Guarding the Temple of Truth there are two fierce figures named Paradox and Confusion.
Certain things might, at least temporarily and/or playfully, be called “Real Magic” when there are no immediate rational explanations for them. Nevertheless, there may be some other, “Theosophically inspired,” life-manipulating techniques which can be called “semi-Real Magic”—not because they don’t always work—they do, at least in my experience—; but rather, simply because one can perhaps think of some possible “contrarian” self-help psychological reasons for their efficaciousness.
The paradoxical life-manipulators: 1) “Blessing for Dollars,” 2) “Truth and Consequences,” and 3) “As the World Should Have Turned.”
These self-help techniques are interesting because they involve doing the opposite of what most people usually try in order to motivate themselves or obtain benefits. But why not experimentally dabble with a few things which might only be able to work paradoxically? After all, “Life Sucks and Then You Die” is country song much beloved and agreed-with by many if not most of those who are doing exactly what their non-contrarian, non-dabbling neighbors are doing.
Blessing for Dollars. This technique involves “prayer-blessing.” The typical approach if a person wants something for himself or herself is to pray in a form something like, “God, give me the rent money.” Of course, good religionists tend to frown on such self-interested prayers. They often advise the use of prayer-blessings, not directed toward oneself, but rather, toward the poor, the downtrodden or otherwise suffering individuals.
This contrarian, paradoxical technique does not prayer-bless unsuccessful people or victims of misfortune; rather, it prayer-blesses those who need it least: the wealthy, the energetic, the young, the healthy, the famous, the geniuses, etc. The form, preferably eliminating the word God, is simply something like, “Bless those who have much more money than they need.”
A possible explanation of why this life-manipulator can bring positive results to the person giving the prayer-blessing might be that subconsciously one may begin to feel oneself belonging to the category of individuals who have been prayer-blessed . . . and thus start doing certain things which—normal-cause-and-effect—produce the desired results. Theoretically speaking, if one only prayer-blessed poor people all the time, perhaps one might even eventually mold oneself into one of the impoverished. . . .
Anyway, it may not be all that worthwhile just to pray for the poor or misfortunate and then think that one has done one’s duty in regard to them. Perhaps one should give up such a distant and vague God-help-them approach and actually show up to give them real money and/or real assistance in other hands-on, face-to-face ways. . . .
Truth and Consequences. The "Truth and Consequences” life-manipulator is similarly paradoxical. However, it is also analogical in a classical Theosophical sense. Here, analogical reasoning is regarded as a very helpful adjunct to general intuition. (Theosophy: “intuitive knowledge or wisdom associated with improved realization of one’s own Transcendent [‘Divine’] Nature.”)
As Above, so below; as below, so Above, as the Hermetic axiom is sometimes worded. In a footnote in THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY, H.P. Blavatsky tells us that some of the earliest Theosophists, the Alexandrian Philaletheians, were “*also called Analogeticists.” In the case of "Truth and Consequences" the analogical order is not from the Above to the below; rather, it is from the below to the "further below"—perhaps some mysterious contrarian psychological mechanism analogizing with the human body’s immune system.
My own view, often repeated, is that it may be next to impossible to understand the Psychological Key to H.P. Blavatsky’s writings, especially THE SECRET DOCTRINE, if a person has not had much experience meditatively “recognizing and self-observing” the six varieties of human consciousnesses which might be the down-to-earth analogs of her “Rounds,” “Root-Races,” “Sub-Races,” etc. Simply put, there be will great difficulty grasping the basic concept of a “temporary egoic delusion” (ego-formation, semi-Self, partially false ‘I’ etc.); furthermore, a person will almost certainly be unable to see how her grand Theosophical systems of Cosmogenesis and Anthropogenesis might have been devised to be analogically consistent with such “self-observed psychological differentiations.”
Therefore . . . so much for comprehending the as below, so Above. . . . Perhaps even more unfortunately, however, such an “uninitiated” individual may also not be able to analogeticize in the opposite direction—i.e., using As Above, so below to investigate how the big Theosophical ideas give important clues concerning the existence and nature of the egoic delusions and other psychological operations which perhaps analogically helped create and now correspond to them.
