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A Brief Essay on Magick

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A Brief Essay on Magick Daniel M. Ingram 8/31/12 2:52 AM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick Ona Kiser 8/31/12 6:33 AM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick Ona Kiser 8/31/12 6:38 AM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick Daemon Shockley 8/31/12 8:04 AM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick Daniel M. Ingram 8/31/12 2:24 PM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick Daemon Shockley 8/31/12 7:11 PM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick Tom Tom 8/31/12 2:40 PM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick Tom Tom 8/31/12 3:03 PM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick Daniel M. Ingram 8/31/12 3:33 PM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick Some Guy 8/31/12 3:53 PM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick Tom Tom 8/31/12 2:11 PM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick Daemon Shockley 8/31/12 7:13 PM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick Tom M A 9/3/12 1:51 PM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick Florian 9/4/12 9:45 AM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick This Good Self 9/4/12 8:49 PM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick Florian 9/4/12 11:04 PM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick This Good Self 9/4/12 11:53 PM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick Florian 9/5/12 6:00 AM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick Some Guy 9/5/12 8:33 AM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick Florian 9/5/12 11:11 AM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick Some Guy 9/5/12 11:11 AM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick Florian 9/5/12 11:20 AM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick This Good Self 9/5/12 8:23 PM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick Daniel M. Ingram 9/6/12 2:24 AM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick This Good Self 9/6/12 7:55 PM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick Daniel M. Ingram 9/8/12 1:09 AM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick This Good Self 9/9/12 7:49 PM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick Some Guy 9/10/12 9:17 AM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick Daniel M. Ingram 9/5/12 2:29 PM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick Tommy M 9/5/12 3:06 PM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick M N 9/5/12 1:29 AM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick Daniel M. Ingram 9/5/12 4:15 AM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick This Good Self 9/5/12 4:18 AM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick M N 9/5/12 9:29 AM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick Florian 9/5/12 11:08 AM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick Tommy M 9/5/12 2:53 PM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick Yadid dee 9/6/12 8:10 AM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick M N 9/11/12 1:43 PM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick Daniel M. Ingram 9/15/12 5:28 AM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick Jasen Murray 9/6/12 10:02 AM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick M N 9/6/12 4:55 PM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick This Good Self 9/7/12 12:37 AM
RE: A Brief Essay on Magick Wrong Mind 9/6/12 7:02 PM
A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
8/31/12 2:52 AM
Here is something I found that I had written some years ago. I may include something like it somewhere in MCTB 2, so I thought I would post it here for comment by those who care about such things. It is clearly unfinished, but the part that is done stands on its own well enough.

"Totally unrelated in most ways, but in keeping with the wand theme, here is an essay I wrote (though it is clearly unfinished) some years ago that I thought I would post here just to see what someone might think. I may include it somewhere in MCTB as a continued shout out to my Magickal friends:

The first principles of magick that I want to make explicit are as follows:

Whatever language one uses to describe these potentials that are within people and the wide web of causality, one will run into problems when dealing with anyone who is not very well-versed in the terminology, very broad minded, and very experienced in these things.

For example, if you call it science, you alienate both the religious as well as those who are scientists who would not lump unusual effects into science. If you call it magick, then you alienate the hyper-rational or merely concrete and conventional. At some points you will see a breakdown in communication with anyone, but those with real knowledge and real understanding will not have a hard time getting back on track. The trick is to work with people where they are. This is a fundamental theme of this work.

Consciousness plus intention produces magick. Anything that was produced by these two, even if present in the smallest way, is a magickal act or product.

This broad definition of magick, while more correct than less inclusive ones, can be limiting, so I will define two subsets of magick for the sake of discussion:

Ordinary Magick: that which most people wouldn’t call magick, and involves what the ordinary person generally believes to be simple intentions leading to actions, like lifting a spoon or composing a symphony. For the sake of clarity, I will call ordinary magickal effects simply ordinary effects.

Extraordinary Magick: includes the levels of causal effects that are beyond what most people consider the ordinary world of cause and effect, i.e. the realm that science, with the occasional exception of particle physics, considers mythical. In short, what most people would call magick, regardless of whether or not they believe in it, would fall into this realm, including magickal effects from “ordinary actions,” that is effects beyond what ordinary people imagine come from what they misperceive to be simple, non-magickal acts. For the sake of clarity, I will call extraordinary magickal effects simply magickal effects, realizing that this may cause confusion in those not understanding the full implications of the broad definition of magick.

The more we increase our ability to concentrate and to perceive reality clearly, the more we will begin to perceive the extraordinary magickal aspects of reality.

Magick can be looked at from two points of view:

from the ultimate, in which all that occurs is the natural unfolding of the lawful pattern of causality,

and from the relative, in which each individual has the power to influence their field of experience/universe/life.

The combination of understanding of ordinary magickal effects and relative reality is something I will call conventional reality.

These definitions of magick and the ultimate and relative points of view help define various groups of people:

In general, people may be defined by the degree to which they directly perceive the magickal aspects of reality, both the ordinary and the special.

They may be further classified into the degree to which they perceive the ultimate aspects of reality.

To the degree that the relative perspective is valid, it must be noted that where our experience field overlaps someone else’s experience field, there is an interplay of forces shaping that junction, specifically the consciousness and intent of each of those perceiving that junction. In this case, the difference between belief, intent and force is an arbitrary one.

