Message Boards Message Boards

Magick and The Powers

Practice Update

Toggle
Practice Update
Answer
8/10/14 3:28 AM
I realized that I nearly never talk about my practice here directly, which is interesting and another topic of discussion altogether, but I thought I would give a brief practice update, just in case anyone is curious. It is in extreme summary form.

I spent some 10 months or so dealing almost exclusively with something that coalessed into a black sphere of sorts about 2 inches across that settled into the area of my xyphoid, just sort of between the 3rd and 4th chakras. I could both see it at times and feel it. It began to feel like a bomb of uneasy energy that might go off, and so a very large number of hours were spent trying to figure out what it was, why it was there and what would happen if it went off. It is hard to describe in reasonable form all the places this odd journey into dark things went, but it involved wands, tarot cards, a lot of metta practice, jhana practice, energetic manipulation, waking up with a ghost sitting on my bed (this in my little apartment in Tupelo, MS: nice-seeming black man probably in mid 20's dressed in work clothes of a style that couldn't have been newer than the 1930's) and all sorts of other complex sorts of things. I literally thought about taking a trip out to the SouthWest to find a nice desolate desert to meditate in until it exploded in safety. Finally, after what felt like an absurdly long project all realted to one single strange object, a few months ago, in the middle of the night, I woke up and the thing suddenly blasted out in all directions in a rapid burst of stark white light reminiscent of the petronus charm that Harry Potter cast while down by a lake that felt like it tore through my chest, abdomen, head, neck and organs in a truly unpleasant but seemingly healing way, sort of like when you rip through old scar tissue and then gain mobility, except that it felt sort of global. It hasn't returned, and I felt lighter and easier for the whole thing.

Then, within a few days, things moved down, and my left psoas muscle went into spasm again, as it did last year, but this time it locked up and stayed that way most of the time for months, bending my body forward a bit and to the left, such that I literally couldn't fully straighten my body, and it caused all sorts of odd back pain that also involves my left lats and even intracostal muscles on the left lateral side, as well as subdaphragmatic pain just to the left of my xyphoid a few inches. As with last year, I poured meditative things into it: careful energetic, chakral, emotional, etc. investigation with resolutions to cause it to release with extremely dedicated and careful somatic, proprioceptive and emotional attention using all sorts of focuses and emphases from radical acceptance to bruit force. Whereas last year I got it to release in a few hours of this, this time it took a few months. Slowly, slowly, it began to relax.

I am summarizing again a long, involved process that consumed many, may hours of attention all during the day and night as well. I felt like I totally reworked my whole relationship of my legs to my body, of my lower body to everything, and for a while I literally couldn't figure out how to walk normally, as if my balance, leg position, posture, foot position, weight distribution, and the combination of muscles that contributed to that couldn't find any configuration that was normal or correct, like everything about walking was entirely foreign and unnatural, but the spasm was getting slowly better.

I got so that I could feel when it was about to try to lock up again and catch it just as it was starting and it would chill out, only to try it again a few seconds later, and I would catch it again, and it would chill out, repeating and repeating and repeating, day after day, week after week. I tried yoga, stretching, various relaxation poses, such as Constructive Rest, deep tissue massages, and many other things.

Finally, one night on the way home, when my body by the end of my shift was bent in the oddes of ways, I stopped by the little, strange-smelling, 24-hour gym that I have a membership to, and it was deserted, just as I hoped it would be. It was about 3am, and I turned on the sauna and went into their aerobics room and began to dance like a crazy person to my favorite iphone dance mix. At first, the middle of my body refused to respond well, feeling locked, tight, stuck, frozen, particularly lower back and into my pelvic area, but, determined to get something to unblock, I pushed through the tension and pain and finally, slowly, after about 20 minutes, things finally loosened up and then really loosened up, and then I went and stretched out in the hot sauna and the thing finally seemed nearly done. Yeah! I repeated the same thing the next night and that seems to have largely done it. I can now walk normally and even run normally, something that was basically impossible for a few months. What any of this has to do with anything, I have no idea.

It should be noted for those who might try to get all mappy that regular practice cycles have continued in the standard cycling way without seemingly having anything to do with the above two phases: seem generally unrelated, so far as I can tell. Jhanas, ñanas, fruitions, none of it seemed to deal with the black sphere or the back thing at all. 

Then I got sick and have been dealing with some unfortunate viral thing for about 6 days: first few days of gastroentestinal upset, now just diffuse muscle aches, sore throat, and general heavy-duty fatigue. That I have worked about 80 very hard and intense hours in the last 8 days hasn't helped at all. If it keeps going for a few more days I will get tested for mono...