Furthermore, he or she will probably not be unable to make much if any sense out of passages like this one from G.I. Gurdjieff: “Man has no individual I. But there are, instead, hundreds and thousands of separate small I’s, very often entirely unknown to one another, never coming into contact, or, on the contrary, hostile to each other, mutually exclusive and incompatible. Each minute, each moment, man is saying or thinking, ‘I.’ And each time his I is different. Just now it was a thought, now it is a desire, now a sensation, now another thought, and so on, endlessly. Man is a plurality. Man’s name is legion.” --IN SEARCH OF THE MIRACULOUS (P.D. Ouspensky)
(But how hard could such an “initiation” be, really? For example, in meditation you may have been trying to keep your attention focused on the forehead area (“chakra”), but suddenly you “catch yourself” and realize that your attention had drifted away to the headache you have. Voila! You have just recognized Second-Level Physical consciousness—and that you had been, at least temporarily and partially, an egoically deluded pain sensation. Same thing later if you catch yourself and realize that your attention had been abducted by the pondering of whether or not to refinance your house. Voila! Fifth-Level Mental consciousness: one of your ever-changing "I"’s had been at least temporarily deluded that it actually was a thought or mental operation.)
In any case, the Truth and Consequences life-manipulator is not only Theosophically analogical, but it is also certainly paradoxical. Indeed, the technique goes so far as to obstinately set itself against the entire modern “Positive-Affirmations Industry) —of the self-hypnotic “Each and every day I am better and better” type.
It cannot be denied, naturally, that positive affirming often does seem to produce some good results. Nevertheless, there is at least a possibility that these are simply because affirming is somewhat similar to basic mantra repetition. Of course, it is very tempting to think that there may also be some skillful “purposeful tricking” of the “subconscious” involved—and perhaps there is. However, this might not really be such a good thing. Indeed, if the overarching purpose of incarnation is to attain complete Self-realization by the gradual elimination of every type of differentiated egoic delusion, what sense does it make to add even more false semi-Self deceptions to the ontological mess one already has to deal with?
This, of course, might just be theoretical Theosophical carping; a bigger pragmatic complaint might be that the affirmative benefits can often seem to disappear when a person stops affirming—in other words, if a positive-affirmer wants to keep walking, he or she had better keep positively talking. . . .
But even if a person can manage to keep walking and talking, perhaps he or she might also want to consider the possibility that some self-lies may actually be producing the opposite of what is intended—and that if such psycho-gremlins happen to show up only in the longer term, no cause-and-effect connection will likely ever be made.
Curiously, the mental realm does indeed seem to have a “natural contrarian component.” For example, it is a common lesson in Psychology 101 that if you tell a person “don’t think of pink elephants,” that is precisely what a person will start to do. This informal experiment with positive affirmations may reveal something similar: wait for a time when you are very, very tired and then say out loud, “I am completely refreshed and lively.” Re-focus your attention inward, and it is quite likely you will immediately hear your own private contrarian “voice” whisper silently, subtly, but emphatically, something like “NO YOU’RE NOT!”
“I am confident.” (“NO YOU’RE NOT!”)
“I am powerful.” (“NO YOU’RE NOT!”)
“I attract romance in the most magical and unexpected ways.” (“NO DAMN WAY!—AND I’M SURE ABOUT THIS ONE!”)
Even using sophisticated self-hypnotic strategies, these immediate nay-sayings may sometimes be powerful enough to undermine positive affirmations; furthermore, even more powerful may be the “little evidences” the world can later give you that it is not to be fooled by your psycho-lies. When surprises happen in daily life which are not in concert with what you have been repeating over and over, your misery may be further perfected by the frustrating realization that you are nowhere near being a Houdini-grade magician, after all. Although absolute truth should be what one strives for when making affirmations, it is probably far better to be surprised that things in daily life are not as bad as you have been over-kill-affirming rather than the reverse.
Regarding the use of truth as a life-manipulator, mention should probably also be made of the 12-Step Program. It is still at or near the top as the most admired and effective approach to a wide variety of human problems. In 1999, Time Magazine selected Bill Wilson, founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (along with Dr. Bob Smith) to be in the top 20 of its Heroes and Icons of the Century. And what is the first thing they do at 12-Step meetings? Introduce themselves in the manner of “I’m Michael. I’m a/an [alcoholic, overeater, sex addict].” Speak the truth; reap good consequences.
(12-Step meetings also have a certain religious tinge to them; however, it may not be necessary or even advisable to use the word God in one’s own “truth-declarations.” After all, as Baudelaire once said, “God is the only being who, in order to reign, doesn’t even need to exist.” Just alter this slightly: “God is the only being who, in order to help, doesn’t even need to exist—or be mentioned.”
Here might be a general “truth-declaration”: “I am weak, pitiful, and pathetic; help me in every way.” Truth and Consequences recommends that something like this should be repeated for a minute or two at the beginning of every meditation session—basically just because it is “true” within the larger context of human vulnerability and mortality. However, if a person has identified some specific problems, for example being depressed and suffering, he or she should specifically truth-declare, “I am depressed and suffering; help me in every way.” Another example: “I am unproductive; help me in every way.” Another: “I am aging quickly; help me in every way.”
