Spirituality / Esoterica

Cultivate Detachment and Non-Identification (2)

Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay

“Inner silence is for our race a difficult achievement. There is a chattering part of the mind which continues, until it is corrected, to chatter on even in the holiest places.”

— C.S. Lewis


Reading time: 15 mins

“Inner Considering”

You’re on an internal cell phone to your “Self” that never stops ringing. You pick up and you say the same thing over and over. You hang up. And then it rings again and you start over, completely forgetting your last feverish conversation. Our wires become so crisscrossed and entangled with endless contradictions and conflations that we end up trapped in our mind.

A life of endless chatter, deliberation, vascillation, questioning, doubts, ten thousand possible ‘if’s’ and ‘but’s’ fuelled by our fantasies of the future and the past. These thoughts get our brain and nervous system so habitually overheated, criss-crossing over each other with complexity, that we cannot discern or discriminate objective from subjective.

That’s an unfortunate part of being human. We all do it to different degrees – mostly as our default position. It certainly takes me back to all kinds of poor decisions which were based solely on that inner noise of fear and anxiety and not much else. We can even make ourselves believe that it’s all logical and rational rather than an internal babbling of self-protection.

All this has a name: “inner considering”, a phrase drawn from the 4th Way teachings of George I. Gurdjieff and its relationship to indentification and self-remembering.

When we fully identify with the object of our attention we immediately begin a cascade of thought loops about what might or might not be, fuelled by anticipation and inner dissatisfaction. People, in particular, form our most potent forms of identification. This is the social battlefield of unresolved childhood insecurities and misdirected sexual energies. Plagued by endless loops of inner considering we are not motivated by truth but by self-protection and inner comfort. It’s like we carry around a no-entry sign for any authentic interaction. Only those exchanges which bypass “sensitive” lanes into our heart are allowed access. And since most people are asleep to themselves, therefore inauthentic, much of what we see as social interactions are merely the exchange of inner considerations.

Fear is still pumped into society on a daily basis and has produced immense distrust and cynicism. Our infotainment mediocrity elevates artifice and images devoid of meaning which means most of us search desperately for anchors of purpose. Albeit entirely understandable, this is a fool’s game because it is driven by subjective, frustrated assumptions and all manner of negative projections – all of it largely unconscious.

The net result means no change, or change for its own sake. The loops are still there based on a refusal to take responsibility for one’s own development. A contractile denial of one’s own deformations remains in place.

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8. Cultivate Detachment and Non-Identification (1)

© Infrakshun

“We live in a society where detachment is almost essential.”

— Philip K. Dick


Reading time: 15 – 18 mins

The quote above highlights a growing shift in the consciousness of Western populations – if not the globe – namely, the detachment and separation from our political system to offer any kind of resolution to domestic and international problems. The defeat of the remain camp in the Brexit exit poll to the election of Donald Trump are both symptoms of disillusionment with establishment politics. They represent a negative detachment of progressive politics not from rejecting the conservative “other,” but from an attachment to a dream of what ought to be, thus in direct oppostion to objective reality.

As Gilad Atzmon notes in his recent book Being in Time: A Post Political Manifesto (2016):

The Post-Political condition is an era defined by a complete failure of politics (Left, Right and Centre) and ‘Grand Ideological Narratives.’ Liberal Democracy, Marxism, communism, capitalism, and free markets are all empty, hollow signifiers as far as contemporary reality is concerned.

Total detachment describes the current relationship between ‘the political’ and ‘the human.’ We Westerners are becoming keenly aware that we have been reduced to consumers. The present role of ‘the political’ is to facilitate consumption. Our elected politicians are subservient to oligarchs, major market forces, big monopolies, corporations, conglomerates, banks and some sinister lobbies.

Liberal Democracy, that unique moment of mutual exchange between humans and the political, has failed to sustain itself. [1]

In the context of politics and culture, non-identification is essential if we are to separate from belief and move toward constructive solutions. Not to play the game of identity politics is to reject the idea that just because there is disagreement with a certain ideology does not mean prejudice against a race, sexuality, gender or religion. Identitarians would have us all categorised into rigid groups of tribal affiliations according to opinions, feelings and surface image rather than the logic and plausibility of the idea itself. Since identity is enmeshed in ideology and persona, to oppose an ideologue is to launch a personal attack. A specific defence mechanism is thus created to maintain this triad.

Examples of this would be:

  • Being white and male you are privileged and inherently racist
  • If you vote for Trump you are sexist, misogynist and a white supremacist Nazi.
  • Everyone knows there is a rape culture and if you deny it you support it.
  • If you disagree with pre-school education on transgender sexuality means you are transphobic
  • Criticising Islamic extremism means you are “Islamophobic”.
  • Criticising Israel’s human rights record against Palestinians means you are anti-Semitic
  • If you stand against police brutality you support radical anarchists like antifa
  • Institutionalised racism exists and police target black people as a result.
  • All those who criticise the science of human-global warming are “climate deniers”.
  • Being pro-Brexit and skeptical of the EU means you are xenophobic and right wing

Such identitarianism is spellbound by image and feeling rather than reason an logic. There is no room for nuance or complexity. With identify politics, radical feminism and social justice groupings, group identity and its beliefs take precedence over individual belief and autonomy. Any attack against the group is an attack against personal identity, the latter of which the individual give ups to further group cohesion. The ability to discriminate and critique based on reality rather than personal sensibility is lost. As such, it is a collective defence mechanism called “splitting” which we will look at later on.