That's the news from New Market, Alabama. Hope you all are well,

Daniel

RE: Practice Update
Answer
8/10/14 10:59 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
hey daniel, interesting stuff...even if i can't place it anywhere.  the black ball thingy is out there.

in any case keep getting better.

tom

RE: Practice Update
Answer
8/10/14 11:11 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
http://www.dreammoods.com/dreamdictionary/g.htm

This is all I can find on ghosts, otherwise I have no clue LOL!
To see a ghost in your dream represents something that is no longer obtainable or within reach. It indicates that you are feeling disconnected from life and society. Try to figure out what the ghost wants or what it is looking for. The dream may also be a calling for you to move on and abandon your outdated modes of thinking and behavior.

RE: Practice Update
Answer
8/10/14 11:39 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Only a mundane observation... if you are interested in some pretty advanced body mobility stuff, this is a great book, the title is supposed to be both funny and descriptive: Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance Hardcover – April 23, 2013 by Kelly Starrett. (PhD). He has videos on youtube, too. (Be warned he has a "dude-bro" kind of persona.) The book has good stuff -- understanding the basics of body alignment, multiple joint weight training, plus lots of different ways to target tightness using foam rollers and other objects, plus stretching under muscle tension, etc. etc.  Although in theory it's for athletes, now that I'm over 40 years old, I find I need to do this stuff as kind just for basic body maintenance or my body locks up.
 
By the way, this isn't to diminish any other modality or approach or interpretation... it is just one more tool to have. 

I appreciate the work on the black ball, too. 





 

RE: Practice Update
Answer
8/10/14 3:56 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Do elaborate on the wands and tarot, that part sounds noteworthy emoticon

As you apparently realize, a physio-energetic perspective can be profound. For that reason (my own experience of its profundity) I often recommend Reichian-based bodywork. I strongly suspect that 4-5 one hour sessions spread out over two weeks of the specialized breathing, 'Pelvis Rolls', 'Push Breathing', and 'Extend the Belly, Breathe Chest Only' exercises would have dissipated your black ball... or at least made it explode earlier!

I'm curious, when did energy start to be visible for you? Does it happen all the time?

RE: Practice Update
Answer
8/10/14 10:34 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
You know, Daniel, every time you recount meditation experiences, you seem to descibing an epic, time-consuming struggle full of strange visions and feelings of energy, but what are you actually trying to do?  If it was all full of bliss and happiness, then at least it would be a nice form of entertainment, but it always sounds pretty unpleasant...

RE: Practice Update
Answer
8/11/14 1:29 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
I will look into the Leopard Bro dude and the Bodywork stuff: thanks for the tips. I am getting older: 45 these days, and it is definitely not 25, that is for sure.

As to an epic struggle or whatever, I am just reporting. I have no great context for those things, no great maps for them, no particular frameworks that I can say are definitive. Find me the book that tells what to do when you start to experience a black sphere there doing that and I will read it. In the meantime: this is all experimental, a work in progress, things that show up and I deal with them as best I can given the tools and hints and intuitions I have available.

As to when I started seeing energetic stuff: the first time was the first time I crossed the A&P as a teenager, and stuff like that has shown up on occasion since in various ways, but I certainly don't see or feel it all the time.

As to things being all full of bliss and happiness and entertaining, well, that sounds nice: what do you suggest? I am interested.

Here's the bottom line so far on that: there is a degree of awareness of this body that is far beyond what I had before. This transformed some things and allowed some other things to be seen clearly that I am extremely glad were seen clearly, but it also substantially dialed up the sense of things unpleasant also, and this body was born, will get sick, feel pain and die. So said the Buddha, so has been demonstrated again and again, so my life has gone, as expected.

The clarity about this is remarkable, the facts of its ordinary aging mammalian aspects being highlighted by that clarity. Thus, things like muscle spasms and sore throats and the like are at once perceived in this much wider context that is as broad as the experience field, which really helps, and there is not that annoying sense of some part of things trying to figure out its vantage point as it pretends to observe or try to get away from pain, which also really helps, but the direct clarity about pain itself is very, very real. We wake up to this ordinary life in all its conventional aspects: do your best to care for this body and mind.

As to the black sphere thing: WTF? I have no idea. I do know that if you get your concentration strong and open up to that side of things by intention or accident, all sorts of odd stuff can arise and you get to deal with it. There are no great maps in that territory that I have found. I have some general principles, some guesses, some intuitions, but no more than that. I had never had anything like that happen before, and I have been meditating seriously for 20 years now. I had to wing it. I do get the sense that, if something magickal is happening, include something magickal in the way you address it. Thus, exploration using various props that happened to be around and happen to catch my interest.

