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A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers

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A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers Velvet V. 4/13/10 10:19 AM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers Bruno Loff 4/13/10 10:41 AM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers Velvet V. 4/13/10 11:11 AM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers Daniel M. Ingram 4/13/10 11:13 AM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers Velvet V. 4/13/10 1:26 PM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers tarin greco 4/13/10 11:52 AM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers Velvet V. 4/13/10 1:25 PM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers ratanajothi - 4/13/10 5:34 PM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers Velvet V. 4/14/10 4:14 AM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers This Good Self 4/14/10 6:24 AM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers Velvet V. 4/14/10 10:26 AM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers tarin greco 4/27/10 1:18 AM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers Howard Maxwell Clegg 5/13/10 4:16 PM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers Velvet V. 5/14/10 4:23 AM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers Howard Maxwell Clegg 5/14/10 8:52 AM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers Velvet V. 5/14/10 12:58 PM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers Howard Maxwell Clegg 5/14/10 3:12 PM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers Velvet V. 5/14/10 4:05 PM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers This Good Self 4/13/10 8:08 PM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers ratanajothi - 4/13/10 11:08 PM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers Bruno Loff 4/14/10 3:39 AM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers Velvet V. 4/14/10 4:24 AM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers Florian 4/14/10 6:01 AM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers Velvet V. 4/14/10 6:05 AM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers Florian 4/14/10 7:02 AM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers Velvet V. 4/14/10 10:42 AM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers Florian 4/14/10 11:55 AM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers Velvet V. 4/14/10 1:46 PM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers Florian 4/14/10 4:07 PM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers Velvet V. 4/15/10 3:09 AM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers Florian 4/15/10 5:52 AM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers Velvet V. 4/15/10 6:58 AM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers This Good Self 4/14/10 9:41 PM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers Bruno Loff 4/14/10 7:38 AM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers triple think 5/14/10 7:00 PM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers Daniel M. Ingram 5/16/10 1:56 AM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers Julius P0pp 5/16/10 4:53 AM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers Nigel Sidley Thompson 5/16/10 5:15 AM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers Julius P0pp 5/16/10 12:42 PM
RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers triple think 5/16/10 6:29 AM
Hopefully this sub-forum isn't a ghost town.

Let me start up front: I'm interested in what exactly it is that gives you siddhi\powers, "real" powers like divination, something that can be executed successfuly in our world, as opposed to, say, having a vision or a vivid dream about it.

In buddhist and other spiritual circles I've been to these powers are usually referred to as side-effects of meditation. I heard about them in the context of buddhist meditation most often. In sources I've heard it from (they would be difficult to list, it's a mix of various books and forums) it's claimed that no specific morality is required for attainment of these powers and that caution is needed not to fall for them. So does it mean that attaining them is technical and possible for anybody, a matter of hard work rather than a matter of producing a specific change in your mind\personality? It surprises me a bit, as I do not see a crowd of people wielding such powers around myself, which should be the case were it just a matter of hard work and dedication.

Please let's not talk about "powers" like visions and lucid dreams. These are easy to get, indeed, but their value is questionable. After spending time with them, I decided for myself that they're not only questionable, but useless, and to attiribute any value to them is deceptive. These "powers" are just like any vision, absolutely any vision at all. A ravelike vision with no plot and nothing sensible in it, in my opinion, is equal to a sensible and super realistic vision of flying or seeing something. Sensibility and realism doesn't make a vision objective and true, it's still made of the same material that an obviously ravelike vision is made of. I'm looking for the "switch" that can let me turn these experiences into real powers, rather than something that's going on in my own head, subjectively and uselessly.

What are your opinion on this "switch"? What is this mysterious thing and how to get to it?

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
Answer
4/13/10 10:41 AM as a reply to Velvet V..
I suggest you read the book "Advanced Magick for Beginners" by Allan Chapman. Also check out the web site http://www.thebaptistshead.co.uk/ .

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
Answer
4/13/10 11:11 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
What answer does it give?

I'll look it up, but excuse my distrustfulness, I don't put much value into books. There's too much stuff lining up the shelves, and in a matter such as this you can't even check if the author is relaying true experience or making things up to make money. In, say, a buddhist book you can try to evaluate described experiences. In this kind of book you cannot, you're offered only the method and result, and you're supposed to trust the author that he achieved that result. Besides, from various "magical" books I've seen, none discussed the question. Mostly those were incantations, prayers, methods involving energy manipulation, or similar stuff, and everything is simply supposed to work once you do it. Even if those things are working and not made up, no explanation is given about what actually makes them work.

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
Answer
4/13/10 11:13 AM as a reply to Velvet V..
I gave my take on them here:

http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2008/02/bg-061-buddhist-magic-what-is-possible-with-the-powers/

See what you think.

Daniel

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
Answer
4/13/10 11:52 AM as a reply to Velvet V..
having known, and known of, many people whose investment strategies were guided by the visions of highly-acclaimed psychics, spiritualists, and mystics, many of whom were respected members of their various communities, and having seen, for myself, that they fared no better than chance, i can without reservation say that what you seek - that is, a means by which 'real powers' can be arrived to from powers which are 'useless' and to which any attribution of value 'is deceptive' - simply does not exist, as any and all such powers, however 'real', are imaginary. no measure of imaginary power has reliably produced the winning lottery number or convinced china to withdraw from tibet, to use a few examples of contemporary interest.


X Y Z:

I'm interested in what exactly it is that gives you siddhi\powers, "real" powers like divination, something that can be executed successfuly in our world, as opposed to, say, having a vision or a vivid dream about it.


more interesting, i find, is what exactly it is that compels so many people to believe that the means for these powers (which are successfully executable in the actual world) actually exist. do you have any thoughts on this matter yourself?

tarin

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
Answer
4/13/10 1:26 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
I gave my take on them here:

http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2008/02/bg-061-buddhist-magic-what-is-possible-with-the-powers/

See what you think.

There are very nice examples for the problem of evaluating "magic" there, especially the candle example and how it could all be just a vision. In this way even suspicious things like wicca can work, by merely producing visions (there are people who I believe are so flexible they don't require much meditation practice for getting visions), and if a practitioner believes in the contents of those visions, he will call it magic and will be none the wiser for the rest of his lifetime about the true nature of his experiences.

I agree about reproducibility for the most part, if something can't be reproduced reliably it can almost always, except really exceptional cases, be written off to coincidence and chance. That's the most prominent reason why many examples of successful magic attempts can't be seriously considered.

However I feel like there's a gap between different "magics". There is magic in its common and obvious sense, like manipulating physical objects, but there is also a more subtle kind of magic that doesn't have to be "physical", like divination. The reason why I divide the two is that the first one might be just absolutely impossible (or at least extremely complex), while non-physical magic only requires access to visions which is not that hard to get. The problem then becomes how to get visions\voices'whatever that are showing and telling you truth, instead of random meaningless visions and experiences that should be treated as nothing but a by-product of meditation. A problem of how to direct yourself to another kind of goal, other than insight, successfully.

