Why magick requires meditation

The single most important aide to developing magical skills is to learn how to enter the state of consciousness known as gnosis. The time-honored and safest way to do this is through meditation.

As recently as the 1960s, meditation in the Western world was regarded as so exotically alien that it was difficult to find a meditation teacher or training materials. Now any moderate-sized town will have at least one meditation class offered at a school, library, or community center.

Meditation instruction can certainly benefit from a wise teacher, but there are hundreds of books, audio programs, and smartphone apps that provide excellent introductions to meditation. Some apps now work along with relatively inexpensive neurofeedback hardware that is supposed to accelerate the learning process. The effectiveness of these programs varies a great deal, so the only way to tell if a particular method works for you is to try it.

The basic practice of meditation is straightforward. Sit in a comfortable position. Relax your body. Close your eyes. Then quiet your mind and stop thinking. That’s all there is to it. Simple.

Well, not so simple. If you’re a novice, three seconds after beginning this practice your mind will start to wander and you’ll enjoy one enticing fantasy after another.

After dreaming about tasty cheeseburgers for ten minutes, you’ll suddenly realize that your mind was wandering.

So you start again. Relax your body. Drop your jaw a bit and relax the muscles around your eyes. Let it go. Empty your mind. No thoughts.

This time, after a whole six seconds of calm silence, your mind will wander again. Progress! So you do it again, and again. It may take months or years of practice to achieve extended periods when the mind remains still. While engaged in this practice, you’re essentially reprogramming your nervous system, even if you don’t notice it. You’ll start to feel better physically and mentally. You’ll see the world more clearly.

The bottom line: If you want to perform magic effectively, maintain a disciplined meditation practice. Learn to quiet your mind. See the world as it is, not as it appears to be when viewed through multiple layers of cultural conditioning.

It’s unrealistic to expect that you’ll become the legendary Merlin after lighting a candle and practicing meditation for five minutes. Throwing “battle magic” lightning bolts from your fingertips looks great in the movies, but for the majority of us magic is expressed in subtle ways.

Performing potent magic, like any refined skill, requires talent and disciplined practice. Perhaps you are the one in a million who are gifted with strong natural talent. If so, you’ll be able to achieve dramatic effects fairly quickly. But the rest of us have to work at it. Fortunately, nearly anyone who’s able to follow instructions and is serious about practicing can perform some degree of magic because—according to the esoteric worldview—whether you know it or not, within you there’s a spark of the same source that manifests the entire universe.

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