NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: Today’s post on Personal Sacred Practice comes from my good friend, Chance Lunceford. You can find him on Twitter (@thelivinglogos), sign up for his mailing list here here. Enjoy this very detailed, passionate post, it’s clear he put a huge amount of effort into it. (02/26/2020 Update: Still the longest article on the site)
Personal sacred practice is just that, personal. It requires a lot of effort to develop, and it will continue to evolve your whole life. The following is an outline for how you might go about doing that.
But before we get too carried away, I want to come to terms on what I mean by sacred. This is a loaded word, so let me define it in the way I am framing it here.
Sacred is that which aligns with the truth, from which your principles are extracted, and furthers your personal development which informs you of areas for further growth, while granting you further understanding of the fingerprint of that which is greater than you.
That’s a high bar.
That’s the point. And it is my goal, in my own life, to reach for a life in which every moment is thought, lived, and acted in a sacred manner. This piece is a section of my own road map to divine emulation, and will be a great tool for helping you to develop your own thoughts on the matter.
I don’t care if you agree or disagree with me, nor would I expect or prefer that it was all the way one or the other, I only hope that you’ll address the thoughts I share, and further your personal development.
Now that I’ve framed the discussion a bit, for those of you unable to read between the lines, let’s get into it.
Next stop, principles.
“Hey Logos, you’re always harping on principles.”
That’s because they’re important, stupid.
Principles are the threads and dyes from which your tapestry is woven and colored. Principles are the bedrock from which you develop a way of acting in the world.
When you have lines drawn, and they are based upon the dictates of your best understanding of truth, they guide your perspective and your decisions in the direction of perfection.
“How will I know what to do?”
What is the next action I could take that would result in the most amount of good, for the most amount of people across the longest span of time, without relying on physical force or bad-faith coercion?
I’ll give you a couple exercises to do, and I expect you to actually do them.
1) Grab a piece of paper, and a pen, and draw lines to divide the paper into three columns. Number from 1-10 in each column.
In the first column, distill 5 pieces of your character that are moving you forward into a single sentence. Do the same for 5 pieces that are holding you back. Do this with your with your dominant hand.
Use your off hand in the second column, and consider that you can refine or refute any of the previous ten, then rewrite your new list.
Go back to your dominant hand in the third column, and turn what you’ve got into a single actionable sentence. Do your best to correct anything that doesn’t feel right, and drop anything that doesn’t seem correct or necessary.
You now have a list of principles.
2) Attach this to the wall adjacent to your bedside at eye level when you sit on your bed.
3) Create a list of declarations based on each of these principles. That’s a bit obscure, so I’ll give you an example.
– Principle: Seek truth in all things.
– Declaration: I am a courageous seeker, a constant speaker and a steadfast defender of truth.
Pin these right next to your principles.
4) Say and think your principles in a manner of quiet contemplation. Do this every morning, and every night. Do this also any time you think about it during the day, it will only take moments, and it will help to align your perspective.
5) Say and think your declarations with as much enthusiasm as you can muster. It’ll feel embarrassing, but it’s necessary to play a trick on your mind’s defenses and begin to pare off ill aligned circuitry and rewire it to fit your purposes.
Say them out loud morning and night as a minimum, and as loud as you dare. Think them throughout the day with enough mental vigor to get you to smile.
This is especially useful for breaking out of a funky mood.
Don’t be afraid to revisit both lists and make alterations, but save old lists in a binder or file set aside for holding them. You’ll know it’s time to make a change when an item on one of the lists is no longer addressing either your greatest strengths or your greatest weaknesses.
Adapt as necessary, and you’ll have your old lists to inform your future as the winds of change blow you to and fro.
If you’ll do all of these thing, then you’ll be embarking upon a journey of better and more powerful decision making cycles, and you’ll be sure to level up, especially if you compound it with what’s to come.
Time to write your story.
If this, then that.
Our story is a bidirectional information sharing tool that allows our future and our past to guide our present actions. We consider our past to extract lessons and principles, and we consider our future and the manner of living in which we’d like to build towards, and we take action in the present to direct those two channels into a single river.
If we know the story we’re in, and we claim authorship of it, then we can use our principles combined with our imaginations to write the story of our lives.
It’s very hard to navigate somewhere you don’t know you want to get to, and you don’t remember where you’ve been, and you don’t know how to sail.
So you must actually write your story.
Here are some exercises to get you started, I expect you to do them.
1) Select a personal weakness, and remember a specific instance that it reared its oogly head in your life. Imagine the incident in as much detail as you can. Remember backwards from the event, and let your instincts guide you through several episodes.
Pay close attention to the details and connections.
Do the same forward from the incident.
Consider what there is to learn from these episodes, and imagine several episodes from your past that would have turned out better had you been making better decisions with these lessons in hand.
Now imagine what your life might be like if you always put these lessons into practice moving forward, and what it might look like if you never did.
Now go run towards the former, and from the latter.