The corollary of this is that the less obvious the junction of experience fields, the less obvious the interplay. This has important implications for those who practice magick when we examine the next few points.

Clearly, different effects may occur if the interplay/overlap is more or less overt, particularly if the beings involved have differing paradigms of what is possible. That is, if some of the beings involved think that some things are impossible and other beings involved think that those same things are possible, there is a set up for very deep conflict.

Our expectations, beliefs, previous experiences, and paradigms color what we perceive, which is to say, they have a direct effect on our field of experience and life. This effect is actually a very powerful one.

Most people don’t have a well-developed understanding of the vast and complex terrain of the magickal world.

This simple fact is an extraordinarily powerful magickal force, something I will generically label “The Field of Disbelief.” While not nearly as static or simple an entity as this name would imply, the general nature of its effects can be commented upon in crude terms. The Field of Disbelief is actually a field of beliefs about how things are.

The Fields of Disbelief may vary radically between people. For example, one person may consider a lucky rabbit’s foot to be very powerful, whereas another may have occasional premonitory dreams but think that the rabbit’s foot is pure superstition. One person may think that traveling out of body is not that unusual but may think that telekinesis is completely impossible. Some believe in angels, devils, spirits, fairies, pixies, trolls, and/or ghosts. Some think it possible to speak with the dead, heal by laying-on hands, read other people’s thoughts, or divine the past or the future. These are but a few examples of common magickal beliefs in modern times.

In general, the more people’s fields of experience you have overlapping, and the more obviously they overlap, the more Fields of Belief or Disbelief you have to deal with. In these circumstances, overt magickal acts that do not fit with the paradigms of these fields become more difficult. Ways to deal with this include:

Giving up and not attempting magick. I call this Dodging the Issue, or Settling for the Lowest Common Denominator. Magick is happening regardless of whether or not you wish to acknowledge it, and past a certain point this option is not really possible.

Attempting magick in private, with the thrust of the work being to cause effects that will have minimal if any obvious overlap with anyone else’s field of experience. I call this Private Magick. It is clearly the easiest of the lot.

Attempting magick that does overlap with other’s fields of experience but does so in ways that all of the effects appear to either be ordinary, or are at least not noticed to be magickal. I call this Stealth Magick, as one gets in under the radar of the Field of Disbelief.

Example: you are in a conference in a small, poorly ventilated room with a guy waving around a dry-erase marker with the cap off. The solvent smell is completely annoying. After careful consideration of the ethics involved, you will him to put the cap back on the marker when he is not writing with it. This is done with no obvious external signs that you are doing this. He puts the cap back on the marker and doesn’t notice at all. The act was clearly magickal but didn’t run into anyone’s Field of Disbelief.

This example brings up another sub-point of great profundity: it is impossible to distinguish between spell casting and prognostication. It is purely a matter of convention. One could just as easily say that your internal experience of willing him to do something was actually just clues about what was going to happen anyway. Causality doesn’t care one way or the other.

Attempting to work with the specific holes in a person’s or a select group of people’s Field of Disbelief, thus working specifically in ways that they truly believe are possible, so that you do not overtly run into the blocks in their Field of Disbelief. I call this Targeted Public Magick or Consensual Magick, as there was a consensus as to what was possible. Obvious examples include such things as faith healing and fortune telling. As people are bound to talk, this almost always enters the next category:

Attempting to work in public ways that directly contradict a person or group’s Field of Disbelief. This can be done, but the backlash tends to be impressive and often much more harmful to the practitioner than to those whose paradigms were challenged. I call this Public Non-Consensual Magick. Important points about this are:

It can be astounding how dense people can be in the face of things that might challenge their paradigms. The connections people can miss and experiences they can simply seem to forget happened or compartmentalize away can be amazing. While this can be very useful for the magickal practitioner, it is not an effect that one wants to count on to happen in the face of repetition, nor even count on the first time.

People often react negatively towards those whose paradigms diverge too radically from their own. This is instinctual and while these reactions can be clothed in the accepted institutions, laws and decorum of the times, nonetheless they can be extremely detrimental to the magickal practitioner.

We can look to myth and legend for illumination on this point. Consider a medieval setting and the reaction that various non-magickal people or groups might have towards various magickal ones. Note the common elements of denial, fear, anger, bargaining and manipulation.

The local ruler might size up the old wizard in the lone tower in the hill and either believe that he was just an old wacko, or if he believed he had some power would want to know how to keep him on his side and his chances of doing so. Could he be bought, seduced, or coerced through threat or otherwise manipulated?

The local townspeople might know of a witch out in the forest. Many would fear her. Some would seek her out for help with love, illness, or quarrels. Others might think she was just an old madwoman. Religious people might think she was in league with Satan and burn her at the stake.

Reactions like these take place in modern times all over the world and in “civilized” societies. The more your basic paradigms diverge from those around you and the more obvious you are about this, the stronger the reactions you will encounter. Consider gays being killed just for being gay, or people of one religion or political party killing another.

Attempting to alter the paradigms and expectations of a person or group before performing Public Magick, thus changing it into Targeted Public Magick. Skeptics would call this suggestion. I would call it education.

