Thursday, July 20, 2017

Training Your Mind to Help You

Our friend, singer and songwriter Chuck Pyle, likes to say, "The mind is like a bad neighborhood--you should never go there by yourself." If you're mind hasn't been trained to help you, via methods like meditation, shamanism or NLP, it might really be a bad neighborhood. Our minds constantly absorb thoughts, behaviors, and responses from our environment. These various thought patterns and responses may or may not be in alignment with our goals. So, unless we actively train our minds to be responsive to our needs, we may be in for a wild chariot ride (and 6 out of control horses)!

The Magical Tools We All Have
From a shamanic point of view, we say that each person is a spirit with a mind and body. In other words, we are spirit; and mind and body are tools that we, spirit, can use. However, just because we have mind as a tool doesn't mean that mind, in its current form, is a good tool for us. The untrained mind is a lot like an untrained animal--be prepared for the unexpected!
Have you ever sworn to yourself (say on New Year's Day?) that you're never going to fall for the wrong kind of mate again? Or you're going to lose 10 pounds this year? Or you're going to … the list is endless. Then what happens? We forget what we've promised ourselves, or we find other priorities that are more important. That forgetfulness is a sign that mind isn't trained to help us with our aims. Mind is doing its own thing.

Segment Intending to Train Your Mind
So what can we do to train mind? Segment intending, one of our favorite exercises from Abraham-Hicks, is a simple way to train your mind to help you while also accomplishing a lot each day. Here's how you do it:

1) Pick the length of time for your "segment." It can be any length of time, but no more than an hour. Thirty minutes or an hour works well. Decide exactly what time the segment will start and end.

2) Decide on your aim for that segment. It could be a list of tasks, a state of being, or both. For instance, you might decide that you will strive to remain light hearted while you return phone calls for 30 minutes.

3) When the segment start time arrives, start your segment with no second thoughts. Put your attention solely on the tasks for that segment and nothing else.

4) If you get interrupted during your segment, you need to decide whether the interruption is important enough for you to stop your segment (for instance, if your boss stops by your office for a chat). If the interruption is not important enough, keep going on your segment. If the interruption is important, make a conscious decision to stop your current segment and start a new one (one centered around the interruption).

Practice doing these segments throughout the day. Each segment is a training period for your mind, and will teach your mind to assist you in whatever you are doing. Segment intending works even better with a buddy who can help you stay on track and stay focused. Whether you segment intend by yourself or with a friend, you'll find your mind becoming much more responsive to your needs as a spirit.

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Thwack! The Magic of a Rubberband Around Your Wrist

"How do I stay present to the here and now during the day?"

This is the question a client recently asked me. She asked because she works a high-pressure job yet is a trained magical practitioner, and she has trouble bringing the two worlds together. She has difficulty bringing the quiet of her morning meditation and magic rituals into the high-stress environs of her work.

Walking both the magical and mundane paths at the same time is a difficulty many magical practitioners have. It can seem impossible to keep one foot in each world.

A Simple Magical Solution to Stay Present
One of the simplest solutions to this problem combines modern technology with an everyday object. All you need is a cell phone or pager and a rubber band. Set your cell phone or pager to buzz you at preset times during the day, perhaps every couple of hours, and wear the rubber band around your wrist. When your alarm goes off, simply snap the rubber band around your wrist.

As silly as this seems, it works to bring your attention back to the "here and now." This is because physical sensation always exists in the present, never the past or future. The rubber band snapping against your wrist gives you a physical sensation, and to experience that sensation you have to come back to present time.

Putting a Little More Magic Into the Ritual
When I suggested this simple solution to my client, she found it interesting but she wanted a ritual with a little more pizzazz to it, a little more magic. I understand that. I asked her if she had a specific spiritual guide or angel to whom she felt a specific attachment. She favored the angel Gabriel, so I suggested she create a ritual that included him.

She found a charming but subtle pendant representing the angel Gabriel, and she wears it on a necklace. When her phone buzzes her, instead of snapping a rubber band around her wrist, she reaches up and fingers the pendant, a gesture which looks natural and doesn't seem out of place, even in a boardroom. Lots of people fidget or have nervous habits, and when she reaches up to hold her pendant, it looks just like any other subconscious fidget. The ritual has worked, literally "like a charm," and brings her back to the here and now several times a day. She reports feeling more relaxed and at ease during the work day, and less tired at the end of the day.

What "Rubber Band" Works for You?
If you're a "down to basics" kind of person, using a rubber band will probably work really well for you. On the other, if you want something a little more special, a little more magical, consider choosing an animal totem or angel symbol to bring you back to the present.

Animal Totem Pendants
Angel and Animal Totem Figures


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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Big Nasty Problems: What Do You Do Magically?

Picture this ordinary scenario: you're cruising merrily through your day when all of sudden a big unexpected problem pops up on your radar screen. What do you do?

How you respond to a problem situation has a lot to do with the outcome that you get. In problem panic situations most of us don't have enough presence of mind to be "able to respond" appropriately--in other words, we can't be responsible. Here are three typical (but not effective!) ways that we respond to problem situations and their natural outcomes:

Take Action!
For those of us who don't feel comfortable unless we're doing something, the natural response is to dive in and do something! Unfortunately this doesn't give us much time think through the situation and plan a response. We end up "doing" as fast as we can--often in completely the wrong direction! Result? Lots of action and not much positive achievement.