Would you tell me your thoughts on why concentration is supposed to be helpful? I understand how it helps to get visions and other unusual experiences, they're its side-effect most of the time, I understand why you can attain better mind states with it, but I can't even guess why it's supposed to grant unnatural abilities. There is no clear connection between things like correctly predicting the future and concentration that I can see.

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
Answer
4/13/10 1:25 PM as a reply to tarin greco.
the prisoner greco:
having known, and known of, many people whose investment strategies were guided by the visions of highly-acclaimed psychics, spiritualists, and mystics, many of whom were respected members of their various communities, and having seen, for myself, that they fared no better than chance, i can without reservation say that what you seek - that is, a means by which 'real powers' can be arrived to from powers which are 'useless' and to which any attribution of value 'is deceptive' - simply does not exist, as any and all such powers, however 'real', are imaginary. no measure of imaginary power has reliably produced the winning lottery number or convinced china to withdraw from tibet, to use a few examples of contemporary interest.

I'm afraid that you might be the one who's absolutely right on this topic, with your skeptical view on these matters. You're totally skeptical, given up on the whole idea of magic, did I understand that correctly?

You say you've known people who fared no better than chance. If they fared in a way of describing something that they couldn't know in meticulous detail correctly, then I'd believe it was a true vision, no matter if next time they would fail to produce one. If somebody could just close his eyes and read out words that somebody else has written on a paper miles away, about a hundred of words, correctly and in correct order, that would be rather convincing. There should be other similar examples of things that would be convincing even despite the failed second attempt. The later failure would simply mean that something enabled them to do it the first time, but wasn't present the second time (unless it was cheating). What is it? That must be the same thing that enables it the first time, the one that is required.

more interesting, i find, is what exactly it is that compels so many people to believe that the means for these powers (which are successfully executable in the actual world) actually exist. do you have any thoughts on this matter yourself?

I wouldn't say that many people think so. At least in my environment you'd get laughed at for voicing such thoughts and people would whisper about you afterwards, to speak out would be a brave deed for sure! What people believe in are small things, like prejudices or things connected to their religion. That might be explained as a trend created by culture itself.

For those of us who tend to believe in bigger things I think it depends on life experience and character. Some would seek easy life or comfort, some would believe in other worlds and would seek proof that they exist. Some would want to use powers to heal others and help them, some would just enjoy the thought of having powers that others don't have. There could be other reasons. I don't think it's even a matter of belief, total belief is not required, if you have a vague hope and inclination to meditation then natural curiosity will drive you forward just as well. If you ask me, I think that it would be great if we could get our hands on magic, why limit ourselves to technological progress if something else exists in the world. It would be great in spheres like healing, we still cannot cure cancer with our medicine. It's also egoistical for me, I want proof that I'm going in the right direction, and I want proof that what I'm going for exists at all. Things like attaining the rainbow body and other remarkable attainments are just as "magical" as successful divination, if you can't do the latter then how do you know more compex things are possible in the first place.

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
Answer
4/13/10 5:34 PM as a reply to Velvet V..
The closest I've come to see these "powers" in action are on youtube. Search for John Chang, who can harness enough voltage to power a little LED between his fingers. He uses these abilities in Qigong treatments of the sick. To me, they look like little electric shocks were being administered.

I've come to the conclusion that none of these powers defy the law of physics, and in this modern days, lighting a light bulb is a matter of flicking a switch. Flying is a matter of boarding a plane. i.e. mundane skills that can be done in a mundane manner. Most of the messing around with Qi results in over-expenditure, requiring days of solitude to recompense. It just doesn't seem worthwhile.

However, having said that, there are some skills worth having. This is the skill of heightened perception. Because it can be used to cut through ignorance. Sometimes when someone is caught in a rut, a well placed word will untangle them. I read that long term meditators were more proficient at picking up micro-expressions. Coupled with a better, more impartial understanding of life, a skillful person can help a lot of people that way.

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
Answer
4/13/10 8:08 PM as a reply to Velvet V..
You could try Patanjali 'Portion on Accomplishments' sutras. Very straight forward instructions, but you need to check out all the various translations because some are much better than others.

Patanjali says you don't even need particularly refined levels of consciousness to achieve many of these siddhis, which appealed to me. And there's no morality warnings either - can you imagine God saying "hey, why did you manifest all that money? I'd prefer you sat and worshipped me than enjoyed yourself!". The sutras are almost menu-like: eg. if you want supernatural hearing or vision, you do sutra number 37.

Does it work? Not for me. Not yet anyway.

What keeps me slightly interested is knowing experientially that feeling good means that good things are much more likely to happen to you (way beyond chance, though I can't prove that to you). Everyone has experienced that winning feeling where everything goes right. I'm not sure if that amounts to a "power" or just that you see opportunities for further happiness when you're already happy, and vice versa. The saying "good things happen in threes" is a saying that basically says the same thing. If you feel good, more good stuff happens.

I don't dismiss the whole 'law of attraction' idea that is plastered all over the internet. Sure, most of the people who sell this crap will have had less material success in life than you, but occasionally I come across something helpful.

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
Answer
4/13/10 11:08 PM as a reply to This Good Self.
I'll share with you what kind of blessing worked for me. It was the blessing of having good friends. No joke.

I'm not particularly good at my studies, but I was lucky enough to befriend someone who was extremely smart. He helped me along the way a great deal. I still had to study, but having a guide made a great deal of difference. Decades later, I still remember how that little single act of saying "hi" made such a big impact on my life.

If you are after wealth, you might try making friends with rich people. The good kind, of course, the kind who will help you along.

If you want any of these sutras or chants to work, you will use it in a manner of making vows, and make sure you chase up all those opportunities that present to you.

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
Answer
4/14/10 3:39 AM as a reply to Velvet V..
X Y Z, the book I recommended was written by pragmatically minded people. According to this book, magick works by bringing about a bunch of coincidences, supposedly related to the matter about which you did the act. The few experiences I did brought doubtful results at best: It seems that there was always something I could point out as a "result," but which really never corresponded to my previous idea of what the result should be. It could be that the ritual act will simply change the way you pay attention to things, and that in itself will bring some form of result. As CCC mentioned, this would be a bit like when you're happy you'll have a lot more "luck." The conclusion that this is somehow "supernatural" seems unnecessary.

That said, I do not disregard the practical potential of ritual magick to change one's life, and indeed plan to make use of it sooner or later. But I see it more like hard-core, hallucination-powered hypnosis than anything else. At least until scientifically proven otherwise :-)

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
Answer
4/14/10 4:14 AM as a reply to ratanajothi -.
2 ratanajothi -
I saw John Chang's video, too, but I'm not really searching for proof. I'm searching to enable myself to do something. Proofs like a video on youtube are unreliable, and they won't teach you anything. Even if you get proof, it won't help you imitate the process and get the result, I'm afraid.
ratanajothi -:
mundane skills that can be done in a mundane manner.

I agree, it's hard to imagine flying people, but we can imagine getting answers through visionary experiences. That doesn't defy the laws of physics.