Another extremely important point about having magickal experiences is that your paradigms will begin to diverge from those around you who don’t or haven’t yet. There is no way around this. The more times you see visions, travel out of body, do energy work, trace glowing pentagrams in the air, speak with spirits, shift into altered states of consciousness, manipulate the world in various extraordinary ways or understand aspects of ultimate reality, the more you will be out of alignment with “Conventional Reality,” not that you could get two people to agree exactly what that was. Real practical wisdom involves working with this to everyone’s benefit or at least not to anyone’s detriment if you can help it.

There is a difference between one’s inner world diverging from “the non-magickal norm” and one’s outer world diverging from it.

This has to do with external marks of being “different”, such as unusual clothes, tattoos, hairstyles, props (such as wands, daggers, pentacles, etc.), special languages, symbols on one’s belongings, etc. While having cool and unusual props can be great fun, giving one a sense of there being something special and symbolic in what one does or just getting attention or both, they can also cause adverse effects on one’s jobs and public relationships. These props and trappings may also attract people of like mind, and so are, like everything, a mixed blessing.

While props have their advantages, there are reasons to get used to working without them, as if you are going to do Stealth Magick it is much easier if you are prop and trapping free.

The counterpoint to this is that props can alter people’s Fields of Disbelief based upon their own internal paradigm conflicts. A person who claims to not believe in magickal things may still react strongly to something like a provocative Tantric idol or an incense-filled room decorated with curtains with a magick circle and its associated symbols drawn on the floor, creating the possibility of doing more Consensual Magick or Semi-Consensual Magick.

Enjoy,

Daniel

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
8/31/12 6:33 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel said: "This example brings up another sub-point of great profundity: it is impossible to distinguish between spell casting and prognostication. It is purely a matter of convention. One could just as easily say that your internal experience of willing him to do something was actually just clues about what was going to happen anyway. Causality doesn’t care one way or the other."

This has ended up being a fairly significant point for me, as it gradually came to seem to me to be the only relevant operating factor. I spoke to a Tibetan lama and a Benedictine monk about it, and both offered the same perspective. That the more "realized" or "holy" a person is (I would substitute the term "awake"), the more this is what's going on. Such a person's intentions/prayers/magick are more effective than those of a beginner because he is more aligned with ultimate reality, and intuitively knows what to ask for (that will already happen) or what won't work.

The "less mature" (their term) approach is to try to change reality to suit your desires or aversions. The less attached you are to wanting the world to rearrange itself to suit your desires (because desire itself fades), the more "magick" is simply a dance with what already always is/was/will be. So to an extent the term becomes sort of irrelevant, no?

Nice to see you write some new material. emoticon

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
8/31/12 6:38 AM as a reply to Ona Kiser.
That said, I think the exercise of engaging with magick can be fruitful for some people, as it helps run them up against their desire to change things, makes the mind more pliable, breaks down categories and rigidity of belief, runs them up against the sense of being in charge of the unfolding of life, and so forth. It can also be motivating and fun, thus keeping people engaged with practice who would find a dry practice too boring. Altered states work can function, I suspect, not unlike jhana practice, in that regard. And vision work or spirit work can bring unrecognized grasping/aversion into the light. If one is practicing these things in conjunction with a well guided meditation/insight practice, it's just more fodder for insight.

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
8/31/12 8:04 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I think one of the strong points of MCTB for me was how it connected the theory to your real experiences (and your honest, down to earth voice). This to me reads like it could be empty theorizing. Though it could be that it would work fine in context.

I like the idea of Lowest Common Denominator reality. Insight meditation and Magick both seem to attack attachment to lowest common denominator reality from different angles. Zen too, at least from my vague pop culture based impression of zen questioning.

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
8/31/12 2:11 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
travel out of body


Extraordinary Magick: includes the levels of causal effects that are beyond what most people consider the ordinary world of cause and effect, i.e. the realm that science, with the occasional exception of particle physics, considers mythical. In short, what most people would call magick, regardless of whether or not they believe in it, would fall into this realm, including magickal effects from “ordinary actions,” that is effects beyond what ordinary people imagine come from what they misperceive to be simple, non-magickal acts. For the sake of clarity, I will call extraordinary magickal effects simply magickal effects, realizing that this may cause confusion in those not understanding the full implications of the broad definition of magick.


Here are some really "extraordinary" magickal experiences I've had that would certainly challenge people's beliefs.

In addition to having "out of body experiences," I've also had a traveling "in body experience" (like teleportation).

At one point during some intensive meditation period I closed my eyes (standing up), opened them, and found myself/the body with all the same clothes on (I was not in bed asleep in any way) in an entirely different room. The room I was in previously was a small bedroom, but this room was now of a completely different geometry. It had very high ceilings and was much larger in length and width. It was suffused with blue light so it was easy to see and was not completely dark, though I don't know where the light came from. I've also had the experience of material items manifesting out of thin air and I have a couple other experiences where this happened. In this room, I was immediately surrounded by a bunch of white chairs (which came from nowhere) to which I then grabbed with my hands and moved out of the way. I walked around the room for a while in a daze, not considering this strange in any way at the time, nor worrying about how I was going to get back out. There were no doors in this room, so don't ask me how I got out of it, because I don't remember, but was not in the room for more than a few minutes (actually maybe only about 30 seconds).

This was during a period before a sort of "psychotic break" occurred and the mind was in a sort of delirious state where it imagined that these kinds of things would be possible and no normal "rational" doubt about them was occuring.

