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Los
 Los
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22/09/2012 5:04 pm  

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Many people argue that we are “beyond Crowley” and must “evolve his system.” We cannot, they say, remain “chained to the past” or just work a “fossilized system,” etc., etc., etc.

It’s difficult to object to the claim that we’re all “beyond Crowley” – if only because Crowley is dead. It’s also difficult to object to the claim that we need to evolve Thelema – because Crowley was the first Thelemite and therefore the one upon whom the rest of us must necessarily build. In all real subjects of study, people who work with the material learn more about the subject and come to a better – more nuanced – understanding of the subject than the people who founded it.

Take biological evolution, for example. Darwin laid out the main principles of evolution, and evolutionary theory is today still recognizable as consisting of ideas he laid out, but we today understand it in much greater detail than Darwin did. On several points, modern understanding of evolution departs significantly from Darwin. We could make a similar case for pretty much any real subject of study.

Thelema – being a real subject of study – is in theory no different. We would expect that the people working with it would be able to reasonably discuss their work: what they hope to accomplish, why they think their goals are actually real, how their chosen practices work to help them reach these goals, how they know their chosen practices do so, and the criteria by which they can determine that their practices have indeed worked.

It’s similar to any other real field of study. People who study a field need to answer these questions for themselves, and if they can answer these questions for themselves, they can explain their answers to others as well. And if a so-called “expert” in a field is incapable of answering these questions? Well, it doesn’t speak very strongly for his or her expertise, I’m sure we would all agree.

Construction workers can do it, nuclear technicians can do it, computer programmers can do it, and so too should Thelemites be able to provide their answers to these questions.

However, there is one key difference between the task of discovering the True Will and those other fields of study: in those other fields of study, failure – when it occurs – is overwhelmingly obvious because the criteria for success can be judged by anyone. When a construction worker fails to construct a house properly, it’s obvious as all hell. But discovering the True Will is a process for which only one individual – the individual in question – can ever observe the criteria for success. This means that aspiring Thelemites could dupe themselves (and continue to dupe themselves ) for a very long time, convincing themselves that they’ve discovered their True Will when in fact they’re simply following some kind of fantasy.

For that reason, having clear criteria for success is all the more important for a Thelemite. I submit that it is impossible to discover the True Will without having a crystal clear understanding of one’s goals, how one’s practices enable one to achieve these goals, why one would think that such practices *would* enable one to achieve these goals, and the criteria by which one judges success in these practices.

As a result, it is in the interest of every practitioner to interrogate his or her methods of working with a sharp critical eye.

It is in the interest of opening a serious Thelemic dialogue about goals and practices that I start this thread. We cannot claim to adopt “the method of science” if we are uninterested in objectively evaluating our practices and subjecting them to the closest possible scrutiny. To the contrary, we should welcome the opportunity to do so and rejoice if someone is able to demonstrate to us a flaw in our thinking, to demolish an illusion we hold dear.

I propose we use this thread as a space to present various practices and our answers to the critical questions about them that we have determined for ourselves. The purpose will not be to simply talk “at” each other in some nebulous vacuum where the only purpose is to hear one another speak and to nod our heads approvingly in one giant group hug of the “everybody’s great” variety. The purpose will be to present critical arguments – in the spirit of the method of science – for our practices and (importantly) to talk “to” each other. To challenge, affirm, query, and dissect our answers with the goal of locating as many flaws as we can in others’ thinking and, ultimately, our own.

I will begin by posting my answers to these questions below from another thread in which I raised this issue -- this thread here: http://www.lashtal.com/forum/index.php/topic,5638.0.html -- and I invite others to interrogate my answers and/or post their own.

Love is the law, love under will.


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Los
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22/09/2012 5:06 pm  

It occurs to me that in order to begin a discussion on an evaluation of Thelemic practices, I ought to offer my own answers to these questions.

Once more, the questions are:

1) What is the practitioner trying to accomplish?
2) How do the practices work to achieve this goal?
3) How does the practitioner *know* that the practices *do* achieve this goal, and by what *specific criteria* does the practitioner determine that the goal has been reached?

Below are my answers to these questions, illustrating only a handful of practices I employ: 

What is the practitioner trying to accomplish?: The discovery of the True Will, defined as the individual’s nature (authentic inclinations and preferences) in contrast to the false ideas the individual has about his nature (such false ideas frequently involve the distorting tendencies of the mind, including “self image,” morality, ideals, “should” statements [supported by “because” statements…see AL II:27, and this post: http://thelema-and-skepticism.blogspot.com/2011/09/profiles-in-ignorance-2-misinterpreting_10.html], duty, and the expectations of others).

In short, Thelema defines the True Self (“Khabs”) as distinct from the mind/body complex (henceforth referred to as the “Khu”). This distinction is merely a model for labeling aspects of self that one can observe: the distinction is not an assertion of the existence of metaphysical realities. According to Thelema, the Khabs can possess inclinations that can be thwarted by the Khu, which has been produced by evolution to ensure survival, not necessarily happiness or “satisfaction” (the fulfillment of the individual’s true nature). Thus, the Khu tends to misperceive the universe (and the Khabs): these misperceptions are “distorting tendencies.” By distorting perceptions and thwarting the True Will, the Khu produces discomfort and suffering.

The goal of Thelema is to transfer the individual’s attention *away* from the Khu (and its thoughts of how the individual “should” act) and onto the Khabs (and the authentic inclinations of the individual).

How do the practices work to achieve this goal? The only way to accomplish this goal – by the definitions advanced above – is to train the mind to become aware of the ways that the Khu distorts impressions, particularly its impressions of the Khabs. After doing so, the individual can gradually become better at perceiving the Khabs/True Will in real time – free from the distorting tendencies of the mind – and adjust his or her behavior in real time.

“In real time” is an important phrase because, by definition, imagining one’s reactions to situations are part and parcel of the Khu, and the goal is to shift attention *away* from the Khu. One cannot, by definition, discover the True Will by thinking about it because the True Will comprises the natural inclinations of an individual in a given situation. An individual must, therefore, pay attention to his or her natural inclinations while in that given situation.

How one can tell that it works: The primary criteria for determining that one has discovered the True Will is that, over time, one’s sense of internal resistance and discomfort diminishes. This will necessarily be a subjective judgment, but one that most individuals are more than capable of making, particularly over long periods of time. People generally know when they are happy with their lives or not, and though they might make some mistake in the short term, an individual usually has a very good sense of whether he's overall satisfied on a day-to-day basis. It is often – though far from always – an unhappiness with their lives that prompts individuals to seek out “spiritual attainment” and such (though ironically, their unhappiness and their seeking for something outside of themselves is part and parcel of the Khu-illusion: as ever, the proper study of magick will teach them that their mind is playing them traitor).

To the end of discovering the True Will, a variety of practices are useful:

Meditation: The individual stills his or her mind and grows accustomed to perceiving reality without the influences of the conscious-mind overlay of the Khu.

How it works: This practice shows the individual “what it feels like” to perceive without the conscious-mind overlay of the Khu, which is useful to recall when attempting to pay attention to the will in real time. Persistence in the practice aids the individual in realizing, in daily life, the unreality of thoughts and assists him or her to better see through the thoughts (and their distorting influences) in real time.

How one can tell that it works: Success in meditation is judged by perceiving without thoughts, and – when recording the number of “breaks” (the return of thought) – discovering that the number increases in the short term but gradually decreases over time (even though it probably will never vanish entirely). Many practitioners report trance states achieved by this practice, but such trances are side effects, not goals or indications of success.

*
Divination: The individual uses a completely random set of symbols – such as a tarot spread – to “read” events of his or her life.

How it works: By applying a randomly-generated set of symbols (with more or less objective meanings) to one’s life-situations, one can realize other ways of looking at one’s situation. Frequently, one tends to view situations in set ways, dictated by the mind’s thought patterns (overlays of the Khu). By exposing oneself to different ways of interpreting the situation – inspired by a random symbol-set – one can learn the limitations of one’s mind and begin to cultivate broader ways of thinking about situations.

How one can tell that it works: Success in divination yields, over time, a recognition of the mind’s limitations. One will find oneself saying, “Oh, there’s my mind thinking there’s a need to confront this person. My mind always thinks that’s the primary option. But like I learned in those four divinations I did last month, there are many other valid methods of response…this might be one of those times.”

*
Resh: The individual acknowledges the sun’s cycles at various points in the day.

How it works: Resh forces the individual to become more aware of the real world that exists outside of his or her thoughts. By focusing on real things that move in regular cycles, the individual gradually impresses upon his or her mind the reality of the physical world and the relative unreality of the world of thoughts. Thus, the individual can become more adept at seeing through those thoughts. Further, the ritual impresses upon the individual the permanence of the sun beneath the illusions of the earth’s cycle (and thus impresses upon his mind the analogy of the permanence of the Self beneath the illusions of the mind’s cycles).

How one can tell that it works: One finds the thoughts turning with greater frequency toward the Sun – aware of where it is in the sky, how long until the next performance of Resh, of the permanence of this heavenly body. One should also find one’s thoughts getting broader, perceiving so-called “problems” from “The Point of View of the Sun” (i.e. recognizing that the mind has problems but that from the perspective of the Sun and the Universe – not to mention the True Self – these “problems” are really just instances of the mind labeling aspects of reality and getting fooled by attributing “reality” to its labels).

*
The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram: The individual performs a ritual that involves imagining expansion into the universe and balancing the “elements.”