2 C C C

Thanx for suggestion, I'll look it up for sure! It sounds very interesting.
C C C:
you don't even need particularly refined levels of consciousness to achieve many of these siddhis, which appealed to me. And there's no morality warnings either

That's most interesting that many sources state as much, directly or indirectly. That should mean that no strict code of behavior (a la bodhichitta) or high "technical" advancement in meditation is required. It's a little strange, because then the question is, what is required? It can't be just initial stages of concentration. Can't be so easy. Concentration isn't hard to develop highly enough to get to see and hear things that don't exist, and as far as I can see, that's what is required. Nothing much more. So what is missing? There aren't people running around who know future from their visions or can find lost objects by commanding themselves to see where they are. Instead it's all about getting things similar to dreams, with no sense or purpose. You can dream them awake, or you can fall into sleep and lucid dream. So if it's concentration that is required, then it's not the only thing that is required. Something is missing.

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
Answer
4/14/10 4:24 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
2 Bruno Loff
I picked up that book and read through the first chapters. I must say it's written in a light and entertaining manner emoticon. However what it depicts is far from what I had in mind. The biggest problem is that all you can achieve with this type of method can't be verified, you wish for something and wait for it to happen, that's all you do, no matter the details. Of course it might happen, and then you'll think it was caused by you. Or it might not, and you'll think that your magic failed. But I can't see any connection between your actions and waiting for the result to happen, it's an imaginary one. There's no explanation as to how you create it, instead you must pretend that it exists.

That said, I read loads of alike books in past, they wouldn't necessarily call these tricks magic, but the major idea is the same. Wish for something, wait for it to happen, pretend that it was caused by you.

Sorry if that's offensive to your believes, you're free to think that I'm narrow-minded! The scope of the book is limited to coincidences, though. It wouldn't be possible to make true divination with its methods, nor to learn any other information precisely enough, so it's not exactly in the category of "magic" that I'm interested in.

Good luck with your plans.

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
Answer
4/14/10 6:01 AM as a reply to Velvet V..
Velvet V.:
Wish for something, wait for it to happen, pretend that it was caused by you.


Like Tarin already asked: Why the insistence on the third part ("pretend that it was caused by you")?

Cheers,
Florian

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
Answer
4/14/10 6:05 AM as a reply to Florian.
Because I'm trying to find the "glue" that connects an act and result. That which makes things happen.

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
Answer
4/14/10 6:24 AM as a reply to Velvet V..
velvet, I'm pretty sure the 'missing ingredient' is feeling good, really really good. The old bible quote is another useful one: "to those who have, more will be given....to those that have not, even what they have will be taken away". Or in gambling circles "winning form is good form". There are heaps of them that say the same thing.

You seem to be interested in finding something....gold prospecting? Buried treasure?

Sometimes even if you feel good, your subconscious can have conflicted desires. That's an old idea I know. But if you ask yourself "am I really prepared for this to happen? Would I really be ok with finding the buried treasure?", then your subconscious will give you a feeling response in your body. If it's fear, guilt or shame, there's some counter force you're not even aware of. If it's a good feeling, you're half way there.

So if it feels good, I reckon the best method is to work on *not working on it*. Never repeat affirmations, never visualize, never do any of that stuff. If you have to repeat it 100 times, that automatically implies resistance. Why are you working?...Is there something to overcome? If you have to visualize it, that implies 'providence' has no idea what you want most of the time - again resistance. State it once, informally, gently, maybe as a question 'I wonder what it might feel like to find that treasure....'....then just leave it alone altogether.

By the way the best translation is by a guy called Satchidananda, IMO.

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
Answer
4/14/10 7:02 AM as a reply to Velvet V..
Velvet V.:
Because I'm trying to find the "glue" that connects an act and result. That which makes things happen.


I see.

Tricky, because, well, things happen regardless.

The most important thing IMO is to first get a clear idea what I want to happen. You or someone else mentioned divination, with the impliation of winning the lottery.

Why do I want to win the lottery? To get money without doing a lot of work in return? Are there other ways to get about that? Why don't I want to work? What do I need the money for? To pay my bills (for example). Thus, my intent is to be able to pay my bills. That's a fairly clear goal. Notice how both lottery and magick are no longer an issue here, but I have a much clearer idea of what I actually want to happen. Now I'm ready to perform a magickal act, to express this intent.

Or perhaps I want to win the lottery by magickal means in order to make a point about magick. Why do I want to do that? etc.

When desire is clearly spelled out, then it can be stated, intent can be expressed, and if you wish, you can call that "magick" or Iddhi or something.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
Answer
4/14/10 7:38 AM as a reply to Velvet V..
Velvet V: the scope of the book is not just limited to coincidences, there's other stuff in it which is interesting. However magick works, it does seem to "work" somehow, at least to the point that many practitioners will believe that it works. If what you wish to change is purely subjective (in the sense that it is internal, e.g. I want to do magick to be happy), then the issue you present becomes irrelevant. If you are after measurable outcomes, then it seems to be a whole different ball-game, at least for now. In this kind of setting, all that one seems able to accomplish are these coincidences, or synchronicities.

If I recall correctly, there is a sentence in the book that expresses something like this: after you've done your 100th ritual and came to your 100th coincidence, the issue of whether it really works becomes irrelevant. To which I agree, assuming that one does get this kind of weird high number of coincidences. Then the interesting issue is how it works. My conjecture is that it changes something in the way you pay attention, and that is enough to put you in circumstances which would otherwise be unlikely, and then you call it a coincidence (we could call it the super-powered hypnosis conjecture). But who knows, maybe it's the ionic-pulse correlation of quantum plasma-strings in the brain, that dephases space-matter by means of super-charged electro-light :-)

You certainly offended no beliefs, because I have very few regarding this matter, other than: some other people believe magick works, and some among them even have a coherent speech about it. My interest is mostly of an intellectual and practical nature.

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
Answer
4/14/10 10:26 AM as a reply to This Good Self.
2 C C C

Law of attraction doesn't sound great on its own, but you've given me a good idea! Concentration leads to serenity, so maybe that's the missing component. Sounds just like it could be the same as "feeling good".

The translation by Satchinanda must be not copyrighted, I found it online on some site dealing with energy. It seems to point at unconditioned knowledge as means to achieve power and it seems to point that you must exert special effort to direct what kind of power you want.

C C C:
Never repeat affirmations, never visualize, never do any of that stuff. If you have to repeat it 100 times, that automatically implies resistance.

I have to disagree by half, although I don't know what exactly you're speaking about. But I know that every result that I got, I got with persistent repetitious practice. And sometimes it wasn't very pleasant, sometimes downright torturous, yet it brought its results. I'm speaking about many things and even about meditation, which I believe cannot always be a pleasant experience if you're spending hours every day at it. Yet it seems that persistence wins. If you're trying something like divination, why should it come to you without trying?

Although by another half I agree. There are things like lucid dreams that seem to obey the law that you've explained. Not those that you enter from waken state, but those that you can wish to have at night and then wake up and recollect. Your words ring true for those, you can wish them and they happen, but I noticed that you must care anyway. If you're below some limit of caring, nothing happens.