Obsess and Complain
The obsessive-compulsive ones among us will start running on the hamster-wheel of worry, complaining all the while. The problem will be on our minds while we work, eat, sleep and have sex (what a time to worry!). And not only will we worry obsessively, we'll talk compulsively about it too. But we won't take any action--we'd rather talk and fret. Result? Smoke pouring out of our ears and hot air coming out of our mouths. Not much else!

Ignore It
Finally, there's the classic ostrich response of ignoring the problem altogether. We think that if we don't look at the problem it will eventually go away on its own. In fact, we might even try to keep ourselves otherwise occupied with slightly obsessive eating, drinking, or playing. The problem with this response is that we keep peeking at the problem subconsciously so we're continually aware of it anyway. Result? Possibly some weight gain or hangovers but no progress in solving the problem.

These three responses all share the common characteristic of avoidance. All three responses take us out of the present moment and into action, obsession, or ignorance. The truly odd part is that if we can manage to stay in the present and really look at the problem, we're liable to find that the problem isn't as big or nasty as we originally thought.

From a shaman's perspective, the appropriate response to a potential problem would be:

1. Stop Everything
To prevent initial reactions from blowing the problem out of proportion, the shaman practices what's called the "cortothalamic pause," in which she stops all internal thoughts, feelings, and associations so she can take in the present situation without any prior ideas or emotions.

2. Research
Before taking action the shaman uses various tools of divination, such as pendulums or tarot cards, and consults with her guides to research the situation. Although she may be very thorough, this step often takes no more than a few hours.

3. Plan and Take Action
Based on the information she's gathered, the shaman then makes a plan and takes action. At this point there is no hesitation or doubt. The course has been plotted, contingency plans have been made, and it's all about moving forward with strength.

While the shaman has many tools and guides available to her, the most important step in the above process is the first one--the Stop. What gets most of us in trouble in that we dive headlong into our usual reaction to any problem situation without taking the time to stop and clear our minds. If we can train ourselves to take a cortothalamic pause when a problem rears its ugly head, we'll find that solutions are much easier to find and implement. It's such a simple step and so very effective!

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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Want Some Magic Tomorrow? Imagine it Today!

Imagination Today = Magic Tomorrow

Most of us know that creative visualization is an important magical tool for attracting what we want in life. When I teach seminars on meditation and creative visualization, many attendees nod their heads and say, "Oh yes, I know about creative visualization and meditation."

But if you want some magic in your life, the question isn't whether or not you know about creative visualization. The question is, "Do you practice creative visualization?" If not, here's a quote that might help you realize the importance of practicing visualization as a magical tool on a daily basis. This quote is from one of our favorite teachers, Abraham-Hicks:

"Everything that you will some day live, in terms of life experience -- and by some day, we mean as soon as right now, tomorrow, the next day, or some day -- anything that you will some day live, you have first imagined. Because nothing will manifest in your experience without the imagination process happening first."

Did you get that? Nothing will ever manifest in your life unless you imagine it first. Think about that. Hasn't your life so far been the translation of your imagination and beliefs into reality?

If so, then wouldn't it be worth your time to really spend time on creative visualization? Magic, like any other area of expertise, is a matter of practice. In magical circles, we say, "If you pay into your practice, it will pay you back!"

How much have you paid into your magical practice? How much do you pay into it daily? How much do you expect it pay you back? To get some magic into your life tomorrow, what might you be willing to do today?

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Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Power of the Faery Star

The seven pointed star, also known as the Faery or Elven Star in Wiccan traditions, is a septagram-a religious symbol that is sacred to certain pagan or Wiccan traditions. Much less common than the pentagram in magical practice, the seven pointed star has one major advantage over the pentagram as a shield or protective symbol (many magical traditions advocate using the pentagram on the front and back of magical books, such as a Book of Shadows, for protection).

The seven pointed star is created by combining a four pointed square with a three pointed triangle in such a way as to create a continuously circulating figure. This is also the "Seven Arrows" design. To create this star, you have to circulate twice around your starting point, and this creates the continuous circling energy in this figure.

Once set into motion, the seven pointed star continues to circulate forever, making it an eternally spinning shield or protector (start the star in motion by "keying it" with electric blue energy from your finger or Athame). The pentagram, on the other hand, always requires an outside "push" from the base to the tip of any point, and stops transmitting energy once that outer force stops. If you're looking for a protective shield or symbol, the Faery star is a good one to consider.

The number seven is very sacred to many traditions. In some traditions, the four points unite the four magical elements on the planet (Air, Fire, Water, and Earth) with the three points that represent the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost). Other traditions consider the seven points to represent the seven directions (North, South, East, West, above, below, and within), the seven colors of the rainbow, the seven planets, the seven alchemical metals, the seven tones of the diatonic scale, or the seven days of the week. This star is also known to some as the Star of the Seven Sisters.

In the Esoteric School, we follow the tradition of the Church of Seven Arrows, and use the seven pointed star on our protective Psychic Shields that we offer to students and the public. These shields have been shown to protect from psychic attack in all directions, deflecting unwanted energies and blackening when attacked. A very, very effective symbol for magical use!

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