Every level is guarded by a responsibility. Every responsibility is the key to an opportunity. Opportunity leads to responsibility.
If you fulfill your responsibilities, you level up in that particular regard. Your maximum level is determined by the balance of inertia of all your various channels of momentum.
You can’t use disciplined adherence to only drinking water to compensate for disciplined adherence to only eating Twinkies.
In order to rise up to your maximum potential, you’ll need to make sure you aren’t losing momentum to energy draining streams of ignorance and willful wrongdoing.
“What am I s’posed to do with that?”
Here are a couple things:
1- Look for the walls and stalls in your progress. Write them down. Look at the list and find one or two that piss you off the most. Focus on those, intensify the sensations and feelings that they evoke in you.
Focus all that boiling emotion and energy at the problem itself, and not yourself. Put everything else on autopilot for the next couple weeks, and focus on making headway on these limitations you feel so intensely about.
You’ll lose a small bit of progress while on autopilot, but busting through your major limitations will pay dividends well beyond the investment.
2- When you manage to grow beyond a limitation, pay close attention to the world around you. You’ve entered a new paradigm, and new opportunities will be making themselves know to you. Don’t let inattention or indifference pull you away from seizing them.
3- Write your observations about this process in a specific notebook or binder.
Time to start spinning.
Everything moves in cycles that interacts with spacetime. This is a necessary and emergent property of the experience of spacetime.
A cycle represented in two dimensions is a circle.
You should have a collection of circles drawn on paper.
These circles should have the following pattern mapped out for your various cycles:
1- Top=Success – what are you doing when you’re doing things right. What initiates the loss of balance?
2- Top-Right=Tripped – You’ve fallen out of balance, what can you do to regain it, and what have you done when you failed to?
3- Right=Point of No Return – You’re on your way down, and you’ll have to run the full cycle. What got you here, and what can you expect on your way to the ground?
4- Bottom-Right=Impending Doom – You’re about to hit the ground. What can you do to correctly brace for impact to mitigate the damage from the fall, and what happened when you failed to do so in the past?
5- Bottom=The Pit – Time to feel sorry for yourself. Yup, you ruined everything and everybody hates you. What are you going to do about it? Sit there and prove them right, or stand up, correct course and remind them and yourself why they wanted you around in the first place.
Feel the feels fully, but don’t linger there. Run through the gamut of thoughts and feeling that you’re definitely going to run through, and then get off your ass and go back to it.
6- Bottom-Left=Climbing Leaning Backwards – You’ll probably fall off the negative-angled cliff a couple times.
Make sure you remember that, and don’t start a three day retreat to Mazzy Star just because your second cousin once removed didn’t remember your birthday three years ago and you just remembered that now. There’s no sense beating yourself up any further than your consequences will.
Get back up and repair your efforts, and don’t forget it’s alright to clasp a hand for balance.
7- Left=Cresting the Pit – It’ll take a concentrated final shove to get your bulk up over the precipice, and you may have to try more than once. Don’t fear this, just focus and heave.
8- Top-Left= Scree – This is the shale scree near the top of the mountain. It’s easy enough to climb up if you’re paying attention and keeping yourself at the ready. If you get cocky, or lose your focus, you can very easily slip back down the mountainside and into the pit.
Stay focused, take each step back up to the top methodically, and focus on the discipline of the matter, it will serve you well once you manage to regain the top of the mountain and withstand the winds of change as they threaten to unseat you from your perch.
9- Top=Back on Top – Apply the lessons you learned on your most recent cycle to stay on top longer. Also use the lessons to help you move through the cycle faster the next time through. That way you could cycle through in a day instead of a week, or and hour instead of a day, or instantly.
The power is yours, train this skill, and it will improve, just like any other.
Keep track of these circles that you’re actually going to right out (right?) and put them in their own folder or binder. Do at least ten of these to get you comfortable with the format, and to take a look at yourself from a new perspective to prepare yourself to move forward.
Time to spiral out.
A spiral is the circle over time. Spirals weave the story from the episodes.
Successful circles become golden spirals moving upwards, and creating metaphysical momentum.
Unsuccessful circles become black spirals moving downwards, and creating friction and drag on the golden momentum.
That’s why we keep track of our circles above, so that we can map out our spirals.
I’ll teach you how we do that.
1- Take any of your circles that are the same or similar in character, and track the consequences of your actions over time. Note the steps on the way down, and note the steps on the way up. See the ways that things happen consistently, and the areas where more variable present themselves.
This will help you refine your understanding of the processes of your mind, and the world that it operates in. You’re painting a picture of your reality, and it will never be complete, but it will begin to make sense.
2- Design processes to move yourself through the steps of success faster. Design interruptions at every step along the way down the levels of the pit, so that you’ll be prepared to do something about it when you next find yourself falling. Figure out key signs for recognizing that you’re no longer moving in a positive direction too, so that you don’t fall too far without becoming aware of it.
