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Mental Discipline reloaded

Mental Discipline

An essay or journal covering the Dedicant's personal experience of building mental discipline, through the use of meditation, trance, or other systematic techniques on a regular basis. The experiences in the essay or journal should cover at least a five months period. (800 words min.)

At the present (August 2009) I don´t have considerable problem inducing trance unto myself or finding that special constellation of my mind in order to reach to the Otherworld. During my Dedicant time (since August 2007), I have continued to practice my old ways of mental discipline and tried some new ones, with moderate to great results. The real breakthrough though only came recently (July 2009), I think, as a result of my intensified spiritual practice with my best friend and also as a side effect of my spiritual crisis.

Speaking about the type of mental discipline I practice on a regular basis, most prominent is divination. Once in a week at the very least I sit for a session of trance and communion with the spirits, trying to attune directly to the web of fate and gain a better understanding of my life´s position in order to make wiser decisions and find a solid ground in this shaky world. Since I have been doing this type of trance work for so long (I got my first Tarot at 11), it´s quite difficult to assess how it all started. When I intend to reach trance I just sit in quiet, make some free space in front of me and for some time I just meditate, clearing my mind of anything disruptive. I can sense when I am there and it has observable physiological effects, most prominently lowered blood pressure and slower heartbeat. I can sense as if there was something opening all around me and this feeling is felt most intensely at in the middle of my forehead and chest. The whole session can take up quite some time, because I meditate the images I receive, let them enter my mind and soul and come alive. Frankly, I have few words to describe what exactly am I doing, I just know it´s right and it has become such a fundamental part of my life that I go nervous and groundless when I miss my weekly session. In the end I often take notes of the images I drew and link them with the results of previous divinatory sessions and also mark my own feelings. This way I have a solid spiritual chronicle of my life and the more I read backwards the more sense it makes. This is why it´s so unfortunate to miss a session, because the links with past are weakened and I have to catch another link.

Another type of mental discipline / trance work I perform on irregular basis relates to my poor health. I have developed these techniques partly from what they taught me at spa and in therapy sessions and also from my own intuition. It consist of repeating positive affirmations about my body to myself and finding overall calm. This being said, I have found it almost impossible for me to master any type of meditation grounded in body awareness, especially the more formalized Buddhist sessions. I felt downright miserable. I was able to trace my discomfort down to anger to sense of failure that my body is filled with pain. I was hardly ever able to find that compassion we were asked for and heal my body. (Diary entries from spring 2009) Make me sit in zazen with my common back ache and I will most probably either cry or leave hastily, with a sense of embarrassment in both cases. This was a huge mental block for me before I realized there are other types of mental discipline I can be proficient in which don´t require formalized body postures or being at peace with one´s own body.

I have found it increasingly efficient to use words and even spoken word in all kinds of spiritual work. Hence I often repeat out loud to myself the questions I ask the Oracle or when I am trying to relax my body I repeat „My left leg is getting heavier and heavier...“ I obviously use words, uttered or just said in spirit, when I pray which is another regular spiritual practice I perform almost daily. The effect on my mind is more short-lived, but it helps anyway, and I have found it efficient to pray right before I go to sleep. I took up a regular prayer practice notably after reading Cei Serith´s Pagan Book of Prayer in summer 2008.

To mention some other growing pains I had, I had a nasty problem with guided visualisations (pathworkings) which is a type of meditation most Pagans seem to enjoy and it´s commonly practised in rituals. I feel incapable of following somebody else´s tempo and imagery, and a bit stupid. I felt bad and incompetent for the first couple of months (08-12/2007), because I was tricked into thinking pathworkings, i.e. meditations, are a group thing to do – whereas mental discipline is really among the most solitary practices on the Dedicant Path!

I need to mention also another problem I still experience which is related to Harnerian type of shamanic drumming (meditation), also commonly practised among Neopagans. The „problem“ I have encountered first in September 2007 which propelled me not to practice again this type of spiritual work is that, heck yeah, it works. I could feel not only slight changes in my blood pressure and heartbeat, but my body going completely cold and drifting upwards to different realms. It was a cleansing, very healing experience twice for me, and utterly frightening at least once. I recognize a need for experienced mentorship for this type of work which I cannot find on New Age workshops.

Somewhat different were my recent (July 2009) trance possessions which lasted for several days when I could not feel pain, exhaustion or sense my normal time rhythms. One day I walked through our household, seeing things as they are in the spiritual realm, that is in future. But that´s beyond the scope of this essay, I think, spirit possessions and deep trances that are just cast upon us by the Powers when time is right and we can only hope to manage the best we can.

In the future I would like to deepen my understanding of various types or levels of meditation / trancework and how do they relate to one another. I can reach trance easily in ritual work with my friend or when praying / doing divination alone whereas group practices are usually a faux pas for me. I feel I have a good basic mental discipline and awareness of my own weaknesses.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
brandondedicant
Aug. 3rd, 2009 12:35 am (UTC)
Good essay. It shows plenty of reflection. You might want to be more specific about the time period you're covering, or any changes you made to your meditation practices after taking up the DP program.

Some English corrections:

"As of today" --> "Currently" or "At the present"

"asses" --> "assess"

"little words" --> "few words"

"found out it" --> "found it"
alvita_felis
Aug. 3rd, 2009 06:36 am (UTC)
Thank you for the grammar. Do you think it´s better now when I looked up the dates and added them?
starshine2night
Aug. 3rd, 2009 03:00 am (UTC)
While the essay does show growth and reflection, things the reviewers are looking for...you didn't put the dates you did the journal during. You don't have to put exact dates, but do at least tell which months and how often you meditated during those months. If not, it will not pass.You should put monthly, what you did, how you did it and how your practice changed and grew. this are main issues the reviewers will be looking for.
alvita_felis
Aug. 3rd, 2009 06:23 am (UTC)
Ok, I will add some dates though I give the frequency.
brandondedicant
Aug. 3rd, 2009 07:01 am (UTC)
Much better with the dates and the mention of starting prayer after reading Cei's book.

Also, I was wondering about the phrase "I was tricked into thinking pathworkings, i.e. meditations, are a group thing." It sounds like someone deliberately tried to deceive you. Do you mean you "mistook" it for a group thing?
alvita_felis
Aug. 3rd, 2009 07:41 am (UTC)
Yes yes, I didn't mean a willful deceit.
alvita_felis
Aug. 3rd, 2009 09:22 am (UTC)
Jenni Hunt just said she doesn´t think it would pass. Makes me feel depressed. I don´t think my pride would bear it very well if I submit my essays and half of them will be given back to me for rework.

It´s absolutely no wonder nobody from continental Europe / a non native speaker has ye completed the DP.
dragonnas
Aug. 3rd, 2009 09:39 am (UTC)
I don't know you but I'm very interested in the things you write about. We have much in common in the way of meditation, spirituality and an interest in metaphysics. Expect to see me in the future.

93/23 In nomine Horus-Ra-Ha
Temet Nosce
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
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