired, under-powered, or otherwise odd.

The second method seems more reliable, but it requires sensory connections. So I offer the first method for anyone who doesn’t know sensory connections yet.

Note: When I did this in the early 2000s, I used a slightly different approach. I would practice, fatigue my ethereal muscles, then find the tired ones and bathe them in energy. But I think it will work better to bathe them in energy first, and then practice. Try both and see what works for you (and tell us in the comments).

Powering New Ethereal Muscles

As I awakened more ethereal muscles, all of my ethereal muscles became sluggish, difficult to engage and focus. I forget how long it took me to realize the problem, but they were under-powered. This is the first technique for increasing the power to one’s ethereal muscles.

(This is an intermediate techniques, and requires one to be able to sense connections and other ethereal structures.)

First, find the pathways that carry that power: Connect to one of your ethereal muscles, find the connections leading away from it, see where they go. You should find three sets of connections:

  • Connections to your brain’s energy layer. Recognize these by their signature, which transitions to the signature of the brain’s energy layer.
  • Connections to other ethereal muscles. These will keep the same signature, more or less.
  • Connections that provide power to the ethereal muscle. These will be the same signature, but a smaller scale. (Details on signature scale.)

We’re after the third set. I call them core paths, and they provide power to our ethereal muscles. I imagine them going up from the ethereal muscles, though it’s probably more accurate to imagine them inside the muscles.

They’re laid out somewhat like the circulatory system: Near ethereal muscles, there are a great number of small capillaries carrying power to each piece of the ethereal muscles. As we go up (away from the ethereal muscles), those capillaries join into larger and larger vessels. If we turn around and go back down, those larger vessels split into many capillaries, supplying many ethereal muscles.

The core paths near your ethereal muscles will likely be under-powered. That’s OK. Follow them up, and eventually you’ll find vessels that are fully powered. Draw that power along your under-powered core paths, energizing and opening them up.

When I did this, I would be exhausted and hungry afterward, especially for protein. Be aware of this, and do it at a time when you can eat and rest.

As one goes farther into core paths, the signature of the paths gets smaller and smaller scale. When I was doing this work, I also spent a lot of time working to accurately sense smaller and smaller scale signatures.

The Four Ethereal Muscles

Until now, we’ve been practicing new techniques, seeing what ethereal muscles started to awaken, and helping them along. But we’re about to reverse that order: We’re going to explore core paths, find new ethereal muscles, awaken them and then figure out what they do. But first: What do these ethereal muscles do?

I’ve found four sets of ethereal muscles:

Communication, devoted to sending thoughts to spirits and forces, and receiving their replies. Awakening more of these ethereal muscles tends to make communication faster and clearer, which helps with channeling energy, spirits, and anything else.

Access, devoted to creating connections and sensing ethereal structures. Awakening more of these ethereal muscles leads to more accurate sensory techniques involving smaller, more precise connections and signatures.

Effects, devoted to recognizing and manipulating energy signature. I use these for energy healing, shielding, and some steps in awakening dormant ethereal muscles. Awakening more of these ethereal muscles helps shift energy signatures more precisely.

Mental activation, devoted to awakening ethereal muscles. Awakening more of these helps with all the things we’re discussing in this class.

Each of those major muscles is made of dozens or hundreds of modules. I don’t know what each module does, I just know how to engage and direct the major muscle. (Kind of like how we’re not aware of individual muscle fibers of our legs as we walk.)

I expect that these four sets of ethereal muscles are common, but not 100% universal. I expect that some people lack one or more, and some people have other ethereal muscles I haven’t encountered yet.

Awakening Fully Dormant Ethereal Muscles

As I became more comfortable exploring my ethereal muscles and the core paths that power them, I began finding fully-dormant ethereal muscles, with no power or activity. They weren’t connected to the other parts of my mind, and I couldn’t engage them by intending to or visualizing really hard because they were fully dormant, and weren’t paying attention to my intent or visualization or other practice. But I’d already had great results from awakening other ethereal muscles, so I wanted to awaken these dormant ones too.