To identify with someone’s pain or difficulties is to engage empathy. But when we identify with the ideology and belief – regardless of good intentions –  we limit our ability to see outside that ideology. It is then that empathy becomes politicised and distorted toward power and projection fuelled by the momentum of the group itself.

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Strive For Simplicity, Economise on Energy (7)

Image by Karen Arnold from Pixabay

“He is richest who is content with least, for contentment is the wealth of nature.”

— Socrates


Reading time: 10-15 mins

SEE

In this final post on Strive for Simplicity, Economise on Energy (SEE) we’ll summarise what’s gone before and end with a list of what we can do to get the ball rolling and a few other nuggets of interest to whet your appetite for change.

We looked at how SEE is expressed through Taoist traditions, the I Ching, Wabi-Sabi and Nature. This was followed by an exploration of how Western culture has lost sight of living simply with an unhealthy adherence to civil law and its development of “bureaucratic insanity.” A useless complexity bound by rigid absolutism enforced by an army of “robopaths” is in direct opposition to Natural and Common Law – not least the human wish to work together and seek self-sufficiency. A resurgence in voluntary simplicity and the natural community virtues that arise if cooperation were given the needed nourishment were also explored.

The challenge of simplifying our lives in order to reconnect with beauty and truth in practical ways can only be achieved with knowledge of how we use our energy – thoughts, feelings/emotions and body awareness. Our task is to use our energy more productively so that we turn towards creativity in everyday life. As a primer for further discussion on energy as it relates to applying SEE, we reviewed the nature of energy and the centres/chakras from a 4th Way perspective. The role of our planet, organic life and the moon as largescale sources that might drain our energy were reviewed, with a brief description of ancient and modern myths.

We then looked specifically at energy economy and conservation. After using the analogy of the house as our body-mind system we returned to Taoist and I Ching symbolism through the archetype of The Well as our fundamental resource, The Mouth as nourishment and The Cauldron as the alchemical vessel by which consciousness is refined to make SEE a possibility. This acted as a backdrop to the subject of sex and sexual energy which was briefly explored from a cultural perspective and the divisions and pathology which has led our sexual-creative centre being misused.

Beginning with a confirmation by science of the reality of the Chinese energy system we delved into the nature of sexual energy and back to the 4th Way views of the sex centre’s role in relation to culture, sexual relations and masturbation – a dynamic that is not just focused on the gentials but appears throughout our culture under different guises, all of which lead to the loss of intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual energy.

Finally, a brief look at the brain as the hub of energy refinement and loss was covered, along with some pointers on a digital detox from social media and other forms of infotainment  – a major source of energy drain. Two bio-mechanisms of procreative sex and pair-bonding were highlighted and the role of dopamine in the reward circuitry of the brain leading to a circle of unrecognised addictions. In light of these, we delved further into a narcissistic and orgasm-centred culture predicated on addictive behaviours which have displaced intimacy and bonding behaviours. This was followed with an introduction to the love-making art of Karezza as the most useful method for sustaining intimacy and harmony within a relationship.

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Strive For Simplicity, Economise on Energy (6)

The Kiss (Lovers), Gustav Klimt, oil and gold leaf on canvas, , 1907–1908.

“Behind every shallow sexual interaction, there hides a person who does not want to see or be seen at a deeper level.”

Michael Mirdad, An Introduction To Tantra And Sacred Sexuality


Reading time: 30 mins

Brain Power

Before we continue exploring the vital role of simplifying and economising through attention to sexual energy let’s take a brief detour into the brain and the spaghetti junction of incessant thoughts.

An enormous amount of energy is expended in thinking deeply about a subject and still more when our thoughts are a product of stress and anxiety. Factor in low-grade fantasy and you have a major energy drain in the mind-body system. With such a breach, our perception, impressions – what we give out and receive – and ability to think critically is seriously impaired by subjective evaluations, warped still further by defensive mechanisms and stagnant beliefs.

The brain is a big, jelly-like battery making up 2 per cent of our body weight. Even at rest, this incredible hub gobbles up a whopping 20% of the body’s energy. [1] It’s long been known that the brain uses more energy than any other human organ, – up to 20 per cent of the body’s total output., with two-thirds of that energy used to help neurons or nerve cells “fire” the remaining third devoted to general “housekeeping,” and cell-health maintenance. [2]

Each neuron has a small voltage 70 millivolts or 0.07 volts. That may not seem much when compared to the 1.5 volts of a AA battery or the 115 volts from a wall socket, but at the microscopic scale, which is where it functions, it’s pretty impressive. In fact, when you take into account that the brain is made of 80 billion neurological batteries each of which contains four times the electrostatic force that normally results in lightning during a thunderstorm.  [3]

Our brains pack a powerful punch.