3- Program this process to be a consistent periodic process that you’ll engage in at least once a month.
You may write manage your spiral work in the same folder or binder as the circles, or get a new one, either is fine.
If you want to write your future, you’re going to need to know how to write.
There are plenty of reasons to write.
It helps you become better at everything, depending on how you do it.
In addition to the writing proscribed in the sections about, here’re a few more writing exercises I want you to embark upon:
1) The Three Journals.
– The Golden Journal –
This is for committing the lessons, principles and other useful tools to writing.
These journals are for only the best your life has to offer, and will be an invaluable source for future idea mining. You should reserve the most precious and noticeable space on your bookshelf for these Golden Journals.
They are your holy texts, and you’ll want to revisit them often. Don’t be afraid to refine the ideas as you grow and develop in your life.
Try to keep the writing in these journals hard-hitting and tight. Principles should be 1-2 sentences, not multiple paragraphs. This isn’t always true, but make sure you’re not saying more than you need to.
Try to write at least one sentence in this journal every day, but don’t be afraid to write as much as you feel compelled to write.
– The Color Journal –
This is your thoughts and experiences and compulsive note jotting book.
These journals are meant to accompany you everywhere, and should be used frequently throughout the day. If you think of a good idea, then write it down. So too if you’re following a line of thought, and priorities point you in another direction, write down a thought or two that will serve to jog your memory.
These books are good for jogging your memory, for keeping track of your days, and are the likeliest place to find ideas worth developing before adding to your Golden Journals.
Don’t be afraid to write anything that seems useful at the time, or even noteworthy. I find the color journal to be an exceptional source for comedic material as well.
You should be filling one of these up per 1-2 months. This will keep your ability to write out lucid thoughts, and to develop your note taking skills.
Save them in an out of the way place, and revisit one or two of them once or twice a month just to see what you can see.
– The Black Journal
This is the home of the worst of you, and the world.
This is a journal you use when you’re feeling a significant amount of negativity messing with you. Write down all the worst shit that comes out of you in your worst moments.
And then burn the paper you wrote it on.
“Logos, what do you mean burn it?
I mean light it on fire, and make sure it burns to ashes.
– You don’t ever want anybody to read this. These thoughts are literal infections viruses, and if someone reads them, they’re going to be contaminated, and they’ll think less of you forever. This is not good, and take the necessary precautions to see that this never happens.
– The more important reason is the psychological trick involved. Fire is cathartic in and of itself, and when combined with the literal burning away of your worst ideas, it provides a very pleasing and meditative experience. This should be done at the end of every day, or any time your negative emotions get the better of you.
Don’t hold back because you fear what will end up on the page. That’s the point. This shit is already in you, and fixing it with pen and ink to paper, and then burning it will help you begin to remove it from your life.
Plus, seeing the vileness that your mind can create on paper will startle you into the knowledge that you could easily be a monster worse than you’d ever cared to admit.
I’m just going to reiterate, never let anybody see anything on any of these pages ever. EVER. Burn them immediately, never save any of the pages, and read the page only once before you burn it.
One more time, NEVER let anybody read these pages. NEVER save any of them, nor any portion of them. NEVER read these pages more than once, and do not let the poison seduce you into letting it back into your life.
Burn the darkness off of your soul.
2) 1000-5000 word essays on ideas you’ve written in your Color or Golden Journals.
This practice will help you to explore and form ideas in a longer form.
This is important if you want to be able to speak at length on a subject with any degree of continuity and thoughtfulness. A series of one-liners will get the point across, in a roughshod manner, but a simultaneously eloquent and impactful delivery of a well elucidated idea will always carry more weight.
Getting in the practice of writing longer form thing will enable you to write that book you’ve always wanted too. A series of 5000 word essays on a theme are called chapters. If you write twenty or thirty of them, you’ve got yourself a book.
Pretty cool right?
“But Logos, writing long pieces is hard.”
Yeah, it can be.
Especially good ones.
But writing expertly crafted essays doesn’t happen without writing a whole pile of terrible-middling ones first.
These essays will display the genesis of your skill as a writer, and also the genesis of your skill as a thinker. By the time you’ve filled an entire notebook with essays on subjects that interest you, you’ll have a much clearer picture of yourself, the world, and your place in it.
You’ll be able to map your ideas as they evolve, even down to very fine points, and weave longer narratives by noticing overarching themes in your writing.
Long-form writing is one of the best ways to sharpen and extend your intelligence. Set a goal of 5000 words in essay form per week. If you can’t meet it, figure it out until you do and do not quit. If you can, raise the bar to 7500 and see if you can figure that out.
By the way, 5000 words per week is 260,000 words per year in essay form. That’s between 2-5 books worth of long-form writing.
At a certain point, this habit will turn in to you writing books.
Five books per year for 50 years is 250 books, by the way.
You could be among the most prolific authors of all time if you merely wrote 5000 words per week.
