- Mental Health
On Cleansing the Temple
The Art of Banishing, Explored.
The aspirant unto yoga awakens and finds himself in distress. A feeling of oppression weighs on his brain, slowing and destabilizing his momentum which otherwise would be gaining force for the day. He wants to go back to bed. Retreat into oblivion, yes, that is the bodies' vote.
This was me just a few days ago. While going about my morning routine, I found myself in just the type of "negative energy" one often hears people complain about in spiritual circles. This was a perfect opportunity to exercise an example of Core Energy Practices (CEP) in response to a definite instance of negativity. It contained all the elements of a situation requiring adjustment, and I had the means to address them.
First, the most important element of rectification will be action. Laying back down in bed may apparently deaden the signal of oppression but that isn't going to eliminate the problem. In fact, laying back down in the face of depression or other negativity, a retreat also seen in the form of substance abuse, only compounds the oppression as events continue to accumulate karma (consequential action). One must rise and set one's house in order. The essential feature of this epiphany, often missed by aspirants for years on end, is a critical phase transition from a short-term scope of inspection to a long-term viewpoint.
The situation must be assessed, and then adjustments carried out. As a general rule built from past experience, the most gross elements of one's being are to be addressed first. For example, consider a mood of oppression in the form of extreme hunger. It will do one no good to simply visualize the act of eating, for one must ingest nutrients to satisfy the body's requirements.
Therefor I saw to the physical body's needs. This is the first set of actions required by dharma, intended to initiate the adjustment required by discerned standards and functional conventions (Ancient Egyptian: Maat, literally "Truth", "Law", "Correct"). In doing so, one need not re-invent the wheel but may instead draw upon common sense and let form follow function. At least, in common matters; I showered, dressed, drank the coffee, and put the bedding away. This set of actions in itself diminished the sense of oppression considerably, but it was only a physical basis from which to further act. It is a matter of free function; physical actions to invoke cleanliness, orderliness, alertness. The psychological impact of environmental aesthetics and function cannot be underestimated, for the free exercise of biological systems is at the heart of physiological homeostasis. Factors of environmental stress increases psychological oppression, creating a vicious circle of disruption. Addressing physical factors of stress usually is the quickest tactic to deflect "negativity". Altering an undesirable situation by physical means also leaves the longest lasting changes. One might say I invoked the Magickal Hearth, or at least tended to its needs.
Having straightened out the physical temple, I was prepared to initiate the magickal axis of the adjustment. Grounding and centering with CEP, a series of stretches and breath control, the ritual was carried out. Banishing by Liber XXV The Star Ruby (a ceremony of centering), the astral body was exercised, keeping supple and responsive. The circle of the temple, representing wholeness or holistic operation, was vivified and strengthened in the magickal senses. The emotive and cognitive link to the source of all operations was reaffirmed and invoked. The instrument was tuned, responsive and humming with alert readiness. The previous mental oppression may be likened to a guitar that goes out of tune through use or environmental changes. The rite of banishing and invocation tunes it back to 'concert pitch' or custom setting. After executing the maintainence rite, the oppression became phantasmal, a memory clearly seen in retrospect to have been a reaction to stress. This short-term relief acts as a beachhead to launch more broad, long-term changes. Thus the addressing of negativity is a spiral type progression.
Seen from a balanced state of perception, the morning's previous oppression passed into silence when cohesive forces were invoked. The pain of negativity had been like an alarm clock, letting me know that something in my being was not in right relation, or that the environment was not in right relation with my being. The combination of physical adjustments and astral adjustments both made the critical manipulations that resulted in the desired mental adjustment. Going from a feeling of negativity to a sense positive empowerment involves addressing the features of the field-instrument relationship. In the lore of Yoga that I have been exposed to, directing the instrument to initiate quiescence is called Yama or "control". The resulting quiescence is called "Niyama", and it is the sanctuary that makes the work possible. Physiology of the brain must be considered, and adjustments to the environment or brain itself may be wisely adjusted to eliminate negativity. The image of a well arranged, clean and equipped laboratory is not too far off from the desired mark of empowerment and readiness. A more active image is that of a spinning wheel which flings off mud by its centrifugal force. By addressing the hierarchy of needs in the instrument, one spins this wheel of being with more and more momentum, preventing the admixture of antagonistic elements. This is defense by virtue of momentum, and in honing it one may eliminate the seeds of negativity that constantly sprout in the path of the yogi.