Crowley exercises. Which book and approximate location please?
I am a new registrant on this forum. My interest in Aleister Crowley is more from an intellectual curiosity more than anything else. I do not own any of his manuscripts at the present moment. I would reckon that even if I did, it's unlikely that I would understand what he was saying when it comes to some of the sayings and commentaries.
Nevertheless, I am hoping someone might be able to comment on this. I'm fairly certain that I once saw in a manuscript of his that it was suggested(or perhaps required?) to a student of his methods to engage in the following:
1.) One should attain to see how long one can go without sleeping.
2.) One should attain to see how long one can go without speaking.
3.) One should attain to see how long one can go without breathing(this seems a bit risky personally)
4.) One should attain to see how long one can go without eating.
5.) One should attain to see how long one can go without
(insert additional ones here?)
I suppose I am not sure what the purpose of these exercises were or what the motives were? (loyalty to Crowley perhaps? Psychic development? Other?)
Does anyone know where and when he mentioned these things?
Liber E vel Exercitiorum. Point VI: Physical Limitations.
There's no need to own physical copies, at least at first. You can find substantially all of his important works on this website: http://hermetic.com/crowley/libers/
They are made available by the OTO, often with the input of the text attributed to upper-degree members of the OTO. They don't get thanked enough for providing this very useful service to the Thelemic community.
I suppose I am not sure what the purpose of these exercises were or what the motives were?
Well, according to Liber E: "It is desirable that you should discover for yourself your physical limitations."
Basically, Thelema postulates that the body and mind are "vehicles" through which the Self manifests in the world, and it is therefore extremely useful to have a working understanding of these instruments. Testing the limits of your body and mind gives you information about the tools at your disposal.
Of course, you don't have to do *these* particular exercises -- or any exercises at all, actually. As you yourself note, some of them are kinda dangerous, and other instructions are just absurd ("Every Member of the A∴A∴ must be armed at all points, and expert with every weapon"). A good rule of thumb: if you find yourself engaging in any practice just because "Crowley said to," then that's nothing more than blind religious devotion, which is really rather silly and unproductive. If you ever cannot clearly and simply articulate to yourself the purpose of any given practice, then chances are it's a waste of your time.
A better suggestion than Crowley's, I think, would be to begin a mild, regular exercise regimen focused on identifying areas that can be improved and slowly working to strengthen them.
loyalty to Crowley perhaps?
Many of Crowley's instructions are artificial requirements that do little more than bind an individual to Crowley's system. Take, for example, his instruction to commit chapters of his "Holy Books" to memory, which is not a practice that's going to bring anyone to enlightenment but could definitely help make a person more devoted to Crowley's particular system.
Best of luck,
Do we need to discuss the benefits of pushing ones self to all perceived limits only to discover that we can go on just a bit further?
We don’t “need” to do anything, but if we’re going to talk about some of the specific exercises Crowley recommended, I think that someone considering undertaking them might do well to ask themselves exactly what they hope to achieve by doing them.
ushing ones self to all perceived limits only to discover that we can go on just a bit further” is all fine and dandy when we’re talking about running or focusing while writing or reading or other practical endeavors. But if the exercise is abstaining from all food or even from breathing (!), one might very well want to think about exactly what the benefits are before embarking on such a program of “exercise.”
I realize that fasting is part of many (ascetic) spiritual traditions, but I can’t see very much benefit to seeing how long one can go without eating or sleeping. While there might indeed be benefit in exposing oneself to many kinds (and schedules) of diet and activity (to see which fits one best), I think just blindly following these instructions, without a very clear idea of what one is trying to achieve by doing them, is just plain stupid.
If one is leading a fairly robust & healthy life ... AND ... performing almoat any kind of "spiritual practice" (dharana, asana, banishing, invoking, etc) ... ESPECIALLY ... when engaging psychoactive liberation, well, it's gonna happen naturally. There were many times in my adventures wherein I found myself seeing how long I could go without sleep, or how many pounds (kilos) of heavy metal I could lift. The testing of Liber E takes place naturally.
I don't know what this tells us, for surely our capacities will vary from time to time, and they will diminish once one attains unto his or her 60's, but it's like Dirty Harry said, "A man's gotta know his limitations."
Whatever these limitations mean to a person, is exactly that ... their own meaning. Because surely, the meaning will vary from person to person. At the two extremes, we find one person saying, "I can't - it's beyond my capacity;" while at the other end a person says, "I can exceed those barriers!"
A good man always knows his limitations.