I am pretty sure I can't really explain why I chose the props I did, nor can I easily explain why I did what I did with them. Why did I visualize silver circles of protection in the x, y and z planes forming a sphere around me and then practice controlled explosions in that safe space, testing out what their implications might be? Why did I start to try to visualize an idealized and perfect magickal trainer showing me how to do these things? Why did I suddenly feel compelled to walk into a store in Asheville, scroll through about 100 pages of tarot cards, and finally settle on the Witche's Tarot by Ellen Dugan and learn it to a degree that I had never learned the Tarot before? I couldn't possibly tell you.

Sound crazy? Maybe. It sounds odd to me just writing about it, but then I still have this scientist, skeptic voice in there somewhere from my upbringing that looks at this stuff happening and just can't make heads or tails of it. I stayed totally functional in other ways while this was going on, work was just fine, etc. I learned a lot in the processes and am now happy I went through them. It feels like something good happened, particularly the black sphere thing, like something was cleaned out by it. I feel lighter. Both sagas seem to have ended. What will happen now? I have no idea.

Anyway, I am just reporting. Speaking of why I don't report much: the projection, even small amounts of it, is really, really offputting, even for one just wanting to write about their own practice on thier own forum which is vastly more tolerant of this stuff than basically any other place on the web. I don't promise bliss and entertainment in my book anywhere that I know of. Adventure, definitely, but that is not quite the same as entertainment. I promise blissful states and stages, and these definitely happen. I promise clarity about this body and mind: can be done. However, something about having to constantly wade through people somehow imagining whatever they imagine and then projecting that out is more taxing than I think I generally realize and am generally willing to admit. Notice that there are not a lot of the old, high-level practitioners talking about much here anymore. A few show up on occasion, but many have gone elsewhere, and where, I have no idea.

Thus, while the questions are normal, and the projections are normal, there is something strange about how that just makes one want to wander alone, and some of this is still definitely still wandering, as I haven't promised to have figured out everything, just a very few specific things.

RE: Practice Update
Answer
8/11/14 6:27 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
I realized that I nearly never talk about my practice here directly, which is interesting and another topic of discussion altogether, but I thought I would give a brief practice update, just in case anyone is curious. It is in extreme summary form.


Thanks, much appreciated!

I spent some 10 months or so dealing almost exclusively with something that coalessed into a black sphere of sorts about 2 inches across that settled into the area of my xyphoid, just sort of between the 3rd and 4th chakras.


Interesting how you tackled that. What drew you to the particular Tarot deck you used? Any funny, strange connections you discovered and care to share here? Did you try to find out more about that ghost? Apart from the often interesting stories it generates, I love the "throw goofy far-out techniques at it until it resolves into something recognizable (usually emptiness in the end)" way of dealing with stuff like that.

Yeah! I repeated the same thing the next night and that seems to have largely done it. I can now walk normally and even run normally, something that was basically impossible for a few months. What any of this has to do with anything, I have no idea.


Did you try to explore it by magickal means/divination/whatever it was you did with the black sphere? Just curious.

It should be noted for those who might try to get all mappy that regular practice cycles have continued in the standard cycling way without seemingly having anything to do with the above two phases: seem generally unrelated, so far as I can tell. Jhanas, ñanas, fruitions, none of it seemed to deal with the black sphere or the back thing at all.


Weird. Do you feel this is totally unrelated to anything, or might it be the lead-up to some new development? You mentioned getting older, which is in itself a "new development" in its own right. emoticon

Get well! And let me repeat I really appreciated being able to read and comment on your report. Thanks for that.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: Practice Update
Answer
8/11/14 12:19 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I'm sorry if I wrecked your day, Daniel. :3

RE: Practice Update
Answer
8/11/14 5:52 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
...a black sphere of sorts about 2 inches across that settled into the area of my xyphoid, just sort of between the 3rd and 4th chakras. I could both see it at times and feel it. It began to feel like a bomb of uneasy energy that might go off...Finally...in the middle of the night, I woke up and the thing suddenly blasted out in all directions in a rapid burst of stark white light reminiscent of the petronus charm that Harry Potter cast while down by a lake that felt like it tore through my chest, abdomen, head, neck and organs in a truly unpleasant but seemingly healing way...

