My Meditation practice is going really well at the minute. I have gone from totally hating it, to really looking forward to it. The ten minutes a day I started off with 7 or 8 months ago (which was such a chore and demanded so much effort to actually force myself to do) has transformed into a wanting to Meditate for 40 minutes or more – even twice a day on some days. I was using the Headspace program but after going through their Three Foundation series I wanted to branch off into my own way for awhile. I probably will come back to Headspace as they have some great other courses that seem like they would be of huge benefit.
The changing of my feelings towards meditation may be, at least in part, due to the theme of my overall Magickal work at present. If Magickal journeys had a tag lines, mine currently would be: “From Enduring to Enjoying”. These words have become almost a mantra to me, particular in prayers and conversations with those who may be listening.
The Christmas Incident.
Before and all over Christmas 2015 (so about two months ago as of time of writing) I went through a harsh and tough period of thinking that all of it – magick, occult, anything – was all total and utter bullshit. I came to the conclusion that my whole interest in it was causing me more harm than good. I felt like I was chasing something that ultimately wasn’t there and that the hunt it self was the cause of much of my torment. If I could just let it go then perhaps it would make things easier. But I couldn’t let it go. It kept nagging me.
At the very least it appeared to me that even if Magick worked, it certainly didn’t work for me. Maybe Magick was a talent that some had, and some don’t – like singing. You could study and practice all you want but if you can’t sing – you can’t sing!
I must point out that my ultimate magick goals have never been that lofty. They are, for the most part, to be happy or at the very least be somewhat happier. People debate Happiness all the time – one side saying it’s a terrible and unattainable goal, the other suggests it is the only goal worth perusing. Then there are the very small few who seem to be happy and just have no idea why people are shouting at each other over the idea of Happiness.
So, to soothe one side, I will agreeing that a constant state of happiness is probably, more than likely, not a good goal as it does seem to be quite impossible to achieve. That said, I do think it is worth at least trying. In the end I will rephrase and state that my overall Magick goal as “Trying to be happier than I am or have been.” or “To begin to Enjoy life rather than feeling I am enduring it”.
The following will sound like whining and poor me talk, but I feel it is somewhat necessary to say a few things about me, in order to make my outlook a bit more understandable. I have suffered with depression since I was about 16. There are 3 instances of near total breakdown, each time it was worse than the last with the most recent being just about a year ago. That was definitely the worst, nastiest and horrible time in my life without question.
What happened? Nothing.
No new life events, nothing went to shit, there was no Tower Card incident, no life falling apart – no, basically I just couldn’t see the point of life, of being here or hanging around. I felt life was forced upon me and it wasn’t something I had a choice in or wanted to be part of.
I went to the Doctor, got some anti-depressants and then that’s when things got really bad. I won’t go too much further into it but there was a point where I had to decide if I was going to hang round or not – and in the end I choose neither. I just lay on the couch in my office staring at the wall for 5 or 6 hours just letting go – ALL OF IT. The shite, the good, the hope, the hurt, the pain, the joy, the release…everything.
Next day, I stopped taking the medication and things slowly improved for me. The incident this Christmas was very worrying for me as it felt like I was slipping again. Well, I was slipping again. But, this time I couldn’t face going back to that place. I had to do something.
A return to Buddhist Ideas.
Now, why would I tell you all this? Well, when I repeat that my Overall Magickal theme is “To enjoy and Not Endure” than perhaps is might be now a bit clearer. I have spent a lot of my life with the feeling that I am in a shitty boring movie and I am just waiting for the credits to roll so I can leave. It feels like I am just hanging out until I have spent enough time to be able to politely leave, like a party that I didn’t want to go to in the first place.
I was talking to a Total Atheist™ once and he was demanding that the only reason I wanted to believe in any spiritual or magick stuff was because I was afraid of dying and just wanted to think that I would live forever. Man, the exact opposite is true. I’m afraid of living and I am terrified that I might actually have to hang round this party forever in some form or another. I would love to be an Atheist or Materialist (genuinely) and believe that when you die, you die and that all we see is all there is, but I just have this constant but quiet background voice that says: “You ain’t getting off that easily, bud!”
BUT – The problem is that I really would like to enjoy being here. I would love to be excited about life – imagine being excited about the future rather than totally dreading it or being scared of it. How great would that be? Well, if you are me, the answer is: “That would be great!” 🙂
So, my entire Magick practice since Christmas has been around the idea of changing from Enduring to Enjoying and I guess the reason for my recent return to Buddhist ideas is very obvious now. Buddhism, works well for me because it doesn’t care AT ALL about the why – it’s all about the how. If you want to feel better then here’s how. Buddhism is also great for lists. If you like lists, you’ll like Buddhism.
The Experience I had yesterday while Meditating is an important milestone for me. It feels like the start of a tide turning.
Part of my current Meditation practice is an adapted version of Centering Prayer, which I stole from Alan Chapman. The adaptation differs from standard CP in that the target of the surrender is your HGA, Higher Self, Daemon or whatever word fits us best. When I performed this yesterday I entered the most blissful state. I could feel small pops all over my body where things were just letting go and relaxing. I felt safe, at peace, well and at ease.
It almost reminded me of Reiki, which I haven’t experienced in over 10 years. There was a moment of recognition and a sense of having forgot something important. Or maybe a sense of having dropped something important because other people weren’t into it.
Overall it felt healing and it was exactly what I needed.
I am marking this as my first success in my “Enjoying not Enduring” Magick working and hope that it continues to be successful. Meditation is only one aspect – there is planetary work, Ancestor work, Light and Dark work and a host of other stuff on the go too at the minute.
I am excited to see where this goes.
-Now before anyone chimes in with the usual knee-jerk shite of “Depression is just a lack of exercise and if you just got up of your arse and did something you would feel better” – I walk a minimum of 5 miles a day and weight train 5 times a week. My diet is really good too, so shut up 🙂
-Chapman and Barford has recently removed all evidence of themselves from the Internet – podcast, websites and videos are all gone. This also seems to include the availability of their rather quite brilliant Trilogy on Enlightenment and Meditation. These books only seem to be now available in a dodgy PDF, hence the link. If you ever see them in print buy them – I am always in a state of constant re-read of them. If you want Free 2 months of Scribd click this sentence.
-Found a Video of Alan Chapman describing his version of Centering Prayer