And when the procreative urge gets in on the act, usually as a form of grounding all that “electrostatic” tension, then a massive explosion of neurochemicals occurs at the point of climax. Sexual saiety is the result – or offspring.

The point is, this is a major “charge” which has a major downside and may not only be exhausting your physiological responses and your nervous system but re-wiring the neurology of the brain toward habituation. We become addicts to what is a very narrow mental and biological mechanism rationalised by the intellect, fuelled by ignorance.

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Strive For Simplicity, Economise on Energy (5)

Infrakshun / pixabay.com

‘In order to make gold, you need to have gold.’

— Medieval alchemist


Reading time: 20 mins

Energy Matrix

Eastern philosophy and medicine has been well in advance of the West when it comes to recognising the energy of the body and mind. For thousands of years Chinese, Tibetan, Japanese and Indian practitioners had knowledge of the channels or meridians which carried two kinds of force, yin and yang, which flow along a network of energy pathways which map the entire body.

It is now accepted that our bodies are electromagnetic in nature with these energy pathways acting as electricity conductors, a fact of which acupuncturists take full advantage in order to regulate and “unblock” certain imbalances in the energy field. Knowledge of the energy network of meridians forms the diagnostic methodology behind Shiatsu/Acupressure, Qigong, Tai Chi and Yoga. Indeed, science seems to be catching up with what the ancients have already known for thousands of years.

As no anatomical foundation was perceived to exist for the meridian network in our current Darwinian-saturated science establishment the concept had been discarded and ignored as the Newtonian/Cartesian mindset held sway. However, a flurry of new experiments emerged in 2013 which produced a new anatomical foundation called the ‘Primo Vascular System’. Researchers at the Seoul National University in South Korea describe the PVS as “… a previously unknown system that integrates the features of the cardiovascular, nervous, immune, and hormonal systems. It also provides a physical substrate for the acupuncture points and meridians.” They propose “…a new vision of the anatomical basis for the PVS and the vital energy—called “Qi”—as an electromagnetic wave that is involved very closely with the DNA in the PVS.”

What is most fascinating is the duplication of the PVS by the vascular and the nervous systems during the very early stage of body development. Consequently: “… the PVS combines the features of the vascular, nervous, immune, and hormonal systems. The PVS in all its aspects is understood as a system that covers the entire body, and regulates and coordinates all biological life processes.” [1]

This was followed in 2016 with discoveries on the microstructure of the PVS via the use of a patented microscopy system by Professor Vitaly Vodyanoy of Auburn University in Alabama. He revealed for the first time “the microstructure of the miniscule, translucent system of vessels, subvessels and stem cell-filled nodes—together making up the primo-vascular system…” which appears in and on blood vessels, organ tissue and the lymphatic system. As for less complex biological of rats, it too features in the human system. [2]

Instead of a simplistic version of meridians lying on the surface of the skin, classical Chinese texts have always indicated the three-dimensional nature of energy pathways which carry liquid Chi to the internal organs. This liquid is made of stem-cells packed with DNA. And we know the enormous healing and regeneration properties of stem-cells and the mysterious nature of DNA as one factor in the interface of consciousness with knowledge and reality.

Now, keep in mind the importance of liquid in our bodies and its role in carrying protective and nourishing information.

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Strive For Simplicity, Economise on Energy (4)

© Creator76 | Dreamstime.com

“A man builds a fine house; and now he has a master, and a task for life: he is to furnish, watch, show it, and keep it in repair, the rest of his days.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson


Reading time: 15-18 mins

Energy Conservation

To conserve our energy in the way we think, feel and act we need to know how they might all relate in simple terms. So, let’s simplify it.

Think of energy efficiency (upgrades) and energy conservation (energy use) leading to the correct economy for your life. The home can be thought of as a metaphor or symbol of your mind and body. (If you like, this is an extension of Jordan Peterson’s thinking of tidying up your room).

Energy conservation involves using less energy by changing your behaviours and habits. Energy efficiency, on the other hand, involves using techniques, traditional systems of knowledge and new technologies that requires less energy to perform the same function.

Energy efficiency = all those qualities and techniques you can find to maximize your potential and minimize chaos. Accumulate energy for creativity and minimize loss from internal and external entropy.

Energy Conservation = simplifying your life through judicious, careful attention and limiting unnecessary drains on energy. employing measures which ensure you are not only efficient but have a constant supply on tap. Conservation sometimes means getting very creative. The more you conserve, the more likely that can be!

In other words, to be energy efficient means looking at ways your personality system can be upgraded so that less energy is needed to perform certain functions and which provides qualitatively better results. This can be “costly” in the short-term but requires much less effort in the long-term. This includes insulation, replacements, careful monitoring and upgrades.