Let’s talk about things next.
Speaking words out loud brings about far more impact than thinking them.
Imagine you’re looking at someone you have a deep familial love for, maybe your mother or a sibling, and you think – I love you.
If they’re looking at you, and they’re either very sensitive or know you very well, they’ll pick up some of the signs that you’re thinking in a positive manner about them.
Now imagine that you say, “I love you.”
They turn, see you smiling and return in kind, they liven up and then say, “I love you too.”
Repeat the same exercise with the words written on a note.
Very similar result right?
Sure the writing conveys quite a bit more obvious sentiment than the thought alone, but it still lacks that vital component that speaking out loud possesses.
So that means if you’re to develop your own ability to influence yourself to move in specific intentional directions maximally, then you’re going to need to learn to talk to yourself.
That’s right. I said it.
Talk. To. Yourself.
Yes. You will absolutely look like a crazy person if somebody sees you doing it. Yes. You will very likely have some embarrassing, or at the least awkward, experiences after engaging in the practice. I’m sure you’ll skip this one and think to yourself – I don’t need to do this.
But you won’t do a good job of convincing yourself, because you won’t say it out loud.
There are some tools and variables to speaking that will aid you in your speaking ability. There are also some good exercises to get into the habit of practicing. And of course, you will begin to be proficient enough at speaking, and at developing and living your message, that you’ll want to speak to other people.
If you’re engaging, they’ll even want to listen.
So, tools and variables first:
Quiet or loud?
Depends on the moment. Are you talking about the thrilling end of a fist-fight, or are you talking about the words your grandmother said just before she died?
How large is the area, and how much background noise is invading your speaking space?
Vary your volume to best suit the environment and the message.
Fast or slow?
Are you building tension, or making a point after building it? Are you describing a chase through the woods, or setting the tone for a summer school boredom rebellion.
Change your speaking rate to add another dimension to your emotional connection and your ability to engage your audience. Sure this is going to be for you at first, but if you can get yourself interested in what you’re saying, it will show. People don’t tend to believe in people who don’t believe in themselves.
Are you relaying a lecture on a standard trigonometry exercise, or are you describing the excitement of your first kiss? Are you talking about your child being born, or are you discussing the reasons why you think grapefruit for breakfast is a stupid-ass idea?
Your ability to register on people’s emotional radar, and the ability to guide the emotional context of your listener in an intentional direction is one of the most powerful tools to make an impact on your audience.
Aligning the correct emotions with the proper situation is key. If done correctly, you’ll bring people to laughter and tears and everything in between. If you fail to properly align your emotions with the content, people are going to get a lying psychopath kind of vibe from you.
They may not be incorrect. Dissonant emotions create and are manifested from dissonant thoughts. Clean this up.
4) Audience participation-
One of the best ways to keep your audience engaged is to get them to participate in what you’re doing.
A hand-raise, a round of applause for, let’s make some noise for, q&a, unique engagements with audience members.
These are all great tools to help keep eyes on you.
If you engage an audience member, then you’ll make it easy for the other audience members to relate. An effective speaker is seen as above the audience and vested with authority. When a figure of authority engages with a figure with less authority, it validates other people in similar positions.
Now, here’s what I want you to do:
1) Remember your list of declarations and principles?
Set a timer for two minutes, and practice giving speeches about one item from one of these lists. Make sure to talk until the timer goes off. Give speeches like this at least once per day. Preferably just before bed, or just after waking.
Don’t work form a script.
These are your declarations and principles. These are things that you believe in, and have thoughtfully articulated. Speak from your heart during these talks, and focus on conveying the importance of the subject with your emotional communication abilities.
2) Prepare a five minute speech on a subject you’re already interested in, and a two minute speech on a subject or angle that is new to you.
Prepare this speech for a week, then practice it for another, and deliver it on the second weekend. Deliver these speeches to your family, friends or whatever people that you consider to be in your trusted circle.
Given that you’re asking people you love to give you even more of their time, try to include nuggets of wisdom or other valuable information. That way, they’ll come away feeling like they were provided something in exchange for their precious time and attention.
Respecting other people’s time and effort is one of the best ways to ensure that they respect yours.
Give these speeches twice per month.
3) Create, practice, and perform a 10-15 minute speech.
These should be given once a month, or even every other month, because these require a higher level of commitment from your audience, and you don’t want to over ask your relationships to death.
A great way to prepare this speech is to combine and refine the shorter speeches you’ve given in the last month or two, and try to find a way to weave it all together in a manner that makes sense and packs a punch.
If you can commit to these three exercises for three months, your speaking skills will have increased dramatically, and you’ll be able to call upon this skill to guide your own psyche to accomplish the dreams that you’re chasing by talking yourself into it.
What are you, mental?
In a way, everything you do or think or feel is some manner of mental exercise. After all, your brain is involved in anything that you do, and your body will do little movement without signals from the brain.
But that’s not what we’re talking about here.
