Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Willpower, easier said than done..

For the occultist or magician, the most powerful tool is his will. The power of concentration and willpower are arguably the most important tools at his disposal. Their are various exercises and techniques to improve this, and I'm going to highlight just a few that I find particularly useful.
Firstly it is important to find a position that is comfortable for the student. It needs to be relaxed but not so that you will fall asleep. This in itself may take some time to master, but once you have found it, it is a comfort to resume when you are looking to meditate. A simple way to relax the body is to go through every part of the body tensing and relaxing, or just concentrating on each part and telling it to relax.
The mind is the really tough part to relax. The aim is to eventually still the mind, but that is for a different purpose, and for now we are talking about formulating will and concentration.
In the mind you should pick one simple object, a triangle, or a cross. Perhaps a white cross on a black background for example. Now although it sounds easy to concentrate on this, it really isn't. Once you have tried for a while, you may think you are doing it easily, but you will soon realise you are not. To fix the object visually within the mind, without it moving, changing shape or transforming into somthing else is very difficult, even for a few seconds. The mind often wanders and before you know it you may be thinking about somthing completely different. This is also where the use of a mantra comes in. The purpose of chanting a mantra can be likened to a spinning wheel or cog, any mud thrown at it will be spun away, deflected. The mantra should be spoken quickly and should be something that flows off the tounge. It needn't be aloud, but it may be easier to have it on the lips when first starting. Your mind should not think of anything exept the matra and the object. Now, I wouldn't advise trying this for to long to start with, maybe five mintes practice or something like that, as it is really quite fatiguing.
The more you practice the more you will find it easier to do and you can move to more complicated objects, such as pentagrams and hexagrams. And two at once. You may come to a point (i did) where it seems you are going backwards and concentrating is almost impossible. Keep persevering, I found this the point where I actually began to do this properly, instead of half kidding myself I could do it.
This exercise is invaluable at hightening concentration. And when mastered can be used effectively when beginning to project your 'images' or 'will'.

The second exercise I will mention is a key part of Gurdieff's system of work. (Gurdieff was a Russian philosopher who had a complicated system of occult beliefs he had devised through years of travelling in the east. - I will talk more about him at a later date, or if requested.) It is a method to help formulate the 'I'. It seems for most of us our 'I' changes all the time, from 'I' will do this later, to 'I' don't want to do this anymore etc.. (not a good example, apologies its late here!) It helps to develop the moment when we feel alive, Colin Wilsons X-factor, the moments memories are made of. Gurdieff believed we were the most part as machines, asleep through life and needed awakening. Anyway, the exercise is 'self observing'. This is simple but highly effective at sharpening the mind.
Whenever you remember (literally) look at yourself as objectively as possible, observe what you are doing, how you are feeling, what you are thinking about etc at any given moment. Don't analyse or judge, just look. Personally I almost imagine I'm looking at myself from outside my body, looking down at how I seem. Now this seems easy, and it is - the difficult part is remembering to do it!! One of Gurdieffs students, and famous philosopher in his own right P D Ouspensky, had been doing this for some period of time when he suddenly noticed everyone around him looked as though they were asleep. I personally had the same experience whilst travelling. I could almost see what poeple were dreaming, their faces fixed and 'vacant'. It is a bizarre experience and not one I shall forget. BUT it certainly sharpens the will. Trust me...
Go on, give it a go - let me know how you are getting on (see my profile for my email address)


Blogger michael said...

Thanks for an interesting blog. I agree that learning to focus in meditation is one of the hardest things to accomplish. practice, practice and even more practice :)


1:22 AM  

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