Sometimes even if you feel good, your subconscious can have conflicted desires. That's an old idea I know. But if you ask yourself "am I really prepared for this to happen? Would I really be ok with finding the buried treasure?", then your subconscious will give you a feeling response in your body. If it's fear, guilt or shame, there's some counter force you're not even aware of. If it's a good feeling, you're half way there.

It would be pretty hard to achieve a state of feeling so good about something by normal means. Even impossible, we always have conflicting desires or there are other things on our minds.

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
Answer
4/14/10 10:42 AM as a reply to Florian.
2 Florian Weps

I'd prefer to learn the winning lottery number through a vision, that's divination! If that's impossible, then it's not magic, or rather not the kind of magic I had in mind. Just like the author complains many people would say. Forgive me, but I think that he's just making money, because coincidences happen frequently, and all you must do in order to connect them to your magic acts is to believe that every coincidence is equal to connection.

Another point is how he offers to charge sigils. Usually that method leads to loss of energy, and if we're talking about rechanneling energy, then manipulation of energy is hard to learn, and it isn't done by imagination. Your energy would simply get dispersed aimlessly.

Florian Weps:
Why do I want to win the lottery? To get money without doing a lot of work in return? Are there other ways to get about that? Why don't I want to work? What do I need the money for? To pay my bills (for example).

What if your true goal is to get proof that divination works? emoticon It's mine, I don't really want anything else from magic. But it can't even be done with charging sigils, I'm afraid, this kind of magic is an art of explaining coincidences and not the act of causing events!

2 Bruno Loff

If I recall correctly, there is a sentence in the book that expresses something like this: after you've done your 100th ritual and came to your 100th coincidence, the issue of whether it really works becomes irrelevant. To which I agree, assuming that one does get this kind of weird high number of coincidences.

To be honest, I don't think it's difficult to obtain this number of coincidences. And all of them might be pure coincidences.

You certainly offended no beliefs

I hope so, because I tend to be too blunt.

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
Answer
4/14/10 11:55 AM as a reply to Velvet V..
Hi Velvet V,

Velvet V.:
coincidences happen frequently, and all you must do in order to connect them to your magic acts is to believe that every coincidence is equal to connection.


Right, coincidences happen frequently. And non-coincidences (do you know a better word? Schemes? Designs?) happen frequently, too. In fact, all kinds of things happen all the time, regardless of what our opinion about their meaning may be, or if we're even aware of them. But it's hard to draw any useful conclusions from that simple fact.

You state that you wish to get proof that divination works. But that's not a very clear statement of intent: there is a lot of proof that divination "works", it's easy to find any number of people who will assert that - it's just not very convincing, is it?

You could state that you wish to be convinced that divination works. But what if you're convinced, yet whatever convinced you was just a trick, and you just never find out about it? I'm sure I could be brain-washed or hypnotized into believing that divination works. So that would be a valid result of this kind of intention, even if a bit sinister. ;)

And so on.

But let's take a step back. By testing divination through divining for example the lottery numbers, I'd be in fact testing divination by doing a divination. I might just as well ask the oracle directly, "do you work?" I'll toss a coin. Heads, tossing coins to find out whether divination by tossing coins works; tails, it doesn't work. Not that convincing either, is it?

Speaking of divination: here's a nice article on The Value of Divination. A passage toward the end reads:

Thus we can see that the true value of divination is not in its ability to foretell the future at all, but in the fruits of his practice, in the symmetrical expansion of awareness that enriches the aspirant's understanding of himself and his environment enormously, and, ironically, will also enable him to predict future events with far greater reliability than he was previously able to do. One can only build self-knowledge by seeking out the unfamiliar, and observing one's own reactions, and the practice of divination is a simple and effective way to achieve this.

I like that conclusion. It's along these lines that I use divination.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
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4/14/10 1:46 PM as a reply to Florian.
Hi Florian,

Florian Weps:
But it's hard to draw any useful conclusions from that simple fact.

Hard, but not impossible. We can try. Normally we know more or less precisely when there is is a connection between events or not, because we know how the world functions. With magic it would be more difficult, it's an uncharted territory, but we could always try to find out if the connection exists or what causes it.

If we wanted, then of course we could go to the extreme and say that we can't ever get proof of anything, even that sun is round. What if we're seeing it wrongly due to yet unknown limitations of human eyes, what if astronomers are mistaken due to limitations of their devices? If we take it to the extreme, then nothing in the world can be proven. So I offer to avoid this extreme and to assume that divination can be proven, provided that it can be done. If your own testimony is not enough, then more people could get involved in verification. If it's still not convincing enough, you could attempt to hook up with somebody in touch with science and test it in the lab, film it. There are possibilities waiting to be used.

But let's take a step back. By testing divination through divining for example the lottery numbers, I'd be in fact testing divination by doing a divination. I might just as well ask the oracle directly, "do you work?" I'll toss a coin. Heads, tossing coins to find out whether divination by tossing coins works; tails, it doesn't work. Not that convincing either, is it?

Yes, not convincing at all. I don't really see why you imply that the two are equal. Testing divination through divination makes more sense than asking unknown powers to answer question and waiting for their answer. Otherwise, what are these powers, how can we know they're real and speaking the truth? If we want a real proof, then we need to get it the real way, not by playing around.

The article is written by somebody who couldn't win a lottery by predicting the number, I think, but found another meaning in his hobby to proceed being involved with it. And although I understand this attitude, it shoots a bit too low, I'm not ready to settle for skepticism just yet, it's never too late for that.

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
Answer
4/14/10 4:07 PM as a reply to Velvet V..
Hi Velvet,

I'd like to suggest a little hierarchy of "things happening" in order to better understand those places where we "know how the world works".

The laws of nature - physics, chemistry, biochemistry, engineering. We "know" how this stuff works quite well, and can manipulate it. We know that the sun is fairly round.

Organisms. We still understand a lot, but not as clearly as in electrodynamics, for instance. Medicine and breeding happens here. Still some clearly understood manipulation.

Information processing, such as in nervous systems and computers. Oh, my.

Societies, consciousness, individual minds... Hey, we're up to our eyebrows in this. How can we even see it?

So, at which level would you fit in your notion of "real powers"? Does it act on atoms? Neurons? Societies? Minds?

*

Testing the oracle: No, actually I do think that "performing a divination as an experiment to see if divination works" and "performing a divination asking if divination works" is one and the same. With flipping a coin it becomes painfully obvious. It doesn't get less absurd by using a more elaborate divination method.

This is "real powers" at the level of "laws of nature / engineering", btw.

*

Erwin's essay: alright, he's a gruff, pompous writer. Still, I think you're missing the point if all you see is someone rationalizing his hobbies.

Do you have a magickal practice?

Maybe we should take this to the "theoreticians" corner?

Cheers,
Florian

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
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4/14/10 9:41 PM as a reply to Velvet V..
V, the Satchinanda translation is in book form. Haven't seen it online either but it's a much better translation than many out there online.

