Magical Diary: Sigil Spell #1

by admin on April 14, 2014

“Before we get into the technical aspects of practicing magick, we must first introduce the use of a magickal diary. It is traditional for the magician to write down every magical act, result and experience in the magickal diary, which functions as a tool of encouragement, a scientific record, and a means of magickal integration.”
– Alan Chapman,  Advanced Magick for Beginners

On Emptiness and Desire and Spellworking

Alan Chapman’s book  Advanced Magick for Beginners is inspiring me a good deal lately. Chapman does an solid job of discussing my most favorite topic: how a practice of desire-based magic (i.e., tantra or alchemy) eventually leads to a huge increase in synchronicity that leads to the deepening realization of nonduality and the dreamliness of all things (i.e., Buddhist “emptiness”).

In the past I’ve done rituals but not much in the way of “spells” – just a lot of visualization and list-making and other Law of Attraction type stuff.  I’ve done this in part because I was raised in Wicca and Ceremonial Magick by my father and long ago came to associate spells with “silly things my father and his stuffy old friends do.” And that’s not a fair assessment, just a rather teenage-ish reaction that’s silly in itself. I’ve preferred my magic to be more modern and meditation / visualization based.

But Chapman offers a lively explanation of spellworking using simple Sigil Magic as an example.  He emphasizes how the whole trick of a spell is to decide that seeing or experiencing your spell means the same thing as your desire materializing. In other words, you lay the grounds for a synchronicity to occur by simply deciding that the happening of one thing (your spell action, whatever it is – drawing a sigil or waving a wand or jumping into a puddle) has exactly the same meaning as your desired outcome.

Through reading Chapman it has hit me more clearly than ever how spellworking is just an active participation in synchroncity.  Synchronicity is the subjective perception of at least two events that are non-causally-related as being nonetheless meaningfully related to you, as having a direct correspondence.

In science it’s emphasized that “correlation does not equal causation.” In magic, it’s basically “fuck causation, correlation is where the hotness is at.” Causes and effects don’t inherently exist anyway, as you realize if you spend some time in analytic contemplation. Causes and effects imply distinct subjects and objects – and since reality is nondual, there are in truth no distinct subjects and objects, just the ongoing worlding of the world.

So I’ve decided to get a lot more into spellworking lately to up my magical game and I’ve also decided to chronicle my work here on this blog in a public magical diary.  It’s not intended to prove anything, it’s not science.  It’s basically a record of my own personal perception of synchronicity.

So.

The Spell

Last week I did some Sigil Magic specifying “This week I will find a beautiful and convenient and very cheap place to live.”

I got in touch with the depth and vulnerability of my desire and charged the Sigil with that.  This vulnerability bit is something that I think is very key for me, and it’s not something that Chapman discusses. Yet I’ve found over the years that most of the time in life I avoid fully feeling my desire because of the painful vulnerability of the fear that my desire won’t be realized.

In terms of tantric Buddhism, it occurs to me that the bonds of attachment and aversion are just desire with a mucky layer of fear added on top.  Attachment and aversion are the stuff that ignorance is made of, and ignorance is basically just the perception of the world as a dualistic, threatening place of scarcity. When you strip off the layer of fear, you have pure, unalloyed desire – which is what the apparent universe runs on and can take you quickly to the perception of the loving nonduality of this world – i.e., nirvana.

When stuff goes wonky in magic, it’s usually because there’s aversion and attachment mucking things up.  A lot of my previous magical experience has been about showing me the uselessness of those things, and forcing me to surrender them to large degrees through giant amounts of pain.

But I still habitually engage in attachment and aversion by suppressing my desire. I would usually rather deny to myself that I have any desire.  I would rather not feel it so I can’t be disappointed (that’s attachment and aversion, friends.) But then when I do that I cut myself off from my deep power source, from my real well of energy. When I’m willing to be vulnerable and exposed and feel the full strength of my desire, there’s paradoxically great charge and magic in that. That’s a lot of what I learn through OM (Orgasmic Meditation).