How it works: The LBRP impresses upon the individual’s mind the goal of the Great Work – expansion past the limiting sphere of the mind and the cleansing and equilibration of the “elements” of one’s Self – and generates a mindset conducive to achieving this goal. By expanding outward into the Body of Nuit, the individual identifies with Her Cosmic Indifference to his or her relatively insignificant life on earth. By “banishing” the elements, the individual impresses upon the mind the necessity of removing the obstacles that prevent the perception of the True Will, and by “invoking” the archangels, the individual builds those elements back upon stronger: Air (the ability to perceive), Fire (the True Will), Water (the direction of that Will toward its proper objects), and Earth (the combination of all of the above, producing a trajectory through the world). The ritual acknowledges that these elements spring from a common source (The True Self, spirit, quintessence, the center of the circle) and that even this common source emerges from the forces of the universe (represented by the hexagram). Thus, 5 (the individual) equals 6 (the macrocosm).

How one can tell that it works: Successful performances of the LBRP are typically marked by a feeling of “cleanliness,” both in the area in which the ritual is performed and (more important) in the “aura” of the magician (i.e. one’s sense of self in daily life). This feeling is almost always relaxing and refreshing, and the ritual can be done simply for its own sake, to enjoy these feelings. One should find that routine performance causes the thoughts to drift back to the process of discovering and carrying out the True Will represented by the elements in the ritual. Keeping in mind the Great Work constantly reminds the individual of the task and can help “lift” the individual out of the prison of his or her mind during daily life.

Note: You can read an extended article on the LBRP here: http://thelema-and-skepticism.blogspot.com/2012/07/on-lesser-banishing-ritual-of-pentagram.html


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obscurus
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22/09/2012 6:17 pm  

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

When the physical body has been brought under control and the mind stilled, this all falls away.
There is far to much "thinking about" and not enough doing or perhaps going? Simplify instead of complicate.
Perception or point of view of experience has been my key. I no longer do Resh for I am the sun.
These words that I say are meaningless for all but I as:
Every man and every woman is a star.

Love is the law, love under will.


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Los
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22/09/2012 6:53 pm  
"obscuruspaintus" wrote:
There is far to much "thinking about" and not enough doing or perhaps going?

This is a common objection to having a discussion about practices. Just “do the work,” some say, and that’s that.

Yet it strikes one as extremely odd that anyone interested in a subject would object to “thinking about” it too much. To extend the metaphor from my opening post, one never hears a nuclear technician say to his fellows that perhaps they are all “thinking too much” about their craft and they should just get on with “doing” it.

Granted, there are some artists who would perhaps suggest that “theorizing” too much about painting, for example, is largely irrelevant to the practice – and there are most certainly artistic geniuses who never had any formal training – but it would be rare to find an artist who considers all art theory and discussion of art to be counter-productive. In fact, I think most artists would agree that basic training in the arts constitutes a firm building-block from which creative genius can deviate. At the very least, in order to start painting, one would have to learn what paint is and how one puts it on a canvas, so in at least that way “thinking about” or “talking about” the subject is absolutely vital.

Take your own post, for instance. You say, “When the physical body has been brought under control and the mind stilled, this all falls away,” but simply saying that helps nobody.

Why would anyone want to bring the physical body under control and still the mind?
What does bringing the physical body under control and stilling the mind practically do for a person?
How does one go about doing these things?
How does one judge success in these practices?

These aren’t idle or unimportant questions. Everyone who practices has implicit answers to these questions in the back of his mind, subconsciously. But the problem is that these implicit, subconscious answers are often murky, incomplete, and riddled with errors. I would submit that anyone who just decides to “do the work” without consciously, seriously, and critically answering these questions for himself has almost no chance of succeeding, for he has not even properly articulated to himself what his goal is.


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obscurus
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22/09/2012 8:08 pm  

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

I tried to address this as simply and as honestly as I am able. I stepped up to the plate. Did I hit a home run or a foul ball? To close to call maybe?
Perhaps the questions you ask can only be answered by yourself? Aleister charted the course and laid out the map. What is there to discuss? There are some things which defy verbalization I think. We all have our unique experiences. I could discuss the ghastly things that I have seen and done which have brought me to where I am now...but to what end? It is all meaningless.
In my mind I ride a sharp wave which rolls through the universe. There is nothing behind it and nothing before it. We all have differing points of view.
In my misery I am awash in the joy of being. That is all.
Someone will surely put forth a better response.

Love is the law, love under will.


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MoogPlayer
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23/09/2012 5:47 am  

In another thread here, I recently said that it was a damn shame because no one wanted to discuss this with Los.

Michael Staley replied:

"MichaelStaley" wrote:
The lack of response was surely indicative of a lack of interest in the post.

Rather than bemoan the lack of response, why don't you respond now? Just a thought.

I did respond. You can click the link and read my contribution. Besides one really insightful reply from Los, and one snarky reply from Mr. Staley, no one seemed like they wanted to continue the discussion. I figured as much, and to be honest thats why I didn't initially respond back in July.

It's really too bad because I for one would like to see this conversation move forward. I just can't believe there would be such a lack of interest in this thread, because as Los points out, this discussion is clearly integral to what Thelema is. It seems to me like the real lack of interest is actually in exposing illusions, and in casting doubt on comfortably held belief structures. This is just crazy to me.

I really value perspectives like Los' and Erwin Hessle's. Thelema needs more of this kind of critical thinking. I personally hate feeling like I can't discuss my interest in Thelema, because I'm worried about what associations it will bring up in a persons mind. It's embarrassing to think that I might get mistaken for someone who believes in demons and magic powers and other new age garbage. So much more of this kind of thelema has made it into the new century, not so much the method of science.

It's my opinion that Thelema isn't meant to prop up and support other dogmas in a fancy new dress. It is not a replacement religion for folks who have "tried all the rest". Thelema is a particular knowledge of the Self, which when known, takes away the need for faith and superstition.

This is Crowley's contribution to the world, and it seems like by turning away from it's main tenets we are effectively sh*ting on what he had to offer us.

On a side note, how are we ever supposed to actually study and understand "spiritual" or "psychic" phenomena, unless we strip them of such outdated thinking? Psychologist and Neurologist are making some headway in this field, why not occultists?


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Azidonis
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23/09/2012 6:21 am  

This have I heard. You may have heard something similar...

There was a great king who was given a gift, a beautiful parrot in a luxurious cage.
He thought it would be wonderful to teach the parrot how to recite holy scriptures.

The king called his court holy man, and told the holy man to teach the parrot all of the scriptures.
Within a few months, the parrot was able to recite every word from every scripture.

The parrot then spent the rest of its life reciting scriptures, telling people how they could achieve liberation.
However, the parrot died without ever leaving its cage, which had no door.


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obscurus
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23/09/2012 10:11 pm  

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Why would anyone want to bring the physical body under control and still the mind?
I suppose that there are as many different answers to that question as there are human beings. My personal answer is that it was a youthful desire to improve myself. A desire to become something more, someone better than I currently was.

What does bringing the physical body under control and stilling the mind practically do for a person?
In a period of high stress, like being in a situation where ones life is in danger the ability to control the physical impulse to flight and keep a calm, clear mind are paramount...to survival. It can sustain your physical life. I could give many personal examples but will spare you of that. The ability to control the consumption of unhealthy foods...no matter how good one may think that they taste, of over eating in general, is conducive to good health and outlook. There are so many examples of impulsive unhealthy behavior and harm caused to ones self, well...the list could go on forever. All easily averted by control of body and mind. These are everyday common sense benefits. In the quest for spiritual self discovery? I doubt one could find their finer aspects buried inside a greasy cheeseburger and pile of fries? But then who knows? How many lives could have been different had the discipline been present to avoid the over use of drugs and alcohol? I would never want to sound as if I were preaching abstinence, but a little self control can go a long way. In short it is a way of improving ones self and the list of benefits would make a very long list.

How does one go about doing these things?
Self reflection and self examination to start with. Then how about just doing it?
As a teenager back in the 70's, I rushed home with my second purchase from the Dawn of Light bookstore. One of which was Book 4. Asana was number one on my list. Just because of this thread I dug out my journal from that time. What disappointment! To anyone starting out I would advise...put The Thunderbolt and The Ibis on the back burner for awhile, unless you are exceptional. Just try to remain in any comfortable position without moving for an hour. Be aware of your body and the things that occur. Be honest, keep a record and most importantly keep at it and watch it unfold. My greatest break-through did not occur until many years later while serving in the army. I had read Aleisters words and assimilated them into my mind. One day during a brutal session of drill and ceremony and while alternating between the positions of attention and parade rest it happened for me. A state of passive attention, perfectly at rest yet able to react instantly. Some thirty plus years later, I have a position which I assume for meditation which I prefer yet it does not really matter. I never could assume and hold The Thunderbolt, but that was Aleister, not I and it does not matter. Aleister provides the example, but we are not Aleister. It is about you.

How does one judge success in these practices?
You must be kidding?

The problem with beginning to write like this is that I could go on aimlessly forever. Self discipline...stop!

Love is the law, love under will.


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Los
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23/09/2012 11:27 pm  

Look, I really appreciate you attempting to address the topic at hand, and I really don’t want to make it seem like I’m beating up on you, so let me just say at the outset: my response to you is not meant as an attack but as an instruction. What follows is written in the spirit of a sincere desire to give you critical feedback and to instruct both you and others.

Your account, obscuruspaintus, is somewhat similar to others I’ve heard over the years in that you don’t really seem to have had any clear idea of what you were trying to accomplish, other than a concept of “self-control” and of finding one’s “finer aspects.”

I’m not really sure where you were getting your ideas about Thelema, but “self-control” – in the sense of wanting to eat less junk food, for example – isn’t at all specific to Thelema, and the idea of seeking “finer aspects” of oneself (as if some parts of the self are “better” or “higher” than others) is downright antithetical to Thelema.

Moving on to practice, you seemed to have taken it for granted that following Crowley’s instructions would enable you to obtain this kind of self-control and discover these “finer aspects,” but you don’t say why you thought that. It sounds like you just arbitrarily decided to follow Crowley, as opposed to some other spiritual teacher or method, without really understanding why you were or why you thought his methods actually could give you the results you wanted.

