Monday, 28 March 2011

It’s a Path, Not a Tunnel

You know that feeling you get when you read a book and go: “wow, I’m so in tune with this author”? I can’t remember what that’s like.

The project that I undertook to read 2000 pages of academic literature on Merkavah (Chariot) and Hechalot (Heavenly Palace) mysticism is nearing completion. It has challenged my beliefs, assumptions and knowledge as well as enhancing each in turn.

However, trying to overcome cognitive dissonance every working day for the past few months can have side effects. One of these is that whilst I’m open to new ideas in one area, my openness in other areas has diminished. For example, whilst I’ve read a couple of books on Chaos Magic I’ll admit that it did not appeal probably in part because I did not understand it.

Another example is that there have been a number of posts on the effect of belief on magic and I held back from posting on this topic. My thoughts are: if you need belief to make magic work, then believe. If it doesn’t, then believe or don’t believe it’s up to you. If you’re not sure if you need belief to make magic work, then experiment and convince yourself one way or the other.

Then Gordon comes along and posts “Why belief is the Wrong Word to Use” and I run slap bang straight in to my resistance to new ideas. It is like a spongy wall that deflects challenges to the supposed status quo of beliefs and ideas; perhaps it’s just a protective shell for my ego. Today I seem to be struggling with it more than usual.

But then I remind myself that one of the main reasons that I read so many blogs and attend lectures on esoteric topics is not to validate my own beliefs and ideas, but rather to challenge them. It’s also why I’m a Project Manager and (self-titled) Trainee Golem Builder, both paths are faced with constant challenges to self that require resolution and rectification.

So if you find yourself only steering towards sources of knowledge and experience that are in harmony with your current Path – then you’re probably on rails going through a tunnel. By that I mean that your route has few if any branch points and you are in an enclosed environment with fixed destinations. However a Path on the other hand is out in the open, you’re much more exposed and can branch off in another direction a lot more easily.

Given the choice I’d much rather walk a Path that is constantly being challenged that comfortably travelling in a bubble car through a tunnel from one pre-set destination to the next.