The result

By very odd chance, this week a friend of mine who had been housesitting a lovely artist’s house in Shadyside (a fancy and very convenient neighborhood of Pittsburgh, close to everything I like) was no longer able to do it due to family emergency, and now me and my friend Zil are here until the end of the month.

Funny thing – I got what my spell requested but I didn’t specify for how long I would “live” there so it’s only for a few weeks! But still. Very heartening.

Reflection

As Chapman emphasizes and as I fully agree, the results of magic come to us through coincidence, i.e. synchronicity.  The synchronicity worked surprisingly fast in this case.  Also, I noticed just how very specific spellworking needs to be.  The next time I work on conjuring a beautiful and convenient place to live, I’ll need to specify the length of time I’d like to live there.

A bit about me, Carolyn Elliott

coach magical, creative people to live turned-on, ecstatic lives rich with genius and electricity.  I’m the author of Awaken Your Genius: A Seven-Step Path to Feeing Your Creativity and Manifesting You Dreams (North Atlantic / Random House).  I also lead the Outlaw Court, a secret Facebook group where outlaws are hugely supported in rocking their magic and bringing their Things into the world – if you’re magic and you know it, you’re welcome to to join the Outlaw Court.

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The Kink of Normaling

by admin on March 25, 2014

Normaling is the kink of conforming to classic gender, sex, and “couple” stereotypes of our culture and getting off on it. Not because you feel you have to, but because you want to. It’s edgy and it’s dangerous. And it happens to be my own personal kink.

Why Normaling is Edgy

Normaling is edgy due to the fact that the “because you want to”  aspect of it requires a very high degree of privilege. Normaling just isn’t a kink that’s available to everyone, and it’s a kink that can be psychologically or physically damaging, not unlike race play or blood play.

In its connection to privilege, the kink of normaling is like its cultural cousin Normcore (the style of ever-adaptable situational style and deliberate eschewing of “authenticity,” most famously enacted by James Franco. Normcore is a style that both embodies a kind of wise, fluid nondual emptiness and one that itself relies on privileged appropriation to exist).

Lots of people in the world have to conform to gender stereotypes and roles just in order to have the acceptance of their communities (i.e., to avoid being exiled, starved, ridiculed, abused etc.); and for many people the option of conformity isn’t on the table because their internal experience and / or outward expression of their sexuality and gender doesn’t line up with cultural expectations.

In other words, normaling not only requires a personal inclination towards conventional gender styling and couplehood, it also requires being in a position of economic, educational, racial, familial, and geographical privilege to the point that you feel that you have freedom in how you express your gender and sex.  Ideally, we would live in a world where absolutely everyone had this freedom of expression – and factually, we do not.  Therefore, to engage in normaling is itself an assertion of privilege, privilege that inevitably relies on the existence of non-privileged people to exist.

 

 

And of course, this problematic nature of normaling is part of the very reason why it’s kinky.  Kink is all about power dynamics – and normaling, as we noted above, is about a heavy-duty power dynamic – not necessarily between the partners in the normaling couple, but rather between the normaling couple and the world that gives them the power to normal with impunity and showers them with approval for doing so.

I take the term “normaling” from a scene of 30 Rock that struck me as both funny and hot. And then it struck me as culturally complex the more I thought about it.

In this scene, Jenna and Paul realize that they’re into normaling. Jenna and Paul are both white, cis-gendered (though Paul’s a transvestite), educated, and well off. They’re engaged in a heterosexual relationship with each other.  They’re both kinky in the classic sense of the term (they like cross-dressing, bondage, pain play, and other fanciful weirdness).

Here’s the clip:

httpsv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5qutHb0BUE

It’s adorable, of course, that Jenna and Paul love each other, have hot sex, and are able to sexualize their falling asleep together under a quilt.  Their exhibitionist excitement mounts as they realize that they can go normaling in public by shopping for housewares at Bed, Bath, and Beyond – “in front of everybody!”

What makes Jenna and Paul more adorable than the average couple shopping at Bed, Bath, and Beyond and falling asleep together under quilts is that they at least realize the highly kinky (because immensely culturally privileged) nature of their activities.

