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Magick and The Powers

What's the thing about visualizations and the powers?

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Reading Daniel, many times he talks about visualizations associated with the powers; in MTCB, he suggests first fourth jhana,and if that doesn't work, then learning to visualize a colored disk. He mentions visualizations many times in other threads.

Also, I have a friend of mine that has many powers developed naturally, and he also has incredibly developed visualization skills.

Also, my yoga teacher happened to mention a while back a strong relationship between visualizations and powers.

So, I was wondering, what is the causal relationship? Why are visualizations and powers so connected?

RE: What's the thing about visualizations and the powers?
Answer
11/22/13 5:26 PM as a reply to M N.
Mario Nistri:
So, I was wondering, what is the causal relationship? Why are visualizations and powers so connected?


I'm not that knowledgeable about the Buddhist take on powers, but I have experience with shamanic work and some Western Magick. Basically, visualization is one of the main ways that your magickal intent is expressed and sent out into the world. Words also have the power to convey magickal intent, which is probably why Daniel also mentioned mantra work as being connected to the powers. If you've read any of the pop-spirituality stuff about manifesting or the Law of Attraction, it's basically the same principle. Your intent is translated into an image, which then goes out into the universe and has some kind of effect connected to the meaning and energetic significance of that image. The more vibrant, clear, precise, and relevant is the image, the more powerful it's effect (generally speaking). It helps to not only have a strong visualization ability, but also to have a certain degree of fluency with the symbolic (as opposed to literal) significance of imagery and symbols. Otherwise, it can be difficult to find a concrete image in which to garb an abstract intent. The Hermetic Tradition is rich in this stuff.

RE: What's the thing about visualizations and the powers?
Answer
11/22/13 11:50 PM as a reply to M N.
I group all these things into the same category:
  • jhana access
  • nyana access
  • visualizations
  • powers

They all have the same fuel source - concentration. Increasing facility with any one will require and/or cause an increase in concentration, which can then be applied to the others.

RE: What's the thing about visualizations and the powers?
Answer
11/25/13 12:37 PM as a reply to M N.
It's interesting how it seems to come down to a few things; most of what you do in magickal stuff seems to be oriented either to develop concentration (jhanas) or to make the intent stronger (most rituals); visualizations and mantra clearly help in both directions...

So, if it's a matter of intent, then, considering that I'm not much of a visual guy, I think that it's reasonable to assume that for me mantra work will be more effective? Or is there something about visualizations that, things being equal, they work better? MAybe something that has to to with symbolism?

Thanks to you both, btw

RE: What's the thing about visualizations and the powers?
Answer
11/25/13 2:16 PM as a reply to M N.
Mario Nistri:


So, if it's a matter of intent, then, considering that I'm not much of a visual guy, I think that it's reasonable to assume that for me mantra work will be more effective? Or is there something about visualizations that, things being equal, they work better? MAybe something that has to to with symbolism?



It depends how you want to work. I think you can do a lot with mantras and affirmations, but there is something added by visuals. It might have to do with the fact that for most of us, "seeing is believing." The visual sense gives the greatest feeling of reality, which key to manifestation. If you can see something it tends to seem more like it already exists in a concrete way than if you're just talking about it. Think about stuff depicted in movies seems more tangibly real than descriptions in novels.

Another aspect of the powers that would require visuals is traveling to other realms. Daniel mentions this in his section on the powers in MBCT, but he doesn't go into a lot of detail about. Basically, you can travel to all kinds of mythological spaces and get entirely different perspectives on reality that way. It's not for everyone, but I've found it extremely valuable and enriching. I use a process called shamanic journeying to access these other realms, but a similar concept exists in Western magick under the name astral travel. Journeying to other realms requires a different kind of visualization, more of a passive, receptive visualization rather than a consciously constructed visualization. It's visionary rather than visualized. I've gotten pretty good at receiving visionary images, but I'm still not great at consciously constructing visualizations according to my will. I've been working on it lately by doing vipassana with my eyes open and taking the external visual field as an object. I figure that by dissolving and integrating the visual field, I'll also learn about how to mentally recreate aspects of it. That's how it's gone with other modalities that I've done vipassana with.

Best of luck,
Avi
Spiritual Direction