This post is advice taken form a technique I developed through personal gnosis. I do not represent BALG nor do any of my posts represent a consensus.
Quieting the mind is often considered an important step in the practice of magick. After all, meditation is an excellent way to get into a magickal mood, isn’t it? A quiet mind is the stage for all that intense focus a magician needs in ritual. Unfortunately, the way most people quiet their minds is quite torturous and misleading. What they wind up doing is replacing random thoughts with the thought of “I am quieting my mind”. It’s better than rambling thoughts, but we can do better. Much better.
What I refer to here as the mind, is really the brain. Just to be clear, I am not referring to the supposed grand cosmic consciousness of “The Mind”. The brain is the messaging center and dispatcher for the entire biological organism. Its purpose is to capture and send signals from/to the body by means of the spinal cord and a myriad of fleshy bits. It does this from before you are born until you die. It never stops. Stimuli, such as pain and great sex are recorded as memories. All life events that lead to or are caused by a change in state of mind are memorized. Times of joy, sadness and even boredom are memorized. The human being is designed to deal with changing circumstances. That is how it survives and that is why it remembers change. That is why when you stare at something that doesn’t move for a long time, the image may wash out. Ever stare at yourself in the mirror for too long? Maybe trying to conjure up an entity? I’m betting it showed up!
A Different Approach
Most attempts to quiet the mind lead to a struggle between trying to forget to think, and not thinking about meditating. This all seems so ridiculously counter-productive given that the brain’s sole purpose is to process information. There may be a better way. A way that achieves the desired goals while not attempting to do something unnatural.
Start by relaxing. Close your eyes, to remove visual stimuli, and deepen your breathing. Breath comfortably and get that oxygen to your cells! Nice and easy. In this state you become more aware of both the signals your body is sending, and the perpetual mental chatter. This is a place we all know. It is the same for all of us. Rejoice, for you are not alone in this mortal coil my friends. This is relaxing. You can even plug your ears with decent earplugs and be completely immersed in thought.
Let the mental chatter bathe you for a while. Immerse yourself. Now, let yourself pay attention to a thought that is currently in mind. It could be your discomfort, or the notion that your meditation is delaying your cooking. Perhaps it’s the thought of “am I doing it right?”. Acknowledge the thought like an old friend. Accept that the thought is there. Once you do this, the thought will settle down into its rightful place in the theater of your mind, happy that you paid attention.
NOTE: I know that this is abstract visualization and we can’t draw a comic book text bubble around each mental impression. Some thoughts are feelings, such as pain, or digestive signals. Other thoughts come in waves, such as the loss of a loved one, or being made a fool of. Each thought and feeling are perfectly valid.
Move from thought to thought, feeling to feeling, and specifically acknowledge each. Thoughts are like children tugging at your shirt needing attention. Don’t swat them away, pay attention to them. The child will be less agitated once you give it a little attention. Naturally the thoughts will settle in what you feel are different positions in the theater of your mind, or your consciousness. It is almost as though they each have a spot in your mind. Just let them go if they decide to fade away. Ebb and flow.
Now that you have a heavy set of thought patterns in your mind, you feel a tension all around your face, in your spinal cord and that spot between your eyes.
I want you to know, with all certainty because there can be no mistake, that you are the substrate, or the substance that holds all these thoughts. You are the space between your thoughts. You are the holder of thought.
Turn your attention to spaces between your thoughts, or everything in your consciousness that isn’t immersed in thought. That is the substrate. That is you. Hello earthling! That is quite a lovely consciousness you have there friend!
In this transcended state, you may see your thoughts for what they are: Signals in your brain. You aren’t just your brain however, and just because you acknowledge your thoughts, doesn’t mean you need to act on them.
Now perform your ritual or truly meditate.
(Meditate by repeating a mantra such as “iam” or “i am not my mind”. When your mind wanders, return to the mantra.)