Someone asked me offlist last year to describe my practices when I was devotedly on the RHP and desired Union with the divine as my only goal, I’m going to share that reply (slightly edited) here to put what I’ve been posting about the ability to make things manifest from nowhere into context, and also to provide a comparison for how I hope to achieve a better and stronger result through the LHP - something I’ve seen some modest evidence of already.
My regular practices for the longest period when I was studying yoga comprised the following aspects:
108 mantras repeated on a mala, building up from once a day after breakfast to 10 or 20 cycles a day, starting with AUM (long version, beginning at diaphragm and ending at Sahasrara chakra) and then I started to incorporate a Ganesha mantra, AUM Sri Ganeshaya Namah.
(As Lord of Obstacles who has the universe in his belly, Ganesha is the emanation of the Source - or Parasiva, my chosen concept of Source at that time, because that image & inhererent non-dualism made most sense to me - who holds the gateway to the line between Source and manifest reality, so the teaching is that he was both within me, i.e., my soul as an emanation of the Source, and also makes himself available with apparently external qualities, so this wasn’t “religion” as in, bowing the knee to an external entity hoping for favours, it was about finding the aspects within oneself that unlock that door. Ganesha is also ruler of the Muladhara chakra, the first gateway to ascended consciousness in the systems I was studying.)
That mantra practice affected a lot of things, made it easier to have vivid (not lucid) dreams which often predicted the future in a symbolic manner, like the symbolism and archetypes on a playing card, as well as a few other oddball events like random visions, and that started to freak me out because I’d been warned by several teachers that my goal back then, total merger back to Source, would be damaged by developing siddhis of that nature which would then tempt me into re-engagement with the world and accruing more karmic bonds (i.e., my actions creating more reactions), so I cut back a bit.
Obviously that stuff’s not a concern nowadays and I do a version of this using other names, syllables, etc., given to me by other beings, using a similar method of running them up (or down) through different chakras, with pretty good results of various kinds, but that’s OT to this stuff.
Daily puja - for years, not a bite or sip at home didn’t get offered, first, to Ganesha (ref: the concept above and not in a superstitious/religious way), then received as prasad, I was also strictly lacto-vegetarian, no eggs at all, no fish, nor that annoying red food colourant made with beetle blood that’s in all kinds of otherwise veggie food, and the connection formed by bringing the Divine into the everyday act of eating was tangible and shouldn’t (IMO) be under-rated by people who want to go that route.
I also gave away everything I owned that was made of leather, though in this world you’re kinda fucked since glue’s in so many things and that’s made with animal carcasses, and unavoidable amounts of stuff are either animal-tested or animal-derived, but I settled for doing my honest best to not contribute to any more death or suffering. That in itself was an exercise in avoiding further karmic bonds, as well as the animal-welfare issue (which I’m still really into even as a meat-eater nowadays).
Because I’m not a “morning person,” I had a little Ganesha statue Blu-Tacked to my coffee tray so I could do the biz with my breakfast without needing to go through to my full-on shrine where I had a few images and kept my incense tray, water bowl, malas, best books, etc.
It was kind of sweet, and I’ve kept up that intense and intimate level of connecting with beings ever since, just within a different worldview. I’d always had shrines anyway but as a child I’d had to be discreet, and I found that setting one up properly made a focal point for my home and became like the centre of my universe.
I have a couple now, and I believe that a statue or image (consecrated) can form as good an evocation “base” as copal resin smoke or a black mirror, again something that dates back to childhood when the stuff seemed to take on a life-essence, and which I consolidated during that era by having, for the first time, an unapologetic no-discretion-needed shine right in my living room.
Meditating deeply (one would ALMOST say invoking) on a godform was part of the main daily puja I did, and that involved offerings for all five senses, so sound (little brass bell), scent (incense) etc., along with food and water, and it was after one of those followed by meditation I had that vision of Vishnu, as a large white geometric object, which is pretty peculiar (posted about that here).
A selection of yoga postures - a number of reputable teachers say that it’s best to only do a limited amount if you’re still prone to either anger or despair, since they risk energising the lower chakras that the mind still doesn’t have under control by having worked through them in a harmonious manner, and since I had underlying clinical depression back then I limited it, but I still tried to do a small amount.
I also had back problems, which mean some of the seated and backwards poses were positively dangerous for me, and my teacher said physical problems = this is something your innate energy in this manifestation isn’t going to handle well right now, so I stuck to those guidelines both at home and in class for both practical and spiritual reasons.
I don’t have a list of exactly what I did but the main asanas I remember doing most days at home were Downward-Facing Dog, Anjaneyasana, Ardha Matsyendrāsana, some Muktasana, Padmāsana & Paryaṅkāsana (those risked back problems, so I kept them to a minimum), Pādahastāsana, Paścimottānāsana, Samasthitiḥ, Corpse Pose, Sukhāsana, Utkaṭāsana, Uttānāsana, and Utthitapārśvakoṇāsana.
