Would you like the good news first, or the bad news?

The good news is, all of you who have been clamoring for the pathway to magickal powers are about to get your wish.

The bad news is, if you actually take this route, you’ll probably go insane.

Please, lets be clear here for a minute: This series of articles is not about accumulating supernatural powers. Doing something like that for it’s own sake is not something I care to endorse, even in jest. These abilities are meant to be markers for the changes in your consciousness and byproducts of the introspective and meditative aspects that I’ve focused more on so far.

For those of you who don’t read my other stuff, ( and it seems a great many of you dropped in with your opinions without reading anything else of mine on these subjects ) I’ve written at great length about the deviations associated with cultivating psychic or occult powers for the wrong reasons. Do yourself a favor and read up on the hazards before you start playing this game.

So what constitutes the ‘right’ reason? Well, the ideal is to devote your practice to some cause or value that transcends your selfish perspectives as much as possible. Generally speaking though, you notice them if they come, develop them as learning tools, use them if you really really really have a good reason, and do your best to forget about them the rest of the time.

There are literally thousands of special powers you could attain, and the literature is rife with them. Some of them are relatively benign and form the core of most magickal practice. These are things like focused prayer, divination, possession, and summonings of various entities. The reason I say ‘benign’ is because you can have a certain amount of success with them with a minimal amount of effort, but they tend to hit a ceiling before you run into too much trouble. Others are referred to in yogic writings as the ‘siddahs’ or attainments, and are of a different order. I’ll discuss both in good time, but for the purpose of this installment they have a common root.

That root is concentration. Your ability to channel and shape energy is directly related to your powers of concentration. Any time you, or anyone else, bumps up against the so-called limits of occult power, they’ve done no such thing. All they’ve done is bump against the limits of their ability to concentrate. So before you start throwing around ill-informed pronouncements about what is and is not possible, go do some samatha meditation for five hours a day for ten years and then tell me what is and is not possible. kay?

Of course, if you actually did that, you’d probably go through half a dozen or more nervous breakdowns, bouts of paranoia, degrees of psychosis, epilepsy, and neurological disorders of various stripes. So I can understand why the misinformation out there runs so thick.

The reason most people in our society have such ridiculous ideas about what our minds can do is simple: our minds are ridiculously weak. If you think five hours staring at a wall is a ‘long time’ you don’t get a opinion in the occult powers debate. Thanks for comin’ out. If you think it’s ‘impossible’ to do anything, and you’re prepared to debate your belief in any form of ‘impossibility’, you’ll have already crippled yourself in that department anyway, whether it be starting a new nation or standing up to armed men. I’m sure you guys were helpful at the foundation of all the countries that exist right now.

I’m always sort of amused when people talk about how ‘the media’ screws with our minds. How did they do that? Are you saying the media is stronger than your own will? Did someone put a gun to your head and make you watch alla that CNN?

CONCENTRATION. Chances are your mind is so hopelessly splintered and contradictory that you couldn’t finish a half hour sitcom. A safe transition to occult powers is probably not in the cards for you. If you try, you’ll probably freak out, or kill yourself. Most postmodern ‘occultists’ have all the willpower of a heroin addict with fetal alcohol syndrome, and most of the material out there is meant to soften that fact to themselves. Old Uncle Aliester would die of embarrassment. But don’t let me get in the way of your consumer instinct towards instant gratification. For the foolish or truly dedicated, the exercise is as follows:

1. Sit still.
2. Pick an object of concentration. It helps if it’s relatively static and simple. The breath is ideal. A circle on the wall, or a potted plant will do.
3. With as little daydreaming, mind wandering and internal babble as possible, hold your focus on the object.
4. Do it every day for at least an hour.
5. For a year.
6. Yes really.

After each session, transition as quickly as possible into some kind of skill or activity you enjoy doing. If you’re obsessed with developing explicitly supernatural powers, I’ll throw in some exercises for that purpose a little farther down the line. If you don’t do the first part, none of that will do a goddamn thing for you anyway. So keep your yap shut and concentrate, grasshopper. I don’t need to hear your complaining, or tedious playa hating. Save it for your mother, or the ‘chaos’ magicians wanking their way to enlightenment.