Jenna and Paul are both societally privileged enough to be flagrantly kinky in the classic BDSM modes (their behavior might garner eye-rolling from their friends but neither of them is in danger of being starved, beaten, arrested, etc.) to the point that they’re able to experience their choice to act “normal” as just another option on the erotic table.

Why Normaling is Hot

“Everything is about sex. Except for sex. Sex is about power.” – Oscar Wilde

Normaling is hot and naughty for folks like me who are at least somewhat aware of their privilege because when I’m engaging it, I know what I’m doing is based on my power. Power that I didn’t earn. Power that’s just been given to me. Luxury.

It’s a giant luxury to be a straight, cis-gendered, white, educated, healthy and economically stable woman. It means that when I put on a dress and kitten heels and pearls and make-up and hold the arm of my partner who happens to be a straight, cis-gendered, white, educated, healthy and economically stable man we match the image of a powerful archetype that’s burned deep into our collective cultural retinas.

People stare at us when we’re in public – and not because we look weird, of course – but because we look so very normal. Actually, because we look weirdly normal – it’s sometimes strange to see a cultural archetype before your eyes in living color, executed with a slightly exaggerated edge. And that’s what we are, me in my kitten heels and pink dress and him in his grey jacket and steel-toed boots.

I’ve come to think there’s even a queerness to this normaling that we do, from the very fact that there’s a consciously performative dimension to it. My dress and heels and pearls and make-up are a kind of drag. They’re exciting both because they provoke a response from my masculine partner, and because they garner approving attention from the folks around us.

Why Normaling is Dangerous

Normaling is dangerous because in this heady euphoria of old-fashioned sexiness and cultural approval, it can be easy for me to forget that my kink is one that relies on societal distaste for other forms of gender expression.  It can also be easy for me to forget that the drag I’m choosing to adopt is just that – drag, and not an unmediated, “pure” expression of my inner essence or something.

Once, I got so caught up in normaling that I married a man who wasn’t a sustainable partner for me in part because we just looked so goddamn good together and we wanted to have a wedding.  With the wedding came a ton of both cultural approval and its wicked twin, cultural expectation. When I realized I couldn’t stay with him because of some fundamental incompatibilities I felt horrible shame for letting everyone down. I thought seriously about jumping off a bridge.  That’s what normaling without a safeword can do, friends.

So now you know

So now that you know that normaling is edgy, hot, and dangerous I encourage you to engage in it with utmost care, if at all. It can be an intoxication.  Don’t let the bubbly fun of it blind you to its real potential consequences.  If you do it, remember you’re not an archetype, you’re a human being in a historically situated and societally created context.

For those of you who don’t engage in normaling due to choice or due to other constraints, I hope this exploration makes a little bit more clear the kinky and performative nature of some types of cis-gendered coupling that goes on.

I can’t really say that normaling remotely does anything to bring about freedom for all people, but I can say that it packs a hardcore rush.

 

 

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The Nonduality of Magic

by admin on February 7, 2014

I’ve figured out something that not a whole lot of magic folks love to hear about. Well, the first part everyone does love to hear about.

It’s this: when you open your heart and mind and turn on your joy and gratitude, the universe will offer you beautiful synchronicities that fulfill your deepest desires for romance, beauty, and fun.

Excellent, right?

Yeah, except you follow the nudgings of those magical synchronicities, receive their boons, and you discover that you’re not actually being lead onto Easy Peachy Street where everything is always gorgeous and your relationships are lovely and your sense of social respectability is fully unchallenged and you get a pile of diamond necklaces dumped on your doorstep ala The Secret.

diamond necklace

 (The diamond necklaces you as a magic person are not about to receive at your address on Easy Peachy Street)

Instead, it’s been my experience and the experience of many of the magic people I know (and friends, through the wonders of the interwebs I know them of all ages, genders, and from all locales on the planet) that those synchronous sirens of wondrousness very often perplexingly lead you not to unending Peachiness but rather into the dissolution of all your good reputation, the ending of long-held friendships, the dismantlement of your personal property, and occasionally the mad house.

Well, fuck.

Magical synchronistic fulfillment of your desires isn’t sounding so rad anymore, is it?

I didn’t think so.

Except, here’s the thing: it is still really, really super rad.