Experiencing stuff like this makes me not actually doubt credence of stories about the buddha teleporting across a river or him building a bridge in the sky and walking across it.

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
8/31/12 2:24 PM as a reply to Daemon Shockley.
I agree, it is relatively dry and technical, and sound like points of abstract theory in many ways. Without doubt, I have resorted to this more dry style based on my own fears of presenting it somewhat differently, and it clearly impedes the voice that on hears more often in MCTB from coming out.

It is all based on experience, and yet that is clearly largely edited out even before it got in with a few small exceptions.

This is an admitted failing in some ways, and just playing it safe in others. Simple fact: talking about this stuff doesn't go down well most of the time. Even this place is relatively comfortable with mind modification, much less so with more specific and unusual forms of reality manipulation and experience. Raptures: no problem, what would people generally think of when they mean the more manipulative powers, which people use one way or another all the time: not as comfortable.

That discomfort is at once cultural in a specific sense and also nearly universal. That doesn't mean it need be. It is also part of my basic set of remaining taboos to some degree borne of experience in a culture that is not all that comfortable with these things, and so perhaps the limit is largely mine.

However, it is a start.

I actually finished up that part of the thing last night, stayed up until 6am doing it, just flowed. Writing is surprising like that: never know what I will end up working on, and certainly didn't expect that topic. I thought I would be writing about the fine points of navigating subjhanas and the like on retreat, something that is not well flushed-out in MCTB. I will be posting it on the wiki in a bit when I finish the next part: It ends up being a lead-in to the Brahma Viharas, which should have been more covered in MCTB and will be in this new version.

I am also relatively cautious in my practice of formal magick, and go there relatively infrequently for someone who has spent so much time tracing out the issues involved. Ever read A Wizard of Earthsea? Ogion and the moral framework of the lessons of that book had a profound effect on me. Anyway, there is, however, probably some reason that I have in the last few months nearly finished watching all of the episodes of the British TV show Merlin, whose relationship to the powers is similarly conflicted, but also much more active, and allows for a moral discussion of the uses and dangers of such power, however fanciful, but still, as allegory it is quite interesting and provocative.

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
8/31/12 2:40 PM as a reply to Daemon Shockley.
connected the theory to your real experiences (and your honest, down to earth voice). This to me reads like it could be empty theorizing


Real experiences of "extraordinary" magick are hard to talk about. I am generally hesitant about sharing stories about this stuff, especially ones that are too far beyond what people think are possible. It is generally just a huge distraction/sidetrack (perhaps dangerous) from actually practicing dharma.

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
8/31/12 3:03 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
BTW, has anyone seen the relatively new movie "Chronicle"? I think it is a very accurate portrayal of "realism" in relation to the powers. Meaning the real world is messy, and attempts to manipulate reality, no matter how extraordinary, are likely to backfire in all kinds of nasty and unexpected ways.

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
8/31/12 3:33 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Yeah, I really enjoyed that one, however uncomfortable it was.

Another fine story: Green Magic by Jack Vance, my favorite author.

Daniel

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
8/31/12 3:53 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Personally I've always been baffled by the apparently prevalent materialist worldview in the pragmatic dharma community. It has made me question whether things that have happened to me have really happened. Although the willingness to question my own assumptions has obviously been a benefit, I've wondered if it doesn't also create a "field of disbelief," (thanks for that term) which makes life a little less fun and maybe limits possibilities. So, I appreciate this little essay, Daniel.

On the other hand, I have friends who are Law of Attraction junkies, of various flavors, and it drives me bananas. It's a fine line.

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
8/31/12 7:11 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Yeah, I can appreciate the difficulties involved. I mean, you basically covered them in the essay itself. I think to address my criticism you'd probably need something like the mushroom culture rants. I think part of the problem is a sort of confusion between Reality Testing and demanding other people reframe their experiences in terms of a materialistic worldview if at all possible, up to and including assuming they are insane, especially if they resist doing so.

Anyway, I think there were probably some particular cloudy areas that contributed to my response, I'll reread the essay and try and call attention to them when it isn't 2 AM.

I read Earthsea but it was a while back. I think there was a scene early in the book when Ogion wouldn't stop the rain for their comfort because of the potential side effects of changing the weather.

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
8/31/12 7:13 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
I really appreciate your posting this Tom. Thank you.

I don't have much personal experience with this sort of thing, but I remember hearing my Pastor talk about his conversion to Christianity. He was driving a car and had a sort of vision and when he came out he was further in a shorter amount of time than should have been possible.

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
9/3/12 1:51 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
"Consciousness plus intention produces magick".

"The more we increase our ability to concentrate and to perceive reality clearly, the more we will begin to perceive the extraordinary magickal aspects of reality".

This so fits in with my own experience. The more calm I am, the more energised I am, the more energised I am, the more my chosen reality can reach me or my intent.

I do not view this as detrimental in any way, as I've became more aware of the intricate connection between personal reality and greater reality, the simplicity of self and nonself interaction/communion. So long as one is clear and non invasive, no problem shall arise. If one did have a "backfire", that would surely be a time to deepen awareness of the motivating intent.

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
9/4/12 9:45 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hi Daniel

nice draft.

"Intention + consciousness = magick" is a nice way of putting it. I like the inclusion of consciousness here, haven't seen it put quite like this before. OTOH the aspect of action becomes implicit this way. This is nicely in line with the "prognostication" angle... I just prefer the explicit mention of action, and like to note how this is the same as the Buddha's definition of Karma as intentional action.