These techniques require solid skills in sensory connections. They’re more advanced than I typically teach or write about. But I want to sketch them out, to give you some ideas if you’re ready to explore them:

Remember that core paths combine as you go higher (away from ethereal muscles), and split as you go down (toward ethereal muscles). To find new ethereal muscles, follow the core paths as far up as you can, then follow them back down, looking for under-powered or fully-dormant pathways as you go. Open power to these pathways, and awaken those ethereal muscles. Note: Finding fully-dormant pathways requires more sensitive sensory connections.

After awakening new ethereal muscles, make sure to connect them to your thinking mind (my term for the ethereal structure that sits between the brain’s energy layer and the ethereal muscles, acting as an interface). The ethereal muscle will know where it wants to connect, but it’s important to deactivate that part of thinking mind while the ethereal muscle connects, or it won’t connect properly. (Reactivate it after.) Most of my issues at this step happened when I didn’t deactivate the area of thinking mind.

As I traced further into core, I found ethereal structures that limited the amount of the power flowing through those core paths. I call them throttles. They are important for ensuring your ethereal muscles receive power in the right signature — do not open them fully, or you will get a massive headache and your ethereal muscles will become extremely difficult to use. But by carefully opening throttles, it’s possible to awaken new ethereal muscles en masse, opening up more capabilities and possibilities for exploring magick and energy.

Summary

Those techniques represents roughly a decade of work.

That work was iterative: I would awaken more ethereal muscles, which improved my ability to sense smaller signatures, which allowed me to go further into core, which allowed me to find and awaken more ethereal muscles, and so on in a spiral. It ended when I learned to open throttles, awakening all the ethereal muscles I could find.

Remember that awakening ethereal muscles doesn’t give you Hollywood-type magick. You won’t levitate or throw fireballs.

What you will find is that you’re more able to sense and manipulate ethereal structures, communicate with spirits more clearly, or do some other aspect of your practice more easily. And as more and more skills become easier, it’ll become possible to tackle projects that used to be too large, and you’ll be able to explore new aspects of magick and energy.

That’s the point of inner work.

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Strengthening Your Ethereal Muscles: Mental Posture

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

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This is part of An Initiation into Direct Magick – Book 1.

Your physical posture is how you hold your body: Which muscles are engaged, which are relaxed, how they move.

Your mental posture is how you hold your mind: Which parts are engaged, which are relaxed, and how they move. You know how your mind feels different when you’re watching TV vs driving vs writing? Those are all mental postures.

In Direct Magick, we use mental posture to engage our ethereal muscles, so they’re listening and ready to respond to our intent.

By the way, most mages learn mental posture at some point. If you can put yourself into a magickal state of mind, congratulations, you already know mental posture. Skim this section, but feel free to skip the exercises.

Step 1: Finding Your Posture

Step 1 is about noticing the mental posture you use for magick.

When I do magick, I’m focused and alert. It’s a trance, but not zoned-out or unthinking. It’s close to the flow state when people write, play music, dance, or otherwise create. (Or play video games.) I’m focused on my ethereal muscles, and less aware of my body.

To recognize your mental posture, start by relaxing, and notice how your mind feels. Not your head or face, but your mind, your thinking. Create an image that represents this — maybe a glowing brain, or a serene stream, or something else. Remember, the point of a visualization is to speak to your unconscious, so use whatever feels natural.

Then, do your energy meditation. Note how your mind feels. It’s often easier to feel changes as they happen, so pay special attention as you start and end the meditation. Do this several times, until you get a feel for it.

(Note: Don’t build energy in your head. If you do, you’ll notice the energy, not the mental posture. Also, remember to release the energy after each energy meditation.)

Once you can feel your mental posture change, watch your posture through a whole session, from relaxed to energy meditation and back again.

Once that’s comfortable, you’re ready to make a visualization. If your calm mind was a serene stream, ask what kind of stream would represent your magick-focused mind. If your calm mind was a glowing brain, ask how your magick-focused brain would look. Remember, this is just symbolic, so it’s not important to be neurologically accurate. (Unless your unconscious feels that an accurate visualization is important to you personally.)

Optional: Now that you’re familiar with mental posture, notice how your mind feels as you read or listen to music. You can even create a visualization for non-magickal focus, then use it to get into the right state for your everyday work, too.

Step 2: Maintaining Your Mental Posture

In Step 2, you’ll do an energy meditation, then use Step 1’s visualization to maintain that posture. This is easier than using the visualization to engage your posture.

