Magick and Intention part I introduced the idea of magick and the association with intention. Now we want to develop that a bit further and explain how intentions are manifest in real time and how we can bend the line between reality and magick by cuing in on some key principles of how the mind works.
The SigmaTropic Cycle of Manifestation
- Creation Stage. An imagined identity or desired event is visualized and the mind is set on actualizing it. In this stage the meditator sets out for awakening and strives to attain it as soon as possible, for the benefit of all living beings. The meditator visualizes herself with the enlightened qualities she seeks.
- We visualize a particular event happening.
- We visualize a particular experience we want to have.
- We remember a meditative experience we had before, and we visualize it.
- We maintain a strong conscious intention to actualize that identity or experience.
- Observation Stage– We do the meditative technique, observe the mind, and respond to what arises. This is the stage of applying an exercise, maintaining mindfulness, and attempting to learn something from our experience and work toward the imagined goal.
- We carry out a meditative exercise.
- We identify any stress in the moment, and the constituent parts that make up stress.
- We evaluate whether we are manifesting the intended result or not.
- Stabilization Stage– Sometimes suffering arises and the mind loses the intention and is destabilized. This is a responsive stage where we bring the mind back to a state of calm into the present moment while watching the process. We are stabilizing and integrating the new information.
- We stabilize the mind and observe the process of cessation of stress.
- We rest the mind in this state and remain watchful for any hindrances.
- Unification Stage – This is a state of rest and nourishment for the mind. Bringing the mind into unification makes intentions and visualization more powerful. This is a stage where exploration and curiosity flourish.
- We bring the mind to calm abiding and fulfillment in the now.
- We develop mental and physical pliancy.
- We expand this state of mind to all activities during all hours of the day.
With this basic process in mind, the key insight to realize is that this does not depend on the external reality nor does it depend on externally verifiable truths, it merely only depends on the mental experience we want to cultivate. If we are paying attention there is also things called common sense that can indicate to us whether we are heading the wrong direction, and we should always use good sense in any magickal investigation, but the type of investigations I recommend are wherever there is an identity attachment that is causing suffering. The way to root that out is to cultivate a better identity view and replace the poor dysfunctional identity view. That we can accomplish with deity Yoga but, the whole thing rests on our ability to see the bigger picture of our efforts and move with what the Divine course is going with.
This identity attachment may take the form of an unhelpul identity attachment at work, like “I’m not good enough to do this and soon enough people will discover I’m a fraud”. One could experience the suffering of that identity view on a sensate level without considering dependent origination, or they could root out the cause of the suffering and stop doing it. When we learn how to disidentify from experiences and re-install a new viewpoint of the situation- (which is what we’re always doing anyway) -then we can manifest conscious experiences and guide our vision using the Sigmatropic cycle of manifestation.
Jhanic framework for magickal cultivation
The more concentrated a practitioner gets, the more their immediate intentions manifest in a conscious way in real time. This is a phenomenon known as mental pliancy and equivalent to stage I samatha- only attainable after the initial non-self insight. It is true that some understanding of dependent origination is assumed at this point on an experiential level. For someone in that position, they can cultivate the 4th jhana and the higher jhanas, and any other concentration state they can dwell in, and then consciously envision a desired result of some situation, ideally envisioning the result as a mental state which they aim to be in.
The more concentrated a person gets, their brain can take in more data and information at once, and as a result there appear to be patterns and order that other beings do not perceive. For example, feeling very frequently as if the meditator is reading others’ thoughts- they are likely in state 2 samatha or higher, in which there is a jhanic default mental state and easy access to states of bliss and mindfulness.
This person will begin to notice events or situation that appear and synchronicities, begin to happen, where there appears to be a higher-order organization to things happening that seems apart from the practitioner’s control as an autonomous being. The reason people who are not at level 1 insight do not perceive these phenomena, is because it takes a certain perspective on the self-construct in order to perceive them.
With this higher order structure beginning to be seen, the practitioner can then seem to resonate with this higher order and they can gain abilities and intuitions that seem to guide them wherever they go, and there always seems to continually be a process of perfect with it ness that just flows. This is the state of stage III samatha.
The key to magickal cultivation is to maximize the intentional power we have in these concentrated states. We want to direct our intention toward a particular circumstantial outcome or some resolution to some problem. See the section on prayer.
When we realize that often we are not even conscious drivers of our own experience, it can make a person see these phenomena, but also gives pause as to the karmic consequences of manifesting some result that was center in greed or self-centeredness. This is why it is often recommended for practitioners in stage III samatha to defer to higher guidance beyond their own wishes. This is best for everyone involved typically. So doing the prayers in the section for wishing for higher guidance for our choices, this is also considered to be magickal cultivation- we actually see this higher power as a key perceptual tool and companion in the journey toward realizing level 4 non-self insight.
In Magick, essentially what we are doing is creating a reality through the process of dependent origination. With a very strong, refined intention in the form of a very clear focused mind making the intention, a series of related mental acitives then commence in the mind. Even if the meditator forgets that they were intending to pay attantion to the breath, the fact that they had a previous intention is a conditioning factor for a similar intention to arise in the future. This is how the middle links of dependent origination are experientially relevent. When we start to understand the phenomenon of intention itself, ie. as a deliberate mental activity that we do that sets of related mental activity, we can see how we’re always doing this process of consciously manifesting experiences we’ve had before or experiences we imagine.
From the perspective of 1st-person experience, that’s all we ever do- there really isn’t any way to know objectively the nature of the world exterior to mind that cognizes it- while there may be objective features of what we consider “reality” – our minds only create an interpretation- or a dream-if you will. Our minds are constantly dreaming and creating theese realities from the data coming in through the senses, and it has evolved apparently over millions of years to cause suffering when things come into conflict with our survival. We learn to identify threats to our security and well-being, and we have evolved a sense of displeasure and strain when things don’t go our way or according to plan. It keeps us motivated to fix this or that or optimize whatever parameters we try to control. But this same mechanism is only an interpretative instrumnet- it says nothing objective about reality itself.
We can agree that reality is indeed mind-created, and that creation process follows certain rules that we can learn to work with and influence. Once we know certain rules and have let go of certain illusions about ourselves, it makes it much easier to watch and actively participate in the process of creating our own reality.