Energy conservation involves actively seeking new ways to on your internal efficiency. You change your relationship to energy within your home. You seek ways to receive energy for minimum loss and a minimum amount of effort. It is strategic, long-term and eminently practical. It requires a re-calibration of existing appliances (organs of perception; centres) in order to extract a maximum amount of energy. The energy that you have is used wisely.

In other words, it means a change in overall behaviour through commitment and a creative application of knowledge.

How might we use our energy more efficiently?

Insulate, upgrade and monitor.

Insulate your mind and body from that which would drain but remain porous enough to let constructive influences through. And if you have good quality insulation then you have more energy to produce warmth and proper flow of electricity and therefore creative potential. (It might be stretching this metaphor to its limit but it’s no coincidence that key brain areas found to have more nerve fibre insulation or “myelination” equates to advantageous personality traits!)

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Strive For Simplicity, Economise on Energy (3)

“I have long held an opinion, almost amounting to conviction, in common I believe with many other lovers of natural knowledge, that the various forms under which the forces of matter are made manifest have one common origin; or, in other words, are so directly related and mutually dependent, that they are convertible, as it were, one into another, and possess equivalents of power in their action.”

— Michael Faraday, English Physicist and Chemist


Reading time: 20 mins

Energy

What is energy?

Energy is a property of matter, space, objects and fields. It can be transferred and converted, but it can’t be destroyed – or created. Energy can be chemical, thermal electrical and kinetic, all of which exists in and around the mind-body system.

For our focus it is potential energy which can be stored and qualitatively accumulated which is of interest.

Energy can be refined in order to get more vitality for your voltage, so to speak.

Since sufficient energy is the fuel for all manner of action, (and The Work) it stands to reason that the more energy you have within your mind-body system the more enhanced the capacity for change.  With enough stored, (and the “space” ready to store it) we have a greater chance of changing our physical, mental and emotional states.

With a greater store of energy on tap, this might even provide the “nourishment” and power needed to fuel overall meta-physical transformation.

At this point in history the demands on our time and energy are relentless. Many of us have become mentally ill or physically debilitated due to environmental and psycho-social factors. In this technological age there are reasons to fill every waking hour with activities and distractions which feed our restlessness but give little in terms of true nourishment. If we cut out the clutter and re-organise our daily lives so that things become simpler we make better use of our time. Time management goes hand in hand with simplicity. Economising conserving and simplifying are mutually inclusive.

What is crucial to your life and what is just repetitive, useless busy-ness? Is that moving centre sending into you spirals of pointless activity in order to displace energy that could be useful to personal transformation? Ask yourself honestly: Is your attention habitually fixed on getting things to feel better? Has this focus overshadowed what’s truly important in my life?

If that’s true and like so many of us, you have been caught up in finding too much satisfaction in possessions (or possessing people) then it’s a cue to simplify and to realise that attachment to beliefs and their possessions are often the greatest obstacle to living a more harmonious life. Or, as German poet and playwright Johann von Goethe expressed it: “Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least.”

To achieve simplicity we have to conserve our energy in thought and action. One thing is for sure, you’ll need every ounce of it if you are to transform your inner life. By gettting rid of that which ultimately drains you, it opens up the space for an ongoing process of spring-cleaning, much like you do with your flat or house. And it’s amazing how much more can be achieved by decreasing one’s complexity.

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Strive For Simplicity, Economise on Energy (2)

© Infrakshun | M.K. Styllinski

“The expression of truth is simplicity.”

— Seneca


Reading time: 20-25 mins

Natural and Common Law

If you’re like me you might ascribe to a universal law that operates outside of human constructs yet gives rise to a specific set of perceptions and values. Natural law is a system of moral justice and balance derived from the cycles and symbols of nature rather than the rules of society. There are inherent rights which exist outside of legislative bodies and the State which are deemed a timeless product of nature and the Divine. Natural Law is a culmination of thousands of years of philosophical inquiry from Taoism to the Stoics and celtic Christian theology. Drawn from generations of common sense experience, the common theme is that morality, ethics and jurisprudence should determine the outcome of disputes and community conflict.

Natural law flows through the dynamics of social groups, how we cooperate and include, when we live and die, who we love and who our friends our; it is our home and our community; the values, virtues and moral autonomy that gives life to art and altruism. It comes about by the process of reason and conscience which determines what is beneficial or destructive to the individual as part of the proper functioning of a community. It is a law that requires us to learn the sometimes subtle difference between that which gives life and creativity or that which sends us down the road to entropy and evil.

Under Natural Law infections of evil are allowed to wither and die by withdrawing energy for their existence. Such entities are not bailed out and propped up – they dismantled, re-envisoned or ignored. This universal standard is as old as human conscience – the wisdom formed through experience. It is a law that transcends time, culture, and government. It is a law that helps to create organic order that is porus and fliexible as well as socially binding. Natural promotes self-responsibility, self-sufficiency and preventative measures when it comes to crime and dysfunction.  It is the judge who discovers the law in common practices which have been deeply ingrained in society.