Again, the principle of analogy is also possibly involved here. Just as the immune system and/or other natural correctives of the human body are not set in motion until a pathogen or other problem has been recognized by it, so too might it be necessary that a person psychologically accept and affirm the existence of some animating, physical, emotional, or mental difficulty before some “root” psychological mechanism—or perhaps even the restorative “Solvent” of Undifferentiated Consciousness—can automatically begin working on it. Furthermore, the “help me in every way” is undoubtedly crucial. Conversely, it is possible that promiscuous use of positive affirmations may require Undifferentiated Consciousness to first spend additional time dissolving a person’s newly added, self-designed egoic pretenses before It can start solving the actual problems.
All in all, it is important to note that Truth and Consequences life-manipulation is more of a long-term investment rather than a quick slot machine payout. This cannot be emphasized enough. For example, if a person has, so long ago that he or she has forgotten about it, declared, “I am declining as an athlete; help me in every way,” he or she might someday otherwise inexplicably find himself or herself investigating the virtues of kettlebells as an exercise aid. Like old time religion there is a certain amount of faith required for truth-declarations. Look back after a day, a week, a month, or longer, and only then may one recognize its marks and semi-Real Magic miracles.
As the World Should Have Turned. Tell yourself the truth about the present; lie about the past. . . .
The Doctrine of Karma is the analogical “Above” in the life-manipulator called “As the World Should Have Turned.”
This technique may be helpful not only for general, lifelong problems of “inadequate attributes,” but also for specific ability declines associated with aging. If, as “General Theosophy” states, The gift of the gods to youth is motivation; to old age, momentum, “creatively re-turning the world” might be one of the things to try if, very, very unfortunately, a person finds himself or herself with way too little of both divine gifts.
As usual, though, it may be more difficult to understand the possible "esoteric" psychological mechanisms involved if an individual has had little or no experience with meditation. Suffice it to say that having at least some notion of what is meant by the term “ego-formation” can be very valuable. Of course, one usually learns about these "differentiated conditions of consciousness” not by watching them directly; rather, by suddenly realizing—in the immediate meditative moment afterwards—that one’s attention had just previously been taken away (away from a mantra or the forehead chakra, for examples) by some Animating, Physical, Desire-Feeling, Desire-Mental, Mental, or Spirit-Mental “Soul-snatcher.” This attention-diverting, “off-track consciousness-creation,” irrespective of how fleeting it was, is called an ego-formation; it is also sometimes called a “semi-Self.”
(Psychologically speaking, incidentally, it is not necessary to believe that a person has a Soul; rather, only that he or she has a lesser or greater ability to en-Soul—that is, to remain Mindful while utilizing—any of the various types of consciousnesses or ego-formations needed to function like a normal human being in everyday life. This developed ability—perhaps translifetime-developed ability—is sometimes referred to as “Degree of Self-Realization” and is, in my T-view* [*T-view = Theosophical-view, i.e., “merely intuition-based”], the psychological analog of H.P. Blavatksy’s anthropological “Root Races.” [The Psychomaturational “Doctrine of Seven-Year Cycles” provides analogs for her “Rounds.”])
Indeed, someone who can persist with not this, not this, not this throughout the six-fold succession of changes of consciousness during the first forty-two minutes of meditation, may eventually attain so much “inner familiarity" that he or she may even be able to make a good analogical guess as to what the Sankhya terms Purusa and Prakriti might really boil down to psychologically.
I and You. That’s all.
One’s real Self is “I”; everything else is “You”. (Of course, what is initially meant here is “Undifferentiated I” and “Undifferentiated You.” The “You”, however, courtesy of human maturation, courtesy of Darwinian evolution, may soon become differentiated by everything that is seen, tasted, touched, smelled, heard, desired, emoted, dreamed, thought, “energy-scintillated,” etc. The “I” [Self, Consciousness], alas, may become egoically “tainted/deluded” by these human things and some Theosophically assisted meditational work may be needed to regain the right perspective on oneSelf.)
Now, such a gross simplification might seem disrespectful to the many scholars who have spent so much of their lives trying to master the recondite, “preternaturally postured,” universe-creating Eastern terminology; however, Eastern metaphysics is one thing . . . and the psychological analogs from which the cosmological verbal spaghetti may have been speculated into academic existence is something else. . . .
Something simpler and easier to understand, for starters. . . .