Law of Least Effort - maybe worth a search, just watch out for all the law of attraction freaks out there! Notice how your body feels when you day-dream very, very gently about winning lottery. Don't make it a command, just a very subtle "wouldn't it be funny if...."...or "what if....?". Don't work on staying with the day dream, just let it come and go as it pleases. Concentrate on ease or 'no work' if anything.

Now contrast the feeling in your body as you repeat "I have won the lottery" X 1000 or if you try to hold the visualization of having won. The body can easily become tight and rigid (= resistance). Well it does for me. Tell me what happens for you.

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
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4/15/10 3:09 AM as a reply to Florian.
2 Florian

I don't know where I would fit in the notion of real powers. That's the part of the quest, it has to be found out. But let me say that it's not necessary, it could as well turn out that we can't fit it in and can't figure out. This way we can go by observation, just like barbarians would go by observation that sun rises up in the mornings and goes down in the evenings, even though he'd have no idea that sun is a planet.

I suspect that we disagree because our goals are different, not just "philosophies" of life. You sound like a skeptically-inclined person who has decided on where the limit of his attempts is.

Do you have a magickal practice?

Of course, otherwise why would I be posting such a thread.

And sure you can open a thread in another sub-forum, if you want. I'll look there later to see if it happened.

2 C C C

Lies about lottery produce uncomfortable feeling. Even if you try "I'll win the lottery" instead of obviously deceptive "I won the lottery" it's no better.

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
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4/15/10 5:52 AM as a reply to Velvet V..
Hi Velvet,

Velvet V.:
I don't know where I would fit in the notion of real powers. That's the part of the quest, it has to be found out. But let me say that it's not necessary, it could as well turn out that we can't fit it in and can't figure out. This way we can go by observation, just like barbarians would go by observation that sun rises up in the mornings and goes down in the evenings, even though he'd have no idea that sun is a planet.


Hm. Okay, let's take the example of sunlight. On the level of atoms, sunlight is this many photons with this energy interacting with electrons. On the level of cells, sunlight could be a beneficial source of energy (for certain cells) or malicious radiation to be shielded off. On the level of organisms, sunlight is a source of warmth and possibly sunburn. On the level of human minds, it's a source of pleasure or pain, and long deprivation from sunlight can induce depressive mental states, and light carries all these images onto our retinas, which influence the way we see the world. Whole societies can go to war with each other about questions of sun worship.

You get cause-and-effect involving the sun on all these levels. But the "glue" is different in each case. You can't launch a crusade by manipulating one individual photon. You can't pray to the sun and expect it to stay its course in the sky in order to sway the fortunes of battle, regardless of what the old myths say.

Velvet V.:
I suspect that we disagree because our goals are different, not just "philosophies" of life. You sound like a skeptically-inclined person who has decided on where the limit of his attempts is.


Well, my long-term goal is enlightenment. Which, brought into the present moment as practical instructions, translates to "not fooling myself", or, to make it sound a bit more spiritual, "not deluding myself".

Limiting my attempts: There's a fun anecdote about skeptics of previous centuries: After a gathering of the skeptics of the time, where they proclaimed the value of skepticism as a philosophical stance, David Hume noted that everybody still left by the door instead of the windows.

Excuse my question about your practice. That was uncalled-for. Your reasoning just reminded me of the many endless theoretical debates I've had about this in the past. Feel free to post any useful practice stuff here. HGA stuff and anything related to the Great Work tends to be quite intelligible to Buddhists, once the terminology is sorted out. And there are many 1-on-1 correspondences with Vajrayana practices.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
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4/15/10 6:58 AM as a reply to Florian.
Florian Weps:
You get cause-and-effect involving the sun on all these levels. But the "glue" is different in each case. You can't launch a crusade by manipulating one individual photon. You can't pray to the sun and expect it to stay its course in the sky in order to sway the fortunes of battle, regardless of what the old myths say.

I understand what you mean. But why do you bring it up? Yes, maybe figuring out something magical is insanely difficult, but it's no reason to give up. Given that it can only be done by practice rather than thinking (because we don't have a posisbility to figure it out by thinking), it becomes probable to eventually achieve something. All we need is to try and find ways. Thinking how hard it is won't help to achieve goals.

Florian Weps:
Well, my long-term goal is enlightenment. Which, brought into the present moment as practical instructions, translates to "not fooling myself", or, to make it sound a bit more spiritual, "not deluding myself".

I see, you're after mental perfection. It doesn't surprise me that we're at odds on topic of magic. I suspect that you see no urgency in proving anything. Mental perfection is something pretty much subjective and its value is subjective, at least in the way you described it.

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
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4/27/10 1:18 AM as a reply to Velvet V..
Velvet V.:
the prisoner greco:
having known, and known of, many people whose investment strategies were guided by the visions of highly-acclaimed psychics, spiritualists, and mystics, many of whom were respected members of their various communities, and having seen, for myself, that they fared no better than chance, i can without reservation say that what you seek - that is, a means by which 'real powers' can be arrived to from powers which are 'useless' and to which any attribution of value 'is deceptive' - simply does not exist, as any and all such powers, however 'real', are imaginary. no measure of imaginary power has reliably produced the winning lottery number or convinced china to withdraw from tibet, to use a few examples of contemporary interest.

I'm afraid that you might be the one who's absolutely right on this topic, with your skeptical view on these matters. You're totally skeptical, given up on the whole idea of magic, did I understand that correctly?


if what you have understood is that i can without reservation say that a means by which 'real powers' can be arrived to from powers which are 'useless' and to which any attribution of value 'is deceptive' simply does not exist (as any and all such powers are imaginary), then you have understood correctly.

Velvet V.:

Things like attaining the rainbow body and other remarkable attainments are just as "magical" as successful divination, if you can't do the latter then how do you know more compex things are possible in the first place.


i have equally no reservation in calling out claims about attaining the rainbow body (claims that a person can turn their physical body into 'a body of pure light' via meditative practice) for what they are: completely bogus.

tarin

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
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5/13/10 4:16 PM as a reply to tarin greco.
OK Guys

Call me a paranoid old fart if you like, but I've got a funny story for you. About 20 years ago I was living in Oxford, England. While I was thrashing about in the spiritual undergrowth that passed for my practice at that time, I fell in with a crowd of Thelemic magicians. By that I mean followers of Crowleyite/Golden Dawn ritual practices. They were a rather impressive crew, mostly academics, all painfully intelligent and universally well read. There were several other newbies who were hanging around too.

We were inducted by an initiation ceremony that was deep in the woods, had all the right props and was deadly serious. I have not doubt that these guys were the real deal. Any lingering uncertainty that I may have had was banished by the results of the ritual, which were fairly profound and on a par with many of the A & P events that I have read on this site. Lucky for me I had already had some experiences like this so was not too freaked out. We had a party after and great fun was had by all.

A couple of weeks later I was invited to a small ritual to invoke the Hindu god Ganesh, god of good luck and remover of obstacles. Myself and my then girlfriend went into a very small incense laden room with one of the main dudes and his partner. He later told me that he was a Phalocrat ie practiced penis magic. To my shame, I laughed openly. Anyway, to return to the story, a great deal chanting and speechifying ensued in which I had an assigned role. Bells were rung and offerings made. We were then instructed to follow a guided meditation that took us to the abode of the god Ganesh, and instructed to say our piece.