At its best, it is simplicity in action.

The American legal school of thought called Declarationism believes that the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. constitution are based on Natural Law. However, that initial ideal has now been obscured – if not dissolved – under the heavy weight of amendments by successive administrations under the pay of corporations and antithical ideologies. Equally, one only has to cast an eye over the disease of legalise – American and European – to wonder how it is that anyone understands anything when it comes to civil liberties, family courts and civil actions.

The English legal system of Common Law is similarly rooted in this natural philosophy with its roots in the English Kings’ courts. This older, traditional form of common law is still in operation although, like the U.S. consituition, it has been covered up and camouflaged by modern legislative power which seldom takes into account the old local knowledge and simplicity of the system –  a natural outgrowth of community cohesion.

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7. Strive for Simplicity, Economise on Energy (1)

By M.K. Styllinski

© Infrakshun | M.K. Styllinski

“Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”

— Lao Tzu


Reading time: 20-25 mins

Simplicity.

What images does it conjure in your mind? Minimalist architecture? A Zen garden? A painting? Perhaps the symmetry of a fir-cone or a statue of Buddha?

It probably took me about 25 years to really get what simplicity seems to be. And even now, I sometimes struggle not to complicate things. I like complexity you see. The more complex something is the more interest I have – be it people or abstract ideas.

But to reach a complexity that is enriching we have to first simplify our minds otherwise we become lost in abstraction, reductive identifications and a multitude of obligations and desires. Next stop – burn out.

Simplicity is a state of mind which has the potential to affect our thoughts and actions in the everyday world. It implies an economy of thought and movement which can to lead to harmony. When simplicity and harmony exist, moral virtue is not far behind.

Simplicity is not just peace or mindfulness, it’s the state of receptivity and creativity working as one. And for that to occur we have to let our 24hr desires abate somewhat; we have to let go and let it Be.

The root meanings of the word derive from the 14th Century listing “singleness of nature, unity, indivisibility; immutability,” and from the Old French simplicité; Latin simplicitatem meaning “state of being simple, frankness, openness, artlessness, candor, directness.”  The Middle English also from French: simplesse, used the word from the mid-14th Century in the sense of “humility, lack of pride,” and later as “wholeness, unity.” By c. 1400 it was also known as “ignorance.”

Obviously, I’m using simplicity in its positive sense: unity, wholeness, openness, clarity, purity, elegance, parsimony, humility, economy, etc. It can just as easily imply black and white thinking, ignorance and stupidity as the 15th Century populace discovered, ironically as humanistic individualism was making itself known.

The West has prided itself on inquiry, reason, rationale and critique (even if it doesn’t quite measure up to those ideals); the legacy of the Enlightenment and the Age of Reason; individualism and humanistic innovations. The influence of the East is the other half of the equation: an understanding of the inner world and the meditative mind; the slow calming of the incessant intellect in order receive what Chinese and later Japanese Buddhists called “The Tao.” As esotericist George I. Gurdjieff  described it: “Take the understanding of the East and the knowledge of the West and then seek.”

The Taoists  have a lot to say about the virtues of simplicity. One of the most famous Taoist texts is The Tao Te Ching (or Dao De Jing) believed to have been written by Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu sometime in the 6th Century B.C.

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Choose Constructive Emotions (and don’t forget your greatest asset) (8)

“There is a great deal of unmapped country within us which would have to be
taken into account in an explanation of our gusts and storms.”

– George Eliot

“I’m not asking anything” she said. “I’m merely passing on the advice of a succession of shrewd old birds…Start by becoming aware of what you think you are. It’ll help you to become aware of what you are in fact.”

— Aldous Huxley, Island, 1962


Reading time: 20-25 mins

We’ve looked at the importance of positive emotions (and its dark side); fantasy over creativity; as well as an overview of male and female brain differences in processing emotions. We’ve also explored how constructive emotions are overall, an essential part of moral, psycho-spiritual identity.

In this final post on constructive emotions we’ll have a closer look at how they operate within a specific metaphysical/esoteric tradition with particular attention to the theory of chakras or centres. These ideas are present in much of the occult traditions but also in “esoteric science”, or the old, custodian forms of Eastern and Western traditions behind many of our religions.

This might appear to be a bit abstract, so those averse to too much theory on that score, hang in there, even it’s just theory at this point, it’ll give you a working knowledge as to how your “subtle energy” might be working in your system. Similarly, if this is just an interesting curiosity, the mere awareness of new possibilities is useful since it gives you further information to process within your personal open feedback system. Information can always be turned into practical knowledge if you test it against the whetstone of reality.

That said, a word to the wise: the following theories of esoteric work isn’t something to flirt with – a point I’ve made at various junctures on this blog. Better to just have that awareness than fully engage with what esotericists call “The Tradition” or “The Work” than only half engage. That’s as dangerous as entering a dense jungle in flip-flops, with  a plastic water bottle as your only means of survival. A paucity of sincerity and mere intellectual curiosity is not a good combination. ( know well of what I speak!) Beyond a certain point, to turn back from that Work will create a chaos you can barely imagine. As the Buddha mentioned:  “There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth: not going all the way and not starting.”