The "field of disbelief" is a great concept, and I like your explanation a lot. Obvious parallels with Buddhist concepts of "ignorance" and "delusion".

Since MCTB is so practice-oriented, I'd suggest including a few exercises. Divination is a good starter, and can be a useful supplement to insight practices. Devitional practices can be nice introductions as well. Some canonical Theravada texts, such as Metta Sutta or Mangala Sutta have obvious parallels to magickal banishing rituals.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
9/4/12 8:49 PM as a reply to Florian.
When a person (say, me) can't manifest a lottery win, what's lacking, intent or consciousness?

Intent seems easy - I want it, and I say I want it.

Consciousness - I am conscious already; it happened when I woke up this morning. Pure consciousness? Consciousness alone? No self-consciousness?

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
9/4/12 11:04 PM as a reply to This Good Self.
C C C:
When a person (say, me) can't manifest a lottery win, what's lacking, intent or consciousness?


The lottery win, most likely.

Intent seems easy - I want it, and I say I want it.


How do you know you want it?

Put another way, why?

What do you really want to win the lottery for?

Consciousness - I am conscious already; it happened when I woke up this morning. Pure consciousness? Consciousness alone? No self-consciousness?


Sensations are conscious. This includes the ones magick is made up from. No conscious sensations, no magick.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
9/4/12 11:53 PM as a reply to Florian.
Florian Weps:


Put another way, why?

What do you really want to win the lottery for?

Consciousness - I am conscious already; it happened when I woke up this morning. Pure consciousness? Consciousness alone? No self-consciousness?


Sensations are conscious. This includes the ones magick is made up from. No conscious sensations, no magick.


To reduce stress and improve comfort.

Sensations are conscious? What does that mean?

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
9/5/12 1:29 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Consciousness plus intention produces magick


Is there any way to clearly define what is intention?

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
9/5/12 4:15 AM as a reply to M N.
The wish for anything would be another way to say intention.

The complete essay with better formatting is attached. Something like it will probably be in MCTB 2, but here is something that people can help me make better if they wish.

@CCC:

Based on that essay, I would critique your lottery win spell as follows:
1) Is it Public or Private Magick? Public Magick, and Public Magick is always harder.
2) Does it involve significant Fields of Disbelief? Yes, as everyone knows the chances of winning a lottery are quite low, including you. Thus it will be much harder.
3) Is it very Specific? Yes. You wish to win a specific lottery. Thus your goals are very fixed in time, place, and method of fulfillment. This is harder than less Specific Magick, in which one wishes for something more fundamental, such as happiness, freedom, ease, peace, and the like. Your goal lacks deep refinement, and thus is harder.
4) Does it involve a significant Asynchrony? Yes, in fact massively, as likely millions of beings are involved that would prefer that they win the lottery, such that the power weighing against you is gigantic, that collection being called the Influence Clouds, and in this case there are a huge number whose force is aligned directly contrary to your own.
5) Do you have strong Singlemindedness? Is winning the lottery your sole goal in life, your key reason for being, the deepest resonate desire of your heart? Unlikely, and so this being lacked, it is harder.
6) Familiarity: have you successfully won lotteries before? If not, then this is Unfamiliar Magick, which is generally, though not always, harder.
7) Do you have strong Concentration? Can you rise up to the 8th jhana, come out, and resolve with total and unbridled Intent? If not, it will be harder.
8) Have you set it up properly? Have you felt out into the universe for all the implications of you winning the lottery that you can possibly predict, and are you sure that all of those implications, including the fact that someone else, who perhaps could use the money much more than you, are in line with your core Moral Principles, meaning that you are free of Moral Conflict in this regard? If not, this is much harder magick.
9) At least this is Consensual Magick, in that everyone who enters realizes that you could win it just like they could, so on this single front you are ok.

I could go on, but you get the idea. You have attempted magick that is extremely difficult for many, many reasons.

Helpful?

Daniel

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
9/5/12 4:18 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Thanks Dan.

I like a challenge. emoticon Maybe better forget that goal.

The only rule I've found true in my own experience is that mood seems to be very predictive. Positive mood -> good outcome, negative mood -> poor outcome. Opportunities, circumstances and so on seem to line up nicely when I feel positive. How would this fit into the magick model, if at all?

EDIT: I've had one instance where extreme anger seemed to have a significant empowering quality. I was seething over something stupid, but it was inappropriate to say or do anything, so I went outside and just stood staring at a tree. I sort of felt powerful - can't describe it better than that. As I stood and stared, an enormous branch slowly cracked, broke away and thudded to the ground. I felt like I did it, but of course it could be coincidence. Any comment on this?

EDIT: My every day thoughts seem to get picked up on by others, to the extent that my thoughts sometimes don't feel private. I know that sounds like paranoid schizo, but it's like it's open communication. I think something, someone says it. Happens all the time. So if I'm inadvertently responsible for someone else thinking something, who is responsible for the thoughts that appear in MY head?!! That's a worry.

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
9/5/12 6:00 AM as a reply to This Good Self.
C C C:
Florian Weps:


Put another way, why?

What do you really want to win the lottery for?

Consciousness - I am conscious already; it happened when I woke up this morning. Pure consciousness? Consciousness alone? No self-consciousness?