What followed was one of the most extraordinary conversations of my life. It was brief, but it felt as real as any other conversation. I told Ganesh that I was in a dead end job, it was driving me crazy, and I needed a new one. He said he would sort it out. I left. Simple.

We finished up the ritual, thanked the four winds etc. etc. Then got very drunk, and a great time was had by all.

The next day I went to work. The place was very quiet, no managers about. The phones weren't working, no Internet, fax machines unplugged. We were called into a big meeting room, and told that the company had been sold and that we were all fired. We had a month to sort our selves out.. Coincidence? Maybe?

This was at the bottom of a slump as deep as the one we now find our selves in, it looked very, very bleak. I don't know how many letters and resumes I sent out. But I only got one interview. The job was at a prestigious blue chip multinational offering me the equivalent of full ride scholarship to study accountancy at masters level. I nailed the interview and got the job. It was chance of a lifetime and in the circumstances, a miracle. I had already fought like a bitch to get the previous grotty little job and hung on to it in the face of some fairly unreasonable behavior directed at me. I felt like a god.

Two years later I asked the person who hired me, why me, why not some other loser, (I was never a great accountant). She said that they had four applications, only two were worth interviewing and my only competition had lied on her resume. It was a shoo in. I sat lots of exams, made loads of money, got very drunk and lots of fun was had by all.

Coincidence? I have no idea, really, no idea. But it did scare the holy bejesus out of me, and that was before I got the full ride scholarship. If you just have the faintest suspicion that this stuff actually works, this minor ritual in some pokey little back room in Oxford. What about the serious stuff that these guys got up too? And I know they did, when they all came out of the woodwork at mid summer or Belain. Some of these people are very private and very strange. How do you see your dharma brethren now? Not knowing what they are actually capable of, and them being all coy and not a little bit paranoid themselves; once you start to look closely.

So I started to arrange my exit. Too much work I said, not really into magic I said. Bullsh*t, I was absolutely terrified. Just before I left the group one of the other newbies committed suicide. They said, “a history of mental illness don't you know.” Maybe; he was a bit strange. Truth is, I will never know.

But I know enough to stay away from anything that smells like results magic. Anyway why would you do that? Keeping the benefits all to yourself. It's not yours anyway, never was, never will be.
Take it from me, stagnant energy is bad medicine.

So ends my little ghost story. All true, every word. Never told a soul about this, not my girlfriend who was with me through the whole thing. Not any of the many spiritual teachers I have bumped in to. To be honest I have no idea why that is. Well its out now and I feel better for it. So thanks for listening.

Regards

Howard

PS. If you just skipped to the end. Short version. I did some magic. Stuff happened. I freaked out.

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
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5/14/10 4:23 AM as a reply to Howard Maxwell Clegg.
Howard, I fail to see why you became so scared, without any proof that those people could do anything.

As for the rest, AP-events are too easy to achieve to take them into account. I apologize for cold reception, but I do think that too many people make a mistake of obsessing over them, when in fact they're extremely easy to get. It doesn't surprise me a dime that you've had them, especially given that the circumstances weren't normal and that you meditated in order to get them.

Firing from work could be coincidence, for all we know. There's nothing in the story to suggest that it was not.

All in all, it's exactly what I'd call "a semblance" of powers. Such stuff is genuinely boring for people who want real ones.

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
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5/14/10 8:52 AM as a reply to Velvet V..
I agree entirely, no proof, no smoking gun etc. Who knows? And I have to admit, I did ham it up a little bit. Ghost story, Right?

If you are tough enough and confident enough you can just let all the scary, wobbly stuff pass you by. Of course that's fine, off you go. But what happens when you see something that really does freak you out, say the demonstration of a something that looks like a real power, in circumstances that leave you personally compromised? What does that do to your equanimity, which we all know is difficult to maintain sometimes. Practicing in those circumstances can be a tough call.

And what would you do if you met some one who really could demonstrate "real" powers? What would you do? Try to apprentice your self? These people, "real" or "fake", normally require something in return, its just human nature after all.

Which brings me to the last point. Why are you interested in powers (real or fake?) Do you think this knowledge will advance you in terms of insight, or do you want material advantage?

Regards

Howard

PS. Small point, I've never really meditated to get A&P events. Practice has always been about survival for me. I fully understand people's motives for doing so, its just that I've never consciously dabbled.

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
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5/14/10 12:58 PM as a reply to Howard Maxwell Clegg.
Howard Maxwell Clegg:
But what happens when you see something that really does freak you out, say the demonstration of a something that looks like a real power, in circumstances that leave you personally compromised?

I understand that you were scared for your security, but I don't get the vibe of you being scared of anything supernatural. You enjoyed describing what happened, didn't you? If you were chased by the old god that you summoned uncontrollably for years and he would be intent on murdering you, then that would be scary. Your fear was disconnected from your supernatural experiences, I'd say it was a very mundane kind of fear, a fear of people who might have abused their power to harm you. And that oculd be put in any context, not only the supernatural one.

And what would you do if you met some one who really could demonstrate "real" powers? What would you do? Try to apprentice your self? These people, "real" or "fake", normally require something in return, its just human nature after all.

If you like what they do, try to apprentice yourself no matter the cost. If not, do not, no big problem. If you want something but run away, you lose.

Why are you interested in powers (real or fake?) Do you think this knowledge will advance you in terms of insight, or do you want material advantage?

Neither, I'm interested in creating consensus. Let's say that I learnt to do this or that (not powers-related), how do I check that I'm not mistaking it for what it is not? For that you need to be able to do something sharable with others. Powers come to mind, they're rumored to be sharable, people see what you're doing and can attest that it's true. Such a consensus, were it happening consistently and without failure, would be enough in order to decide that all the rest that you're doing but cannot check the same way is real.

Maybe the origins of this attitude are unclear, but let me assure you that it isn't a stupid demand for proof in areas where you can't demand proof. Some people think so. It is an attitude that wants to make one free of mistakes and self-deceit, that wants to reach its goal instead of being satisfied with a fake result. The problem is that so many people claim to have achievements yet nobody can show anything for them. Some respected (in limited circles) people tried at my request and failed. That leaves some questions. And it's so easy to fool yourself with the spiritual matters, it's like a universal trap and a trigger of vague desires. Most people I know are in it without any clear goals for years, if you talk to them enough you can see that they feel that "dabbling" makes them superior to other people who care only for "mundane" things. I fear that such an attitude cannot bring any worthy result, other than a gross misinterpretation of one, out of the same vague motive of self-glorification. There's too much of this around, and I hope not to fall for this flat one day, living the rest of life in delusion. So what I describe is a best idea that I could come up with: creating consensus is the only proof you can get about your own abilities, otherwise you're stuck with your own faulty evaluation.

PS. Small point, I've never really meditated to get A&P events. Practice has always been about survival for me. I fully understand people's motives for doing so, its just that I've never consciously dabbled.

There are lots of people who experience A&P events spontaneously. Some go insane, some become interested in spirituality.

