.: Number 10 :.
Every energetic ritual previously discussed, from the most simple to the most elaborate, continues to bring us back to the same place, the same core practice: meditation. This one is number ten because it is probably the most simple and yet requires the utmost self-mastery to maintain. Quite frankly, it is not advisable to practice high magick whatsoever without a disciplined meditation practice. Magick opens you to order and chaos or angelic and demonic energies of your own mind. And if you cannot traverse these dimensions with clarity, you can be manipulated easily by the mind. Play with fire without fully understanding it, you can easily get burned.
Meditation moves the awareness away from the mind by putting you in direct contact with the divine Self. The all seeing Eye. Eye am that Eye am. It cannot be captured by language and so everything discussed is only an attempt at describing the process of transcendence through the ritual of meditation. With time, this practice allows access to true freedom from all suffering. The mind writes infinite stories. It can invent the most elaborate, convincing lies. It is as if the human vessel is built to create and identify completely with illusion. Meditation is one of the most direct and elegant ways to bypass self-deception. It is truly tried and tested as the earliest documented meditation can be traced as far back as 5,000 B.C.E. India where drawings depicted people seated in lotus with half-closed eyes. Every culture known to mankind offers some form of meditation ritual. Modern research is finally on board with the seemingly endless benefits–improved memory, greater attention span, reduced inflammation, and pain management. Psychologists seem to agree that meditation can directly reduce an anxiety response. It works instantaneously and is seemingly the most accessible form of treatment for any fear-driven response or limiting belief. You don’t need equipment, magickal objects, or any other person–it can be performed anywhere at any time. But for whatever reason, it is so difficult to maintain? Why?
In Western society, meditation does not seem to line up with the pace and the goals of the collective culture. Much of the programming is based on externalized validation. Attention and care is placed almost solely on the physical, in spite of the fact that reality itself originates in the mind. “Fitness” is focused on weight-loss, six-pack abs, a tight derrière. The function of “calories” precedes the experience of food to the point that you may never actually taste the food that you eat. Rest or mindfulness is to increase productivity, to manage the nervous system in order to continue dealing with your boss, your spouse, your kids. Spiritual practices are to “manifest” all of your desires, to change your relationships, your body, your job, your wealth. If you’re not feeling good, supposedly, you’re not doing it right. Every interaction with your reality becomes a means to an end and an attempt to constantly feel comfortable, safe, happy. And the practice of magick itself becomes oriented towards a state of “wanting”, “not having”, or “protecting” yourself from suffering, evil, loss. And there is nothing inherently wrong with wanting or protecting. Desire is the fire that ignites curiosity and action. And protection is a tool to keep the physical vessel intact. But it is important to note that what you create is what you get. If you create a state of want perpetually, you only get a state of want. You orient yourself as not having the thing that you want. If you create a state of fear, you create something to be afraid of. The universe is only yes and go. The fastest way to create abundance is to be in a state of abundance already. You already can access unlimited energy, joy, gratitude, Love in its highest form. It is inside You.
There are different ways to practice meditation and much of it depends on your experiences and energetic needs. The first key, however, is to recognize that there is no correct meditation. There is no mastery. This process has no destination. Imagine your meditation practice as a baby bird in your hands. If you hold too tightly you will kill the bird. If you move suddenly without warning the bird will fly away. The bird is fragile in a way, but it is also free. The bird does not belong to you, rather the bird has chosen to visit you in this moment. Simply stay in this moment. Approach your meditation practice with a sense of humor and creativity. It is a love poem to your Self. And remember that every day, every moment is different. You do not have to fight change as it is the natural order of this reality. Accept and let go. The following loose guidelines can assist you in beginning your creative meditation ritual:
Choose your place and time and keep the meditation short. You want it to be something you can commit to and complete every day. Eliminate the potential for distraction or interruption. Start a timer and sit in a position that can be maintained comfortably. Close your eyes or choose a soft focus on your nose, the wall in front of you, or a chosen object. I recommend starting with five or ten minutes. Even if you have spent years meditating, slow things down. See what happens if you stop doing anything for a short period of time. Where does your mind go? Does it go anywhere at all?
Practice this meditation for one week, at least. And when you notice the time starts to fly by, your thoughts becoming less and less present, add five more minutes. Continue like this, slowly adding time, but only when you feel ready. You are building your ability to focus on nothing and everything at the same time. Some days you will feel distracted. Other days you might feel overwhelmingly emotional. Others it is as if you are traveling through time and space. Or you might even fall asleep. Observe the experience, but do not judge the experience. Again, this process has no end or limit. Do not congratulate yourself or punish yourself internally for your meditation practice. It is what it is.
Eventually explore accessing this state throughout your day. You can choose the morning, the evening, the afternoon when you’re taking a break. Observe what it feels like to empty or let go of your thoughts while you perform a task. This state of being will becoming increasingly available to you. When you practice no mind every day, it becomes easier and easier to access this mental state when you experience anxiety. The meditation is like a rehearsal for when shit hits the fan. You become familiar with your own thoughts and stop identifying with the emotions. Simultaneously you learn to stop fighting with your mind and to accept things as they are. You will eventually notice great power flowing through your being and the discomfort will become a source of energy. Do not fear the energy. Do not fear the silence. Accept and let go.
Some tips to start or if you are seeking techniques to ground a restless mind:
Focus on the breath. Breath two counts in to the low belly, two counts in to the rib cage, and one count in the throat. Imagine the air is like sipping water in to your being. Exhale two counts in the low belly, two counts in the rib cage, one count in the throat. Repeat this throughout the five minutes.
Listen to the sounds in your room. Notice everything that you hear. Listen to the sounds in your own body. Notice what you hear. For some music or shamanic drumming can be a great entryway in to listening. Breath in time with the rhythm.
Speak a word or phrase out loud. This practice in Yoga is called mantra. You can choose a spell, intention, or a word in Sanskrit that has a particular meaning (s a list of Sanskrit mantras can be found here and the Wiccan invocation here.) You can also choose something nonsensical or meaningless. As you exhale say the mantra. Inhale in between each word. Continue with a consistent, steady rhythm. When you can maintain your focus, start to say the mantra in your mind.
Look at a picture such as a god, goddess, or a mandala. Or observe a flame, a steaming cup of tea, a tree outside. Practice looking at the picture or object without thought. Over time you build focus on the thing that you are viewing. When you can sustain the focus, close your eyes and picture the object in detail.
Lastly, here is a 10-minute guided meditation which will move your awareness from thought identification to observation.
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