(Start reading part 1)
This morning I was finishing one of the final chapters of the book. And as it sometimes happens during early morning reading delights on a Sunday morning, the dog at my feet and the hot coffee in front of me, the meadows covered in white frozen dew and the ravens in the birch trees of our neighbors... I suddenly hit a vein of gold. I had to read the paragraph three times until I fully understood its implications... At this point I am not even sure anymore if good old Brad could see these. And maybe I am just making stuff up here based on my own training in Magick and Gestalt-Therapy. But who cares - as long as it is gold in my pockets, I pretty much don't care how it got there.
But first things first, let me share the paragraph from Brad's book with you:
"We think we are our memory of our past actions, attitudes, and remembered records. That's not who we are, but it takes a lot of learning and energy to discover that, just as it took a lot of energy and learning to build that picture for ourselves in the first place. The energy required for being who we really are - full persons - comes from burning all the bullshit beliefs you built your mind out of. Fortunately, since one's mind is a constant bullshit generator, there is unlimited supply of fuel." (Blanton, Radical Honesty, p.230-23)
Isn't this awesome? Essentially Brad turns out to be a magician and unveils how we can transform the bullshit jail into an energy generator. In applying this radical change on how we use our mind, we pretty much do the same thing as AO Spare, when he turned Freud's insights on the subconsciousness around and created his own technique to deliberately instill 'traumas' rather than releasing them into consciousness.
Here is how I think we can use the same approach on breaking out of the bullshit jail - yet still harvesting its energies for good.
The first step is to accept that there are only four different modes of activity for our mind and senses as Brad continues to explain: They can be kept busy understanding 1) what happens within our bodies or 2) outside of our bodies. If they aren't involved in these two modes of experiences they are either busy 3) fantasizing or 4) worrying. Now, these last two points need some explaining as they are particular to Gestalt-Therapy. So let me fill in the gaps:
- Fantasies: basically this is the true bullshit fuel. Fantasies are any concepts of reality that aren't directly connected to an authentic personal experience but constructed by theorizing (thinking, reading, debating, etc.) about a potential past, future or present experience. Thus you should feel free to include all types of theories, philosophies, doctrines, morales, ethics and all other constructs in this category that are supposed to teach us how things are 'ought to be'. Please feel also free to include this blog in this bullshit category. If what I am sharing doesn't connect to real and concrete experiences on your end, following my blog is an utter waste of time. Leave right now; maybe there is one bar less in your bullshit jail?
- Worries: Well, worries are closely connected to fantasies on most occasions. It is rare that we truly worry about something that actually takes place in the present moment. I.e. 'fear of dying' would be an acceptable worry when our car starts to spin in full speed on slippery tarmac; or 'fear of loss' when my toddler has figured out how to open the front gate and is just scrambling out on the main street... Fortunately occasions for acceptable types of worries are rather rare. Yet, because our minds love worrying this gives them plenty of time to delve into what I call 'unacceptable' worries. In this category you can find all sorts of concerns that you or others won't live up to the unrealistic fantasies you have created. I.e. not living up to the fantasies you have created of yourself, or equally, others not living up to the fantasies you have created of them. Here are some of my best worries as a magician: not being able to travel astrally, not being able to perceive spirits in physical form, not being being brave to summon Goetic spirits, not working hard enough on advancing beyond Tiphareth, not communing with my HGA... Consider this a free injection of my personal V-Power, high octane bullshit fuel.
Now, here is an overview on the four modes of activity of our mind and senses:
Let's redraw this chart and model the true scale of these four activities as they take place in most of our everyday lives:
Looks different, right? The good news is - we just discovered two gigantic fuel tanks. I.e. energy that we charge into worries and fantasies all day long. Kill the fantasy, kill the worries and release the energy. It's as easy as that. In theory, i.e. fantasy.
The only other little piece is that most of our fantasies have been around since our earliest childhood and we have learned to mistake them for reality. So there is a lock on the fuel tank and that is called 'habit'... But let me share an idea of how life could look like once we break open this lock and kill our (reflecting, thinking, judging, inner-dialogueing, worrying, concerning, just-wishing-the-best, hoping, shaming and fearing) habits:
Once we break out of the bullshit jail there is no boundary between us and presence anymore. We are free to experience anything that happens within or around us in real time. We will never be able to shut down our fantasies or worries completely, they will always form part of the background of our lives. However, we can ensure that they do not become more important than what is actually happening right now. Presence is always the most important experience.
In the chart above fantasies and worries come second to what happens within and around us, i.e. in this state we have remembered that they have no connection to what is really happening in the present moment. They are theoretical reflections and abstractions only. Sometimes these can be very helpful, e.g. if we create a new fantasy about how beautiful life will be once we live in the present or when we start worrying about our state of being after spending decades on 'worrying'... However, in most cases fantasies and worries don't come anywhere close to the value and power of experiencing what happens right now.
... well, I am kind of guilty of sharing a lot of bullshit here. Plenty of fantasies going on if you ask me. So good old Brad comes up with another wonderful metaphor for situations like this. He says that most often people get so captured by their fantasies about life and themselves that by the time they reach adolescence they 'eat the menu instead of the meal'. I.e. we start to live on theories and abstractions, thoughts and models and concepts, rather than real experiences of what actually happens within and around us.
My little chalk charts above are certainly menus and not the meal. So let me leave you with one thought that might lead to a meal: Which state do we all know as magicians when what happens within us and around us is exactly the same? When we merge and fully become one with uniquely special present-tense moments...? I would call these moments 'invocations'. The moments when the divine is streaming into our circle and filling our minds and beings and bodies and the space around us to its fullest. If you are a bit like me and had forgotten how it truly feels to live in the present, free from fantasies and worries, completely open to be surprised by whatever comes next - magick is a great first step to remember.
Continue reading part 3.