Do your energy meditation as before, and notice your mental posture. Now, alongside your energy visualization, do the mental posture visualization you created in Step 1. Hold both in your mind. Then ground and end your energy visualization. Maintain your mental posture using the posture visualization.

Notice your mental posture, then start another energy meditation. You should notice your energy responding instantly, without the several-second lag that typically happens as you engage your ethereal muscles.

Practice this until it’s comfortable.

Optional: Step 2.5

Do Step 2, but rest for a few seconds before doing the second energy meditation. During this rest, stop focusing on your mental posture. Let your mind relax.

After the rest, focus on your mental posture (using the visualization from Step 1) before doing the energy meditation. You should notice the same instant energy as in Step 2.

Step 3: Engaging Your Mental Posture

In Step 3, we’ll do the full technique: Using the visualization to engage your mental posture before doing magick.

Calm your mind, and focus on your calm-mind visualization from Step 1. Then, transition to your magick-focused-mind visualization. Do this before using any other visualization.

Once you’re in that posture, do your energy meditation. As in Step 2, you should notice an immediate result.

Success: How to Know You Did it Right

The point of mental posture is to engage your ethereal muscles, so they respond to any visualization, even a new one.

So let’s try that. Pick a new visualization for energy: Fire, stars, water, plants growing, etc. Make it something you haven’t used before, and something not 100% intuitive to your mind.

Now repeat Step 3 using your new energy visualization. As you do the visualization, hold in your mind, “water = energy.” (Or whatever visualization you’re using). It should work roughly as well as your normal energy meditation, and it should respond immediately, as in Steps 2 and 3.

How to Use Mental Posture

How do you use mental posture for other magick?

The same as in Step 3: Use your visualization to engage your ethereal muscles, then do whatever magick you’re going to do. That might be a visualization, a ritual, an energy healing, a psychic intuition, or anything else.

Note that different types of magick use slightly different mental postures. In this chapter, you learned the mental posture for working with energy. It should work well for any magick. But if you want, you can create postures for each type of magick you do. Just replace the energy meditation with a simple ritual, energy healing, or other magick, and create a new visualization for that magick’s posture.

Aside: The Limits of Magick

What happens if you engage your mental posture, then visualize flying or shooting fireballs?

Nothing happens, sadly. The mental posture will help you communicate your intent to your ethereal muscles. But your ethereal muscles need to know how to fulfill that intent. Energy healing, manifesting, and other common acts of magick usually work well. Flying and fireballs do not.

Next Chapter

Table of Contents

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Overcoming Doubt through Mental Posture

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

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“Be confident in your magick. Eliminate doubt.” That’s standard advice for mages of all levels.

Except, my experience contradicts it:

  • I’ve done tons of healing sessions for knees. But occasionally, instead of steeping my ethereal muscles through the full technique, I’ll just confidently think, “Heal my knee.” My unconscious should know how to do the rest, right? Anyway, I’m quite confident (because of past successes), but the energy healing totally fails. Confidence gets me nowhere.
  • I’ve also done healing sessions I doubted would work. I expect failure with roughly every new technique, because my first guess so rarely works. But, as long as I have an accurate picture of what I’m working with, these techniques work great. Doubt doesn’t hurt me.
  • I do more energy healing than manifesting, but I’ve done plenty of manifesting and expected failure. But it works just fine. And I’ve done manifestings that I confidently expected to work, and they’ve failed. Zero correlation with doubt. (Manifesting success does seem to correlate my levels of fatigue, distraction, and the types of things I’m trying to manifest, though.)

In my experience, doubt doesn’t matter. All that matters is accurately guiding your ethereal muscles through the technique. (That’s not “Doing the ritual correctly,” but rather, “Making connections to the right tissues and ethereal structures, sending energy with the right signature, and so on.”)

Why is the common advice so different than my experience? I’ve recently come to a new idea, while talking with George. But first, I want to review what I previously thought.

Years ago, I just figured the common advice was wrong. I mean, to get a success, you need manifesting plus ordinary efforts, and we all know that doubt can sabotage your ordinary efforts. So doubt would cause a failure of the overall effort, and it’s easy to see how people might ascribe the failure to the magick rather than the ordinary efforts. (For energy healing, doubt reduces the placebo effect, so same deal: Worse results, but nothing to do with the magick side of things.)