We’re talking about training your mind. Not the physical hardware, but the whole that is more than the parts. We’re talking about your consciousness.
No matter who you are or where you’re at in your goals and path the mastery, you’re not as far as you could be. You do not think as well as you could and you’re perspective is not as clear as it could be.
This is why we want to train the mind. To move closer to the actualization of your full potential, and to save you the various forms of resistance that life will throw at you should you be less than you ought to be.
“How do I do that, and where would I begin?”
I’ll be brief here, because this could be many times many articles long, but I’ll lay out three areas of high-value potential to get you started. From there, I’ll trust you to further your own education.
You have to see it to build it.
You are limited to other people’s ideas if you have no imagination. What is imagination? It is your ability to visualize things that do not exist within your world. The more detailed the visualization, the more powerful the imagination.
Many folks believe that they are “simply not creative,” or “not very imaginative.”
They’re definitely correct. That is, of course, until they decide to make it otherwise.
Imagination and creativity are skills that can be trained just like any other, and in much the same manner.
Repetition and Intensity.
So here are some thoughts:
-Establish a mental power scene.
Imaging a place that makes you feel powerful. For me, I imagine myself in the coliseum on the cold misty flatland of a Northern European medieval battleground.
Once you’re there, think the word “Power” Notice what colors become intensified, notice how your body feels. Do it again and turn those colors up more, turn the feelings up more, wash yourself over with both of them, and feel the power coursing through you.
Now make a fist.
Repeat this often for the next two weeks.
Congratulations, you’ve just created your first intentional anchor-state. You’ll be able to reenter this emotional and mental space on command in a pavlovian response every time you consciously make a fist, you’ll automatically think your power color and sensations into focus, and this will even happen to a lesser degree even when you make an incidental fist.
Continue to create these anchors for all the positive and useful emotional and mental states that you see being necessary to accomplish your missions.
Also note that every emotion has a mirror emotion. Happy/Sad, Confused/Certain, etc… Note the less useful and destructive states that you find yourself in most, and create antidotal anchors for those first. This way you can interrupt them as needed.
-Do these same kinds of mental manipulations while you’re imagining a goal. When you imagine a goal, make sure to do so in as much detail as possible.
Notice the goal, notice the setting, notice the sensations and thoughts that come along with it. Correct and refine these responses in your mental story as needed until you’re excited and ready to move.
Now, visualize all the steps between you and your goal in as much detail as you can. Write these down. These are your daily chunks to check along the way to goal completion. Play them forwards and backwards in your head often, and refine the story as needed to continue to compel yourself toward the aims.
– Play with symbols and combinations of symbols to create mental symbols of compressed meaning and power. Imagine a concept, and ask yourself what the best symbol for it would be. You’ll get a picture in your mind. Try to understand the reason that your subconscious showed you the image that it did.
Writing about this is a great source of material for essays and poetry.
Take multiple concepts, discover their hidden symbols, and try to figure out how these symbols and metaphors which they represent are interwoven and how the impact each other. Find a combination of symbols that makes your spirit cry out in intense excitement. This is a personal sacred symbol. Use these epiphanysian symbols to engage with the higher parts of your Self, and to communicate on the level of metaphysical metaphor in your mind’s conversation with your soul.
-History Mining and Future Writing
You’re in the present, but you have access to the resemblance of your past and an army of semblances of the future. You can use your visualization and imagination skills to mine both of these for useful information in the present.
What do I mean?
If you’re making a decision of sufficient importance to warrant stopping and taking a moment to think about it, consider what lessons from your past are relevant to your situation. Have you been in similar situations before? Are there pieces of the situation that you’ve had opportunity to encounter?
Use the lessons and analysis of these situations to add perspective to your decision making process.
When you’re making a decision, it helps to imagine what your desired outcome is, and how you think that’s going to play out. Try and imagine every step along the way, and plan contingencies for the possible hiccups you may encounter along the way.
It’s easier to take steps that you’ve seen than ones you haven’t. This will also prove an invaluable tool in analyzing the differences in expectation vs outcome. The more you pay attention to this process, the better you’ll become at narrowing the gap between the two.
If you’re able to be intelligent about extracting the relevant lessons and perspectives from your past, and wisely implement them in your present to manifest your desired future, then you’ll be multiple dimensions ahead of where you would otherwise have been.
This will make you feel good.
More importantly it will make you feet satisfied.
Let’s Get Physical
There’s a great deal already written about physical optimization, and I’m trying to keep this piece somewhere south of book-length, so I’ll leave you with some simple advice and move on.
Key Principles of Physical Optimization:
1) Stay hydrated – Dehydration is a killer. It will wreck your life day by day until you get your water situation sorted out. So drink up.
2) If it’s not food, don’t put it in your mouth – Eat vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts, good fats and quality meats. Avoid processed bullshit, and limit your grain intake to as little as possible, preferably 0.