The actual method you describe is perfectly sound: “Just try to remain in any comfortable position without moving for an hour. Be aware of your body and the things that occur. Be honest, keep a record and most importantly keep at it and watch it unfold.”

That was the best part of your post because it was specific and direct. But you never say why you think doing that would aid a person. It’s not at all clear why sitting still and watching yourself would lead you to have better control over yourself or to discover your “finer aspects” – even if those two goals *were* the goals of Thelema, which they are not. And further, since your "result" came in the midst of doing some other activity, it's difficult to see why you think such practice is connected to the "result."

Despite your incredulity at my request to know the criteria for success, you do apparently provide such criteria: “A state of passive attention, perfectly at rest yet able to react instantly.” That seems like it is the criteria you hold up for “success” in these practices. If it is, I’m at a loss to say what you think this has to do with True Will.

I understand that this is a state of mind that you like – and that’s perfectly fine – but discovering the True Will, as defined in Thelema, is about adjusting one’s behavior, not simply existing in a “state of passive attention.”

It sounds to me very much as if you went into this process with an ill-formed and murky idea of what you were trying to accomplish and as if you took a really strong and unusual state of consciousness as a mark of the ill-defined goals you had staked for yourself.

Please understand, I’m not trying to say there’s anything “wrong” with this, but it’s simply not at all what we mean when we say “Thelema.” I don’t think you’re by any means alone on this point, either: I’m starting to suspect that perhaps most people who practice Thelema have very murky understanding of the goals and an even dimmer understanding of how to judge their own success at attaining these goals.

I would congratulate you for being brave enough to give an honest answer to these questions (it’s more than others will do, probably because they sense on some level that their answers are inadequate, even “to them”).


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obscurus
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24/09/2012 12:13 am  

  93

I suppose I asked it.
Best wishes.

93/93


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herupakraath
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24/09/2012 1:54 am  
"Los" wrote:
I’m not really sure where you were getting your ideas about Thelema, but “self-control” – in the sense of wanting to eat less junk food, for example – isn’t at all specific to Thelema, and the idea of seeking “finer aspects” of oneself (as if some parts of the self are “better” or “higher” than others) is downright antithetical to Thelema.

Ironically (how it burns!), your sources for defining Thelema are also unclear. Quotes taken from the writings of Crowley contradict your conclusions about self-control not being specific to Thelema:

“In any case calm and self-control are to be preferred to restlessness.”  –  Book 4 Part 1

“This is to be criticised as incomplete self-control.” – Liber Samekh

“Know, son, that the true Principle of Self-Control is Liberty.” – Liber Aleph

“I need hardly emphasize the necessity for the strictest self-control and concentration on their part.” – Energized Enthusiasm

“Let the pulsations of my heart be strong and regular and slow! Let my brain be wakeful and active in its supreme task of self-control! “ – John St. John

“Mystic, indomitable, self-controlled,” – Liber 888

Moving on to practice, you seemed to have taken it for granted that following Crowley’s instructions would enable you to obtain this kind of self-control and discover these “finer aspects,” but you don’t say why you thought that. It sounds like you just arbitrarily decided to follow Crowley, as opposed to some other spiritual teacher or method, without really understanding why you were or why you thought his methods actually could give you the results you wanted.

Simple curiosity is often a driving factor in the pursuit of new ideas, as is the suspension of disbelief. There are statements in the Book of the Law not only contradict your insistence on asking why, but also define doing so as weakness and an obstacle of Will:

If Will stops and cries Why, invoking Because, then Will stops & does nought. - verse II:30
If Power asks why, then is Power weakness. -- verse II:31
Also reason is a lie; for there is a factor infinite & unknown; and all their words are skew-wise. verse II:32

The pit called 'Because' is the destination of those whom must ask why, and must have a conscious reason or goal in order to move forward. Surely you're familiar with the idea that it's not the goal that's important, but in the going itself. In a nutshell, mystical states consist of silencing the conscious mind and allowing the subconscious to surface and take control for brief periods, hence the need for pure will to be 'unassuaged of purpose,' yet another statement from TBOTL that contradicts your need for defining a goal before undertaking an activity.

Please understand, I’m not trying to say there’s anything “wrong” with this, but it’s simply not at all what we mean when we say “Thelema.”

Who is 'we', and when did they appoint you as their spokesperson?

I don’t think you’re by any means alone on this point, either: I’m starting to suspect that perhaps most people who practice Thelema have very murky understanding of the goals and an even dimmer understanding of how to judge their own success at attaining these goals.

Your insistence on having goals demonstrates that you have no genuine understanding of what pure will actually is, or how to attain it.

True will as Crowley explains it, is ascertained and developed by allowing the natural tendencies of a person to take precedence over the conscious programming inflicted by the societal Herds. If left to their own designs, most people will gravitate toward a true will or purpose born of inner conviction. Any methods suggested by Crowley are designed to achieve that end. In his 1923 diaries, Crowley states the belief that simply reading the Book of the Law once should be enough to stir the subconscious and put the reader on the right track.

While you're contemplating 'reality' and 'delusion', you might consider the fact that most people are drawn to the writings of Crowley due to being compelled by thoughts of a universe filled with gods, guardian angels, magical currents, and any other number of things that extend the universe beyond the mundane offerings of the Herd. Your interpretation of Thelema is marginalized to the point of being little more than a mundane form of self-help, the likes of which can be found in any number of other self-help methodologies.


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Los
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24/09/2012 2:36 am  
"herupakraath" wrote:
Quotes taken from the writings of Crowley contradict your conclusions about self-control not being specific to Thelema

You forgot the most explicit one, from Magick Without Tears: "About 90 % of Thelema, at a guess, is nothing but self-discipline."

You also completely overlooked my point. When I say self-control is not specific to Thelema, I mean precisely that: it’s a part of Thelema but not specific to Thelema. Any self-help guru worth his salt will help people work on controlling their eating habits, their sex habits, their this and that habits. Discovering the True Will is something much more than this. Or, to put it another way, it’s a specific kind of self-control.

There are statements in the Book of the Law not only contradict your insistence on asking why, but also define doing so as weakness and an obstacle of Will

Those verses are, in context, talking about actions prompted by the Will as distinguished from actions prompted by the mind (which tells the self to do things “because” such-and-such an action is “right,” irrespective of the self’s actual inclinations). The True Will is what it is. It is a set of dynamic inclinations that doesn’t have a “purpose” for its existence beyond being there.

The Book is categorically not saying “never give any thought to why you’re doing anything,” which is one of the dumbest ideas that anyone could ever propose. Even if it were saying that, you would have to contradict it by thinking about whether this verse was a good idea or not to follow. Either that, or you would have to blindly accept it on faith, which is also stupid.

The pit called 'Because' is

Is a symbolic way of talking about the trap people fall into when they let their mind’s “because statements” talk them into acting in a certain way, irrespective of the True Will (“You should do that because it’s the right thing to do.” “You should do that because a good magician would do that.” Etc., etc.)

If left to their own designs, most people will gravitate toward a true will or purpose born of inner conviction.

I disagree. While it’s true that ideas planted in one’s head by others are a major obstacle of attainment, this problem is a subset of the real problem: the individual’s own mind, which has been produced by evolution to misinterpret the environment. This misinterpretation includes being so gullible as to blindly interiorize silly ideas that other people tell it (such as ideas about “morality”), but it also includes reaching false conclusions about reality through a faulty application of reason. Such misinterpretations include believing in gods, demons, spirits, and secret books with secret codes that appoint you a secret child for secret purposes.

Your insistence on having goals demonstrates that you have no genuine understanding of what pure will actually is, or how to attain it.

“Attaining” something is a goal, by definition, and since we’re talking about how to attain the True Will – i.e. implying the person trying to attain to it *hasn’t* yet achieved the True Will – then it carries no weight to criticize what I’ve said on the basis of "the True Will has no goals!"

Even in your post, you propose a method for attaining the True Will – generating mystical states that allow “the subconscious to surface and take control for brief periods.” By saying this, you are proposing a goal, a method for achieving it, and a (brief and vague) attempt to explain how the method works. You have not, however, provided criteria by which one can be judged to have succeeded in it.

I strongly suspect that your ideas about this method are deeply muddled and flawed, and I think it would be a productive conversation to have you attempt to give some more detail here: why you think that “mystical states” actually do allow for this result to happen, and the specific criteria by which you personally tell that they do allow it to happen.

Listen, I understand that you’re still smarting from that last thread where I really let you have it over some very silly things you said, but you need to get over it (it wasn’t personal) and not let your emotional reactions color your response.

If you’re interested in discussing methods and practice, then respond to my post giving more details about the practices. If you’re only interested in trying to one-up me or quibble about the meaning of Thelema, start a new thread devoted to that purpose.


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 Anonymous
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24/09/2012 6:59 pm  
"Los" wrote:
I’m starting to suspect that perhaps most people who practice Thelema have very murky understanding of the goals and an even dimmer understanding of how to judge their own success at attaining these goals.

Most of the people drawn to occultism/mysticism/thelema are practicing some form of veiled escapism even though they can't even admit it ( I know this from personal experience, I only have to look back only few years when I first started to read "mystical" literature )
My goals, my intentions being so disconnected from reality that I'm too ashamed to even talk about it.

"Los" wrote:
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Many people argue that we are “beyond Crowley” and must “evolve his system.” We cannot, they say, remain “chained to the past” or just work a “fossilized system,” etc., etc., etc.

It’s difficult to object to the claim that we’re all “beyond Crowley” – if only because Crowley is dead. It’s also difficult to object to the claim that we need to evolve Thelema – because Crowley was the first Thelemite and therefore the one upon whom the rest of us must necessarily build. In all real subjects of study, people who work with the material learn more about the subject and come to a better – more nuanced – understanding of the subject than the people who founded it.

