What most people who get into this game don’t realize is, you are already an incredibly accomplished adept in certain kinds of mind yoga. You have to be: the only way you could sustain such an aberrant and dysfunctional set of assumptions for your entire life, is if you had concentration that could crush diamonds, and withering commitment to various behavioral disciplines that borders on the suicidal. Maintaining anything resembling a stable identity for hours a day is a truly heroic feat of concentration.
This is both a good thing, and a bad thing: the good thing is all you have to do is slightly re-direct your focus and everything falls into place. Indeed, that slight alteration of focus is much easier that what you were probably doing before.
The bad thing is, if you don’t give yourself the proper directions, that power of mind that you’ve cultivated can turn on you in the most dire ways. This is why some people, particularly accomplished adepts, get really fucked over in the dark night. It’s not that they don’t know what they’re doing, but rather that they are too good at what they know and slight maladjustments are a big deal.
One of the things I’ve picked back up in the last week or so is giving myself a regular series of structured hypnotic inductions, to help reprogram my subconscious mind. This is probably a much faster and more efficient means of metaprogramming than whipping yourself, fasting or wearing hair shirts, but everything in it’s proper place.
I was very much into this a few years ago and it drove most of the alchemy for the braindamaged series and much of my best work of that time. When my machine died and took all my accumulated hypnosis recordings and whatnot with it, is when things started to go off the rails and I began focusing on things in a less productive way. I’ve just now begun to reconstruct my collection and get back into that kind of self-programming with vigor.
What it comes down to is that you need to give the mind proper instructions. Especially when you’re doing insight practice and taking out huge chunks of previously unquestioned material and replacing it with nothing, or sharpening your concentration to the point you can pick out the most abrasive sensations and turn them into what feels like an indestructible holding pattern. You need to tell yourself what to do, what to focus on and how to readjust your beliefs, or you are taking your life in your hands. It’s easy to get all gung ho on the simple and clear injunctions of vipassanna and samatha and get bent on becoming an arahat, but all that stuff has to fit into some kind of functional container, and that container is you.
Fortunately all that practice I’d done in the past was still laid in deep, and responded quite quickly to some new well-structured suggestions, such as one can now get on youtube. There are better ones to be had if you look, by better hypnotists, but it’s a fine place to start. One of my favorites, “major” mark cunningham, has said that at the level where the conscious meets the subconscious, problems don’t exist. That’s a pretty nice place to be, I’ll tell you that for nothing.
Now, disclaimer, I can’t pretend that I’m some schmuck off the street and this stuff will necessarily work for you the way it has for me. I’m about 15 years into various forms of mind and body training, and 10 years into essentially doing it as my sole vocation, so I’m a little farther up the curve than some of you lot, and it’s hard to know sometimes what is the practice and what is the conditioning. But I feel quite sure that it won’t hurt, especially if you’ve got some game in the altered states department already. It certainly can’t be any worse than letting CNN hypnotise your ass every day.