3) Work it out – Get at least moderate exercise every day. Vigorous walking, or running, or a light sessions of calisthenics or weights. Work out hard as often as you can. This does not mean destroy yourself by overworking, but it does mean push yourself right up to that line.
4) A poisoned body is a poisoned mine – Don’t do things to your body that destroy it. Too much booze too often, smoking, poisonous “foods,” etc…
Avoid the excesses of an unhappy mind. A brief respite from your woes tends to turn into a long vacation from your happiness. I’m not asking you to be a tee-totaller, but I am asking you to be thoughtful and careful in your indulgences.
Life should be enjoyed, and a militant refusal to engage with the party or a feeble crumbling of your willpower through excessive engagement with the party will both leave you lonely and blind.
Consider your soul.
Your essence, your light, your core self. I like the word, but if you don’t, replace it with whatever you like.
The word for something does hold power, but not as much as the thing itself.
Picture your soul in your minds eye, or imagine the words that describe it for you.
What do you see?
Imagine that the image became tarnished, or dampened, or broken. Imagine if those words changed and were corrupted into words less able to write a quality story with. Imagine that you actually are that way in some amount, though likely not as much or as little as you’ve imagined.
What are the ways that you can remove the rust, or repair the damage? How can you upgrade your vocabulary? How can you remove the shadows from your light source?
Forgiveness is key.
I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but if you can’t forgive yourself, you can’t forgive anybody else. This is true of all emotions by the way. You can certainly gain an academic understanding of what forgiveness means to someone, but you won’t understand what the experience is, and will therefore lack the ability to share the experience with others.
You cannot share what you do not possess.
I recommend a process call C.F.R. or Clear Forgive Replace.
Clear – Imagine your soul, as an image or words, and imagine the things tarnish or corruption that is obstructing it from shining maximally or writing the best possible story. Imagine gathering them all into a ball of nasty sludge, or imagine the words on a page.
You’ve now removed them from your essence, or cut them from your story.
Forgive – Look at the sludge, or the page of words, and notice how you feel and think when you do. Consider physical responses, and thoughts that occur, and memories that arise. Look at all those moments, and keep the understanding in your mind that all of those experiences have led up to the person you are and the moment you’re in now.
The moment, right now, where you’re forgiving yourself, and creating the ability to forgive the world around you.
Now throw the sludge away from you and feed it into the void from whence it sprang. Or spill ink across the page and cover it in black.
Erase them from your presence and let them go without resentment.
Replace – You’ve now created an interruption and a gap in your normal psychological routine, and it’s time to fill the gap with something better than what was there before. If you’ve realized there’s a weakness or obstacle to your mastery, that means something has alerted you to that face
Follow the pattern.
Insert the piece of the puzzle that drew your attention to the level you can imagine yourself doing.
If you leave a gap, something will crawl inside to fill it. Bad habits need a warm cavern to sleep in or they die, they’ll find your gaps if you don’t fill them purposefully first.
There’s much more that could be said on the subject of the soul, but I think I’ll leave you with this:
You have an essential you-ness, and you’ve a responsibility to engage in practices that will allow you to respect that essential core of your identity, and another responsibility to craft the layers on top of that core into a person worth being, and worth being around.
Forgiveness is a critical tool to engage with the concept of your core, to clean in up in your imagery and self-talk, and to build upon the clean and solid foundation a shining city worth living in.
Which brings me back to action.
Now that you’ve compiled your lists, and understood your principles, and upped your visualization game, and gotten your body healthy, fit and at least relatively athletic. You’ve got an understanding of where you’ve been, and where you’re going. You’re taking responsibility for authoring your own destiny by realizing that you are also the author of the story of your past.
You don’t change the facts, that’s deceitful, but you’re already telling yourself a story, why not write a good one.
No hero story is compelling without adversity, and the courage to overcome it. Perseverance is a superpower, but you’ll never persevere if you don’t have a vision that you’re fighting for, and you’ll lose sight of your vision if you don’t keep it in your mind’s eye.
So, you’re going to need to make a routine of your spiritual practice. You’re going to need to compress much meaning and energy into small amounts of time, because this is not a manual on how to become a monk, but how to become a warrior priest.
This means you’re going to need rituals, symbols, prayers and mantras.
You’ve already got mantras. Those principles you wrote down? Yup. Repeat these to yourself often.
You’ve already got prayers. What do you think those declarations are for? All you need to do is keep the superordinate power in mind when you think or say them, and now you’ve got the channel to the creative force open as you declare your highest intentions.
You’ve already got symbols. Remember the visualization exercises? You’re learning to empower your thinking with the power of symbols. Also remember that I asked you to begin to delve into concepts, imagine their symbolic attachments and to weave them together.
The more layers and the deeper you can dive with your symbols, the more charged will their impact upon your thinking be. A good symbol can have an entire generation’s story contained within. The great symbols carry the story of every generation within them.