Sensations are conscious. This includes the ones magick is made up from. No conscious sensations, no magick.


To reduce stress and improve comfort.


Why not go for that directly, bypassing the lottery detour?

Winning the lottery, like Daniel already wrote, severely restricts the "means of manifestation".

Sensations are conscious? What does that mean?


What would a sensation without consciousness be like? (There's a famous Zen koan about this).

Cheers,
Florian

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
9/5/12 8:33 AM as a reply to Florian.
Is magick a core teaching of the Buddha? I wonder if this might not be better as a separate project, if accessibility to average meditaters is a goal for MCTB.

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
9/5/12 9:29 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
The wish for anything would be another way to say intention


I meant, what is intention from an insight point of view?

For example, every single emotion seems to have some component of intention associated in it, but in the end is there anything else called "intention" that is separated from sensations?
If not, does it mean that coultivating intention is the same of coultivating sensations that seems to imply intention?

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
9/5/12 11:11 AM as a reply to Some Guy.
Jason B:
Is magick a core teaching of the Buddha? I wonder if this might not be better as a separate project, if accessibility to average meditaters is a goal for MCTB.


In the Pali Canon, it's called the Iddhipada, the "bases of power". It's one of the seven sets of teachings, which include Satipatthana (the four foundations of mindfulness), the noble eightfold path, the right efforts/exertions, the five faculties and the seven factors - all of which are covered in MCTB, and all of which are treated in the Pali suttas.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
9/5/12 11:08 AM as a reply to M N.
Mario Nistri:
I meant, what is intention from an insight point of view?

For example, every single emotion seems to have some component of intention associated in it, but in the end is there anything else called "intention" that is separated from sensations?
If not, does it mean that coultivating intention is the same of coultivating sensations that seems to imply intention?


Basically, intention is karma. It's the one basic act you can actually freely perform, everything else follows as a consequence.

Teachings like dependent co-arising revolve around this: if you intend/act out of ignorance, you'll end up suffering, and so on. "Careful what you wish for".

Edited to add: Regarding the sensations implying intention: as always, look for the three characteristics. Suffering and not-self (no little intender) seem most evident.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
9/5/12 11:11 AM as a reply to Florian.
Florian Weps:

In the Pali Canon, it's called the Iddhipada, the "bases of power". It's one of the seven sets of teachings, which include Satipatthana (the four foundations of mindfulness), the noble eightfold path, the right efforts/exertions, the five faculties and the seven factors - all of which are covered in MCTB, and all of which are treated in the Pali suttas.


Fascinating. I did not know that.

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
9/5/12 11:20 AM as a reply to Some Guy.
Jason B:
Florian Weps:

In the Pali Canon, it's called the Iddhipada, the "bases of power". It's one of the seven sets of teachings, which include Satipatthana (the four foundations of mindfulness), the noble eightfold path, the right efforts/exertions, the five faculties and the seven factors - all of which are covered in MCTB, and all of which are treated in the Pali suttas.


Fascinating. I did not know that.


Western Theravada tends to gloss over it. This is the 21st Century, after all emoticon

On Audio Dharma - Thanissaro Bhikkhu., you can download a series of recordings by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, a really down-to-earth and sober monk, on the subject. It's translated "Bases of Success" there for maximum obfuscation.

After the lunch break (it's a recorded one-day event), he tells quite a few stories. I love the one about the military officers and the pile of banana peels (I think there's a Thai language pun contained in that story which doesn't come across in English, but it's still funny).

Cheers,
Florian

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
9/5/12 2:29 PM as a reply to Some Guy.
The powers are covered extensively in the texts.

I happened to add a modern Western Magickal perspective onto them, as that is also part of my background, fused with a more generic pragmatic background, and this is a site dedicated to whatever works more than something necessarily totally traditional, but even if one were to get totally traditional, the power and magick are in there in abundance.

Check out the Visuddhimagga, the Vimuttimagga, the sutta The Fruits of the Homeless Life, etc.

There is story after story after story about the powers.

They also arise in practice for many people.

Further, the wish for happiness and for the end of suffering is perennial, and so addressing the obvious temptation to use whatever interesting abilities we chance into, energetic, intentional, and more exotic for various gains is essential.

Thus, I think that not addressing them makes for more problems than addressing them, though that is probably on average, and not necessarily true for any individual.

Daniel

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
9/5/12 2:53 PM as a reply to M N.
Mario Nistri:
The wish for anything would be another way to say intention


I meant, what is intention from an insight point of view?

For example, every single emotion seems to have some component of intention associated in it, but in the end is there anything else called "intention" that is separated from sensations?
If not, does it mean that coultivating intention is the same of coultivating sensations that seems to imply intention?

If you're not familiar with the Buddhist concept of sankharas, have a look at them 'cause you'll probably find some useful stuff there which will open up the intention aspect of things a bit more.

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
9/5/12 3:06 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Dude, 6,000+ words is hardly just "some thoughts"... emoticon

Just got 'round to checking out the essay, I really like the section on the Brahma Viharas and I don't think I've ever seen such a technically detailed and precise a breakdown of practical magick. I need to go through it properly 'cause there's some gems in there I noticed while skimming through, but all-in-all it looks like another solid piece of work so thank you for making it available.

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
9/5/12 8:23 PM as a reply to Florian.
Florian, "...Love won't pay the rent".