And yet, scientific-minded mages like Ananael say that doubt affects their manifesting. I trust him to consider those problems, and he doesn’t buy the “ordinary efforts” explanation. So, while it still might be true, I find it less likely.

Until recently, I figured that doubt interfered with the messages we send to the ethereal software. (That’s the force you send your intent to, or the ether your thoughts float into when you “send out your thoughts.”) When the ethereal software reads your thoughts from your mind, maybe it also picks up your doubt, gets confused, and doesn’t seek out the right things. That wouldn’t affect me because I package up my thoughts and actively send them to the ethereal software, so I can avoid sending doubts.

But that explanation hasn’t sat right with me for a while. Ethereal software has protections against harmful requests. And communication isn’t that messy — when I receive messages from spirits, I sometimes get their emotions along with their words, but I can tell the difference. The ethereal software should be able to sort out doubt from intent just fine.

Which brings us to my new thinking: Maybe doubt just disrupts communication with the unconscious.

First, it’s obviously true that doubt affects the unconscious. That’s why it interferes with placebo, and makes your body language betray you on interviews and dates. So the explanation is likely.

Second, most magick works by sending the person’s intent to their unconscious, which then sends it along to whatever forces the person channels. So I can see how interrupting the communication with the unconscious would interrupt the magick.

Third, it explains why doubt doesn’t affect my magick. One of the identifying features of Direct Magick is that we make our ethereal muscles conscious, so we’re engaging them directly. The unconscious is still in there somewhere, but it’s not at the center of everything anymore. It all seems pretty plausible.

Also, I’ve found that, if I doubt magick in general, it can be hard to engage my ethereal muscles. Because that’s the one step that still heavily involves the unconscious. Which again resonates with this explanation. So, while I’m not 100% certain (or even 90%), this is my best guess at the moment.

Why does this all matter? By understanding the problem, we can begin to fix it.

I’m thinking that mental posture might do the trick. That’s a way to consciously engage your ethereal muscles. So, rather than sending your intent to your unconscious, you would consciously engage the parts of your mind that drive magick, then send your intent to them. I can’t be sure it’ll work, but it’s the simplest solution to my best-guess explanation. So it’s worth a test.

(Also: Wow, that post is old. We’ll cover mental posture in my book soon, with much better writing.)

Want to help? Please try it out and post your results below.

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What I Do Instead of Visualization

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

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So far, we’ve talked about why I don’t use visualization in magick. Today, let’s talk about what I do instead.

First, I engage my mental muscles using mental posture. Then I connect to whatever ethereal software I want to use, based on its name. (The first time I encounter ethereal software, I name it, and to go back there, I just think the name while engaging the mental muscles for communication). I know the steps my mental muscles take to connect to the software, but I do this so often that I don’t have to consciously guide each step anymore.

(At some point, I’ll have so much software that naming each one won’t work. I’m not there yet, though.)

If I’m working with another person, like for healing sessions, I also connect to them. Usually, I focus on their signature, or on a picture, though sometimes I use a special ethereal software to help with these connections.

Then I listen: What message is the ethereal software sending me? (Usually it says, “Ready to go.”) Has the software connected to me properly? What part of the person have I connected to? (More on that below.) On the whole, what is the state of my connections to the things I want to work with?

Usually, the ethereal software is good to go, but my connection to the person is in the wrong location. So, I’ll connect to other areas of their energy body until I find something I recognize (like the energy of a particular organ), then move from there to the area of the injury. Today, looking around is a single thought that encompasses both seeing and directing the action, but let me step you through the process, the same way I stepped through it as I was first learning to look around the body:

  1. Direct my mental muscles to make more connections to the energy of adjacent tissues in the person’s body. (This is itself a technique I had to develop and practice, involving tracing paths and broadening signatures, but that’s too much detail to go into here.)
  2. Listen to all the energy signatures of tissues you’re now connected to. (Note: It takes practice to recognize different tissues based on their signature. I’d already learned that skill by the time I developed this procedure.)
  3. Consciously decide which tissue to connect to, based on the type of tissue and your best guess at the location. Hope it’s in the direction you want to travel. (I usually pick nerves, orienting myself based on the spine and brain.)
  4. Repeat this until you’ve found what you’re looking for, which is either a particular tissue to orient yourself (like the brain) or the area of the injury.