You’ve already got rituals. And they’re all connected to symbols and prayers and mantras and framed together. You’re writing a golden journal, and a color journal, and a black journal, and using them to further your spiritual growth in a systematic fashion.
You’re speaking your testimony in a systematic fashion.
You’re programming your behavior, manner of thinking and behaviors with symbolism and concrete practice in a systematic fashion.
And all these activities are based upon principles and declarations that you have arrived at after deep contemplation and frequency filtering exercises.
You already have a personal religious practice outlined, assuming you’ve done all that I’ve suggested, and now you can go about implementing it, honing it, and deepening and correcting it to suit your own journey towards ascension.
Pretty fucking bad-ass right?
This is far from all the skills and tools that I can offer in this regard, and I’m prepared to teach about far less than I know about, and that is surely a fraction of what there is to know. But I believe this process is a critical one.
Humans seek religious activity. We like chaos to be framed within characters, stories, and symbols, Humans have essentially always had a need for religious practice, community and goals. To the extent that you can align those three things, it will allow for you a relatively satisfying existence, and will provide a solid framework to build upon.
The problem of the religions of the previous paradigm is that they’ve been co-opted.
Essentially all of the major religions have a message of personal spiritual practice that will reveal the necessary pieces to you along the way as long as you engage with the process. Some of them obviously, some of them less so, depending on the time and place the message was crafted. That and the times and places the messages was altered.
All of the previous prophets and gods were trying to tell you the same thing.
The Kingdom of God Is Within You.
The power to enact an outcome other than spiraling dissolution into an evenly distribution of neutral charge is within you, as a thinking and imagining being.
A rock is just a rock until you think about it. Then it’s history, and chemistry, and nuclear physics, and energetics, and magnetism, and everything else that has ever been. A story emerges, the rock becomes a symbol for something much more that just a rock.
The deeper and more specific the observation of the rock, the deeper and more specific the history of the universe, because we’ve now observed it through it’s ripples.
The broader and more imaginative the observation of the rock, the broader and more secure the possibilities and the very existence of the future, because we’ve imagined the possibilities and communicated them to others, and pulled ourselves out of natural paths of little effort.
When you look at a cross, anywhere in the entire world (almost), there is a power inherent in the symbol. It causes thoughts of history and mystery, of god and the devil, of cultures and questions and everything. That’s a motive force that can be recycled and spread nearly infinite times. It creates more mental energy than it does to observe it or to reproduce it.
Now imagine that the cross is tailored to your own personal story in such a powerful way. That the practices and the manner of thinking that has impacted the world non-stop for the whole of recorded history, imagine they were honest and tailored to you.
What kind of impact could that make on you?
What kind of impact could you make on the world once it did?
How much could you amplify that impact if you could teach and convince others to engage with the process?
What do you think I’m trying to do right now?
Ask yourself this too:
If I wasn’t creating this out of love, then why am I asking you to do this for yourself and your own world? Why am I not asking you to follow me and cede your decision making skills?
I want you to engage with this process. Yes. I want to offer you more than this. Yes.
But in the end, I would be genuinely disappointed if you did not apply every bit of skepticism you can muster to my message, and find any faults that you can, because then you’ll have an even better road map to your own actualization, and you can share what you’ve learned with me, and I’ll try to break your stuff too.
That’s how the world gets better, and processes get refined, is by engagement and disciplined discourse and refinement.
If we all engaged in the process of attempting to craft the necessary visionary and practical aspects of our own motivating benevolent spiritual practice, and the necessary actions that the process would reveal, imagine the drive and the greatness that could be unleashed on the world.
Remember your principles, and stick to them.
But also remember that if you have new information and better experiential data, then you can and should be editing or rewriting your principles.
The list of principles that you’ve written and decided to live by may seem a daunting formula. Fret not, dear reader, for I have two simple solutions to help you get going in the process.
1) Pick the principle that will require the least resistance to make a change. Pick the lowest hanging fruit, and practice doing the correction for a week. Then add another easy task the next week. By the time you get a month in, some of the first corrections will be well on their way to habits.
Keep this process rolling until you’ve the confidence and momentum to tackle the larger problems.
Momentum is a powerful tool, and even a snowball can defeat a dragon if it’s rolling fast enough, and catching enough weight along the way.
A snowball doesn’t roll as smoothly if the ball is misshapen. Make sure to keep your sphere of responsibility well balanced.
2) Pick the meanest, most sumbitchinest problem keeping you from living in accordance with your principles. Tackle the beast head on. And lose. Almost certainly.
Good. (Thanks Jocko)
Now, pick your ass back up and analyze where you went wrong. Try again. And lose. Almost certainly.
Now you’ve the lessons from two attempts to mine for information about how to conquer the most deadly beast.
Repeat the process until you kill the fucker.
You’ll find that if you can rise to the task, and even along the way, that you’ll be slaying many of the lesser monsters along the way.
Why do you think you failed?
You can’t defeat the BOSS and all of his minions all at once.