This is something I can agree with, but it still should stay "inside the framework" and not to evolve into a direction led by people like Kenneth Grant ( No disrespect for this Old Master )

Seems to me that people who tried to "evolve" Thelema ended up declaring something like Aeon of Ma'at was already here and I've even heard that something called Aeon of Set has also made it's way over here.

Things like these have made me take Thelema less seriously the more I've read about it and these days I try to supply myself only with the works of Crowley and leave anything "innovating" or anything that even slightly hints "New-Age" outside of my sphere.

Last few years, aside from Thelema, my interest has grown more and more towards old rune poems and folk tales.
These tales, while at first sight may appear rather childish with their symbolism, are far less disconnected from reality and offer real advice in contrast to something one might discover in the works of Grant;
Ultra-dimensional and extra-temporal consciousness", "perichoresis", "an implosion of synchronicity",  "creative delirium", "extra-dimensional absence", "sub-chtonian levels", "Protoplasmic Reversion", "anoesis", "the Nilotic mud of matter"


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Los
 Los
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24/09/2012 7:46 pm  
"ayino" wrote:
"Los" wrote:
I’m starting to suspect that perhaps most people who practice Thelema have very murky understanding of the goals and an even dimmer understanding of how to judge their own success at attaining these goals.

Most of the people drawn to occultism/mysticism/thelema are practicing some form of veiled escapism even though they can't even admit it ( I know this from personal experience, I only have to look back only few years when I first started to read "mystical" literature )
My goals, my intentions being so disconnected from reality that I'm too ashamed to even talk about it.

I agree. The occult is supposed to be about lifting the veil that we use to obscure reality, but most "occultists" seem to be adept primarily at veiling reality more fully from themselves.

And let's be honest here: a lot of people who get attracted to the idea that there are "mysterious forces" and "mysterious powers" are so attracted because these people are -- in everyday life -- largely powerless. The fantasy that they can become a "mage" and command some kind of power -- even on some imaginary "other plane" -- is immensely appealing to some of these types.

"Los" wrote:
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Many people argue that we are “beyond Crowley” and must “evolve his system.” We cannot, they say, remain “chained to the past” or just work a “fossilized system,” etc., etc., etc.

It’s difficult to object to the claim that we’re all “beyond Crowley” – if only because Crowley is dead. It’s also difficult to object to the claim that we need to evolve Thelema – because Crowley was the first Thelemite and therefore the one upon whom the rest of us must necessarily build. In all real subjects of study, people who work with the material learn more about the subject and come to a better – more nuanced – understanding of the subject than the people who founded it.

This is something I can agree with, but it still should stay "inside the framework" and not to evolve into a direction led by people like Kenneth Grant ( No disrespect for this Old Master )

Seems to me that people who tried to "evolve" Thelema ended up declaring something like Aeon of Ma'at was already here and I've even heard that something called Aeon of Set has also made it's way over here.

Things like these have made me take Thelema less seriously the more I've read about it

Well, yes, most of the people who say that we should "evolve Thelema" are talking about silly things like that, and I was deliberately appropriating their rhetoric to begin my post.

Yet the basic idea they promote -- that we shouldn't be limited to a blind imitation of Crowley -- is absolutely correct. In fact, I'd go so far as to argue that anyone whose "practice" is nothing more than a repetition of exercises out of Crowley books -- without ever once giving a thought as to what these practices are supposed to accomplish or whether there's any good reason to suppose that they *will* accomplish what one thinks they will accomplish -- is incapable of attaining (or, if they do attain, it will be the rough equivalent of accident).

This doesn't mean that we have carte blanche to start inventing "New New Aeons" of our own (though, of course, there's nothing to stop someone from doing that just for fun; it's only a mistake when the person in question starts thinking that he's "attaining" something or coming to some kind of "truth" by making up these stories).

What it *does* mean is that practitioners need to start thinking critically about the practices, and that's sort of the theme of this thread. What does one expect to accomplish by means of these practices? Why does one think that these practices will do this? How does one tell that these practices have, in fact, done this?

That's the way one really innovates a system, by developing better and more nuanced ways of applying it, in addition to developing one's own system of practices. That's what I would consider "creative occultism."

Tim has given us an example of a kind of practice in his last post: attaining to mystical states that allow "the subconscious to surface and take control for brief periods.” I consider this a vague, incomplete, and likely misleading statement that would benefit from serious critical examination, and I'd be happy to conduct such an examination with Tim or anyone else who is serious about investigating his or her beliefs instead of just parroting Crowley.

Last few years, aside from Thelema, my interest has grown more and more towards old rune poems and folk tales.
These tales, while at first sight may appear rather childish with their symbolism, are far less disconnected from reality and offer real advice

I'm in agreement with you here. I'm an advocate of the notion that literature has a lot to teach us (see my last blog post for a reading of William Blake's "To Autumn" just in time for the Equinox).


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the_real_simon_iff
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25/09/2012 11:10 am  

93!

While I am reading the new "Aleister Crowley and Western Esotericism" book, I just want to jump in and add some thoughts to the thread, which - as so often before - makes only sense when accepting Los being correct with his definitions of *Thelema* and *True Will* and his suspicions on the *murkiness of most people practicing Thelema* or the alleged *escapism of most occultists*. I am sure he (and ayiono) argueing strictly in the spirit of science have enough statistical proof to make such bold statements about *most* occultists, not only their personal experiences, as tragic as these might be.

I think Los' list is quite okay and helpful for many people. But to me the only thing Thelemic about the practices on that list is the incorporation of the "Thelemic pantheon" and the term "True Will", which in spite of being so important isn't addressed in any scientifically comprehensible manner, success in everyday life or happyness or diminished resistance have in any case nothing to do with it - according to Crowley who sacrificed these to attain illumination and follow his True Will. If Los himself doesn't want to go too far beyond Crowley, he has to *accept* Liber AL with its supernatural authorship and the existence of Secret Masters ruling our destiny and their assigning Crowley the role of the prophet of Thelema. This part is not debatable. Period. Even if Crowley tried to naturalize and *scientificise* his synthesis of a bunch of initiatic systems into what may be called "Scientific Illuminism", he never ever (in his later, mature life) compromised this one point. MITAP or MWT are not Class A books.

So, either pick the "Scientific Illuminism" part and lecture about its practices (as elegantly and cleverly enunciated as usual) as any other Crowley-inspired *self-help-guru worth his salt* or make a fool out of yourself by following the system of a dead Englishman who in your own words surely was *largely powerless and thus so attracted to mysterious powers* and was *appealed by the ridiculous fantasy to command some kind of power*. Please don't mis-understand me, I absolutely consider your work *creative occultism* and really quite useful to many people, but it is still not "Crowley's Thelema".

Love=Law
Lutz


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obscurus
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25/09/2012 3:03 pm  

  93

Seeing and being, being seeing seeing being seeing seeing being.
Funny how just three letters changes a whole message?
I previously wrote above,"I suppose I asked it." When what I actually seen on the screen was, "I suppose I asked 'for' it."
I thought I typed it. I thought I seen it on the screen.
As I often say,"What I think I know most definitely today will surely be proven wrong tomorrow."
The best way to grasp some-things is by letting go.

93/93


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Los
 Los
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25/09/2012 4:59 pm  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
the thread, which - as so often before - makes only sense when accepting Los being correct with his definitions of *Thelema* and *True Will*

Well, definitions are a subject of discussion here. If you think the definitions I've offered are incorrect, then supply your own definitions -- along with a statement of why your different definitions are better or more useful than the ones I've offered -- and explain how your different definitions alter practice: what the practices are supposed to do, why you think the practices *actually do* do what you think they do, and the specific criteria by which you can tell that the practices *have* done what you think they do.


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 Anonymous
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25/09/2012 5:52 pm  
"Los" wrote:
what the practices are supposed to do, why you think the practices *actually do* do what you think they do, and the specific criteria by which you can tell that the practices *have* done what you think they do.

When it comes to the practices of "spiritual nature", is it possible to maintain some distance between practice and the End ( Whatever that may be ) sought after through those means?

I think this is a paradox, that the practice itself would contain the goal ( Whatever that may be ) or even the tiniest bit of it.

Then again, we have accounts from people like U.G Krishnamurti who describe;
What has happened to me is a pure and simple physical phenomena. Somehow, the machinations of the mind have come to a stop

Is this nothing more than a pure and simple, physical phenomena? Does one aim to produce this physical phenomena? These things would need much more pondering and research if one would really want to make a science out of Thelema.

There are certain glands ... This I have discussed so many times with doctors who are doing research into the ductless glands. Those glands are what the Hindus call "chakras." These ductless glands are located in exactly the same spots where the Hindus speculated the chakras are. There is one gland here which is called the 'thymus gland'. That is very active when you are a child -- very active -- they have feelings, extraordinary feelings. When you reach the age of puberty it becomes dormant -- that's what they say. When again this kind of a thing happens, when you are reborn again, that gland is automatically activated, so all the feelings are there. Feelings are not thoughts, not emotions; you feel for somebody. If somebody hurts himself there, that hurt is felt here --not as a pain, but there is a feeling, you see -- you automatically say "Ah!" - U.G Krishnamurti

I think some practices advocated by schools of Tantrism heavily outline the importance of 'sadhana' and are very honest about their aims:

The special virtue of the Tantra lies in its mode of Sadhana. It is
neither mere worship [upasana] nor prayer. It is not lamenting or
contrition or repentance before the Deity. It is the Sadhana which
is the union of Purusha and Prakrti; the Sadhana which joins the
Male Principle and the Mother Element within the body, and
strives to make the attributed attributeless. . . . This Sadhana is
to be performed through the awakening of the forces within the
body . . . This is not mere "philosophy," a mere attempt to ponder
upon the husks of words, but something which is to be done
in a thoroughly practical matter. The Tantras say: "Begin practicing
under the guidance of a good Guru; if you do not obtain
favorable results immediately, you can freely give it up.
"

- Sir John Woodroofe, Shakti and Shakta, 5th ed. (Madras: Ganesh, 1959), 18.

