A Very Brief Glance At Mysticism
This text has so far dealt with practical magick, proven methods for causing changes to occur in the material world which are to the benefit of the practitioner. This section is different from those that have come before. It attempts to give a brief view of the path of spiritual attainment. It will also include some information from my own life that relates to this issue.
What is the goal of mysticism? To achieve both firsthand knowledge of actuality, and union with that state of being. This has been called by many names, has parallels in every culture. This is inevitable, for the situation does not change in essence whether one hails from Greenland or New Mexico. What does change is the system of representation and classification that is used to define it. However, this is cause for considerable confusion, as those who fail to
recognize the underlying similarity of these differing outlooks will inevitably come to the conclusion that either only one is “True”, or none at all are. It requires a syncretic perspective to examine the evidence and discern the salient features shared by all. Thus, what matters is the experience of illumination or revelation, as well as the impact it has on one’s life.
Crowley has set out the functional elements of one kind of mysticism in laudable simplicity at the start of “Book 4”. Put simply, it involves removing oneself from external influences (thus a socially isolated lifestyle is recommended), then by various yogic measures to regulate the body and mind until the point is reached at which all mental activity ceases. This is based on the theory that the ego cuts one off from fundamental reality, so by annihilating the ego, one may partake of true life. This is not an easy path to take. Yoga is worth the time it requires to gain skill therein, but although health benefits may be had from lesser effort, the work necessary to achieve the ultimate goal is such that few would be likely to succeed.
Magick constitutes an alternative path to the top of the mountain. It is not, however, a shortcut. There are a number of methods available, ranging from the summoning of a spiritual guide (e.g. the “Holy Guardian Angel” of the Abramelin system) to the performance of a series of invocations designed to develop the soul of the mage to perfect balance. I cannot give firsthand information about these as I have yet to try them.
The defining spiritual experience of my life took place on the Twentieth of January, 2002. This was the culmination of a period in which I performed repeated workings with the goal of achieving genuine insight into the nature of reality. As to whether I achieved that goal, you must judge for yourself. I can do little more than to provide a copy of the text I produced at that time.
Prior to physical existence, there is
conceptualized a non-state that can be thought of as possessing the qualities of infinite potential, spontaneous generation of energy and an entropic function that draws the energy produced back into non-existence. Since this does not take place in time, all of the actions of this “field of potential” happen simultaneously, in the same (non-) space and in a sense they never happen, although it may be said that they are ever happening.
The Monad is “perfect”, and thus it is “static”. By virtue of the fact that it contains (or represents) the properties of the “field of potential”, including the generative principle, the Monad is capable of making a spontaneous act, that of dividing itself in order to gain self-knowledge, and perhaps the chance to develop beyond its own limitations. This division first produces binary opposition, as this is the simplest form of differentiation (thus we have positive and negative matter, e.g. the Electron and Positron). These polarities interact to form all the various matter and energy in our universe. Every part of our universe is a microform of the original Monad, and thus shares in its qualities of self-organization. This causes matter to develop itself into higher levels of order, which results in life and the evolutionary process. The goal of evolution is to reach conscious, sentient, sub-forms of the Monad. These will provide it with organic systems to perform the function of information collection and organization. That would be us.
Humans gather information for the benefit of the Monad. When they die, they lose their temporal personality, but are re-integrated with the Monad. This can occur as despite having divided itself, that only occurred in the dimension of time, which only has meaning as a reference system within the Monad. Thus, the Monad remains “perfect” in eternity. Finally, the Monad requires this information for some reason, so it is safe to assume that it has the intention of acting upon it in some way.
I have found that the “death of the individual” refers to the ego or personal self-concept. During magick, one deliberately induces ego-loss in order to concentrate fully on a specific piece of information. This would then be transferred to the Monad. As I am to it what an optic nerve or brain cell is to me, it is logical to assume that it would act on the information it gains in this way, just as I would act if I felt hunger or stubbed my toe. Of course, this is an anthropomorphic fallacy, but it appears to work in practice. I have found that the magick I carry out when I operate under such assumptions works very well.
To conclude this examination of my own views, I will say that I do not think the Monad concept necessarily has value for anyone but myself. It is a product of my own work, and I imagine that this is the only way any vague glimpse of “true reality” could be interpreted by my mind. That said, it works in practice and thus I use it.
The path of mysticism and the use of magick to peel back the layers of illusion that occlude our perception of reality are timeworn but valuable pursuits. There is no way I could give you more than a taste of the theory, practice and fruits of this
labor. The best thing I can do is to encourage you to carry out your own research and experiment with the tools available. Whatever path you tread, I wish you the best of luck.
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