This practice will supercharge pretty much everything in your life. Every skill will improve, every emotion will become richer. You will become clearer, stronger, more decisive. If you are already good at something it will quickly transit into the subtly supernatural. Don’t dwell on it. If you do, you’ll find yourself automatically hitting the wall in your development and you may never get past it. Focus on your training, and keep your eye on the ball. If you start freaking out, banish some more and lay off for a week or two.

Next time: reading the entrails

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26 thoughts on “Alchemy for the Braindamaged VI: Not scared? You will be….

  1. I’m not even so sure it takes five hours a day for ten years to get the dozen nervous breakdowns. One hour of sensory deprivation is enough to make me worry about my sanity.

    Alright, I need a little help with this round of deprogramming–I’m worried about standing up to those armed men, especially after that guy got gunned down in front of my house. Now, for your previous posts, you suggest banishing alone is the mighty aid to deprogramming, or am I misinterpretting you? And as a contingency until I can clear my way into supernatural power to avoid/disappear from/disable/destroy said armed men–or, for that matter, any other programmed bugaboo–what’s a good way to get past that circuit in the meantime, should I encounter it?

  2. zac, i really like where you’re going with these essays. not only are they well written, but i think theres a lot of good advice. plus it seems to be really concentrating (at least for me) whatever it is that you’re really after, and i’m happy to be able to watch it develop.

  3. Okay, I have some practical questions for you.

    1. How do you “wake up” out of your meditation? Should I set an alarm, or what?

    2. How do you find time? I’m starting a full-time job in a week, and I’d like to try this, but I’m wondering about the time factor.

    3. Yes I know I sound like a whiny baby.

    4. I’m a girl, but I too think it would be fun to have a 10-inch cock that shoots fireballs. Y’know, just to have handy in case I need it. Where are those plans??!?

    5. Do you have any references for a more concrete banishing ritual? This is the one part I really feel I don’t “get” so far.

    Thanks for writing this series… I’m really enjoying it so far.

  4. Kylark:

    1. waking up isn’t a problem. usually you’ll feel like ants are eating your flesh after about 15 minutes unless you’ve done it for a long time.

    2. sleep less. most people who sleep for 8 hrs a night are using it to medicate themselves from excess frustration, depression, fear and boredom. as your concentration improves, you’ll be more together and feel the need to sleep less.

    3. don’t worry. as long as you aren’t blaming me for everything that ever thwarted your dreams, you can whine as much as you want.

    4. these are the plans. TICTSF ( ten inch cock that shoots fireballs ) is a secret esoteric codeword for : willpower that can crush diamonds. in hermetic symbolism, the phallus is known as the wand, and vice versa and both are symbols of the will.

    5. null gave couple classic ones. you do need to engage with the symbolism on a tangible feeling level. that’s why i left it open. change the imagery and wording to something that resonates with you. pick motifs from a favorite book or movie, your faith, or just something that feels cool and powerful. the basic format of either of those is fine. I usually just picture a bubble of clear light projecting out in all directions, and a rippling shockwave as anything that bugs me gets pushed away.

  5. i’m with tim– this screams to be made into a booklet of some kind.

    the ‘finding time’ issue is always a good question at first, but once you really get into it, you’ll wonder how you can find time to fit other shit in, like jobs and tv and whatnot.

  6. If you are already good at something it will quickly transit into the subtly supernatural. Don’t dwell on it. If you do, you’ll find yourself automatically hitting the wall in your development and you may never get past it.

    *sigh* You do realize this is like telling someone not to think of an elephant, right?

  7. homework; well as you may have guessed i do indeed practice concentration meditation. have done for several years now. my own training is a little more complex than what i advocate here, but there is something to be said for simplcity and consistancy. as time goes on i feel it’s better to be fantastic at one thing than mediocre in a hundred things. in that vein i’m wanting to bring my list into a little tighter focus, and get things down to their core principles. deepening my reservior of concentration practice can only help with all the things on my list. my teacher has advised i spend a bit more time on them anyway, as the insight meditation is making me wig out a little bit lately.

    I’ve decided that tracker thing will have to wait. i hardly see jeff as it is. and the nature of our friendhsip right now precludes much practice. i feel confident that time will come, but not right now. at the present time fixating on something i have no time for is just fragmenting me unneccisarily.

    same with my job. until i have an idea of what this hypothetical ‘better job’ is, there’s no point pounding sand down a rathole. the massage thing is a likely prospect for income anyway, so better to focus on that.

    so that, with some subtle tweaks, leaves the list as follows.