How magic is still rad

It’s super rad because even though magic doesn’t lead you to Peachiness, it does lead you to the experiential awareness of truth. And that’s actually the only thing we really want. I know it doesn’t seem like the experiential awareness of ultimate truth is all that you really want on days when you’re walking around thinking “I really want to make out with so-and-so but he / she / it doesn’t like me the way I like he / she / it and all I want is some hotness in my life that so much to ask?!” but… trust me it is.

httpsv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ToxmbOr00co

What this experiential truth is – well, that’s hard to put into words. It’s all gooey and truth-y, and you really need to taste it for yourself to get the gist. We can call it “nondual awakening” for short, though, since that’s the current fashionable term and it’s pretty handy.

Basically, it’s this: “you” exist only as a feature of an undulating oneness that constantly manifests as all phenomenon, and “you” are totally not in control of anything. Not even “your” own thoughts or actions. They never were “yours” – just the ceaseless play of emptiness dancing as form.

Hey hey hey hey wait wait wait now – isn’t practicing magic all about being in control? Taking hold of the reigns of one’s Destiny? Digging the speeding silver spurs into the Steed of Good Fortune and riding that bucking stallion off into the Sunset of Getting What I Goddamn Want? Doesn’t the end-game of this put me on an all-expense paid Carnival Alaska Cruise Ship voyage with Esther Hicks and many other nice, clean, people with money?

Not exactly.

Here’s the thing: when you first start to practice magicking up synchronicity, it does feel like “you” are in more control. But that’s pretty much just the universe’s way of getting way massive LOLZ.

Lolz

(This kitteh is an official representative of the universe and thinks you’re cute)

The Tricksy Way Magic Works:

As far as I can presently tell, this is how magic works to wake us up:

1. When we (often by accident) find the astounding, synchronous, beautiful, magical fulfillment of our desires happening, we are confronted with the realization that there’s an intimate relationship between our “internal” landscape of thought, imagination, and emotion and the “external” world.  We start to intuit that this world is a lot more dream-like than solid.

2. As we are confronted with this wonderful and eerie realization, we usually start trying a lot harder to decide precisely what manifests in the dream. (If you’re anything like me – this means primarily: Prince Charming.)  We double-down on spells, Vision Boards, healings, visualizations, mantras, affirmations, and just about anything else we can think up that might give us a little bit more leverage over controlling what appears in the dream we’re dreaming.

magicnonduality

(Through all this Vision Board stuff I actually did succeed once in marrying a guy who – no joke – looked exactly like Prince Charming  right down to the red cape, awesome blond head of hair and sexy, sexxxy tights. Our Rustic Country Wedding in October was like a dream that Pinterest wakes up from all hot, wet, and slippery. And… our relationship produced a vortex of pain that nearly killed me. All of that lead me to take bodhisattva vows. My Prince Charming ex is now one of my dear friends –  turns out he’s pretty great as a pal and listens with immense patience to my nondual ramblings – so it’s all cool. And that’s magic, folks!)

3. We succeed in manifesting precisely what we have asked for (whoah baby! epic winning!), and gradually discover that it creates a maddening Vortex of Pain (see above parenthetical lengthy caption regarding The Prince Charming Experiment executed by yours, truly).

4. Within this Vortex of Pain we become desperate for divine help and willing to contemplate the notion that perhaps we have absolutely no control, that maybe the universe is magicking us and not the other way around. Hmmmmmmmm.

5. Rinse, repeat – indefinitely.

6. Wake up to the reality of our nonvolitional, nondual existence. “Deeds are done but there is no do-er.” – Buddha aka Dude Who Knew What Was UP.

7. Realize that you still (nonvolitionally) have a personality and want to write blog posts (throw punk shows, make video art, raise children, write songs, cook dinners, protest fascism, etc. fill in the blank). Do so. TA DA!

So, in short: yes, magic works.

Yes, conjuring your desires and following amazing synchronicities is a great idea and will ultimately lead you to just where you need to be.

And no, your ego probably will not like much of it.  At all. Yay!