Over time, this procedure became natural, and today I don’t really think about each step. Kind of like how you stop thinking about a dance move after practicing it a few dozen times. Of course, if you never consciously stepped through the movements and practiced it slowly, you’d never be able to do it quickly — you can’t just skip to the end.

Once I find the energy of the injured tissue, I’ll ask my mental muscles what signatures they instinctively want to use on it. Then I’ll look at the injury and consciously think about what signatures look right, ask my mental muscles about those changes, and repeat a few times until I’m happy with everything.

That’s really what my magick looks like: Listen, take one very small step, listen some more, and repeat. When you actually set those healing signatures into the tissue, it’s the same idea: Ask your mental muscles to make a small change, watch what they do, verify it was correct, and repeat. With practice, the process becomes unconscious (just like a practiced dance move), and the ask-watch-verify cycle speeds up. Today, it takes about one second, and I’m not aware of each individual step. But they’re still there, handled by my mental muscles, just like the steps of a well-practiced dance move are handled by the dancer’s motor memory.

What about magick based on ethereal software? Same thing: I send an instruction, receive a reply, then send another instruction. Again, I take very small steps, verifying each one (based on the software’s reply and whatever I can watch of what it’s doing).

At this point, you’re probably thinking, “Visualization seems much simpler.” And indeed, it is. This approach was never designed to be simple, it was designed to let me consciously guide my mental muscles through new techniques. As a result, it’s more precise than other approaches, and with practice, also faster, because you’re not tied to rituals, and you don’t have to focus on symbols for long periods. But it has a difficult learning curve.

Tomorrow, we’ll wrap up this series by discussing how exactly I direct my mental muscles, and why I don’t use visualization there, either.

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Directing vs Perceiving Magick

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

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I’m home and (sort of) rested. Let’s dive back into visualizations, and why I avoid them. It’s been a few days, so here’s a quick recap of the series:

  • Like any other process, a magick technique has many substeps.
  • You generally aren’t aware of the substeps. Your mental muscles know how to do a lot of magick already.
  • But some techniques don’t come naturally. You have to consciously design them out of substeps and sub-substeps, then consciously guide your mental muscles through that technique.

Directing vs Perceiving Magick

Remember that first post, on directing vs perceiving magick? We’re ready to tie that in now.

First: If all you want to do is magick that comes naturally, you only need to direct your mental muscles. Just tell them what you want, and they’ll do it. But remember, that’s only a fraction of all the magick that’s possible.

Second: Most mages only do magick that comes naturally. (Remember, natural might be difficult, but it doesn’t require consciously designing techniques, substep-by-substep.) So, most books and teachers focus on ways to direct your magick, even if they’re not great for perceiving each substep.

But, if you want to consciously design a new technique, you need to know which substeps you can use, and how they work. And, speaking from personal experience, you’ll also need to debug that new technique, because this stuff is complex and the first design rarely works. And to do both of those, you need to watch everything your mental muscles do, and all the external structures they act on as they do it. In other words, to consciously design techniques, you need to perceive all the details of your magick.

Perceiving Requires Relaxed Focus

Listening to your mental muscles requires a relaxed focus. It’s unlike any other activity, but let me try some comparisons:

  • Like daydreaming, you need to be open to thoughts entering your mind.
  • Like listening to a liar, you need to feel each of those thoughts and discard the false ones. (“False” = Came from your own expectations, rather than your mental muscles).
  • To do both of those at once, you need to be alert and present and un-distracted.
  • And you also need to keep track of your goals, and direct your magick.

Now, you don’t have to do that all perfectly, but it’s where we’re trying to get. Particularly if you want to design new techniques, you need to be able to hold that mental posture reliably most of the time.

By this point, you probably see where I’m going: Visualization focuses on the goal, to the exclusion of the listening. Rituals aim to distract your conscious mind, which is great for intuitive, natural magick, but terrible for perceiving the substeps of your mental muscles. Both are designed for natural magick, not consciously designed magick. We’ll discuss that tomorrow, then get into ways to listen to your mental muscles later in the week.