    1. I want spend an hour a day in insight or concentration practices.
    2.I want to complete the study process for my buddhist disciple ordination test, and engage my teacher in a dialouge to discuss my readiness to take that test.
    3. I want a worthwhile turnout for my begginers dhamma class.
    4. I’d like to complete the practicum component of my medical message course.
    5. I want to eliminate dairy products and refined sugars from my diet as completely as possible, and fast every week consistantly.
    6. I want to spend an hour a day on flexibility and postural training to supplement my ninjitsu practice.
    7. I want to culitvate my speed reading skills to a higher level.
    8. I’d like to continually be ridding myself of excess posessions, whether through selling them or giving them away.
    9. I want a used bike so I don’t have to spend so much on buses, and walk in the mornings when I don’t feel like it.
    10. I want to feel secure enough in my finances to invest some savings in physical silver or gold bullion.

    you’ll probably see this ‘boiling down’ effect as you see recurring themes and unfiying rpinciples in your various projects. for me, the discipline to practice all these various things is an ongoing concern. I’m always trying to melt down my multiple focusses into a smooth harmony. doesn’t always work though.

  8. I read about some Jewish Mystcism and Egypt Mystics as well and I am not sure which writtings I read. But one was stating a complete conscious level (meaning subconscious and conscious) you would beable to defy the laws around you. Anyway I think if it is possible to do this most people would die. I also wonder about what and why chemicals are released in the brain on death.

  9. “If you are already good at something it will quickly transit into the subtly supernatural. Don’t dwell on it. If you do, you’ll find yourself automatically hitting the wall in your development and you may never get past it.”

    I am having a lot of trouble understanding your meaning in this statement, and would very much appreciate some clarification, as it seems an important point to keep in mind when practicingconcentration meditation. Don’t dwell on what?

  10. don’t dwell on the fruits, or apparently supernatural benefits of your concentration practice. doing so only turns it into a toy for your ego to play with ,and diverts needed attention away from the practice and the ongoing flow of real events.

    just ride any of that stuff like a wave and forget it when it passes. fixating on it only results in rigidity and lack of progress.

  11. Thanks for the reply zac, hopefully you will entertain my ignorance a bit further:

    After reading over your explanation of concentration meditation, I find that there is no mention of the trance state induced by such practice. In my limited experience with this, roughly 30 seconds of focus on my breathing yields a state where my entire body feels like it is floating in electric water. As concentration goes further, these intense feelings (and I mean INTENSE–you can’t drink enough booze to feel like this) only grow stronger and stronger. It is as though my body has been wrapped in a vibrating blanket that pulses harder and harder with each breath.

    How should one interpret this state? I find that the vibrations of the trance state can be very distracting in and of themselves, and they also create a tendency for my hands to involuntarily separate as though repulsed from each other by a magnetic charge–which, as you can imagine, is additionally distracting. Are these merely expected side effects that should be ignored as other thoughts are? Do you experience any form of trance when engaging in this practice?

  12. yeah. trance type stuff is standard for most people. this type of concentration is the basis for hypnotic phenomenon after all, at least at the lower levels. to invest too much attention in it would be detrimental. acknowledge it, accept it’s presence and reaffirm your core focus

    btw there’s no reason to go by my half ass illuminations on this topic. the best book i know is free online, and i’ve mentioned it many times.

    http://www.interactivebuddha.com/writings.html

  13. Your Quote:

    “This series of articles is not about accumulating supernatural powers. Doing something like that for it’s own sake is not something I care to endorse, even in jest.”

    If you’d be willing to entertain my curiosity, I’m interested in the reasons you find the pursuit of what we call supernatural powers for their own sake unadvisable. Personally, I do not see where the hazard arises. If one wants stronger muscles, one lifts weights. If one wants a power such as telekinesis, one engages in the forms of practice that lead to such a proficiency–no?