A bit about me, Carolyn Elliott

coach magical, creative people to live turned-on, ecstatic lives rich with genius and electricity.  I’m the author of Awaken Your Genius: A Seven-Step Path to Feeing Your Creativity and Manifesting You Dreams (North Atlantic / Random House).  I also lead the Outlaw Court, a secret Facebook group where outlaws are hugely supported in rocking their magic and bringing their Things into the world – if you’re magic and you know it, you’re welcome to to join the Outlaw Court.

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The Nondual Magic of Non-Volition

by admin on February 6, 2014

Do you think you have free will? Most of us do. It’s a rather pervasive belief amongst humans, I’ve noticed. Well – what if you didn’t? And what if that was like, super great?

In my last essay I talked about sacred outlook, which is a magical practice that’s reputed to very efficiently lead to enlightenment and at the very least, in my own personal experience makes life way more fun.

Sacred outlook is actually just a hop-skip-and-a-jump away from straight-up nondual perception. In Tibetan Buddhism, sacred outlook is part of the tantric path, which is one rung below the “pathless path” of nondual contemplation known as Dzogchen (“The Great Perfection”).  Nondual contemplation is considered the highest, quickest, and most difficult route to awakening.

The past few weeks I’ve been spending a lot of time reading about Dzogchen, because – Capricorn that I am – if something is the fastest, best, and most difficult I absolutely must know all about it and do it!

Well, bummer for me – turns out traditional Dzogchen practice requires the reception of an official transmission from an enlightened guru which are in slightly short supply on the Southside of Pittsburgh where I reside.  Of course the amazing Buddha Brats folks are happy to tell you how to do naughty, naughty guru-less Dzogchen if you’re into it. And I am.  Also, if you’d like to read a scholarly discussion of Dzogchen (and who wouldn’t?), you should definitely check out Secret of the Vajra World by Reginald Ray.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, nondual contemplation in the Dzogchen tradition is slippery business, and I was finding it hard to get into.

The Union of Compassion and Emptiness

But while googling “the union of compassion and emptiness” (like you do) I came across this really neat, thoughtful and exhaustive site on nondual thought, A Course in Consciousness, by Stanley Sobottka, who is a bald and rather serious-looking fellow who happens to be an Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Virginia (i.e., not a no-good slacker hippie slouch like me and my friends who sit around giving each other half-assed explanations of quantum mechanics primarily in order to help us justify to ourselves our obscene over-use of Nag Champa and negligible interest in wage-earning).

As I read his very rich site, I discovered that Professor Sobottka (or just “Professor Stanley” as I like to affectionately think of him) is a big fan of Ramesh Balsekar, a former President of the Bank of India who became enlightened after studying a book called The Open Secret by an Irish aristocrat who went by the somewhat silly-sounding (for an old white dude) nom de plume of Wei Wu Wei.

I swear, you can’t make this stuff up. It’s too funny. Divine consciousness has a really goofy sense of humor.

But right now I’m just about gushing with enthusiasm for the perceptive reading of The Heart Sutra (my favorite!) that Mr. Wei Wu Wei offered in The Open Secret.

abeherenowhailthegoer

 (“Therefore Prajnaparamita is the Great Magic Spell, the Spell of Illumination, the Supreme Spell, Which Can Truly Protect One from All Suffering Without Fail”)

What I find really compelling about The Open Secret, and what Mr. Ramesh Balsekar and subsequently our pal Professor Stanley must have found really compelling – is the doorway to nondual contemplation that’s opened with the very simple and radical idea that we actually have no free will, and thus no responsibility or control over our thoughts and actions.

I know that I’ve heard this idea expressed before – but for some reason this week it’s hit me at a great depth and I just about can’t think of anything else. Or rather, I’m not thinking about it. I’m being thought.

Now the notion that we have no responsibility, control, volition or free will may at first glance just sound scary, creepy, or like another hippie excuse for not working and burning a lot of Nag Champa.

The thing is – the more I reflect on it, the more I find that my own personal sense of volition and responsibility doesn’t really bring me anything other than guilt, pride, and anxiety – i.e., suffering.

And of course – when I’m suffering, I’m way more likely to shirk work, act bitchy to self and others, and generally be a jerk.