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My Magick This Week (June 10)

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

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I’m adding a new weekly post: The magick practice I did this week, so you can see what I’m working on and what I do with direct magick.

I had 3 projects this week: Quiet mental posture, making the sigil, and awakening another large mental muscle for communication.

Quiet Mental Posture

Remember the technique to quiet my mind in an afternoon? I did it for more of my mind. A bit of background:

There are 4 major groups of mental muscles: Access (which handles connections); mental activation (which works with getting power to all the right places to awaken mental muscles and other things); effects (which handles altering energy and form for energy healing, influencing emotions, and so on); and communication (sending and receiving messages with spirits and ethereal software). Each group has a lot of individual mental muscles that work together to accomplish that goal, and until I had a lot of muscles active for each group, I had a hard time seeing what that group was for.

Last week, I prepared thinking mind to receive information from the “access” group of mental muscles. It took me 2 days, once you add in the practice time to do magick while in the new quiet posture, and I was feeling all productive. Then I went back to my trainer, who watched me, and said, “I know I told you to just set that up for the access group, but really, you also need to get the mental activation group and the effects group in that posture, too, so they can all send you information accurately.” I didn’t feel so productive anymore.

This is fairly common, actually. A lot of my work involves learning a technique to make my mental muscles work better, then spending a week applying it to all my muscles. It’s not the exciting part of magick, but I just work through it, telling myself that this sort of repetitive practice is what makes the difference between an expert and a hobbyist. (Not sure if that’s entirely true, but it helps me work through the exercises, and sometimes, being effective matters more than being entirely accurate.)

Two days later, I had a quiet mental posture set up for three groups of mental muscles, and it is indeed more clear when I look around my mind, body, and the paths that supply power to both of them. So I’m happy with the results, though a bit bummed because I thought I’d get to start new projects this week.

Making the Sigil

I’m very slowly moving forward on tying the book’s ethereal software to a sigil, so you can all get access to it. The work itself isn’t hard, I just need to:

  • Channel a sigil from the Enochian spirits. (Done — this was surprisingly easy. I thought it would be tiring, but the shapes came through easily.)
  • Computerize the symbols. (I downloaded several computer softwares for this, but haven’t actually done it.)
  • Train in how to tie the ethereal software to a symbol, then actually do it. (Should be 1 day of work for all 6 symbols.)
  • Test it on myself and some friends, then post it for all of you to test.

Honestly, I’ve been dragging my feet on this. I expect to fail several times before I get it right. Maybe the sigil won’t connect you reliably, or it’ll require the mage to participate in making the connection (which many readers won’t know how to do), or I’ll have other problems I can’t yet foresee. That’s just the nature of learning a new technique: It will require debugging. But I’m worried I’ll look foolish, debugging this technique publicly based on your feedback. And so, I keep putting it off, hoping that learning a bit more magick will turn this into something easy that I succeed with right away. But I made progress last week, and I’ll probably do a closed beta this coming week (where I email the sigil to some friends to verify it works for them), then post it after that.

By the way: A friend is already using the ethereal software with good results. I’ll post some of her experiences soon, too.

Awakening a Mental Muscle

I spent a couple of half-distracted days awakening a new mental muscle. Really, a group of mental muscles, devoted to communication, making it as large as my other groups of mental muscles. This should make communication much easier, helping my training, manifesting, and a lot of other work.

That should excite me, but I’m not quite ready to be excited. Before it’s useful, I need to update my mental posture to take advantage of the new muscles (1 day), then update the connections my mental muscles use to send and receive messages with my thinking mind (1-2 days), then develop a quiet mental posture for all the areas that receive messages, which is basically my entire mind (who knows how long this takes). So this is probably 1-2 weeks of work, and since I’ll be making lots of changes to how I do communication, it’ll probably get harder before it gets easier. Which means that I’m kind of dreading this project. But this work is the price of becoming more skilled, and it’s nothing complex at this point, just a matter of repeating techniques I already know.

Summary

Wow, that was kind of a downer. Sorry. Really, my work goes in waves. At first, I’ll be excited about learning something new and seeing it work. (That was two weeks ago.) Then, I’ll repeat that technique on all my different mental muscles, and the new and exciting technique will become a repetitive task that I just work through. (This past week.) Then, as I finish applying it everywhere, I’ll see all these improvements in my magick and become excited again. (This coming week, I hope.) It just happens that I’m in the slow part of my work this week, but this is all normal for me, and it will all pass.