That's it. No Bullshit. You are free to go if do not obtain favorable results. Bye!


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the_real_simon_iff
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25/09/2012 8:25 pm  

Los, 93!

I did not say I have better definitions, I even said your definitions of your list of practices is fine and useful. I just stated something obvious: your continuously condescending tone to *most* occultists because they *are* escapists or they have *murky* understanding or fantasies of grandeur or even worse, when mostly they just don't share your naturalistic views of magick or (even more often) when they seem to - yikes! - *believe in supernatural stuff*. I know that my contribution was a bit off-topic and not about the magical practices (that's why I don't offer "better" definitions), I just wanted to point out that the absence of more replys to your "discussion" (about which you were complaing slightly) might not be based on no-one knowing better or everyone agreeing, but on the fact that maybe not many (at least me) like to participate in a discussion that starts with: Here is what Thelema means. Here are the real meanings of magical practice. Here is what Crowley really meant and here is what he was wrong about. If you don't share my naturalistic views there is something murky about you and you are probably a loser. As I said, go on and pick what you will from Crowley's opus, it is working for you, great, it probably will work for those with similar inclinations. I think what you wrote about the practices is fine, but my views on Thelema differ from yours (like on the True Will, Guardian Angels or Secret Chiefs - you name it). Sorry for the disruption, go on discussing.

Love=Law
Lutz


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Azidonis
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25/09/2012 9:30 pm  
"ayino" wrote:
Then again, we have accounts from people like U.G Krishnamurti who describe;
What has happened to me is a pure and simple physical phenomena. Somehow, the machinations of the mind have come to a stop

Is this nothing more than a pure and simple, physical phenomena? Does one aim to produce this physical phenomena? These things would need much more pondering and research if one would really want to make a science out of Thelema.

U.G. also said that it cannot be produced. He purposefully chose the phrase, "stumbled into", in order to emphasize it.

What people want to do, unfortunately, is find some sort of alchemical formula, be it through magick, mysticism, psychology, or whatever, than can produce a 'state of being' that really does not exist in the common definition of the term "existence".

Liber AL 2:32 "Also reason is a lie; for there is a factor infinite & unknown; & all their words are skew-wise."


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Los
 Los
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25/09/2012 10:22 pm  
"ayino" wrote:
When it comes to the practices of "spiritual nature", is it possible to maintain some distance between practice and the End ( Whatever that may be ) sought after through those means?

I think this is a paradox, that the practice itself would contain the goal ( Whatever that may be ) or even the tiniest bit of it.

It depends on the practice. Meditation, for example, is a practice that – in one sense, anyway – is the desired goal.

When one meditates, shutting off thought isn’t just the method – it’s the result of meditation. To put it another way, the “goal” of meditation is just to meditate. It’s been suggested by some that the reason various traditions claim that there are all kinds of fantastic “results” of meditation (levitating, etc.) is to serve as a ploy to get people to keep meditating long enough to realize that it’s the meditation itself that’s the goal, not some “result.”

From another point of view, though – i.e. from the perspective of Thelema, desiring to discover and execute the True Will – meditation is a means to an end: the function of it is to familiarize the aspirant with a state relatively free of thought so that he or she can more easily identify the mental overlay in everyday life and therefore correct behavior more easily.

We could make similar arguments for the other practices. The “goal” of the LBRP, in a real sense, is just to do it. When performing it, that's how you have to act, at least: you have to throw yourself into it and (temporarily) abandon all of this "thought" stuff. But again, seen from a different context (i.e. from the persepctive of the heart of Thelema, which is discovering and carrying out the True Will by distinguishing what one is from what one fondly imagines oneself to be), it’s a means to an end: a preparation of the mind. To use magical language as a metaphor, it is a cleansing of the temple to prepare for the indwelling of Spirit.

Is this nothing more than a pure and simple, physical phenomena? Does one aim to produce this physical phenomena? These things would need much more pondering and research if one would really want to make a science out of Thelema.

I don’t really agree here: I'm not looking to make a "science" out of Thelema in the sense of figuring out the exact biological process going on during attainment, and I absolutely do not think that such knowledge is necessary to attainment.

We all know that a person doesn’t need to know *how* exactly a car works in order to drive. We just need a rudimentary mental model about how the whole thing works (car full of gas plus turned ignition key = car start; right pedal = go; left pedal = stop; stick thing = put car into drive mode). That model -- which we can test and build up -- is really all we need. In a similar way, we don’t need to know *exactly* what’s happening in our bodies when we attain in order to do so. What we need is a practical model of how attainment works, and that's what I provide in my second post on this thread.

if you do not obtain favorable results immediately, you can freely give it up.

Sure, but unless one has crystal-clear criteria in mind that would tell one what the results are, one wouldn’t be able to make an accurate assessment.

I strongly suspect that a lot of students go into this “magick” stuff with very vague ideas about what to expect from it, and then when their overactive imaginations give them the warm and fuzzies (oh, excuse me: "the sense that they are boldly unmasking illusion via disquieting encounters with transconsciousness that fertilizes the subtle planes of consciousness") they imagine themselves to be obtaining all sorts of “results” and “attaining” to all kinds of wonders, when in fact they’re just watching the equivalent of spiritual television.


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Shiva
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25/09/2012 11:06 pm  

"In every true spiritual treatise it is said that for attaining spiritual emancipation it is necessary for us to restrain our mind. After knowing that this restraint is the ultimate intention or purpose of such treatises, there is no benefit to be gained by studying without limit a countless number of treatises.

"For restraining our mind it is necessary for us to investigate our self in order to know who we really are, but instead of doing so how can we know our self by investigating in treatises?

"It is necessary for us to know our self only by our own eye of jñana [true knowledge], that is, by our own inward-turned consciousness."  - Ramana Maharshi - Who Am I?

"Stop Thinking." - Crowley


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Los
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26/09/2012 1:40 am  
"Shiva" wrote:
"In every true spiritual treatise it is said that for attaining spiritual emancipation it is necessary for us to restrain our mind. After knowing that this restraint is the ultimate intention or purpose of such treatises, there is no benefit to be gained by studying without limit a countless number of treatises.

While studying a countless number of treatises is probably a waste of time, there is benefit to be gained from studying a finite number of cogent treatises. Like any other subject of study, “spiritual matters” can be explained by others who have gone through the process before – hence, the large number of books Crowley wrote on the subject. [Hence, also the large number of “New Age” and “spiritual” books published every year…and the fact that Frater Shiva himself continues to write books. If it were remotely true that “stop thinking” was all that needed to be said, there would be no books written on the subject]

It’s all well and good to say “Stop thinking,” but you notice that that’s not all Crowley had to say on the subject. For one thing, one needs to explain exactly what’s meant by “stop thinking” and why someone would want to “stop thinking” or “restrain thought” in the first place. There are plenty of people – very educated people at that – who would scoff at the idea that restraining thought could be a good thing, so it’s important to explain that the phrase doesn’t mean “to reason ineptly” or “to jump to foolish conclusions,” even though (in practice) a lot of folks do seem to interpret it that way.

Snooki, of Jersey Shore fame, may be said to have mastered the art of “stopping thought” and “restraining thought,” but a student of the mysteries needs to clarify that that’s a very different kind of “stopping thought” than the one that we’re talking about.

So too is an analysis of practices valuable to a student, providing a firm understanding of what the practices do, why one would think that they actually do that, and how the student can tell that the practices have actually done that.


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Azidonis
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26/09/2012 3:21 am  

For science!


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Shiva
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26/09/2012 5:28 pm  
"Los" wrote:
For one thing, one needs to explain exactly what’s meant by “stop thinking” and why someone would want to “stop thinking” or “restrain thought” in the first place.

"One" needs to do no such thing. You are CONSTANTLY setting the parameters of what people "should" do or "need" to do in their expressions. Thou shalt not should on thyself - or others.


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Michael Staley
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MANIO - it's all in the egg
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26/09/2012 6:22 pm  
"Los" wrote:
For one thing, one needs to explain exactly what’s meant by “stop thinking” and why someone would want to “stop thinking” or “restrain thought” in the first place. There are plenty of people – very educated people at that – who would scoff at the idea that restraining thought could be a good thing, so it’s important to explain that the phrase doesn’t mean “to reason ineptly” or “to jump to foolish conclusions,” even though (in practice) a lot of folks do seem to interpret it that way.

That's a very revealng remark.


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christibrany
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26/09/2012 6:44 pm  

Los, I second what Frater Shiva said. why are you out of curiosity always positing what you feel someone should do? Do you feel you have a superior knowledge, or do you just, as you like to say, 'enjoy it for it's own sake'? merely curious, not really judging...


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the_real_simon_iff
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26/09/2012 9:06 pm  

Los, 93!

I think your chapter on Divination is the weakest in your list. I don't mean that because Crowley had a quite different view on how the Tarot works. No, in my view you have naturalized it down so much that it sounds like you just want to talk someone who really isn't interesting at all in initiatory work into doing it, which isn't a very clever idea I think. Or maybe you had a *typical occultist* in mind who - due to lack of real friends - needs several Tarot spreads for only one situation to realize there are more than one way of looking at that situation, something which anybody with a little common sense should know, which is by the way something everybody should possess who dares to follow the path. And how such a weakling should honestly estimate the success of his "work" is just beyond me, this sounds not very scientific.