I gave all my books away and got rid of my notebooks, so I don’t have the exact sequence that I did them in but I know there was a specific reason they went in the order I was given, to do with working through lower states to the higher, but I’ve taken that mostly-alphabetical list from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_asanas which has a helpful set of photos as well.
Oh, and a shitload of Bālāsana (below) which was supposed to help with the anger/depression, by helping me be more humble and to not think rage or “sulking” (depression) would help me since I was earnestly trying to accept the manifestations of Siva’s perfected universe in order to dissolve the barriers betwen “me” and my True Self aka Parasiva, but that posture actually only helped with lower-back tension - and, it remains the only one I’ve kept up on a regular basis, so there’s some irony for you.
I was doing 20mins a day, usually after each meal starting with breakfast, I’ve kept that up to some extent to this day but mainly meditate on Runes or whatever I’m working with for some project, not the “without seed” type, there’s a traditional exercise where you meditate on a flower and come to understand it as “the” flower, a kind of fractal universe thing, and that was positively useful when I got into magick - same concept as the Doctrine of Signatures.
Meditation, again, is something trad. teachers often warn against doing in excess, especially if it feeds into depression or other unwanted thought patterns, but I mainly found it helpful, still it’s not a totally “fun for all, bring the kids” acitivity like it’s often represented, then again anything powerful (just like medicines or herbs) has the potential to harm in some situations.
Because of that, I did a lot of workshops and weekly meetups, usually things in a meeting hall on a weekday evening, £3 on the door and a free cup of tea afterwards, to make sure I was keeping things real and not going off into that “self-indulgent” stage many teachers warn about as a trap for the solo aspirant trying to find their way outside an ashram.
I did some longer periods of meditation towards the end when I was studying and had had to cut down on mantras due to the disturbances in time-perception, and on a few occasions I spent an entire day focused on meditation, usually in 4-hour blocks broken to eat a meal, and the willpower and ability to resist distraction acquired were very valuable.
There’s an exercise in one of Rama’s books where every emotion that passes your mind, you surrender it, and that was also recommended in one of the meditation classes I attended based on Rama’s work, so I did that for maybe 12 - 14 months: that brought severe adverse consequences for me of rapidly extended periods of derealisation (Wiki) which I think was a pathological thing and not a spiritual event - a judgement I make based on having attained legit samadhi and knowing it to be completely different - so I stopped.
I liked the books but I criticise Rama as not having included cautions for that exercise, which superficially seems innocent enough, compared to Subramuniyaswami and a few others who are far more traditional and conservative-leaning, and who caution that not all exercises are good at all times, for everyone.
I also did several exercises that amount to writing out stuff that’s in your past or on your mind, and burning it, some of which were valuable and some of which, again, were not helpful to me because my initial problems with depression were worsened by them, and also Ganga Pujas, where you find a spot by a flowing river and pluck petals or leaves from a branch, place the thoughts, bad memories etc., that you want rid of in them, and offer them to the river - just as all flowers are The Flower, all rivers can stand in for Ganga Ma.
Again it was useful sometimes, other times reflected a letting-go of this reality that conflicted with the fact the seat of my depression was a sense that there was something wrong with me, and (worse) something wrong with this reality at a core level, and that I therefore wasn’t meant to embrace either small self or the world - a personal note I’m only making in hopes of putting the personal problem I had with it, into context.
Ganga Puja is a really restful thing though when it’s done on issues you definitely want to let go of, and one to try and schedule in if you ever get to go near a river or stream.
Study & “Detachment” Exercises:
I also studied Sanskrit, which was a given task because the idea was that this god-given language would permeate the mind and facilitate better thinking (the same way it’s harder to conceptualise something if your vocabulary doesn’t have the words for it) and worked on translating for myself segments of the Vedas and various other writings, and spending a lot of time mulling over those notes, acquiring various insights - something that was interesting and was designed as a “useful” task for the monkey mind.
I did various things recommended in classes I attended here and there, e.g., spending a whole day from waking to sleep in total silence, not reading, speaking, or communicating in any way, and a lot of stuff like that predicated on the idea of shucking attachments to “things that I do without thinking” and of the small and individuated self that defines itself through its effect on others.
Along those detachment lines, I fasted one and then two days a week for several years, taking only milk, water, and a single cup of tea - one day a week was fine and helped me understand hunger and how our society encourages you to leave no slight urge unsatisfied, but two damaged my health, I felt tired all the time and went back to one day.
Later, I dropped that weekly fast as a result of moving away from the desire to renounce stuff, but it was physically sustainable and I’m glad I did it.
