So yeah, I took a pretty good shot at ‘letting go’ of attachment to relationships for a few days there.

It was partly an insight thing, as in ‘ this is inherently unsatisfactory, impermanent, and does not itself generate the state I’m looking for’ and partly a concentration thing where I was running a jhana state that was strong enough that I felt like I could happily renounce human attachments forever, at least at the time.

And then the tricky bit: because, when you get into states like that, the things you used to want, and let go of, frequently start showing up. Those of you who play on the sorcery side of the fence will be more familiar with this ( hopefully. provided you aren’t just a dark night basket case wanking over your star trek-based magickal paradigm) , and it’s basically the textbook buddhist style magick thing. ie; you rise to a  jhana state of perfect equanimity, exit it, and form an intention, then the intention happens. Or in my case, the intentions that you formed carefully before and then let go of start to happen. This is pretty much what uncle al meant by ‘avoid lust of result’.

Which is neither here nor there, but just shows that letting go can throw up it’s own kind of distractions, because you will be tested on whether or not you really are letting go, or just practicing sorcery. Not that sorcery cannot be used as a valid source of insight, just most people don’t do it that way. If you do sorcery as a means of demonstrating the emptiness and transitory nature of phenomena, or developing insight into cause and effect, then great. If you renounce boys/girls as a step towards making them appear in your life, this is sub-optimal, from a perfect realisation point of view, because it throws up all kinds of paradoxes in terms of intention.

The tension of using renunciation this way versus how you actually live can become quite abrasive, even if you’re doing it by accident. You might very well intend to renounce shit, and yet not be able to help getting caught up in it again when your sorcery skills keep drawing it to you. It’s kind of playing out the karma you set in motion. There’s a story about a murderer who became an arahat and people who recognised him threw pottery at him. He couldn’t figure out why being enlightened didn’t make people hate him less. Similar kind of thing.

So shifting topics,  dealing with that abrasive quality brings up a more detailed discussion of the dreaded ‘dark night’.


8 thoughts on “tipping the scales

  1. how can you renounce something as a step towards getting it? i understand what you’re talking about, it’s that “effortless effort” thing, but it seems to me that’s really an energetic mental-physical training, a sort of trance (it’d be difficult to compare it to equanimity in my experience). But i can’t see forming an intention to renounce something in order to get it.

    in my experience, what seems to happen is that you formulate an intention and maybe just put a little energy into it no wikked sijilz or formality necessary (though they certainly help) and it breeds a result as soon as you let your desire die or stop giving it any mental attention. it seems particularly salient w/ regards to sex b/c people are already working themselves into high-energy states over that and the line between a aborted fantasy and a formal intention might not always be clear. And likewise it’s not that hard to implant a suggestion about what you want, then release the intention only to discover you end up with an obsession

    then there is, of course, the injunction about, depending on who’s translating, refraining from abusing “sexual energy”. hmm.

    i think i see where you are going w/ the dark night on this…

  2. and, even if you are trying to master gross skills like getting stuff, eventually you have to burn up your karma, probably sooner rather than later, especially if you’re jacked into the crowley/spare . eventually you’ll see that all the crap you “want” and all the thoughts you have just aren’t that fucking useful… like they say, “the mind is like a stomach, it secretes things on its own”

  3. well, yeah, if it sounds a bit jacked-up that because it is.

    what happens is that some people get so frustrated from being in the dark night, and trying to squash it with binge sex,drugs, ego gratification, and they finally bottom out into equanimity and suddenly all the stuff they were obsessing over and unable to get starts appearing, so that pattern becomes how they do magick. form intentions, fail to get them, quit in despair, intentions show up, deepen in magickal basket case syndrome, lather rinse repeat. and the sad thing they probably never reach high equanimity, formations and fruition, just backslide in re-observation again and again.

  4. I sometimes wonder: isn’t the desire to end desire just another desire, and isn’t the attachment to a lack of attachment just another attachment? Nothing exists in isolation, I am told.

  5. well, in practice it’s one of those paradoxes that enlightenment is supposed to resolve. while you’re down in it, you’re really more like refining your attachments and desires into something easier to deal with.

  6. @Hamble: that’s the “one good attachment” as per the Buddha, and Equanimity points out that desire is just another thing… this is why the Burmese consider “Re-Observation” in the Dark Night part of the Fourth Jhana sometimes, because you have to just give up. Additionally, this is why having a distinction like “wholesome” and “unwholesome” (usually referred to by judgment-shy buddhists as “skillful”) can be of use. The desire to, e.g., practice loving-kindness or concentration may be a desire, but it’s a wholesome one, and concentration can’t proceed if desire for concentration is too strong, so there’s also a process of refinement from gross to subtle.

    The thing is that “giving up” doesn’t end the process. It ties into stuff like compassion in that you have to accept it.

    That, at least, is my experience.

  7. I suppose it is distinctions such as skillful vs. unskillful and wholesome vs. unwholesome that our age-old philosophical debates arise.

  8. maybe so, but soon as you move out of the realm of debate and into reality, it usually becomes clear enough. you might not be able to agree on the bullseye, but the location of the dartboard is not too controversial.

    most of the so-called debate originates with people who have very little interest in actually doing anything, or very little experience in what they’re talking about. if anyone who wanted to throw the definition of wholsomeness or skillfullness into question first tried practicing the standards as given before questioning them, the ‘debates’ would be much more brief.

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