So, even for someone who isn't interested or doesn't believe in anything Crowley wrote on the Tarot or the Yi King, and who wants no supernatural bullshit surrounding his "work", I would say it would be much more interesting, funny and scientifically measurable if you use the Tarot readings regurlarly and for a given period of time (say half a year) actually act strictly and without exception according to its "orders" (kind of a combination with Yugorum practices). This way, you can actually make specific conclusions about how things come out when your own mindset is as little responsible as possible for your actions as possible. You can then consider the results: Did you handle the situations in questions "better" or "worse" as usually? Did you take actions you wouldn't have dreamed of before and gained thereby? Did the Tarot gave you a glimpse of the consecrated path you are destined to follow? Or did you just think about the situations much more concentrated during the Tarot sessions, while you were silently warping the "orders" in a way you considered best? Anyway, to me this sounds much more interesting, funny and scientifically measurable than “Oh, there’s my mind thinking there’s a need to confront this person. My mind always thinks that’s the primary option. But like I learned in those four divinations I did last month, there are many other valid methods of response…this might be one of those times.” This sounds like a self-help-manual *real-life example* from the 70ies. Nobody - I would suspect - thinks that way...

Anyway, just a guess

Love=Law
Lutz


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the_real_simon_iff
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26/09/2012 9:44 pm  
"MichaelStaley" wrote:
"Los" wrote:
For one thing, one needs to explain exactly what’s meant by “stop thinking” and why someone would want to “stop thinking” or “restrain thought” in the first place. There are plenty of people – very educated people at that – who would scoff at the idea that restraining thought could be a good thing, so it’s important to explain that the phrase doesn’t mean “to reason ineptly” or “to jump to foolish conclusions,” even though (in practice) a lot of folks do seem to interpret it that way.

That's a very revealng remark.

93!

Yes, I often expressed my suspicion that Los (or Erwin or folk like that) simply want to overcome some tragic experiences with *the occult* and now want to even these experiences out by desperately *de-mystefying* and condescending this *occult*. Or he (they) did not grasp what he (they) desperately sought in *the occult*. Of course, these are only my suspicions based on the digital avatars of the people I come to know here. So it only seems to be very revealing. We will have to wait for the first biography of Los that approaches his philosophy on such psychological terms.

Love=Law
Lutz


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Los
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26/09/2012 9:58 pm  
"Shiva" wrote:
You are CONSTANTLY setting the parameters of what people "should" do or "need" to do in their expressions.

Which differs from what you’re doing in your post how, exactly? You’re telling me I “should” avoid doing this. If you’re serious about not imposing “shoulds” on anyone else, then you contradict yourself by imposing a “should” on me.

I realize you try to turn the glaring contradiction into a joke by saying “Thou shalt,” but that doesn’t make it any less of a glaring contradiction.

How do you expect me to respond when you underline your own hypocrisy?


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Los
 Los
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26/09/2012 10:03 pm  
"christibrany" wrote:
why are you out of curiosity always positing what you feel someone should do?

I object to the way you’ve formulated this, as I’ll explain below.

“Should” – as I’ve noted many times – has no ultimate meaning, but it does have meaning within a discursive context.

For example, there is no ultimate, universal rule, “One should not touch a hot stove.” There’s no ultimate reason that anyone should “obey” that “should.” But if we create a given context (say, the context of not wanting to burn oneself), then we can indeed say, “One should not touch a hot stove,” with the understood implication being ”…if one doesn’t want to burn oneself.”

If the context is clear, one usually doesn’t explicitly add the last part.

In a similar way, when I say, “One needs to explain what ‘stopping thought’ means,” I’m speaking in the context of having a discussion about intelligent practice. The understood qualifier is ”…if one wants to practice intelligently.”

If one doesn’t wish to practice intelligently – or, alternatively, if one is not trying to gain insight into one’s nature and just wishes to simply generate trances for nothing more than the pleasure of enjoying the experience – one is under no obligation to explain one’s practices.

However, in the same way that a carpenter is obligated to be capable of explaining his craft if he wants to successfully build a desk, so too is a Thelemic practitioner obligated to be capable of explaining his craft if he wants to successfully discover his True Will.

So, in short, I’m not “positing what [ I ] feel someone should do” – I’m having a discussion in a given context.

Does that sufficiently satisfy your curiosity on the subject?

Do you feel you have a superior knowledge

Well, obviously I think the positions I hold are correct (I wouldn’t hold them if I didn’t think they were correct)

Based on the evidence – the observation that I can give cogent answers to the questions in post #2 and that no one else has yet, despite years of these kinds of conversations – I am convinced that my positions comprise the best answers. But I am (very) willing to be convinced otherwise. In fact, I would be delighted to be convinced otherwise, to be shown that my current understanding is wrong in some way. But I’m only going to change my mind on the basis of evidence or reasoned argument.

or do you just, as you like to say, 'enjoy it for it's own sake'?

More broadly, the whole reason I engage in discussions like this isn’t a “reason” at all (in the sense of being inspired by a thought in the mind). I’m just the kind of person who enjoys having these kinds of discussions, and so I do. Just as we don’t ask a dog why it barks, there’s no need to ask “why” one’s True Will is what it is. It just is, it just becomes, it just does. Dynamically.


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Los
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26/09/2012 10:26 pm  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
I think your chapter on Divination is the weakest in your list.

Hey, look at this. Someone actually wants to talk about the topic of the thread. I'm impressed.

No, in my view you have naturalized it down so much that it sounds like you just want to talk someone who really isn't interesting at all in initiatory work into doing it, which isn't a very clever idea I think.

I don't know what in the world you mean here. If someone wasn't "interested at all in initiatory work," I wouldn't want to "talk him" (or her) into playing with a bunch of brightly-colored pieces of cardboard. What a waste of time that would be.

I would say it would be much more interesting, funny and scientifically measurable if you use the Tarot readings regurlarly and for a given period of time (say half a year) actually act strictly and without exception according to its "orders" (kind of a combination with Yugorum practices). This way, you can actually make specific conclusions about how things come out when your own mindset is as little responsible as possible for your actions as possible. You can then consider the results: Did you handle the situations in questions "better" or "worse" as usually? Did you take actions you wouldn't have dreamed of before and gained thereby? Did the Tarot gave you a glimpse of the consecrated path you are destined to follow? Or did you just think about the situations much more concentrated during the Tarot sessions, while you were silently warping the "orders" in a way you considered best? Anyway, to me this sounds much more interesting, funny and scientifically measurable

Ok. Now this is a good post. You actually proposed an alternate way to use tarot cards and made an argument for why this method would be better. Good job.

Everybody else, take notes on the way Lutz just acted on this thread. Bravo.

Now for my response:

There's an episode of The Big Bang Theory in which Sheldon (the "genius" of our group of nerd protagonists) decides that if he made all of his trivial decisions by flipping a coin, he would free up more of his brain power to unconsciously work on solving advanced physics problems.

As you might guess -- as is typical with stupid sitcoms like these -- "hilarity ensues." We see Sheldon has grown a mustache because he flips a coin to determine which parts of his face to shave. We see Sheldon saying things like, "Hang on, I need to flip to see if I can use the bathroom before we leave. (to the coin) Please, please, please, please be heads!!!"

While I agree it might be a fun and interesting experiment to temporarily put one's actions completely in the control of something random, I see a few potential problems, the chief problem being that if one's goal is to discover the True Will -- and if the True Will can only be discovered by paying attention to it in the moment and adjusting behavior accordingly -- then just blindly following some randomly-generated "reading" isn't going to allow the individual to achieve that. It's just "bad practice," as it were (or, to put it another way, it sets a bad precedent for the mind).

Further, I think it carries the risk that someone could start thinking that the Tarot is "tapping into the essence of the moment" and "revealing mine own True Will to me," which it obviously isn't, any more than throwing a coin is. Whatever the tarot is actually doing, it's important to keep in mind that it's not giving one "a glimpse of the consecrated path [one is] destined to follow."

Then again, one of the purposes of Thelemic training early on is to expose the Self to as many different situations as possible and observe the Self's reactions as impartially as possible (free from the distorting influences of the mind). For this reason, Crowley recommends putting the Self into situations that the mind would normally not put it, just to see what happens (for example, let the artistically-inclined spend a while doing hard science; let the scientifically-inclined spead time reading poetry; let the indoorsy types go camping; let the rugged outdoorsmen spend time at a library doing research, etc.).

The purpose of such wide exposure of the Self is to acquire as much data as possible about the Self and what it likes or doesn't like.

To this end, using tarot cards to suggest avenues of activity -- ones that the mind might not think of on its own or be unwilling to pursue on its own -- could be a very useful application of divination, and I'll happily accept a version of the practice you proposed as one of potential value for a student.

I also agree that measuring the mind's reaction to some of the things generated by the readings could prove very useful in revealing things about the way one's mind works. And while that won't in and of itself reveal the True Will, a thorough knowledge of the mind and the way it distorts impressions is absolutely a prerequisite of the Work.

This is the sort of thing I'd like to encourage on this thread: building up a bank of practices with practical indications of how they work and can be used.


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Azidonis
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26/09/2012 11:36 pm  
"Los" wrote:
The discovery of the True Will [...]

Added [...] for bandwidth.

You appear to be of this constant opinion that a battle exists between Khabs and Khu.

And you say the following helps you end the battle...

"Los" wrote:
How do the practices work to achieve this goal? The only way to accomplish this goal – by the definitions advanced above – is to train the mind to become aware of the ways that the Khu distorts impressions, particularly its impressions of the Khabs. After doing so, the individual can gradually become better at perceiving the Khabs/True Will in real time – free from the distorting tendencies of the mind – and adjust his or her behavior in real time.

You have set up the battle between Khabs and Khu, and determined that "Khu" must be "evil", and that pursuing the "Khabs" is the only way to go.

A valid question: What do you think is doing the perceiving of the Khabs and the Khu?

"Los" wrote:
“In real time” is an important phrase because, by definition, imagining one’s reactions to situations are part and parcel of the Khu, and the goal is to shift attention *away* from the Khu. One cannot, by definition, discover the True Will by thinking about it because the True Will comprises the natural inclinations of an individual in a given situation. An individual must, therefore, pay attention to his or her natural inclinations while in that given situation.

Again, what do you think is perceiving the 'inclinations of the individual'?