Still, much could be written about the psychological differences between “I” and “you”. To begin with, “I” is undoubtedly the most sacred word in any language. Here, for example, here is a small fragment of what has been said about the Sanskrit word for “I”: “In Sanskrit, even the sounds which make the word for ‘I’ are consciously selected. [. . .] ____ is the beginning, the breath of life which brings forth creation, and the end. And this is expressed not just symbolically by the letters ____, but physically, based on their location in the mouth.” [“Sanskrit, a Sacred Model of Language” by Vyaas Houston, M.A.; 2006, American Sanskrit Institute]
Can you guess what word goes in the blanks above? Is the missing Sanskrit term the well-publicized Om which has been passed along from one perhaps overly credulous bowed head to another for so many centuries? No. The word which means “I” in Sanskrit is Aham. Aham and Om: so close in sound that it is easy to see how the two might have gotten mixed up over the course of time. The use of Om as a mantra undoubtedly has its own value; however, my T-view is that even H.P. Blavatsky may have gotten the word wrong esoterically. (And unless Sanskrit happens to be one’s first language, why shouldn’t a person just use English and chant “I”? . . .])
(Also in my T-view, though, one thing H.P. Blavatsky did not get wrong was her altering of the usual form of the Kabbalistic axiom from “The stone becomes a plant . . .” to “The Breath becomes a stone [predating E=MC^2, by the way]. . .” [THE SECRET DOCTRINE, Volume 1, p.132]. This, of course, may also suggest that centuries of copy-machine yogis have been and still are in error when they pass along the information about the existence of a “Svadhisthana” or “second chakra.” Indeed, the "sex center" may not be a chakra at all in the usual sense [and this might be somewhat supported by the fact that a person typically needs to reach puberty before he or she really becomes active sexually.] In any case, the "Animating Force" [prana, life-energy, Breath, Fohat, orgone, whatever] may be more helpfully just associated with the front of the physical body [or possibly “first-chakratized” as the general solar plexus area], and if it needs to “move as a current” at all—and manages not to get “orgasmically wasted” by the “recreational escape valve” of a hypothetical Svadhisthana—it may pass through the legs and then crash into the Muladhara at the base of the spine [perhaps the “real” hypostatized second chakra, associated with Physical consciousness], from whence it may proceed directly to the Manipura [third chakra, Desire-Feeling consciousness] in its heavenward “Kundalini ascent” to the Sahasrara [seventh chakra, Undifferentiated Spiritual consciousness], “four finger-breaths above the physical head.”)
Regardless, the "As the World Should Have Turned" life-manipulator does not involve using the pronoun “I”. It uses “you”. Using “I” as a mantra by itself may be one thing; using it in association with other words, however, may be something else—egoically dangerous or at least temporarily Self-deceptive, perhaps. Interestingly, an old technique in psychotherapy (it may or may not still be employed) involved the therapist simply counting the number of times a patient said the pronoun “I”—the more “I”s; the greater possible need for therapy, was the professional thinking. . . .
It made some sense.
And it might be that the doctrines of Reincarnation and Karma can also be made to make some sense, too—at least psychologically in the here and now (the below analogizing with the Above). In this context, every time we wake up in the morning we "reincarnate." Again in this context, everything which happened yesterday or the day before yesterday has some consequential (Karmic) impact—regardless of how slight or how great—on today.
What, though, if way too many of our yesterdays, perhaps our more recent older-age-hampered yesterdays, or perhaps even those going back to childhood, have been way too crappy? To say the least, our psychological todays might now be considerably less dynamic than they would be for nature’s “Alpha-individuals” whose personal histories seem to suggest almost nothing but Kryptonian DNA and success after success in life. Indeed, it might be much harder for those of us without such extra-stellar motivation and momentum provided by the past to “get on a roll” and keep on it, so to speak.
But is it really possible that a simple, silent sentence to oneself like “YOU WERE young, healthy, and energetic” can actually make one (at the minimum, psychologically feel) younger, healthier, and more energetic?
Well, maybe no, if one says it while lying down, sitting in one’s easy chair, or otherwise relaxing. Well, maybe yes, however, if one has mastered (a very easy thing to do) an “advanced esoteric technique” which involves uttering such an internal, past tense, verbal sentence while simultaneously holding a hatha yoga pose. The latter can be as simple as bending over, trying to touch one’s toes. To check whether or not the necessary condition of “psycho-puissance” has been attained, one should silently give oneself the direction, “Raise your right forefinger.” If the finger automatically rises—entirely without any volitional help—then one is ready to start devising a few effective fictions to help yesterday’s world turn in a better way than it actually did.
In my T-view (again, T-view = Theosophical-view, i.e., “merely intuition-based”), one should always try to tell oneself the absolute truth about one’s present condition and circumstances; however, for the purpose of Theosophical experimentation, sometimes telling a semi-tall-tail or two about one’s past may or may not produce some interesting semi-Adept-crafted semi-aftermaths of semi-Real Magic. . . .
And who knows? Perhaps adding this third contrarian self-help life-manipulator to the first two life-manipulators will even result in some Real Magic. . . .
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