Cautionary warning dispensed with – onwards!

Fourth Way /The Centres/Chakras

There are three major influences that determine the personality and its trajectory:

  • Genetics
  • sociocultural programming
  • spiritual/religious beliefs

Our spiritual beliefs – occult or esoteric/metaphysical – have been directly or indirectly influenced by the ancient idea of chakras or subtle energy centres.

The chakra systems as we know them today have been put through the new age and occult grinder so it’s no surprise that the theory behind their functioning bares little resemblance to their original sources, be it from the yoga-tantra traditions or from esoteric Christianity filtered into the West.

The particular system I’ll focus on I believe retains the original template of the “subtle energy centres” which is the system of teaching called The Fourth Way delivered to the West by George Gurdjieff, P.D. Ouspensky and later Boris Mouravieff among others lesser known.

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Choose Constructive Emotions (and don’t forget your greatest asset) (6)

“You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death. It is easy to say you believe a rope is strong as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But, suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice? Wouldn’t you then first discover how much you really trusted it?”

—  C.S. Lewis


Reading time: 8-10 mins

The Positive thinking, LOA and YCYOR triangle is the lynchpin of the new age or Human Potential Movement, often fused with left-liberal beliefs. What happens when these ways of viewing the world are placed in an overtly spiritual context?

A constant theme that runs through many of these essay series is the idea that one’s spiritual quest is fraught with potential dangers. It’s designed that way and is not for the faint-hearted. I am one of those who has learned the hard way that self-awareness and seeking truth requires an exacting sacrifice of personal, selfish desires.

If you decide to follow a genuine spiritual path without attending to fundamental emotional issues, you will find yourself on a very hard road indeed as the signal to grow receives a response. Such a response (depending on the degree of personality deformation present) sets in motion a process whereby the person is given the tools and circumstances by which soul influence can begin to grow. That cannot be anything other than painful since, like a drug addict, you are shedding outmoded and negative behaviours which you have taken on as normal. Cold turkey isn’t just for those coming off substance abuse, it can be as harrowing to divest yourself of childhood and cultural conditioning.

The cultural inculcation to support a psychopathic worldview is disguised as benevolence or empowerment. In the final analysis however, we always have a choice to change and to seek out what is really going on behind The Wizard Of Oz’s theatrical curtain on reality. Dealing with our emotions is the first step.

If we insist in wallowing in the influences of Official Culture, whilst immersing ourselves in the theory of spiritual transformation – it won’t work, at least not in the way we might think. Information becomes knowledge by applying and testing out what we have discovered. That means we cannot be in two realities at once which means a decision will need to be made, whether we like it or not. If you are perpetually on the fence then you at a standstill or worse, one centre of gravity within your personality will be inflated whilst another will atrophy.

Much of the illness of our western culture derives from the denial of what is, and the rejection of inner knowing in favour of security, self-satisfaction and a fragile peace. It’s ultimately a denial of the Universe/God which seeks consciousness, seeded in complex sentient life i.e. humans – to become self-aware, warts and all. Once we have made a contract with Life due to our self-evident existence, part of that decision is to willingly choose to access your greatest potential by serving others, thereby serving yourself. When we do so with conviction a new dimension of possibility opens up for us – literally. Walk long enough along that road without application of those discoveries then reality will become more and more insistent that you “walk the talk” away from theory and toward actualisation of faith and purpose.

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Choose Constructive Emotions (and don’t forget your greatest asset) (5)

pixabay / infrakshun

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

— Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO)


Reading time: 20 mins

Mainstreaming Magick

It might seem a stretch to equate boiler basement magick with so much of the self-help, positive thinking cult but bear with me.

You’ve probably become accustomed to the gradual popularisation and  mainstreaming of various forms of ceremonial and sympathetic magick. There is a huge market in black magick and associated celebration of the demonic and supernatural mysteries. Wherever there is a natural curiosity about such things then you can be sure it can be milked by turning it into a commodity thereby serving a tripartite purpose of 1) Feeding the economic technosphere 2) entrainment of elite ideas 3) normalisation of their memes and concepts.

Positive thinking, much of new age philosophy, self-help coaching and business is now reaping the short-term, feel-good benefits of occult principles applied to daily life. Now, mainstreaming the Kabbalah, Hermeticism, Wicca and Witchcraft can be seen in Hollywood, television, art and entertainment in general. There is a huge information explosion purposely generated and carefully executed like a drip-feed of psychic driving.

Hey boys and girls! Werewolves or Vampires? Make your choice. Magickal formulas and invocations? Take your pick! (Just don’t think for yourselves…Conjure something that can do it for you).

