Lucid dreaming, spell work, astral projection, divination, cursing, healing and countless other ways of magick require one thing in common: the mindful and continuous shut down of the active conscious brain. I’m not saying that you have to be “unconscious” to make a mojo bag or read the cards for a friend by any means. That’s just silly. But that irritating, chattering, gerbil-on-a-wheel part of your brain that repeats the annoying commercial jingle while it reminds you to buy bread next time you’re at the store and keeps asking “did you unplug the toaster?” has got to be stopped.
The capacity to shut down that part of your consciousness is, for most of us at least, a life long struggle that requires practice. Well, in all fairness, it requires daily practice. Of course we’ve all read metaphysical authors who speak of “some people” who can “go into trance without thinking about it, as if they were switching off a light” or some other predictable metaphor. The reality is that who these people might be remains unstated and frankly, if they’re out there, only these authors seem to have met them. The fictional Merlin/Samantha/Harry Potter doesn’t exist. No amount of Latin or nose twitching is going to alter Newtonian physics or conquer millennia of evolution. Only dedication will. And the dedicated worker must practice.
So here’s what I do. Every night. Regardless. Climbing into bed becomes a ritual in itself that leads, after a lot of practice, to the ability to be able to overcome the Mom voice in my head. At least long enough to accomplish the occasional working of real, honest, magick.
Lie down on your back. That really is the best position for this meditation; flat on your back. Ladies who are pregnant or those with other medical conditions that prohibit lying in that position should modify the meditation appropriately. I liked to lie on my right side back when. Now close your eyes and take in a few deep breaths. Breathe in and out through your nose; those of you who practice yoga probably already have that exercise down. Try to silence your thoughts completely. Concentrate only on your breathing for a moment.
Now begin to systematically relax the muscles in your body while fighting the urge to consciously think about what you are doing. Start at your feet, work up through your calves, knees and thighs, relax your butt, your pelvis, your abdomen. Work up to your chest and feel your breathing slow down. Now your shoulders, down your arms to your hands and back up to your neck. Sometimes this is the hardest part of all, getting your shoulders and neck to relax; keep breathing and stop thinking. Progress upward and relax your jaw, your tongue, your face, your eyes, your forehead, your scalp. By now your breathing should be deep and slow. Without allowing your “inner voice” to disturb your peace, sink into the mat or mattress beneath you, breath and allow your subconscious to go wherever it wants to go. Try to hang in this space without thought for as long as you can but, once you are thoroughly relaxed, don’t force it. When it’s time to come out of your meditation and go to sleep, do so. You can come back to the exercise tomorrow night.
That’s it. If you are willing to do some version of this exercise consistently, I can guarantee that you will have more success concentrating in all aspects of your life. The mind is a creature of habit. Force it into some good habits and the benefits are surprising. As an aside, this is also a great way to wind up a workout, allowing your body some moments to completely relax once you have finish. Just be sure to keep warm as you may feel a bit chilly during the meditation.
Give it a try. If nothing else, this exercise is a great sleep aid that has no ill effects. And that in itself is a bonus in our hectic, modern world.
Header: Girl Asleep by Johannes Vermeer