Then, within a few days, things moved down, and my left psoas muscle went into spasm again, as it did last year, but this time it locked up and stayed that way most of the time for months, bending my body forward a bit and to the left, such that I literally couldn't fully straighten my body, and it caused all sorts of odd back pain... 

I... I felt like I totally reworked my whole relationship of my legs to my body, of my lower body to everything, and for a while I literally couldn't figure out how to walk normally, as if my balance, leg position, posture, foot position, weight distribution, and the combination of muscles that contributed to that couldn't find any configuration that was normal or correct, like everything about walking was entirely foreign and unnatural, but the spasm was getting slowly better.

Finally...At first, the middle of my body refused to respond well, feeling locked, tight, stuck, frozen, particularly lower back and into my pelvic area, but, determined to get something to unblock, I pushed through the tension and pain and finally, slowly, after about 20 minutes, things finally loosened up and then really loosened up, and then I went and stretched out in the hot sauna and the thing finally seemed nearly done. Yeah! I repeated the same thing the next night and that seems to have largely done it. I can now walk normally and even run normally, something that was basically impossible for a few months. What any of this has to do with anything, I have no idea.

...I have worked about 80 very hard and intense hours in the last 8 days hasn't helped at all....

Daniel

Hi Daniel, thanks for the report. Some questions here if you don't mind: 

- Did the black sphere always stayed inside the body at the xyphoid or went out of the body? Up? Down? Circling to the sides? 
- When the energy went down, did it end at the abdomen or made it's way down the legs? 
- Prior to the surge of the back sphere, have you been working on energetic stuff and sleeping few hours at night (2-4 hours)? 
- Regarding posture, do you have a tendency to stay on your heels or near the toes? Or played the bass (standing up) too much?

IME, postural problems + few sleeping hours + energetic practices --> unpleasant energetic stuff. IME, a tight sacral/lumbar region due to incorrect posture might end affecting the region where the psoas starts, near the xyphoid. Just shifting the weight towards the ball of the feet and opening the pelvis made a big difference for me, untightening the lumbar region and activating the front/core abdomen muscles, and activating also the bubbling wells at the soles of the feet. 

RE: Practice Update
Answer
8/12/14 1:00 AM as a reply to PP.
Interesting questions:

The black sphere stayed right in that spot.

I didn't really notice the energy moving down, just that it felt like the problem moved down, or that a new problem appeared just below the previous one, in that my psoas went into spasm, but nothing about that really felt or looked energetic particularly, though it is still hard not to think about it that way, and it may just be coincidence.

Prior to the sphere, I did nearly no energetic work and I was sleeping normally, if with circadian disruption, flipping from days to nights and back, with a week of days followed by a week of nights, then back to a week of days...

I am generally a weight-on-toes person. As to bass playing, I actually often play it sitting down in an office chair with the arm-rests taken off.

RE: Practice Update
Answer
8/12/14 10:50 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hi Daniel,
 
Like Florian, I really appreciate being able to read your report and hear how you are getting on. It seems the very fact that you are willing to stay open to whatever arises and talk about it, whether blissful or downright ugly, has resulted in MCTB as it is – incredibly inspiring and empowering.
 
Since landing first path last year (accounts posted on DhO) my experience has been largely challenging and taxing as opposed to pink clouds and bliss. However, as further integration takes place I can appreciate the higher ‘contrast’ of experience that the change has brought. My sense is a need to be ever more willing to let go into whatever, without constraint and bias, which is what your recent post exemplifies to me. Please keep posting!
 
Nick

RE: Practice Update
Answer
8/13/14 5:04 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:


I am pretty sure I can't really explain why I chose the props I did, nor can I easily explain why I did what I did with them. Why did I visualize silver circles of protection in the x, y and z planes forming a sphere around me and then practice controlled explosions in that safe space, testing out what their implications might be? Why did I start to try to visualize an idealized and perfect magickal trainer showing me how to do these things? Why did I suddenly feel compelled to walk into a store in Asheville, scroll through about 100 pages of tarot cards, and finally settle on the Witche's Tarot by Ellen Dugan and learn it to a degree that I had never learned the Tarot before? I couldn't possibly tell you.

Sound crazy? Maybe. It sounds odd to me just writing about it, but then I still have this scientist, skeptic voice in there somewhere from my upbringing that looks at this stuff happening and just can't make heads or tails of it. I stayed totally functional in other ways while this was going on, work was just fine, etc. I learned a lot in the processes and am now happy I went through them. It feels like something good happened, particularly the black sphere thing, like something was cleaned out by it. I feel lighter. Both sagas seem to have ended. What will happen now? I have no idea.