Thoughts? Was this helpful for you? Should I make this a weekly post? Thanks for the feedback.

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

How I Developed a Still Mind in an Afternoon

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

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I want to share a technique I just learned: How to develop a still mind in a few hours.

Like most techniques I learn these days, it’s fairly advanced direct magick. You won’t go from no magick to still mind in a day. But I want to show you what I’m working on, and it might help give you some ideas for new techniques for yourself.

I learned this technique to make my magickal senses more accurate, so I could look around without letting my expectations muddy what I’m seeing. But it seems broadly applicable to quieting any part of the mind.

Here’s the technique:

First, find the areas of the mind you want to make still. I went to the mental muscles that handle sensory connections and asked for their connections to my thinking mind. I think that meditaters want to make their conscious mind still, so if I were trying for that, I’d just make connections throughout my conscious mind.

Mental muscles are part of me, so when I say that they showed me, I’m speaking metaphorically, in the same way you might say that your unconscious sent you a message in a dream. “Thinking mind” denotes the part of your mind used for thinking, as opposed to the part of your mind used for moving magickal energies and forms.

Then, I engaged the mental muscles for working with the mind (they’re near the mental muscles for energy healing), showed them the connections I just made to thinking mind, and had the mental muscles hold those areas of thinking mind in a quiet state. At this point, my mental muscles simply know how to “hold these areas in a quiet state,” like how a ballerina might simply know how to do a pirouette without really thinking about each movement individually. As a result, I can simply focus on my intent, and the magick works. But it only works because I’ve already practiced setting a new signature into an area 100 times or so. The technique is a combination of calming someone with energy, and setting the signature into the deeper layers I discuss here.

Like I said, this is an advanced technique. You can’t create a still mind in a day without first learning advanced magick for several years. It’s an alternate route, not a shortcut. Sorry.

Then, I practiced my mental posture while holding my mind in that quiet state. I did this 4 times:

  • First session, I just got used to the feel of a still mind.
  • Second session, I adjusted the surrounding areas of thinking mind, so they felt natural and in alignment with the areas I’d quieted.
  • Third session, I got into that good mental posture, then stopped using my mental muscles to hold it, and just kept my mind in that state for a minute.
  • Fourth session, I got into that state without using my mental muscles (though I did use my mental muscles to watch and see which areas of thinking mind I’d missed).

Each session was a few minutes of work, then an hour of rest, doing non-magickal tasks. I did it yesterday afternoon. By the end of it, the still mind mental posture was coming pretty easily. And today, I’m going to practice that posture while I look around the magickal forms of my mind and body.

How useful is this technique if you can’t use mental muscles to quiet areas of thinking mind? Not very. But hopefully you enjoyed seeing what I’m working on these days, and maybe it’ll give you some ideas for new techniques for yourself, too.

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

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, or improvement 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!

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

Feeling Your Magick

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

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Mike asked some great questions a few days ago on mental muscles, mental posture, and energy healing. I’m going to tackle them today.

A Feeling of Pressure

Mike asks:

When practicing certain energy feats, I start to feel pressure and pulsation in specific parts of my brain. When projecting energy I feel a pull at the top of my forehead, when drawing in energy I feel a pulling at the top of my head.

Lisa said this reminds her of the feeling of new mental muscles waking up. Which sounds right, when I remember back to when I started awakening them myself, though it could also just be the feeling of energy.

Note from me: These days, I don’t physically feel anything with most magick. The feelings happen you skip a step or don’t align a signature properly. The better you are, the less tingles and pressure you feel. Kind of like driving: As you get better, you grind gears and screech tires less.

If you are awakening mental muscles, you’ll feel tired afterward, and the pressure will persist even after you stop actively channeling the energy. If that’s what’s happening, just do a little every day, and don’t push yourself when you’re tired. See this series for ways to speed up the awakening.

Is Energy This Easy?

Mike asks:

Will my direct magick become simply become instantly firing off a specific mental posture that uses energy in a specific way? Example – I engage the mental posture for projecting energy and wham I’m projecting energy. For me this is replicating the pulsation I get in my brain when I project energy.

