Common Ground: The Kinship of Metaphysicians
A syncretic approach to esoteric teachings - the golden threads that connect Pagans, Yogis, Rosicrucians and Masons.
The Triskelion of Impartial Observing
The following practice was developed through my experimentation as a Yogi and meditator. Most mature practitioners, I think, will identify with my experience of working in prescribed ways for many years until I had gained enough "life creds" to begin adapting the techniques to suit my own inner promptings. Those who insist on slavish adherence to rock-ribbed, inflexible traditions may complain that our altering the old ways makes us apostates; but it seems to me that every famous spiritual teacher we can think of was exactly that sort of innovator. If the great religious, philosophical and scientific lights of our civilization had ceaselessly followed the old paradigms without adding some breakthrough insights of their own, we wouldn't be honoring their names today!
Another way of expressing this is, "Make it your own." For example, in order to convincingly portray a character such as Hamlet, whose story everyone knows and whom thousands of great actors have played in the past, today's actor must "make it his own." He must find the core truths about the part which resonate for him. If he is successful, his fresh insight will stimulate thought in others and make it worthwhile for audiences to buy tickets.
The same is true of any significant goal which we wish to achieve in our lives. Until we make it our own, we'll just be photocopying what so many others have already done before us. It's the difference between the beginner practicing scales and the maestro imbuing a concerto with soul. I would like to offer you a little concerto of my devising, with the hope that it may inspire you to create your own unique variation.
One of life's ironies is that to feel compassion for the suffering of others is helpful, but to make a big deal of our own suffering is not. The desire to help others can move us to positive action. But self pity - the maudlin conviction that we have been singled-out for persecution - can freeze us into depression until we can't function at all.
Besides, such a perception is insupportable. Since everything in the world is subject to suffering, how could our suffering be special? Of course it affects us personally - we all understand that - but so do breathing, drinking and eating. Do we consider ourselves unique because our lungs need oxygen and our bodies need fluids and food to stay alive? If not, then why should we feel special just because we're suffering?
This is an exercise in Non Attachment, a Buddhist-inspired meditation practice. Nobody is claiming that it's easy to do; nobody will take "points" off your spiritual report card if you can't manage it! But it's worth the attempt, even if you succeed only partially. It can calm you down and get you balanced; it can help you to attain equanimity. So, what the heck? Give it a try.
This particular technique utilizes a three-point focus. Since we're witches or pagans or heathens, let's use a figure we all know: the curled points of a Triskelion. You can start with any point you like, since each one naturally leads to the next.
Similar to the chanting of Hindu bhajans or following the progression of a syllogism, this process gets you onto a circular ride - a merry-go-round, if you will. But whereas some merry-go-rounds are torture (Stop the world, I want to get off), this circle is soothing and calming. The rhythmic, repetitive quality appeals to the non-verbal centers of the primordial brain. It becomes like the surf pounding on the beach, or the mother's heartbeat comforting the baby in the womb.
In fact, this Eastern practice has close parallels to self-hypnosis training. And to drumming.
One definition of enlightenment is seeing the world as it actually is, while imposing no value judgments or personal preferences on what we see. This is called Impartial Observing ("It is what it is"). Since impartiality helps us to cultivate an attitude of not expecting anything from people or situations, it can lead to Non Attachment.
Here are the three points of this meditation practice:
Impartial Observing (Non Attachment)
Compassion for all Beings connected in the web of Life
Being in your calm Center
Being in your calm Center, it is possible to observe the world impartially, with Non Attachment.
Impartial Observing leads to compassion for all Beings connected in the web of Life (unless, that is, you are a sociopath with damaged brain centers who is incapable of feeling empathy - but then you're probably pretty calm and centered already, and have no need of this practice!)
Compassion for all Beings connected in the web of Life reminds you that you are one of them; so it brings you into your calm Center.
Being in your calm Center, it is possible to observe the world impartially. And so forth.
It really is a circle. May you go 'round many times in peace.
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