Anyway, I am just reporting. Speaking of why I don't report much: the projection, even small amounts of it, is really, really offputting, even for one just wanting to write about their own practice on thier own forum which is vastly more tolerant of this stuff than basically any other place on the web. I don't promise bliss and entertainment in my book anywhere that I know of. Adventure, definitely, but that is not quite the same as entertainment. I promise blissful states and stages, and these definitely happen. I promise clarity about this body and mind: can be done. However, something about having to constantly wade through people somehow imagining whatever they imagine and then projecting that out is more taxing than I think I generally realize and am generally willing to admit. Notice that there are not a lot of the old, high-level practitioners talking about much here anymore. A few show up on occasion, but many have gone elsewhere, and where, I have no idea.

Thus, while the questions are normal, and the projections are normal, there is something strange about how that just makes one want to wander alone, and some of this is still definitely still wandering, as I haven't promised to have figured out everything, just a very few specific things.
Personally, the tarot and magick stuff doesn't seem all that odd to me. For one thing, no matter how you slice it humans are symbol-worshippers. Many 'skeptics' criticize religion and then turn around and worship their own symbols to fill the void-- 'Democratic party', 'Republican party', 'intelligence quotient', 'New Atheism', 'science', 'reason', 'philosophy', etc. I definitely DON'T think that none of these symbols have value, just that most skeptics like to believe that their favorite symbols are fixed, neat, clean, and well-defined. For example, next time someone rejects something because it's 'unscientific' or 'pseudoscientific' ask them to define 'science'. Ask them their philosophical position on the 'meaning' of 'science'. I'll claim that a majority of these people won't recognize that there is no philosophical consensus on the definition or 'meaning' of science. (And, for that matter, there's philosophical consensus on virtually nothing.) Ask them if they've read Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos, or Feyerabend. Ask them if they're aware that in Against Method Feyerabend provides a compelling attack on the notion that science should have a privileged position in society or government. Ask them their philosophical position on the symbols in which they're communicating -- language.

At least occultists and mystics are honest about their symbol-worship. Honestly, I find studying the Thoth tarot more intellectually stimulating than most philosophy. Someone please find me a 'skeptic' that could understand half of the Book of Thoth. In case you hadn't guessed, I would recommend studying the Thoth tarot next emoticon

About the projection:
In some video Shinzen Young mentions that 80-90% of feedback that a meditation teacher receives is just projection by the students. I sympathize with your position. But, there are definitely people on this board (me included) that appreciate reading the experiences of long-time practitioners. IMO, to hell with the dogmatists, tell it how it is.

RE: Practice Update
Answer
8/14/14 2:19 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Actually, the Thoth deck was my first deck, along with The Book of Thoth, but sometimes that level of, well, Crowleyism, is just too much for me and I want something more down to earth, but thanks for the recommendation, as that is definitely one to check out, as there is still nothing quite like it.

RE: Practice Update
Answer
8/14/14 5:50 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Actually, the Thoth deck was my first deck, along with The Book of Thoth, but sometimes that level of, well, Crowleyism, is just too much for me and I want something more down to earth, but thanks for the recommendation, as that is definitely one to check out, as there is still nothing quite like it.

Had to make sure you weren't missing out. And, DuQuette's book on it does a pretty good job of bringing it down to earth, if you're interested.

Do you use the cards for divination or as an object of meditation? It's hard for me to imagine the connection between your black ball and the tarot.

RE: Practice Update
Answer
8/15/14 3:07 AM as a reply to Nick Green.
I would like to second Nick's response. Daniel I greatly appreciate your practice reports and have benefited immeasurably for your book and this community. It is encouraging to know that even when a certain axis of insight is done there is still infinite change and growth and integration. The idea of a perfect guru is so totally obsolete, it is empowering to work along side other human beings in this great path. Keep it up!

RE: Practice Update
Answer
12/10/14 11:17 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
First of all, I appreciate your practice reports.

Next, I wouldn't be so sure about "....body was born, will get sick, feel pain and die".
While I'm not a big fan of Kurzweil, his "law of accelerating returns" correlates with my experience of accelerating progress. He also has done pretty well with his predictions.
He is 67 and if he thinks he can make it......
Most of what some futurists predict is pretty crazy, but if you told me 25 years ago about the internet and the comunications explosion, and that I would be taking so many important decisions of my life based on a little device connected to the internet......

Regarding your experience, I'm begining to be more open about magick (not sure it is a good idea, but once you begin to believe, there is no going back I think). So, I'm getting some information about them.

Sorry for my english, I'm used to reading, not writing.