Monday, May 6, 2013

Silence, Simplicity, and Solitude: A Way to Focus Within (In Preparation for Meeting Your Fetch)

In our culture, we are driven to distraction by almost everything. We are constantly asked to give up silence in exchange for constant chatter- background music or talking, traffic noises, social media pinging our phones and who knows what other complications.

We are rarely alone, even if we live alone. We often make these choices ourselves: we see being alone as a failure (why wouldn't you want to be among friends or others if you could- does it mean you are unloved?) or fearing what feelings might arise if we don't have the chatter of company. This is not meaninful connection- it is mere distraction. We are not fully present with one another and having a meaningful exchange- it is mere habit and diversion from inward processes.

We cannot even go somewhere alone without interruption: stores have music soundtracks and announcements, people wish to engage our attention everywhere, and we must constantly focus outwardly to keep our bodies safe (from traffic, from others, from running into things).

These outward distractions serve to lull us into a kind of sleep. It is the sleep of constantly looking outward and focusing on anything but ourselves and our parts. It is the sleep of an automaton- someone who doesn't really think about much other than surface things throughout the day. People who live like this all the time are what I call sleepers. Witches are not sleepers- they cannot function properly* when constantly distracted. Witches function when they can access all their parts at any time and use them to optimum effect. This cannot happen when in beta brain activity all the time.

BETA WAVES - 14Hz to 20Hz. Beta waves are associated with normal waking consciousness. They are present when you are focused on activities in the outside world.
ALPHA WAVES - 8Hz to 13Hz. Alpha waves are likened to a light 
meditation. They are prevalent when you daydream. They will 
become stronger when your eyes are closed. 
THETA WAVES - 4Hz to 7Hz. Theta waves occur during heightened 
states of creativity and are found with a deep meditative state. 
DELTA WAVES - .5Hz to 3Hz. Delta waves are found in a deep sleep 
state or unconsciousness. Also, Delta waves are common in very 
deep meditation.
Distractions and allowing yourself to fall into routines of distraction keep you in beta- not allowing for the other three patterns that are associated with Witchy work. Beta does not allow the self work and inward focus that is required of a novice working to prepare themselves for a life of service that -is- the Craft. In order to function in a Witchy (sorcerous and shamanic) capacity, you need to be able to be in contact with your Fetch- which cannot happen when we are constantly distracting ourselves with others, media, and shiny things- in other words, being in beta.

What is a Witch to do to achieve other states?

First, We must identify what distracts us. One exercise is to take an audit of our week. How many times do you look at a screen each day (mobile phone, computer, television, etc.)? How many of them were absolutely necessary for your livelihood (survival) and how many were just distractions?

How many times are we alone- with no other company (including partners, children, and other people we live with)? Are you -ever- alone? Are you only alone in the bathroom and a car? A car cannot count, as you must focus outwardly on traffic to survive. Bathroom could count as being alone, though!

How many times do you seek out silence- both in yourself (you not speaking to or focusing on others) and in your environment (turning everything off and being in quiet isolation)?

How many times did you purchase or receive something unnecessary for your survival? “Shiny things” can serve as a distraction as much as noise and people can. Some people distract themselves with these kinds of purchases all the time.

Once you get a general idea of what your obstacles are, you need to implement the three S's: silence, solitude, and simplicity.

Silence: I prefer to focus on “necessary speech” rather than a "complete and utter silence" exercise. This allows you to function at work and constantly T.H.I.N.K. about what you are about to say (Thoughtful, Helpful, Informative, Necessary, Kind). Rather than not speaking at all (which could relieve some types of all responsibility of analyzing their patterns (Such as wearing a sign that says, “Sorry, I am not allowed to speak right now”.), the T.H.I.N.K. model makes a Witch constantly look to her ideas and actions and it provides greater insight into how often unnecessary speech occurs. I recommend starting with the practice for a week and increasing the commitment from there. Eventually, we want to get to the life choice that all speech is necessary and none is superfluous. (Easier said than done!) Be critical- you need to be able to be honest with yourself if you spoke unnecessarily and not justify it. Are you ready for radical but compassionate honesty with yourself?

Simplicity: fast from purchases (other than food) for an entire month. Do this while actually actively “window shopping” at places you love to frequent. While this may sound like punishment, I assure you it is not. Allow yourself to feel the longing of possession and let it wash through and over you. Revel in the beauty of said object and “consume” its beauty with your senses without acquiring it. The goal here is appreciating beauty without the need of possessing it. Once we can master such a skill, it applies to the world in general. Sleepers have divorced themselves from the rest of creation- thinking themselves isolated, separate, and often “in charge” of the rest of creation. Witches know that we are all one and a part of all creation. Possession of anything is, in fact, a lie. Once we master our desires for “things” we can master our thoughts of “control over” others.

Do not misunderstand me: being a Witch (instead of an ascetic in another religion) does not mean we must deny ourselves pleasure and beauty. These are temporary exercises putting you in the right frame of mind. They are not to deny you anything- they are actually offering you different worldviews to the tired capitalist patriarchal model of possession of beauty instead.

Solitude: To be effective, a Witch simply must have solitude regularly. That is the only way spirits, gods, and other beings will be able to communicate with us.** Often, the only time a Witch is alone is in Dream. This is simply not enough. Setting aside time for nature walks, a sitting practice, and just being alone with no media (not even a book) is paramount. Ideally, this would happen every day- but it is understandable for those of us with partners and families that this could be difficult. But it needs to happen regularly- several times a week at a minimum. What can you do to ensure that this time is available to you?

*Witch is a job title, not an identity (although Witches identify so strongly with their function that they cannot help seeing the world in a different way than most sleepers- which cause people to confuse it with an identity instead of a job).

**Often, we assume a voice we "hear" is a spirit or god, but it actually a part of us (and not necessarily a part we should be listening to!) because we simply canot access the brain states to hear them. And even if they manage to get through the chatter of beta brain- think about how many more messages we would be getting if we shut off monkey mind more often!

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