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
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5/14/10 3:12 PM as a reply to Velvet V..
Okay you win.

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
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5/14/10 4:05 PM as a reply to Howard Maxwell Clegg.
Thanx for illustrating one of my points.

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
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5/14/10 7:00 PM as a reply to Velvet V..
Velvet V.:
I'm interested in what exactly it is that gives you siddhi\powers, "real" powers like divination, something that can be executed successfully in our world, as opposed to, say, having a vision or a vivid dream about it.
Humans are composed of similar elements but the compounded results are beings that are complex and this allows for a lot of diversity. That has much to do with the diversity of our experience and our thoughts about those experiences. I don't think we will ever see a consensus on this kind of subject or perhaps any subject given conditions prevailing in our world today.

I can't say I have ever drawn any firm conclusions in this area and I'm inclined to think that it wouldn't be beneficial for me to do so. The main reason is that I have had a lot of experience with things like this. Many people would like to explain it, interpret it, discount it or base some kind of faith on it but more often than not it seems quite clear to me that they are not able to draw on the same kinds of or quality of experiences. I have difficulty understanding why others feel the need to draw conclusions about these kinds of things when the more experience I have in these areas they less inclined I am to do so. A possible interpretation of this may be that generally the less experience there is with this stuff the easier it is for people to draw conclusions and set these things aside. Setting these things aside is probably for the best regardless of what kinds of conclusions people draw.

Most of my experience in these areas conforms to a few general observations. 1. In the context of insight practice (or any genuine quest for ultimate truths or insight into the nature of being and of the universe) these kinds of experiences are largely counter productive. Not always counter productive but more often than not. This is simply because these kinds of experiences can be so anomalous that they result in a great deal of conceptual confusion. 2. The basis for most of this unusual stuff is a strong quality of concentration. What I mean by that is a completely clear mind, a mind free of the conventional content like reflective thoughts or imagery and so on.

For a lot of people clearing the mind by way of insight practice does away with most of the seemingly unusual experiences because much of what was previously mysterious becomes a lot more observable and understandable and therefore no longer mysterious. So a lot of people can easily discount the strange experiences that other people speak of because they have seen through many of the tricks in their own minds and on that basis they infer that this is all that is ever actually going on. I would agree with that assessment for the most part and I would also recommend clearing the mind completely regardless of the nature of one's experience as that is going to be beneficial regardless of whatever else is going on or whatever other objectives one may have.

For whatever reasons I tend to become concentrated very easily and ordinarily that is very useful in life and very supportive of my meditation practices but it has also resulted in a lot of weird experiences. My mind was very clear as a child, I had very little reflective thought and imagery even when dreaming and so on. Even at this point in life visualization is very difficult for me and I don't have much in the way of mental visions and so on. It is correspondingly easy for me to completely clear my mind. When I was a kid in school I used to be very uncomfortable much of the time because of the states of mind that most other people were in. I didn't really have a sense of why that was until I got older and began to sense that I was actually picking up quite a bit more than most people do of what other people think and feel. After I began meditating in a much more conscious and formal way I would occasionally have experiences that were much stronger. At times I experienced two way telepathic conversations with other people, people that were present in the same place with me. We were typically both surprised by that and even since becoming more accustomed to these kinds of episodes it has more often than not been a bit odd and uncomfortable. In addition to things like that which were immediately verifiable by discussing this with the other people at the time I have had a lot of similar experience of awareness of other kinds of beings. Not human beings but beings with either bodies that I would describe as made out of some kind of energy or light and beings that seem to be made up of only mind.

I started a thread about some of that mild examples of that kind of contact with non-human sentience at DhO at one time and received the sorts of responses that I more or less expected. The best advice was to continue with my insight work until I had cleared all of this up. The unfortunate thing about that is that I have had as much success with my insight work as pretty much anyone either here or at Kenneth's forum and none of that work has cleared any of this up. I have had just as much access to the various concentrated states and worked through the nana's and so on at least as many times as any one else here. I can enter into all of the kinds of non-dual states reported like no-dog, primordial awareness and so on and I have also found a few things besides that others haven't yet reported. I have also done a lot of work with the brahmaviharas and work very similar to that reported by the actual freedom guys. Meditating is pretty much my vocation simply because it is what I want to do with my time and so I spend a lot more time on it than most people can afford to do.

Despite all of that interest and effort, it simply isn't possible for me to conclude that my contacts with minds other than my own is merely an artifact of my own mind. People I have never met don't know me personally and it is easy to suggest that my experience with these things is as a result of a failure to finish the insight work or to become capable of correctly understanding the nature of my own mind. I can understand this thinking but it honestly isn't applicable in my case. I can't do anything to prove that and I don't try to. As almost no one else reports similar experiences it is easy to conclude that this is all based in misperceptions on my part and I would rather leave people to that conclusion than argue about it as that won't benefit anyone anyways.

I don't think it would contribute much to anyones genuine understanding for me to draw conclusions on the basis of the odd kinds of things that I have experienced. We don't have enough data from enough people to usefully theorize about it. My general impression of things is that consciousness is elementary in the similar way that water is elementary. That is an analogy, I'm not suggesting that water and consciousness are the same kinds of elements as they have much different qualities. Some people perspire heavily and some people perspire very little while most people loose about a litre of water a day through respiration. Similarly consciousness could be viewed as something that is circulating in and out of our makeup in a similar way. Cycling through the nana's and so on demonstrates this momentary nature of consciousness very well. A common conclusion drawn by people that have worked through the stages of insight and fruition may be that consciousness is simply an epiphenomena resulting from the activities of the brain, nervous system and etc.. That may be an interpretation that serves many people very well and again I don't think it helps to argue about this but my various experiences with consciousness beyond that which can be associated with my own body and mind do not support that kind of interpretation. So, if I had to interpret that stuff I would suggest something like consciousness as a kind of field phenomena which exists in various continually changing forms throughout the universe and that it is not simply something generated by living bodies but something similar to the other kinds of elements in the body, an element that provides beings with cognitive capacities.

I think it is unhelpful for me to theorize or infer very much about this as the result is simply another conceptual box that I then have to try to fit all of my experience into. What I have observed in general is that it is the absence of an operative conceptual framework has more to do with making much of my more unusual experiences possible and that attempts to construct a conceptual framework has created barriers to the kinds of experience that falls outside of those expectations.

Seemly reliable concepts are the basis for a satisfying state of affairs for a mind that takes pleasure in referring to it's conceptual frameworks but it is not the basis for a satisfying state of affairs for a mind that would like to remain open to further experiential territory. So that is probably indicative of the conditions which underlay the views typical of our times. We live in an intellectual climate that is strongly predisposed to rationalize things in the context of the assumptions inherent in the kinds of scientific materialism that have predominated in recent centuries. In times when other worldviews were more common people rationalized along other lines. To an extent it is possible to model what may be happening in keeping with other paradigms such as buddhist cosmologies or quantum physics but most people still live in a culture where the presumptions of scientific materialism developed over the past centuries continues to exerts the major influences on their individual mental cultures.