Also, I tithed my income at 10% to donate to various charities (I could never quite bring myself to donate to any religious organisation or teacher) and also to pay for various books and teachings, a habit that’s still useful IMO for anyone who wants an “occult studies” fund, and generally applied those same concepts of detachment and sacrifice to every area where I could challenge myself to do without, or to re-sacralise something, and make it about my Union…
At the apex of this hard work, I finally began to attain periods of samadhi and then total dissolution, into the One consciousness (I mean, words don’t really work here, I BECAME as the All and everything, every consciousness and every event, was an emanation of Me) and was briefly able to make things happen with thought alone.
That came towards the end of this period by, primarily, focusing on the concept of complete and dissolved merger back to Source, and I attained that on several occasions, coming back and finding that I could briefly make events happen “miraculously” just by thinking about them (various small things, I also manifested my “dream” apartment and was also usually able to get anything I wanted in the shops at any price I cared to pay), and the closest teaching to that I’ve found is Joe Vitale’s “Whiteboard” exercise, which describes the concept if not the entire background I brought to it. David Neagle’s teachings also come from this perspective and that’s why I always recommend his stuff as well.
There’s not really an exercise per se for what I experienced, but it was like the culmination of everything else to date leading me to the goal I was aiming for at that time, merger back into Source.
The downsides I experienced along this path were numerous, mainly the result of the world and everything in it renouncing me right back, and they were really beginning to amplify during this period as my bond to the everyday world began to weaken: outside the times when I was meditating, mantra-ing, or whatever, I was profoundly depressed, drinking heavily, and struggling with the idea of having to keep living in this differentiated and miserable state, which amplified my urge to merge back to Source and away from the crappy world.
And I rapidly lost the dream apartment through guilt over having that much power, when others don’t, and also through the fact “renounce the world and all attachments” was underlying my worldview during that period.
Even when I began, slowly, to divorce myself from the ideal of renounciation, it carried on affecting stuff for a while, like an ocean freighter which takes 5 miles to turn even after the signal’s been sent - and it took just as long to truly make its effects felt, so it wasn’t an overnight experience.
This is why, for all I hear and can understand warnings that “black magick is dangerous” I can honestly say that yoga, as in seeking Union and not just the bodily exercises, can be equally dangerous and even life-wrecking; I’ve not only experienced that myself, but also witnessed my fellow students go through the utter chaos that comes into your life when you make a fetish of not having “attachments” - if you renounce this reality, it will do the same right back at you as a matter of simple physics, and when I see people talk about how they hope to attain worldly happiness through releasing attachments, or when people assume black magick is all bad while anything remotely “eastern” and yoga-based is all wonderful and safe, I get very angry.
The RHP is stark, hard, and unforgiving - I’ve seen people lose their partners, mothers lose contact with their children or elderly parents, homes and jobs lost, way too much bad stuff that the people involved never anticipated could come to them from something as seemingly benign, moral and “right” as simply trying to be a little less attached to the world in hopes of finding some peace of mind.
Change Of Path…
I’d always come back from those Union experiences as NotMe, as totally detached and uninterested in the world and all things of it (which made focusing on manufacturing those miracles very slapdash since, in that state, I cared nothing to any outcome in the world for “Eva”), and the process of re-entering my everyday self became harder and slower each time.
That experience, simultaneously the best and worst era of my life to that point, was what slowly prompted me to change track and decide I’m after as much power in the manifest world as possible, right here and right now - not even (unlike, probably, a lot of folks on here) the idea of “ascent” to a higher plane - I decided that to get myself out into total beyond-bliss Union wasn’t what I wanted, and that if I could temporarily experience literally Godlike power, then I was going to stick around and find a way to use it to shape this place up the way I wanted it to be, instead of running away.
Around this time I also received a prophecy (I know how pretentious that sounds, but it’s the only description) of which the core part was that if the planet was to survive, humans must begin to ascend to godlike levels of power, magickally, psychically, in any way possible, breaking forever the malevolent hold of the monotheistic philosophies that keep people as disempowered as cattle, and the other things I was told in that same prophecy (the crash of 2008 being one of them) have all come true, so that’s why I’m pretty serious about this stuff.
Thus was born my goal “to command the powers of a goddess within my lifetime” which, several years later, led me to embracing the LHP 100%, and that’s why the rather stark definition of the LHP offered in Flowers’ book Lords Of The Left-Hand Path provided a useful way of drawing a line under my previous endeavours and aspirations.
I think that about covers it all - I didn’t keep such good journals during most of that time (I wasn’t, after all, planning to stick around for too long to read them), and I got rid of a load of notes about the more everyday stuff like asanas once I threw it over because I knew I’d not want to read them again and I wasn’t interested in either going back down the route, nor hanging onto stuff from the past, so I probably missed bits out and my memory’s not completely flawless, but that’s about all that comes to mind right now.
Although I now find the RHP and all its goals (of submission to a god that lays down rules, or merger back into Source) utterly deplorable and flawed, and the acts and omissions their followers inevitably fall into as a result of elevating those goals above all else even more so, I had to go there to get here, and none of it was wasted.