So weirdly, the more I relax into the notion that I’m not an independent, separate volitional individual but rather just  a choiceless wave in the ocean of the universe whose thoughts, decisions, actions, and perception occurs without any will of my own – the more I notice myself becoming cheerful, kind, and productive.

I know this sounds paradoxical.

I was a teenage junkie

It’s a paradox that I’m familiar with from my years in 12 step recovery groups.  You see, at one point in my tender young life I spent a lot of time shooting heroin.

These days I’m mostly so goody-two shoes and wholesome that no one would suspect it of me, but yes, friends – I was teenage junkie. And no, it was not as fun or glamorous as it sounds.

The thing about my shooting heroin was this:  as long as I told myself that I had any choice in the matter – that I could stop when I wanted to – that I could use less – that “I” was in anyway in charge of my substance use – well, the less capable of stopping I was. It was almost as if my thought that I had choice in the matter kept me hideously stuck.

200px-Junkieace

The first step in 12 Step Recovery programs is “We admitted we were powerless over [fill in the blank - alcohol, addiction, over-eating, emotions, codependence, sexual acting out, gambling, debting, etc. etc. etc.] and that our lives had become unmanageable.”

So finally when I was beat-up enough by my addiction to be willing to accept spiritual instruction from chain-smoking yinzers in church basements, I accepted that I actually had no choice about my addiction, and no control. I couldn’t stop, I couldn’t use less, I was not in charge, I had no way to halt myself and would just keep using until it killed me.

move-ya-jagoff-song

 (This is an illustrative sample image of a chain-smoking yinzer, in case you do not have the great good fortune to be from Pittsburgh and have not encountered this phenomenon)

Basically, I admitted that I was really and truly fucked.

My only hope was that something a lot more powerful and benevolent than my own will and choice (something known as a “Higher Power,” or, more generally, “God”) would be so kind as to cosmically intervene and stop me from doping myself to death.

As it turned out, this Higher Power did indeed intervene – and I stopped getting high. But it was immensely evident to me that it was not “me” who got myself clean. “Me” was an idiot who relentlessly and compulsively sought drugs every day of her life even when she knew she wanted to stop and hated herself and what she had done to her life. “Me” was not capable through her own will of going two hours without a hit, let alone going through withdrawal, attending meetings, and talking to a sponsor.

However, when I admitted the totally screwed uselessness of the “me” – i.e., that I had no choice in the matter of my using – that admission was enough to open the way for a Higher Power to come in and take over and make my life much, much better than I was making it.

I’m pretty happy that I don’t exist

With the help of this Higher Power thing, I’ve been clean for almost 10 years now.

So having had this rather dramatic experience of how admitting my powerlessness and volitionless-ness actually made my life way way way way better, it’s not too hard for me to understand that the more I’m willing to generalize this state of non-control, probably the better my life can get.

I begin to detect that the sense that I have any control or volition AT ALL is itself the core of the disease of addiction – because as long as I imagine I have control, I usually am constantly “proving” to myself how very in charge of my experience I am by seeking to maximize my pleasure and minimize my pain in life.

And, clever dove that I am, I can find ways to maximize my pleasure with career success, drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, cookies, men, money, accomplishment, shopping, self-righteousness and just about anything else that can ring my neurochemical bell. None of which are bad in themselves – but all of which get to be pretty whack when I attack them with my self-will.

This compulsive seeking to maximize pleasure and minimize pain is what the Buddha called “attachment” or “clinging” and told us was the source of all suffering.

Meanwhile, when I let go of the illusion that “I” am in charge of my thoughts or actions, this compulsive pleasure-seeking and all its accompanying guilt and anxiety falls away. Hence, it becomes a lot more easy to accept the simple joys and pains of the present moment. As a bonus, all the jerk stuff I do to get my own way and all the damage I do to my health falls away, too.

So, ironically – the less I believe myself to be in charge of my own thoughts, decisions, and actions, the more kindly and “responsibly” I behave.

Perhaps this is because to be “responsible” is to be “able to respond” – and when I’m not in the delusion that I’m a separate ego, this bodymind that I am is able to respond a lot more efficiently to the unfolding happenings of the world.