To sum this up then; the single most significant condition for the arising of anything that might be considered siddhi phenomena is probably a mind that is completely tranquil, calm or concentrated. In the context of developing a comprehensive awareness of the nature of one's mind and being, 'hardcore' siddhi phenomena is going to more often than not be counterproductive. In the context of ridding the mind of the inclination to cling to conceptual frameworks that limit the minds capacities to broaden it's experiential base, siddhi phenomena can be a net benefit so long as one is not simply going to use these kinds of unusual experiences to again fabricate new rigid conceptual frameworks.

As to the question of why these phenomena can not be made to be more reliable, the best insights into that can be drawn from the insights into the mind that one can develop through vipassana and so on. The qualities typical of consciousness and the mind are more given to change and inconsistency than they are to stability. That is probably why people are so given to holding to conceptual models, beliefs, and so on because the nature of consciousness is by nature very unstable and flexible.

These aren't answers or conclusions, and this is an area where you won't really get any satisfying answers or conclusions unless what you are aiming to do is to shut your mind off from any actual experience in these areas. The more actual experience you have along these lines the less possible it will be for you to form a lasting conceptual framework which you can rely upon. My suggestion to anyone with these kinds of interests is to give a lot of consideration up front to what their real priorities are and to then cultivate a mental environment that is compatible with those priorities. I would agree with most here that the path of insight is far more important than the path of power but I am, in these regards, a kind of dharma libertarian and I wish everyone success in whatever path work it is that they wish to undertake.

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
Answer
5/16/10 1:56 AM as a reply to triple think.
Thanks, Nathan, for your thoughtful and insightful post. Very good stuff.

I am really glad you are still around and hope you are doing well.

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
Answer
5/16/10 4:53 AM as a reply to triple think.
Wow, great text, Nathan. Inspiring. Could be put into the wiki under "siddhi" as a thoughtful personal account.
triple think:

Seemly reliable concepts are the basis for a satisfying state of affairs for a mind that takes pleasure in referring to it's conceptual frameworks but it is not the basis for a satisfying state of affairs for a mind that would like to remain open to further experiential territory.

Looks like you never had limited yourself much with explanations. Lucky you, I found it hard to identify mental blocks. And then there are the extremes of clinging to interpretations and a naive wish to not explain anything anymore at all. Self-reliance and an open horizon I seek somewhere in between the two.
triple think:
I have had just as much access to the various concentrated states and worked through the nana's and so on at least as many times as any one else here. I can enter into all of the kinds of non-dual states reported like no-dog, primordial awareness and so on and I have also found a few things besides that others haven't yet reported.

Good to hear. Congratulations, but just in case it's interesting and everybody but you needs a hint to experience something similar, don't die without having posted about these few things here.

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
Answer
5/16/10 5:15 AM as a reply to Julius P0pp.
My practice moved me decisively in the other direction from 'the powers' (in a way). During one comparatively intense period of practice, many years ago, I had a shift after which I felt that everything was magical. That must be really common. Anyway, the echo of that experience has stuck around in the many years since.

It seemed like the issue was the conditioned mind that assigned 'normality' and 'non-normality'.

Coming at it from one side, it struck me that if everyone could fly, soon many people would be complaining about flying (e.g., 'the flying commute'). So, magical things can be made to seem mundane and non-magical simply through time and exposure. Particularly if the audience is low in concentration.

Coming at it from the other side, very 'regular' things like living on a flying rock in a vast vacuum-like expanse, like skin coming back together when it's cut, like, well, like practically anything...it's magic. It's obviously magic. Go out on most days, and looking up you'll see a ball of flame floating above your head in the sky. How is that not magic?

The process by which categories are generated and assigned seems most relevant to me.

I think that I'm probably saying what Nathan said, minus the attainments.

Nigel

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
Answer
5/16/10 6:29 AM as a reply to Julius P0pp.
Thanks for the kind words everyone. I won't be writing up my life story. I'm sure some people would find it interesting and that it would produce the usual range of responses typical of weird tales. So that is reason enough not to do that. I can think of a few hints that might be helpful. The simple practices that accompany the discussions of the siddhis in the suttas are actually very useful. For instance the practice of noting the pleasant in the unpleasant and the unpleasant in the pleasant is at the least a very instructive noting practice that works well with other basic noting practices. It helps to loosen up the sensory and mental conditioning that can inhibit a more precise kind of noting and get your mind and senses more cleanly in contact with the more variable and raw qualities of experience.

You can take that exercise farther however, into mind over matter territory, where you can condition your senses, mind and feelings to shift completely from a pleasant response to an unpleasant one and so on. In itself that may not seem like a big accomplishment but if you consider how central those kinds of responses are to shaping our self conceptions the range of applications from there on is quite vast. Whereas you might have considered your mind to be not very powerful, this kind of technique demonstrates on a very fundamental level that it can become a great deal more powerful than you might have previously considered. By extension there are perhaps all sorts of things that you may have thought your mind and body were incapable of but now your senses, mind, feelings and body have been through a very direct demonstration proving otherwise. I still think that the most important accomplishment is completely overcoming the self-conception problem on every level and in every way but when you approach that by these means there is a lot of room for experimentation or play as well.

Just as how we arrange these conditions internally have an effect on how we view ourselves as say 'a lover of chocolate' or a 'hater of chocolate' so to with how our conditioning will effect how we view the world and the universe around us and how we draw the line between self and other. So if your consciousness is limited to the head that is one set of conditions, if it can roam the entire body that is another and if you can get your mind out of your body and across the street or into another body then you are going to be looking at things differently again. Bear in mind that you are messing around with this at your own risk and don't say I didn't warn you because I am, it is one thing to be experimenting with these techniques within your own body but once you take it beyond that point things can get strange very fast and there is no safety net.

As a hint in the direction of contact with non-human sentience, probably the best preconditions for that are the brahmavihara practices, a harmless lifestyle and a lot of time in the wilderness. I don't think there is anything that can guarantee that kind of stuff happening to people, even non-human people are still basically living beings with their own reasons for doing whatever it is that they do. I don't know if they are avoiding people or people are avoiding them but it seems to be a relatively rare experience in our highly industrialized societies and that seems understandable to me for many reasons. I suspect beings like that are comfortable hanging out with me for the same reasons that a lot of wildlife is, I like the wilderness, natural quiet, solitude and a very simple life and so do they.

take care
upekkha
nathan

RE: A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers
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Answer
5/16/10 12:42 PM as a reply to Nigel Sidley Thompson.
Nigel Sidley Thompson:

The process by which categories are generated and assigned seems most relevant to me.

"This is true non-duality: not simply the perception that self and other are the same thing. We're talking here about the recognition that no categories of experience are self-sufficient. If we can develop a relationship like this to our perceptions, then the conceptual categories that underpin those perceptions are undone. We must have a conception of pleasure and unpleasure in order for those experiences to appear for us. If we undo those conceptions (the teacher at Gaia advised me) then they will actually begin to fade from perception itself. Oooer!

Big Question: Where is the world, without our conception of it?

Answer: Right where it always was, except now it is empty."

- Duncan Barford
http://www.thebaptistshead.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=302&Itemid=32 at the end