If you know nothing of ritual magick, don’t worry. You’re better off. But it’s important to know that occult principles lie behind much of our institutional history and play a big part in Elite beliefs up to the present day. Which is why, in part, the marketing of magick in popular culture is so lucrative: it taps in to a human need to control in the face of uncertainty; to be part of a tribe that may have the inside scoop. It would also be foolish to say that there isn’t illuminating knowledge to be found in some forms of occult study of the dim and distant past. However, we’ll stick to the brief: how positive psychology and new age marketing is firmly selling black magick principles.

So, why is this dicing with the devil? When we attempt such magickal intrusions into the natural order with the dictum of “energy follows thought” as a purely ego-based desire for betterment, one is elevating personal fantasy over what IS. And in occult terms this becomes super-charged regardless of magickal theory suggesting otherwise. This wish to employ a framework of magickal formulas is enticing but tends to invite more chaos into one’s life, not less. Such a place may initially offer fleeting “success” much like the initial froth on a champagne glass or firework display that dies down as quickly as it begins, but it’s not a long-term solution.

If you want to align to a law that posits a type of attraction which benefits us, you have to first ask where does the focus lie? MATTER OR SPIRIT? Do I really know the difference? Ask yourself if you are channelling your desires to get something for nothing. Does it make it a short cut? And if so, are short-cuts generally useful?

There is nothing new under the sun. There are however, innumerable ways truth can be re-packaged and re-sold to humanity as innovation and relevation to keep us trapped in the same cycles of spiritual imprisonment which have remained unbroken for millennia.  If you have a hard time pondering that essential reality then you’re probably a perfect candidate for the above tripartite system of control. What the accumulated wisdom of the past has tried to tell us over and over is that the keynote of our times is deception, the likes of which traverse social, cultural, political and most certainly so-called “spiritual” precepts. Such modes of high level disinformation and distortion work in ways that can easily boggle the mind.

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Choose Constructive Emotions (and don’t forget your greatest asset) (4)

 © Photodynamx | Dreamstime.com

“The most revolutionary act is a clear view of the world as it really is.”

  —Rosa Luxemburg (1871-1919)


Reading time: 15 minutes

Fantasy vs Creative Imagination

There is no question that we can choose positive emotions to improve our life. Yet, there are many things we must consider before pursuing that aim, not least of which is making sure we don’t foolishly believe that’s all we need to grow, in spite of a natural want to improve our lot. They are two separate things, however. The latter tends to accompany the former and not after some considerable hardship. This is the nature of awakening: it sends out a signal to a world opposed to such a path and its response is usually to send a few obstacles to put us back to sleep. Usually, they are seductive and go straight for our weakest spot, our Achilles heel.

We need to cultivate deep self-knowledge to check we are embracing the positive thinking train for the right reasons; healing trapped emotions so that we’re sure we’re not seeking escape; a balm for pain; searching for short-cuts or using such methods to attain power and dominance. More importantly, we are not feeding our tendency to fantasize about the future.

Fantasy fuels our needy emotions. Fantasizing may be a welcome break from drudgery, but you may unwittingly invite chaos into the present. The very act of supplying energy to fantasy means that effort in the real world commensurate with a proper evaluation of our abilities is being continually siphoned away from pragmatic action. Therefore, your future will make you feel worse, not better, ironically stemming from your over-identification to think positively, the anticipation of that new state and subsequent diluted effort that could have ignited the state of creative flow.

Effort demands deliberate, conscious practice and an open spirit of expectation that allows creative imagination to complement critical thinking. Fantasy is like a self-created whirlpool which keeps us trapped in the warm waters of our own self-conceit thus making sure we never actually manifest even the humblest of those possibilities.

What makes it worse is people routinely confuse fantasy with creative imagination. When people mention the positive aspect of fantasy they are talking about the creative imagination which is fantasy set to work. Intention defines whether or not fantasy becomes creative or just colourful noise. Psychotherapist Carl Jung highlighted the importance of “playing with fantasy” without which “no creative work has ever yet come to birth. The debt we owe to the play of imagination is incalculable.”

A bit of day-dreaming here and there is no bad thing. And the playing Jung talks about is really accessing imagination toward a general or specific quest. Children naturally access the creative imagination as means to derive meaning and emotional nourishment. Sensory input from play and day-dreaming are essential to future emotional stability. This is why so many kids have difficulties at school because our concepts of education are an assault on such creativity as it imposes dry, dead, tests and re-parents children along state-sanctioned directives. As we know, these are not based on a remotely coherent map of reality. Enforced learning along regimented lines divorced from emotional intelligence has the result of corralling kids into a body-mind matrix of unhealthy fantasy and an eternal longing for meaning by the time they are young adults. When the critical faculties and independence appear they are a pale reflection of what they should have been, sheared of the correct neural maps from the absence of joyful learning and proper emotional content. They are still locked into the unfulfilled and impoverished state that comes from an education that indoctrinates and programs children into a consensus trance.

When fantasy and wishful-thinking is sold as a “lifestyle design” then it becomes yet another way to keep us docile, disappointed and resentful. When combined with happiness as the primary goal and where spiritual aims are no different to material acquisition, then we are on a path to entropy, not creativity. When we are encouraged to make unrealistic and ill-thought out escapism into an overall aim, it just becomes self-indulgence.