A bit about me, Carolyn Elliott

coach magical, creative people to live turned-on, ecstatic lives rich with genius and electricity.  I’m the author of Awaken Your Genius: A Seven-Step Path to Feeing Your Creativity and Manifesting You Dreams (North Atlantic / Random House).  I also lead the Outlaw Court, a secret Facebook group where outlaws are hugely supported in rocking their magic and bringing their Things into the world – if you’re magic and you know it, you’re welcome to to join the Outlaw Court.

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Sacred Outlook – a key magical practice

by admin on February 4, 2014

So lately (and throughout my life) I’m pretty well obsessed with sacred outlook, also known as pure perception or true perception. I’ve begun to believe that it’s the cornerstone of magic and living an awesome life.

Sacred outlook can sound rather saccharine or silly at first. It’s the practice of “pretending” that every circumstance and every person you meet with is wholly divine, wise, pure, loving, and worthy of  huge gratitude and receptive reverence.  Of course most of the time we don’t automatically perceive the vast majority of situations and people in our lives this way.

secrettemple21

 

(image from The Dalai Lama’s Secret Temple: Tantric Wall Paintings from Tibet. Tibetan tantra emphasizes Sacred Outlook as a means of spiritual evolution)

For example, my automatic perception setting is to look around and see circumstances ranging from the numbingly mundane to the excruciatingly tragic, and people ranging from the fairly cool to the totally annoying.

Yet the weird joke is that after you practice celebrating everyone you meet as a profoundly wise divinity whose every word is precious and encountering every situation as a joyous boon for a few weeks, you start to discover something very alarming: you’re not really pretending anymore that everything is way wonderful.

You’re actually directly, effortlessly perceiving that everything is way wonderful.

And this, friends, is very, very trippy.

Let me be clear: just because you’re practicing sacred outlook doesn’t mean that all the shitty things that go on in the world halt.  There’s still war and rape and abuse and economic inequity and environmental devastation.  That all still exists.  What changes is that you start to perceive the fundamental goodness in everyone’s heart and in your own heart – and that goodness becomes WAY BRIGHTER than all the awful stuff.

And soon you start to see that all the awful stuff (war, rape, abuse, economic inequity, environmental devastation, on and on) is just what people do when they’re allowing their own confusion to keep them from seeing the fundamental, astoundingly gorgeous and wise goodness in their own heart and in everyone else’s.

So everywhere you look, in every situation you see – you no longer see boring, wretched people and situations that merit your rejection or indifference. Instead, you see loving, amazing people and situations (sometimes caught up in sad confusion) that merit your admiration and engaged compassion.

So you’re seeing the actual wonderfulness that was present all along, but which had previously been obscured by your judging and resisting ego-mind.

It even begins to dawn on you that your very willingness to perceive the marvels in every person and every situation is actively helping to draw those marvels out.  In other words, your showing up with an open heart and open mind is an actively positive choice that lets people feel comfortable enough to drop their defenses and be more rad with you.

The three traditions I’m aware of which give the most emphasis to the practice of sacred outlook as a path of spiritual advancement are Vajrayana (aka tantric) Buddhism, Sufism, and nondual Christianity ala A Course in Miracles.  You can find out more about all of these on the tantric resources page.

All of these traditions propose that sacred outlook is a rapid path to realization.  As I’ve experimented with it over the years, I’ve found that to be true. The times I’ve put the most energy into cultivating sacred outlook, I’ve actually felt my center of felt perception shift from my brain to my heart.  Scientifically speaking, it seems that I begin to experience the world with a lot more mellow and cuddly oxytocin kind of feelings and a lot less demanding, addictive dopamine-seeking kind of feelings.

A bit about me, Carolyn Elliott

coach magical, creative people to live turned-on, ecstatic lives rich with genius and electricity.  I’m the author of Awaken Your Genius: A Seven-Step Path to Feeing Your Creativity and Manifesting You Dreams (North Atlantic / Random House).  I also lead the Outlaw Court, a secret Facebook group where outlaws are hugely supported in rocking their magic and bringing their Things into the world – if you’re magic and you know it, you’re welcome to to join the Outlaw Court.

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