Regarding morality: Say I'm playing a game of poker for money. All the competitors sign up knowing I'm there to take their money, and they are there to take mine. Or say I'm playing competitive sport: I am there to beat my opponent and to take the prize, and he is there to beat me and take the prize from me.

Are you guys saying it's fine to train hard, develop skill, fitness, concentration, agility and so on.... but it's somehow immoral to use one's mind to overpower an opponent? I don't get that. Or is it a matter of the karma being more powerful if the mind is used? And then if that's the case, God enjoys making you lose 100 hands of poker over 100 years as payback for thinking you're more powerful than he is!!! emoticon

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
9/6/12 2:24 AM as a reply to This Good Self.
Morality is an internal experience or judgement as it relates to this particular aspect of this specific discussion, which relates to your ability to sling the full force of your intent into an act, and if you have any moral conflict within, you will be less able to mobilize unbridled and unqualified power.

Thus, for the single purpose of this and related discussions, it depends on how you feel about overpowering an opponent, how you actually feel rather than how you wish you felt.

If there is no moral conflict, then that particular aspect of things should be no hindrance.

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
9/6/12 8:10 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:

The complete essay with better formatting is attached. Something like it will probably be in MCTB 2, but here is something that people can help me make better if they wish.


I can see this is a kind of rough draft, but I appreciate the same style of writing as in MCTB regarding these issues (magick, and more specifically the brahma viharas) which you have not covered so much in MCTB.
A good read.

Thanks!

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
9/6/12 10:02 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
“This example brings up another sub-point of great profundity: it is impossible to distinguish between spell casting and prognostication. It is purely a matter of convention. One could just as easily say that your internal experience of willing him to do something was actually just clues about what was going to happen anyway. Causality doesn’t care one way or the other.”


This might be true in retrospect given the unavoidable ambiguity of observational data, but that's what controlled experiments are for! It seems to me that the following experiment might provide some evidence as to the causal structure of immediate magick:

Whenever you notice the intent to perform immediate magic, make note of the desired class of outcomes and flip a coin. If the coin comes up heads, follow through and attempt to perform immediate magic. If the coin comes up tails, do not follow through. If, over time, the desired outcome occurs just as frequently in both categories, this implies that your intent is not having a causal influence on the outcome. Unfortunately, a greater frequency of the desired outcome in the follow through condition is probably only mild evidence in favor of the "magick" hypothesis and so further experiments would need to be carried out to exclude other possible explanations.

For example, you could choose a magickal task that can be repeated many times in a row without varying the conditions that influence the difficulty of magick and have an external observer who is not told the outcome of the coin flip decide whether or not each trial was a success. The external observer should be open to the possibility of magick to control for the proposed effect of disbelief. It might be very difficulty to control for confidence, but perhaps one could do so by setting things up such that the practitioner is not informed of the outcome of the trials until they have all been completed and rates their confidence on a scale of 1-10 before performing each trial.

More generally, it seems to me that one of the unifying themes of the experiences being interpreted as magickal is “ambiguous causal structure.” It is possible to disagree about the specific causal structure of certain aspects of reality while agreeing that reality has a definite causal structure that can, in theory, be determined (at least to some degree). In other words, the meta-paradigm of “causality” might be able to serve as a common framework for both skeptics and believers. Indeed, the people I know who object most vehemently to the idea of magick seem to understand it as the claim that minds can violate causality by exerting an influence on reality that is completely inexplicable (rather than merely difficult to compute) in terms of their components. Certain things that some believers in magick say tend to give this impression. As far as I understand it, this is not the Buddhist view as Buddhism does not consider minds to be ontologically fundamental entities.

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
9/6/12 4:55 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I guess that the placebo effect can very easily be explained in a magical context, right?

Also, this makes me wonder about how powerful just the confidence aspect of the thing can be, since it seems to be the stronger one in place here, maybe even more than the desire aspect, since the desire not to be sick itself is not likely to produce medical improvements...

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
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9/6/12 7:02 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I really liked your article. May the force be with you!

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
9/6/12 7:55 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Morality is an internal experience or judgement as it relates to this particular aspect of this specific discussion, which relates to your ability to sling the full force of your intent into an act, and if you have any moral conflict within, you will be less able to mobilize unbridled and unqualified power.

Thus, for the single purpose of this and related discussions, it depends on how you feel about overpowering an opponent, how you actually feel rather than how you wish you felt.

If there is no moral conflict, then that particular aspect of things should be no hindrance.


Thanks.

I've only ever done it a few times on minor things, as a test, but even then I felt bad about it. So what belief causes that emotion of guilt? Is guilt fear of divine punishment? I think it must be. Do you (and others) equate this fear of divine punishment with what you call "back lash"? And if so, doesn't that mean that you believe in a separate God who judges and punishes?

I'm trying to dig out some core beliefs. Help me out!

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
9/7/12 12:37 AM as a reply to M N.
Mario Nistri:
I guess that the placebo effect can very easily be explained in a magical context, right?

Also, this makes me wonder about how powerful just the confidence aspect of the thing can be, since it seems to be the stronger one in place here, maybe even more than the desire aspect, since the desire not to be sick itself is not likely to produce medical improvements...


Yes, expectation determines outcome. Just as expecting the traffic lights to stay green will make them stay green.

Regarding health care, if you need treatment, seek out someone who has high self-confidence. That's the only necessary criterion.