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Choose Constructive Emotions (And don’t forget your greatest asset) (3)

Approaching Shadow, 1954 by Chinese photographer Fan-Ho born in Shanghai, in 1931.

“Don’t be so negative! Think positive!”

— positive thinking evangelist


Reading time: 15-18 mins

How many times have you heard the above smiley command from people who have joined the positive psychology bandwagon? Apart from being a tad self-righteous the proclamation might also mask the person’s inability to process the negative realities of this world.

This “pursuit of happiness” tightly bound with numerous affirmations and fixated beliefs intent on to forcing happiness into being doesn’t deliver. If we do not achieve those heights of impossible joy then we sow the seeds of re-occurring resentment.

As we have explored, positive thinking is an important part of self-betterment, but it is literally only half the equation. There’s a huge caveat that goes unnoticed in the drive to cultivate a better outlook and a happier life. Deny the vital role of negative emotions in this process and and we court serious trouble.

In fact, this blind spot is probably one of the primary reasons for many of our global woes and needs to be fully understood before we immerse ourselves in the positive thinking belief system.

Success in cultivating positive emotions lies in the nature of the methods we use to attain them as much as it does the reasons we embark on such a discipline. If the methods and reasons are faulty, then success may be fleeting and come at a cost.

But “the optimism of the action is better than the pessimism of the thought” right?

No. Not always. In fact hardly ever.  If the pessimism of the thought is grounded in the reality of what is, then you can guarantee that the “optimism” and good intentions of the “action” will inevitably create more chaos than order.

As Barbara Ehrenreich described in characteristically blunt terms:

Americans have long prided themselves on being positive and optimistic — traits that reached a manic zenith in the early years of this millennium. Iraq would be a cakewalk! The Dow would reach 36,000! Housing prices could never decline! Optimism was not only patriotic but was also a Christian virtue, or so we learned from the proliferating preachers of the “prosperity gospel,” whose God wants to “prosper” you. In 2006, the runaway bestseller “The Secret” promised that you could have anything you wanted, anything at all, simply by using your mental powers to “attract” it. The poor listened to upbeat preachers like Joel Osteen and took out subprime mortgages. The rich paid for seminars led by motivational speakers like Tony Robbins and repackaged those mortgages into securities sold around the world. [1]

This distinctly American obsession with positive thinking tied to a delusional neo-liberal brand of capitalism means “to get what you want” in as little time as possible and with minimum effort; a lifestyle which has permeated virtually every social and cultural domain.

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5. Avoid Short-Cuts

By M.K. Styllinski


Wile E. Coyote | © Warner Brothers

“… shortcuts are dangerous; we cannot delude ourselves that our knowledge is further along than it actually is.”

— Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
.

Reading time: 10-15 mins

Once we have a sure-fire aim and its family of objectives then comes the panoply of short-cuts to tempt you. This feeds into our anticipation that’s ready to snap at the slightest whiff of a free lunch to carry us in guilded style to our destination. As anyone who isn’t a snake-oil salesman will tell you: this is an illusion – often a very tempting one, but an illusion nonetheless.

There are no short-cuts to self-development in any shape or form whatsoever. None. Zilch. Nada. A free pass has to be earned and no amount of clever marketing can alter that fact. And believe me, having probably tried most of the tantalising diamond-studded detours and persuasive paths of instant fixes over the past few decades, I learned the hard way, which is usually the best way, though not a bundle of fun.

                        Wile E. Coyote | © Warner Brothers

In other words, I discovered that trying to ram that square peg into a round hole for the umpteenth time doesn’t work whichever angle you come at it. Doesn’t matter if its shaking the sweaty hand of the loan shark or trying on a fake persona to get you the girl, short-cuts are the mythical sirens on the rocks wiggling their ample bottoms and tossing their lustrous hair as you try to half-heartedly steer your tug-boat away. Short-cuts make you want to wave back a little too vigorously; toot your whistle, let out your sails and steer a course to voluptuous success. But as sure as the sun rises in the morning, you’ll sooner or later end up on those rocks with the ship of your lofty aspirations  sinking below the surface. Feeling foolish and crestfallen can be beneficial, but it might take several passes before you get rid of that mindset.

This is especially true when it comes to bettering yourself or following a metaphysical path, so called. Anyone that tells you otherwise is just selling something. If you take the short-cut then you miss the whole point of process. And let’s face it, unless you’re a psychopath whose default position is to consume and destroy, it isn’t going to work for you, not if you seek authenticity over artifice.

Some folks seem to sail through life taking advantage of every short-cut available, whisking them to the top of whatever pyramidal pile of goodies matches their desire. What you also might remember is that such a position is rarely stable and even less sustainable in the long-term. The fallout from taking these short-cuts usually involves a shit-storm of unintended consequences which eventually finds their way back to the instigator. The Hindu/Buddhist concept of karma comes to mind.