"Los" wrote:
How one can tell that it works: The primary criteria for determining that one has discovered the True Will is that, over time, one’s sense of internal resistance and discomfort diminishes.

Resistance, to what?

"Los" wrote:
This will necessarily be a subjective judgment, but one that most individuals are more than capable of making, particularly over long periods of time. People generally know when they are happy with their lives or not, and though they might make some mistake in the short term, an individual usually has a very good sense of whether he's overall satisfied on a day-to-day basis. It is often – though far from always – an unhappiness with their lives that prompts individuals to seek out “spiritual attainment” and such (though ironically, their unhappiness and their seeking for something outside of themselves is part and parcel of the Khu-illusion: as ever, the proper study of magick will teach them that their mind is playing them traitor).

Again, what is it that you think is making these judgements concerning Khabs and Khu?
___________
The following statements you have made imply that you have "discovered the True Will":

"Los" wrote:
[...] Saved for bandwidth.

___________

So, either  1) you have "discovered the True Will" and are trying to tell us how we can do the same, 2) you are regurgitating words from someone else (or some others) that you believe will help to "discover the True Will".

Which is it, 1 or 2?

Lest any confusion exist, and any semantics become distorted, some observations are made, and some questions are asked in this post.

Observation 1: You made a distinction, a proposition of a battle between Khabs and Khu.
Observation 2: You have made an assertion that something is perceiving a Khabs and Khu, implying the existence of a third thing, neither Khabs or Khu. Clarity is appreciated.

Question 1: What is it that is doing the perceiving of the Khabs and Khu?
Question 2: Assuming there is resistance, what is doing the resisting? Is it the same thing that is doing the perceiving?
Question 3: Have you "discovered the True Will"?
Question 4: If your answer to question 3 is "no", or any variation of "no", how can you be positive that the methods you are advocating have anything at all to do with "discovering the True Will", with the possible exception of the very limited definition that you have given it above?


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Shiva
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26/09/2012 11:38 pm  

Methinks the guy protesteth too much.


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Los
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26/09/2012 11:44 pm  
"Azidonis" wrote:
You appear to be of this constant opinion that a battle exists between Khabs and Khu.

For the thousandth time, you're wrong.


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Los
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26/09/2012 11:46 pm  

Sorry, just wanted to do that. Onto the post.

"Azidonis" wrote:
A valid question

Yeah, you've asked valid questions.

I'll provide answers to all of them, but first I want you to assure me that this isn't some game you're playing, like usual. The last time you sucked me down the black hole of conversing with you, you started by asking something reasonable, along the lines of, "What inclinations do you think a True Will could have (in general)?" only to respond to my answer with something ridiculous along the lines of "your answer contains duality! And duality is a lie!!! Blahhhhhh!"

So here’s the deal: you go on record stating that you’re actually asking questions that you’re actually interested in receiving answers to – that you don’t intend to intentionally misconstrue in an annoying way – and I’ll answer all four of the questions at the end of your post, and any more questions you have, within reason.


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Azidonis
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27/09/2012 12:01 am  
"Los" wrote:
Sorry, just wanted to do that. Onto the post.

"Azidonis" wrote:
A valid question

Yeah, you've asked valid questions.

I'll provide answers to all of them, but first I want you to assure me that this isn't some game you're playing, like usual. The last time you sucked me down the black hole of conversing with you, you started by asking something reasonable, along the lines of, "What inclinations do you think a True Will could have (in general)?" only to respond to my answer with something along the lines of "your answer contains duality! And duality is a lie!!! Blahhhhhh!"

So here’s the deal: you go on record stating that you’re actually asking questions that you’re actually interested in receiving answers to – that you don’t intend to intentionally misconstrue in an annoying way – and I’ll answer all four of the questions at the end of your post, and any more questions you have, within reason.

Just answer the fucking questions. Don't be a bitch about it. It's not a political maneuver; I have nothing to gain or lose from participating in this thread. They are very straightforward questions. Do you have something to hide?

If your answer to question 3 is "no", or any variation of "no", however, don't waste your time answering, as I could care less about your guesswork.

In fact, if your answer to question 3 is "yes", then that also means "no", so on a second thought, don't bother answering any of the questions.

And since I know you are going to run off on some rant of reason about the definitions of yes and no, and how something "cannot mean both yes and no at the same time, etc.", then I'll answer for you, by saying "no". You don't even have to say it. Your terrible 'definition' of True Will says enough.

"The [True Will] that can be defined is not the [True Will]."


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Los
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27/09/2012 12:08 am  
"Azidonis" wrote:
In fact, if your answer to question 3 is "yes", then that also means "no", so on a second thought, don't bother answering any of the questions.

See that? You weren't really interested in the answers to begin with, exactly as I thought.


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Azidonis
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27/09/2012 12:23 am  
"Los" wrote:
"Azidonis" wrote:
In fact, if your answer to question 3 is "yes", then that also means "no", so on a second thought, don't bother answering any of the questions.

See that? You weren't really interested in the answers to begin with, exactly as I thought.

Nope. I already know that you are an idiot. I don't need you to answer the questions for that.

But, you still refuse to answer them. Your hesitation speaks volumes. Enjoy your Khabs and Khu battle, Los. Best of luck to you.


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the_real_simon_iff
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27/09/2012 4:12 pm  
"Los" wrote:
Ok. Now this is a good post. You actually proposed an alternate way to use tarot cards and made an argument for why this method would be better. Good job.

Everybody else, take notes on the way Lutz just acted on this thread. Bravo.

93!

No wonder I feel like replying to your lectures so rarely. But I am in an indestructibly good mood these days...

Can I go out now and play?

Love=Law
Lutz


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obscurus
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27/09/2012 5:31 pm  

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

A few simple mundane things.
I have found it better personally not to seek to complicate but to simplify.
It is a mindset.

I say, I think and I write:"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law" for two reasons.
The first being a reminder to myself. It is a kind of re-setting of a moral compass. A constant reaffirmation of the desired direction in which to travel.
The second being a means in which to crack open the door in others which will hopefully, eventually set them out on the path of true self discovery.

I eat when I'm hungry and drink when I'm thirsty. There is no set meal time, I may eat once or twice a day or as many as five or six times or more. I always reaffirm my intent why, if not verbally always mentally each and every time.

I live in a house which I have painted and decorated in accordance with its purpose. I have caused ivy and flowering vines to grow on it. There is a separate room in which I sleep, always alone. I have built a single bed of heavy lumber to height so that the mattress top reaches the level of my navel while standing. This places my eyes, while lying down, midway between the floor and ceiling. The head of the bed is oriented to the east with the foot in the west. This enables the solar current to wash across me from head to foot. The walls of this room are painted in different and appropriate colors. On the walls hang paintings and other art which represent my understanding. They serve as gateways and receptacles. The ceiling of this room is painted with my understanding of the universe complete with attached tarot cards...it is an on going effort. On the head of the bed is spotlight of sorts which I made. It projects a spot of light on the ceiling where I mount various images for contemplation before sleep and upon awaking. I have created indoor and outdoor spaces which I hold as sacred. I spend time in those places daily. I conduct my body through various movements. I do this without distraction for I control my bodily movements. No scratching, no fidgeting, no unconscious movements. I move with perfect fluid intent. I mark the four stations of the Sun daily. It is no longer the prescribed Resh but has evolved into something more personal. I perform a form of the Middle Pillar exercise daily and again it has evolved into something quite different from what is written. Through the years I have picked and chosen different practices which have resonated with me. For years I struggled with trying to do it just like Aleister...expecting the same results. I have found this to be a sure recipe for disappointment. It was not until I built my own, on Aleisters framework that I moved. Am I going to spell out my exact practice for someone else's examination and dissection? No. Anyone struggling along their own path would be done a great disservice if I did. Don't taint somebody else's mixture. It has to be made your own.

By controlling the body I was able to still my mind. By stilling my mind I have been able to focus, which in turn enables profound changes of perspective and points of view. I find my understanding to be something beyond description by written word. I need prove nothing to anyone but myself. I spend the greatest amount of time everyday in contemplation.

Having written and edited this so many times I have had enough. It is what it is, stand or fall, tear it apart. The more I write the worse it gets. Before long we end up like you know what......

[flash=200,200:wrv4bhz5] http://www.youtube.com/v/aXIMLyH2HWk[/flash:wrv4bhz5]

Love is the law, love under will.


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Azidonis
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27/09/2012 5:43 pm  
"obscuruspaintus" wrote:
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

A few simple mundane things.
I have found it better personally not to seek to complicate but to simplify.
It is a mindset.

I say, I think and I write:"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law" for two reasons.
The first being a reminder to myself. It is a kind of re-setting of a moral compass. A constant reaffirmation of the desired direction in which to travel.
The second being a means in which to crack open the door in others which will hopefully, eventually set them out on the path of true self discovery.

I eat when I'm hungry and drink when I'm thirsty. There is no set meal time, I may eat once or twice a day or as many as five or six times or more. I always reaffirm my intent why, if not verbally always mentally each and every time.

I live in a house which I have painted and decorated in accordance with its purpose. I have caused ivy and flowering vines to grow on it. There is a separate room in which I sleep, always alone. I have built a single bed of heavy lumber to height so that the mattress top reaches the level of my navel while standing. This places my eyes, while lying down, midway between the floor and ceiling. The head of the bed is oriented to the east with the foot in the west. This enables the solar current to wash across me from head to foot. The walls of this room are painted in different and appropriate colors. On the walls hang paintings and other art which represent my understanding. They serve as gateways and receptacles. The ceiling of this room is painted with my understanding of the universe complete with attached tarot cards...it is an on going effort. On the head of the bed is spotlight of sorts which I made. It projects a spot of light on the ceiling where I mount various images for contemplation before sleep and upon awaking. I have created indoor and outdoor spaces which I hold as sacred. I spend time in those places daily. I conduct my body through various movements. I do this without distraction for I control my bodily movements. No scratching, no fidgeting, no unconscious movements. I move with perfect fluid intent. I mark the four stations of the Sun daily. It is no longer the prescribed Resh but has evolved into something more personal. I perform a form of the Middle Pillar exercise daily and again it has evolved into something quite different from what is written. Through the years I have picked and chosen different practices which have resonated with me. For years I struggled with trying to do it just like Aleister...expecting the same results. I have found this to be a sure recipe for disappointment. It was not until I built my own, on Aleisters framework that I moved. Am I going to spell out my exact practice for someone else's examination and dissection? No. Anyone struggling along their own path would be done a great disservice if I did. Don't taint somebody else's mixture. It has to be made your own.