There's 3 stages of professional development.

First stage is someone who never thinks about anything - what she was told at college/university is what is true for her. She has blind faith in her lecturers and senior doctors, so she has a certain power of expectancy, born out of ignorance. Inconsistencies/outliers are ignored because they interfere with a comfortable belief system "medicine works, medicine is good"... and so on. Any patient that doesn't respond as expected is labelled a nut-case or malingerer.

Second stage is where a doctor starts to allow herself to see inconsistencies and outlier cases and think "hmmm...why did medicine x work here but not here?" Most doctors seem to be at this stage, where they are genuinely confused about what they are doing and what sort of outcome can be predicted. It's very "hit and miss". One week, the Journal of Pink Coloured Tablets says "medicine x works for condition y". The next week, someone doing the very same experiment in a different country says "no it doesn't". Science and medicine don't mix too well. Why? Because the outcome of any experiment depends upon the expectations of the participants and the researchers. Some of the smarter researchers reasoned: "let's double blind the researchers and pariticipants, so that they don't know which drug they are getting", but forgot about the fact that people still have strong expectations, even when they are not told what drug they are getting!!! DUH! Expectation cannot be taken out of the science equation, which is why it's such a weak instrument.

Third stage is where the doctor realizes it's all about expectation, and so she starts to tell patients "this drug will cure your condition, Mrs Jones", even when she doesn't believe it herself. Sometimes this works, sometimes not. Mostly not. Then the doctor realizes that she herself must first believe in what she is prescribing in order for it to work. At this stage, the doctor says "But how can I believe in something that I know doesn't work?" The answer is "JUST DO IT!". Gradually gradually she comes to believe in belief, and have faith in faith itself. This is obviously the most powerful position, because you can change things around at will.

edit: smart alec comments removed!

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
9/8/12 1:09 AM as a reply to This Good Self.
Actually, my core beliefs are of little relevance to you, as you will have to deal with yours, and most of us have more of them than we think we do, and they come from all sorts of totally irrational sources, and many likely don't agree with each other at all.

So the question for you is: what are your core beliefs regarding this question, and do you also have core beliefs that disagree with those to some degree, and, given this, what can you believe in that doesn't cause much or any of this sort of conflict?

That's the deep work right there...

D

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
9/9/12 7:49 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Actually, my core beliefs are of little relevance to you, as you will have to deal with yours, and most of us have more of them than we think we do, and they come from all sorts of totally irrational sources, and many likely don't agree with each other at all.

So the question for you is: what are your core beliefs regarding this question, and do you also have core beliefs that disagree with those to some degree, and, given this, what can you believe in that doesn't cause much or any of this sort of conflict?

That's the deep work right there...

D


Definitely agree with that first paragraph. Sometimes I feel like I've absorbed thousands years of consensus beliefs and archetypes of the whole of humanity....

For me, yes I think deep down there is a remnant belief of a separate god who judges and punishes (or a universe that has punitive karma). Talk about an old belief... been around in all religions since day dot!! I like your idea of removing conflict between beliefs. Otherwise they can't flow. Sometimes I act against old beliefs as a way of breaking them down.

I'm also finding the channeled notes of Seth (Jane Roberts) very helpful for these questions.

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
9/10/12 9:17 AM as a reply to This Good Self.
I'm almost through Thanissaro's talks on the bases of power. He mentions psychic powers, levitation, walking through walls, multiplying bodies, seeing the whole cosmos at once... but nothing about manipulating the future as far as I can tell. It's curious.

Meanwhile, I found this on my FB page:

"WEIRD OZ #188: The most popular painting in the Art Gallery of Victoria's collection of 70,000 works was inspired by a daily ritual: going to work. "Collins St, 5 pm" depicts office workers on Melbourne's busy Collins Street trudging home after finishing for the day. It was painted in 1955 by Melbourne Grammar School art teacher John Brack who taught that a good artist should find subject matter within a mile from their door. True to his word, Brack created his magic while observing others on daily walks between his studio and the train."



RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
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9/11/12 1:43 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Deeper than that is the degree to which you can feel out the possible waves of resonance of implications of the thing you truly desire actually happening.


What do you mean by "feeling out the waves of resonance"?
Is just about reflecting on the consequences of your desire happening, or there is something else here?

RE: A Brief Essay on Magick
Answer
9/15/12 5:28 AM as a reply to M N.
Good question.

I guess it depends on how you think of the world, how you perceive things, how your particular mind works at that time.

For me it is a mix of bodily feeling out things: any subtle anxieties, pains, blocks, or intuitive anything that makes me think twice?

Feeling out mental impressions: reflecting on the world around me and anything involved, and then feeling intuitively into those things, and seeing how far it can be taken, now far I can feel into what might just be my imagination of those things, but perhaps correlates in some way.

Feeling out some other way: I think that there are ways of knowing or thinking we know things that are relatively hard to pin down, come from extremely short little pulses of intention with nearly no background or explanation: like intuition, I guess.

Feeling into the stillness: just sit with the question and be quiet, really quiet, and just let unforced things arise on their own, almost like daydreaming, and see where anything you feel from that intention ringing out into the world goes, how it moves, what color you imagine it is, what is the vibratory quality, is it long-reaching, short-acting, a deep-slow-long-range something, a quick flash and gone sort of thing, or what?

That is some of how I think about that question, and what I had in mind when I wrote that.

How about you?