Starting points

Posted: February 10, 2015 in Spiritual Journey

To get a better understanding of where I’m going I’m gong to outline some basic fundamentals that I currently accept and doubt will significantly change.

Mechanisms:

Most forms of magic that I’ve read about rely on some form of supernatural belief. For example most western ceremonial magic (or a large portion of it) centres on Judeo-Christian beliefs and as such take all manifestations as essentially deriving from god (through the agency of angels and other divine spirits etc). It makes sense that I shouldn’t, therefore, pursue a path that is based upon something I either do not or rather cannot believe in. So on that basis anything hinging upon a Judeo-Christian understanding of the universe is definitely a non-starter for me.

The more constructive question is what do I believe. And the short answer is Dharma. I use that word advisedly as it sums up what is at the core of my spirituality. Dharma roughly translates as “that which gives order to things” and this wonderfully vague concept sits very nicely with me. It can be interpretted as the machinations of a deity, as the laws of physics, the ongoing philosophical truths of the human condition or (one of my favourites) to paraphrase Bill Hicks, we are all part of the same consciousness that is experiencing itself subjectively. this can take on many forms but as a general principle I will work with Dharma, because it’s something I feel I ‘get’ and I understand that Dharma has myriad forms of expression and no single dogmatic path, so these are the aspects I will seek out.

Practices:

A spiritual practice must be available to all. To that extent I reject utterly the notion that specific implements, words or other devices should act as a material barrier to engagement and fulfilment within a practice. Thus, whilst materials may be necessary for some things (rope for shibari, a bo for stick work) these requirements should be as minimal as possible and open to as wide an interpretation as will serve.

However, this notion does not reject the usefulness of trappings and ceremony. If much of my practices to date have been about ‘presentism’ then anything that helps draw one into the moment by creating atmosphere and helping to drop away the external concerns of society are good things. This is a duality I am contemplating and suspect will continue to work through.

I discussed this briefly last night with the woman who organised the ritual at the open circle (of which a separate blog post will follow). She drew an analogy with martial arts training. That whilst One can use a technique on the street in a self-defence context, this isn’t where I choose to learn, instead I go to a dojo, I follow little gestures of ceremony and respect and discipline. I take mere learning and turn it into Gyo (again that is a concept worthy of a separate blog post to follow). This notion sits well with me. I like the idea of dojo as a place to learn, and this also fits well with the way I approach shibari.

So, some starting points, which gives me something at least.

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