By controlling the body I was able to still my mind. By stilling my mind I have been able to focus, which in turn enables profound changes of perspective and points of view. I find my understanding to be something beyond description by written word. I need prove nothing to anyone but myself. I spend the greatest amount of time everyday in contemplation.

Having written and edited this so many times I have had enough. It is what it is, stand or fall, tear it apart. The more I write the worse it gets. Before long we end up like you know what......

[flash=200,200:25txvyvb] http://www.youtube.com/v/aXIMLyH2HWk[/flash:25txvyvb]

Love is the law, love under will.

Beautiful post.


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Los
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27/09/2012 6:34 pm  

Invocation

How it Works: The practitioner “inflames” the self with “prayer” of various kinds – the specific activities that move the individual in question. Thus exalted beyond ordinary consciousness, the practitioner will find it easier to concentrate on the True Self underneath the thoughts. Familiarity with this state will aid the practitioner in paying attention to the True Will during day-to-day life and adjusting behavior accordingly.

How one can tell that it works: Success in invocation is marked by a “trance” in which the whole world feels fresh, new, and full. One can almost feel the “restrictions” of the veils come falling off. Attaining this feeling (and it is just a feeling, remember) is an aid to acting in accord with the True Will in everyday life. Practice will enable the magician to slip into this state of mind more or less at will, from the perspective of which the observation of the Will is greatly aided.

A few notes on this one. I made a solid post about the art of invocation here: http://www.lashtal.com/forum/index.php/topic,5638.msg71824.html#msg71824 That post is about invocation in the sense of invoking gods and such. It includes an interesting close reading of Magick in Theory and Practice to support my conclusions. I want to expand on it now to include ideas for invocations of the HGA, the most important operation for a magician to undertake.

It was proposed, earlier in the thread, that Crowley’s methods work by inducing individuals to attain “mystical states allowing the subconscious to take over for brief periods of time.” I said that this was brief and vague, and I think it’s potentially very misleading. Someone could easily get the idea that merely attaining trances is the equivalent of discovering the True Will and then go out into the world and get fooled by their thoughts again.

Trances are, basically, toys: toys for the Khu. They’re mental fireworks that don’t really add up to much. Crowley himself writes, “There may come a time when Samadhi itself is no part of the business of the mystic. But the character developed by the original training remains an asset.”

That last part is important: it’s not the trances themselves, but the discipline in obtaining trances – the focusing of attention – that’s really what’s of importance.

Now, we all know that Liber Samekh is the ritual Crowley said he used to obtain KCHGA – a ritual whose aim, by the way, Crowley explicitly says is to keep the mind busy so that the individual is free to focus on the True Self. One can definitely do Liber Samekh as part of the invocation of one’s own HGA. But such attempts are usually going to be limited, not least because the ritual was invented by someone else, and it contains ideas and images that got Crowley going…not necessarily somebody else.

Crowley writes in One Star in Sight: “none knoweth the Name of his brother's God [the HGA], or the Rite that invokes Him.” Therefore, I would recommend that as part of the aspirant’s investigation of his mind, he determine those sources of inspiration that “exalt” consciousness and enwrap him in ecstasy.

There are, after all, two methods of attaining: magical and mystical. Crowley, of course, identifies them at the end of that extract from MiTP I quoted in the Invocation post. But they are two different approaches to the same stuff. In meditation, we still (or “smooth out”) the veils to allow the Light to shine through. In magick, we intensify the Light so that it comes bursting out of the veils. Both methods add up to the same thing and can be – and should be – used in tandem.

One fruitful practice is to expose oneself continually to those things that exalt the consciousness and “intensify” the Light. This does not have to be in a formal “ritual” setting at all, and for most people it will be by far more beneficial outside of a “ritual” context. As Crowley says, no one knows the rite that will work for someone else. It may be a walk in the woods, it may be while writing, it may be while playing Jazz music, etc., etc. Certain kinds of literature from the Western Canon did it for me.

The method is simple: invoke often. As often as possible, strive to exalt your consciousness to ecstasy and beyond. You’re deliberately trying to “shake” the mind out of its normal routines, so impressing this new and powerful state of consciousness upon it is going to loosen things up.


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 Anonymous
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27/09/2012 7:04 pm  
"Los" wrote:
Then again, one of the purposes of Thelemic training early on is to expose the Self to as many different situations as possible and observe the Self's reactions as impartially as possible (free from the distorting influences of the mind)

I might as well share some thoughts for the day, as obscurus already did.

I was in a car crash earlier today when driving back home from work.
Apart from some bruises from the impact, no one got hurt.

I was sitting on a highway rail smoking a cigarette and watching the whole scene quite disoriented while waiting for the police to arrive. My body pumped full of adrenaline because of the sudden impact. It was a a quite mess of metal and broken car parts. Some unknown woman ( the other driver ) acting quite hysterically calling to her husband while paramedics, who happened to arrive before the police, were asking me few questions.

There is certainly an undeniable duality between your body and your mind. I answered all the questions without any hesitation and words came quite naturally, but then there is this something else, that is quite lively and present, that is not interested in answering these questions. Shock, terror, disaster are all great tools to present this undeniable division for the individual.

For is this not the manifestation of cosmic energy in it's grossest form?
It's not just the physical shock. Any shock will do. This accident I had today was not the first experience I have attributed to this peculiar card, but certainly, it was one of the most vivid experiences.

Geburah was one of my greatest misfortunes, now I consider it my greatest teachers.


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Los
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27/09/2012 8:02 pm  
"ayino" wrote:
I was in a car crash earlier today when driving back home from work.
Apart from some bruises from the impact, no one got hurt.

Well, that's lucky. Glad you're alright.

Experiences like that can definitely shock one out of complacency and shake the dust off one's usual mental patterns (what Richard Dawkins has called "the anesthetic of the familiar").

All of us spend a large amount of our time paying attention to our mental representations of reality, rather than reality itself. Driving is a prime example of this. I'm sure most of us have had the experience of going for a drive to a familiar location and discovering, upon reaching our destination, that we made the trip more or less on "autopilot" (not really registering much about the trip). That's how evolution designed our brains: we navigate environments by building up patterns and then largely attending to the patterns, not reality. This allows the brain to filter out the majority of the information it takes in -- it only has to notice enough of the environment to confirm that the pattern is still broadly correct -- so as to free up more processing power to think about other stuff.

The only drawback is that we inhabit worlds of imagination. We live in those patterns, largely, and they're not all useful patterns.

Getting into a car accident is an extreme example, but having something unusual happen breaks one out of the pattern. This is why things like poetry, the study of science, meditation, art of all kinds -- anything that snaps the mind out of its complacency and gets it to look at the world from a different angle or just pay more attention to what's going on -- are very useful for attainment.

One of the best ways to "invoke often" is to find ways to break these patterns in one's everyday life (hopefully in ways other than getting into car accidents). Ways to shock the mind out of its usual ways of perceiving.


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William Thirteen
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28/09/2012 7:13 am  

Shock the Monkey!


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Azidonis
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Posts: 2964
28/09/2012 11:42 am  

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Like that?

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Or that?

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Maybe that?

...Okay, just one more.

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William Thirteen
(@williamthirteen)
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Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 1090
28/09/2012 1:21 pm  

the Four Worlds?


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Azidonis
(@azidonis)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 2964
28/09/2012 2:58 pm  
"WilliamThirteen" wrote:
the Four Worlds?

Oh, well then...

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Liber AL 1:3 "Every man and every woman is a star."

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Liber Ararita 7:13 "That returned unto One, and beyond One, even unto the vision of the Fool in his folly that chanted the word Ararita, and beyond the Word and the Fool; yea, beyond the Word and the Fool."


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Los
 Los
(@los)
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Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 2195
12/11/2012 6:29 pm  

Liber Jugorum: The practice of jugorum requires the student to vow to control the mind or body in some small, trivial way  (open doors only with the non-dominant hand, never put hands in the pockets, avoid thinking about a particular subject, avoid using a common word in speech, etc.). The student observes his or her daily activities, noting the “breaks” and/or punishing himself/herself for violating the vow (writing ticks in a book, snapping a rubber band against the wrist, cutting the forearm with a blade)

How it works: The practice of jugorum requires the student to pay stricter attention to the body and mind. It has the side benefit of strengthening the will, making the body/mind more capable of obeying directions rather than running the show. The main benefit, however, is that it reveals to the student, at the outset of training, the nature of the task before him/her: it impresses upon the student the fact that the mind and body (the “Khu”) have “wills” of their own, so to speak, wills that are not identical to the Self.
Its primary benefit, then, is giving the student direct experience of the sort of problem that the practice of Thelema strives to correct. In one sense, we might say that all conflicts in a student’s life are variations on the problem that Liber Jugorum allows him/her to apprehend directly (i.e. the tendency of the mind and body to try to run the show).

How one can tell that it works: As with meditation, success is met with an increased number of “breaks” at first (as one gets better at observing) and then fewer and fewer over time. It’s likely that one will never be perfect in the practice, but perfection isn’t the point.
Note: It is completely unnecessary to cut oneself with a blade, unless one wishes to do so. The cutting adds nothing to the benefits of the practice.


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