I have two answers for you here.

First, if what you want is to make energy, then yes: All you’ll do is engage the right mental posture (which makes sure the right mental muscles are paying attention), and think about making energy. It really is that easy.

But second, there’s a lot more to magick then making energy. The point of getting good at making energy is so you can think about all the other things involved in magick, instead of focusing on the energy.

So, I guess my answer is: Great job! Now here’s some more work.

How Energy Healing Feels

Mike asks:

One thing I noticed is that when I did a visualization for healing a family members cancer the part of my brain that pulsates when I’m drawing in energy started to become active. This was a red flag to me that most visualization people use are not accurately focused. Why would I want to draw in energy when trying to wipe out someone’s cancer?

I’m so sorry someone you love has cancer.

Let me talk about the magick of this, and the approach I’d take to energy healing.

First, realizing that what you visualize isn’t what actually happens is the first step to investigating what does actually happen. You’re taking a big step in the right direction.

So, what’s going on here? I’d guess that most of your magick has centered around building and channeling energy. So, when you do any visualization, those instructions go to the mental muscles that build and channel energy. Which means they’re the ones responding to your cancer visualization.

As far as helping your family member, I have some idea of what would be involved in curing cancer, and it would be really advanced. I think you’ll have more success focusing on helping the person feel better — more energetic, less nauseous after chemo, etc. Try this:

When they’re feeling good, connect to their stomach, and feel the energy there. Practice building energy in that signature yourself. Then, after chemo, gently send that energy (with the signature of when their stomach feels good) into their stomach. I expect* this will help their nausea. If you try it, let us know how it works, and I’ll see about helping you develop the technique.

*I’ve used this technique on myself when I’ve had stomach pains from indigestion. Totally not the same thing as chemo, which is why I say I expect it to work, not that it will work. I haven’t worked with someone with cancer yet.

Got more questions? Just let me know.

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Reader’s Question: Controlling Accidental Magick

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

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If I’m doing magick accidentally, how do I control it?

A reader asks:

Would you say that all magical processes that a person does can be traced directly to a mental muscle?  So that if I am doing something that I do not know how to control I need only look hard enough for the mental muscle responsible to find it.

(For new readers, “mental muscle” is my term for the parts of your mind that drive magick.)

When I see a question about “all,” I instinctively flinch away, because there’s bound to be some exception. Most? Sure. All? No.

For example, someone with zero mental muscles active can still properly do a ritual, and get the forces associated with that ritual (the “ethereal software”) to respond. Using the right ritual, they could issue basic commands to the ethereal software, producing magickal results without using mental muscles or intent. So, no, not all.

But back to the intent of the question: Most magickal processes, particularly complex ones, come from the mage’s mental muscles. Though usually not a single muscle, just like throwing a ball doesn’t trace back to one regular muscle.

When you isolate what individual regular muscles do, they’re basic movements like “flex / extend this joint,” not useful complex tasks like “throw the ball.” Same deal with mental muscles: They handle different types of connections (to the body, mind, etc), handle tasks like recognizing one type of injury from another based on the energy signature, etc. You need a lot of mental muscles working together to accomplish most tasks.

What if you’re trying to do X, and you’re missing one or more mental muscles required? Usually, you just get really tired and find X very challenging to do at all.

Now, for the second half of the question: How to control things that come naturally? That’s probably not a problem with activating more mental muscles (they’re already active, or the thing wouldn’t come naturally). It’s probably related to binding those mental muscles to your conscious mind, so you can consciously feel what they’re doing and direct them.

And there’s a technique for that: Mental posture, where you learn to consciously engage your mental muscles, so you can feel what they’re doing and direct them consciously. To keep your mental muscles from doing things behind your back, just practice the mental posture until it feels natural, so you can keep it engaged all the time. Which will feel incredibly difficult at first, but becomes fairly easy after a few months of practice.

When you do this, make sure you get the mental muscles responsible for the thing you’re trying to control. If you use an energy meditation for the exercises in that post, you’ll learn to consciously engage the mental muscles involved in building energy in your body. So, once you get used to mental postures in general, do another mental posture, replacing the energy meditation with the thing you’re trying to control.

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