    Looking forward to hearing back from you,

    Chris

  14. i guess there are no hazards if you have no higher aspiration than supernatural powers. but if you want true spiritual or transcendental insight, cultivating siddha powers as an end is sure to bring your progress to a screeching halt.

    furthermore, the pursuit of power tends to be a path of diminishing returns. eventually you have tons of skills, but to make them work you put such a tremendous strain on your body or mind, you go insane or have a heart attack or stroke. it’s about the mental focus you have to have to use that stuff safely. it’s deeper than just lifting weights.

  15. I’ve always assumed that concentration of this sort to be a skill that improves with time, so why does it seem like I’m getting worse at this with each passing day? It’s weird, the first day I did this, I achieved states of focus and intensity that absolutely blew me away. But, after only a week of doing this for a half hour each day, I’m feeling that it is a path of diminishing returns, in that maintaining focus gets harder each day. What’s happening here?

  16. probably trying too hard, or you may be shifting your focus into a more insight based realm that causes more agitation. but probably just trying too hard.

  17. Hey Zac, I’m trying out this concentration practice and I’m having some weird sensations like that my head is huge and some stuff

    Maybe I’m doing something wrong, dunno, I don’t think so though, just calmly concentrating on my breathing and when I find out I’m not I just start again, these weird sensations are a bit of a distraction I think but I’ll get over it.

    Anyway I wanted to ask you about a particular feeling, I’ve noticed that the middle of my forehead is “lighting up”, like a pressure point or something, actually I can activate that feeling pretty much when I want to but I feel it “grows bigger” when concentrating, possibly because I start to concentrate on it instead of my breathing out of curiosity.

    Do you know if this feeling means something? If it means my third eye is opening, how can I work on finishing that, if that’s useful at all.

  18. the spot you’re talking about is where the sensation of concentration has it’s root. in the pineal gland and frontal lobes. you could change your focus to that, or stay with the breath. breath is probably better to start. the third eye thing will start to give you headaches if you go to hard on it..

  19. Has anyone here had any experience with the Holosync audio CDs for meditation? I figured it is relevant to this blog post, as I understand it when you meditate/concentrate you start to go into different kinds of brain wave patterns, I’m sure some people here have seen the video with Ken Wilber changing his brainwaves? Anyway the Holosync audio CDs are designed to alter your brain wave patterns to resemble deep meditative states, created by Bill Harris and for some reason I think he and the Holosync CDs are somehow related to the Integral Institution.

    There are a lot of highly recommending comments on these CDs on the web, and my friend uses them and highly recommends them, so I’m just about to buy the set, but I’m interested in hearing what anyone here thinks about them and possibly what you Zac think about them.

    P.S. for some reason the web advertising for these CDs look exactly like the advertising of some scam.

  20. I don’t know what Zac’s input will be, but I’m pretty soured to audio hemisync psychotronics or whatever you want to call them. I’ve used a few different programs, although not that specific one. They have some uses, but I don’t think one can call it meditative at all. I suspect that all those pseudo-scientific explanations of concentration are mere conjecture, so any attempt to hemisync your way into concentration or insight is taking some hippie’s untested and unfounded speculation and actually implementing it to questionable results.

    Even if you could, e.g., find the exact frequencies or chemicals involved in concentration, samadhi/shamatha is still more complicated than that: the effect, much of which is a learning effect, is cumulative over time. You can’t quick-fix a cumulative effect and techinical learning with a sound or a medication: it would be akin to being totally ignorant of a subject, than taking a bunch of stimulants before an exam in an effort to pass, since stimulants aid memory and focus. You’ll fail anyway. I’ve done a lot better using old-fashioned anapanasati every day than I did using a seeming quick-fix alpha-delta sync every day. B. Alan Wallace, who’s involved in some scientific studies of concentration, has just finished a year-long study of intensive concentration practice and the lab geeks are still crunching the results. But there was a reason he made it a year-long study.

    That said, Chapel of Extreme Experience is still one of my favorite books.

  21. As I understand it holosync is split into different stages, like bench pressing, you start with a small amount of weight and continue to put more on it over time, or in this case the strength of the binaural beats.

    One reason I suspect this works is because I hear of people falling asleep using this the first few or lot of times on each stage, this is because it takes the brain to alpha, then theta and finally to delta, and delta is associated with dreamless sleep, which is a place we want to go to but still be aware right? Cause then we can rest in the witness, identify with the witness, or whatever, with no objects around.

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