Friday, 20 April 2012

Choose Time, Not Maps

It’s almost the weekend and since it’s been a slow week, I’d like to share with you a couple of thoughts.

Choose a Teacher, Not a School

One of my relatives advised me “choose the boss, not the job”. I’d posit that the same rule of thumb should be applied to your career in magic and mysticism. Choose the teacher and not the system.

I can’t really give an example for this one as I don’t have a teacher. Hence why this blog is called “Trainee Golem Builder” - to reflect my status as a beginner and my lack of teacher. Otherwise it might have been named “Apprentice Golem Builder” instead.

On Managing Carving out Some Time

To progress your studies and practice you need to make time. This does not mean simply reserving some time in your calendar - it also means making the people in your life aware of your intention to set-aside this time.

For example, in my typical week I spent at least two evenings reading and practicing meditation exercises for 1-2 hours at a time. In the run up to each session I make sure my wife knows about it and that she’s OK with it. Also, before each session I make extra effort to pay her attention and be mindful of our interaction. In the same way that I carve out time for my spiritual growth, I carve out time for our relationship to grow.

Paths Not On Google Maps

Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Creation) chapter 1, verse 1 begins by describing 32 mystical paths of wisdom. As Rabbi Ayreh Kaplan explains, the word used for path used in this instance is not “Derech” meaning public road – but rather “Netiv” meaning a private road. In other words, there is no Google Maps which you can use to plot or follow a path of development in magic or mysticism, it’s largely internal development and difficult to plan very far in advance.

For example, about 5 years ago I decided to read up more about Jewish mysticism with the eventual aim of practicing meditation and learning how to build a golem. My understanding at the time was that the process of making a golem involved forces or energies of the Hebrew letters and not angels or spirits. The former I was comfortable working with, but not the latter. (Which I now realize is a bit like saying: I’ll only interact with light as a wave and not as photons). 

Recently I thought: If I had a spiritual guide, what would it be like? Awesome, was my immediate response. In fact, he would be so awesome that if he did not exist – he would have to invent himself. Which, I now realize typing this, he did about two years ago. That goes to show that even starting out with the intention never to work or interact with spirits, I have done just that.