That’s why you analyze the enemies stopping you from getting to the boss, and defeat them as they step in your path to bar your entry.
Either way, be savage in your defense of your principles within yourself. This is your life, and you’re the one who should get to decide the rules by which you play.
That’s the greatest gift, and you’re being robbed of it every day by your own will and encouraged to do so by those who would direct your choices into the least useful and highest margin glamors they can find in order to further their unrooted and aimless drive to acquire more and more of anything.
Only a bottomless pit lives that way.
If you don’t want to live at the bottom of a bottomless pit, then you’re going to need to write another story, because that’s the default one. If you don’t try, then you decay and die in a manner that destroys your ability to conceptualize yourself as a being worth existing.
The choice of whether or not to exist is yours. As below, so above. Intentionally destroy yourself at your everlasting peril. I hope you don’t. There’s more to a decision than what happens to your meat vehicle. Of course, if you’ve let yourself get to the point where you’re ready to exit, then you’ll have been poisoning everyone you touch for some time now.
Suicide is a reality. It’s such a disappointment to the survivors that most codified religions tell you it’s among the cardinal sins, if not the ultimate sin, and it’s no small wonder. The reach and power of a suicide are great indeed.
See, the problem is that a life not lived in accordance with true principles is a life not likely to be a life from which satisfaction and fulfillment are to be experienced on anything other than a collection of short and shallow experiences.
People are smart, and they know this about themselves, even should they be unwilling or unprepared to admit it to themselves.
So, a building tension arises, because a growing number of your mental compartments are being infected by the black mold of despair. You can feel it happening , and your refusal to acknowledge the process is underway only amplifies the velocity of progression. This can be nearly impossible to reverse after a certain threshold.
It can be done, but that’s a book by itself and one I’m not yet qualified to write, so I’ll leave that be for a decade.
It is important, however, to have a story in mind. And no story is all that interesting without a hero. Since this is your story, you ought to be the hero.
You have within you the capacity to be strong, and honest, and a defender of character, and to destroy monsters.
Decide what kind of hero you want to be by deciding the kinds of problems you dream of solving. Make sure your dream aligns with your principles, and then keep it in mind always. If will certainly evolve over time, but the core of what you’ve dreamt of will remain.
There’s a purpose written into your very essence. You have your unique or very close to unique DNA sequence, and a most certainly unique epigenetic switch bank. It suggests and records all the places you’ll go and all the things you’ll do.
There are ripples from your actions outside of yourself as well. You have a reputation, you have a network, and you have records being kept of almost everything you do. These ripples and records tell a story. Those who refuse to write themselves into a heroic story almost never fail to live the life of a lackluster supporting role.
Don’t let your story be a sad and boring one.
So folks, there you have it. A brief guide to personal sacred practice. Ready for your engagement.
I gave you plenty of actionable exercises and advice. I don’t expect you to engage fully with all of it, especially at first. But please do complete at a minimum your list of principles and declarations, and engage with the journals. These will guide you along your personal sacred journey.
The goal of a sacred practice, in my estimation, is to confirm your actions and manage your thoughts in such a way that you’ll draw ever closer to a condition in which every action and every thought are conducted in a sacred manner.
Should you choose to undertake the sacred endeavor, you will become more that you are.
You. Will. Become. More. Than. You. Are.
If you don’t want that, then I don’t know what to tell you my friends, because seeking after a better life in accordance with your principles is the only path to happiness, but more importantly, to satisfaction. If you want to live a life worth living, then you have to establish what that means to you, and then go for it with everything that you are.
To do anything less is to squander the gift that your life is. I know there are many parts of you that will want to argue the point, but if you are to engage with that argument, make sure you’re being honest. If you are, you’ll quickly see that my point is fact and not opinion.
You will not succeed at anything other than failure if you don’t have a goal, a plan and discipline. You must keep your mind on your goals all day, and constantly be measuring your actions against them. If you want to claim your birthright of power, influence and immortality, then you must align your actions with your principles.
If you want to claim your throne in the heavens, rather than your prison of solitude in the darkness, then you must choose principles that are aligned with truth and creation. This is what you’re meant to do. This is your purpose. Create your own religion that is conscious and living and growing. The architects of the worldwide religions didn’t have the tools available to them, nor the information, to create a religious framework that integrates well with our lives in this era.
However, the keys are all in the great religious library. The codex of religious works has all the keys dispersed throughout. Where do you think I pulled most of these things from? Don’t disregard scriptures, and don’t stick with just one tradition. Read and ponder and write, and discover the deep and hidden truths for yourself.
Then share them.
The time has come to remove the mask of obscurity from our prophetic impulses and to say the truths we’re called to speak in plain and simple language. There’s nothing wrong with metaphor, nor crafting gates to ascension. In fact both are necessary for the process to continue effectively.
Creating hurdles and hoops for a mind to jump through, without granting a deeper insight into the truth than plain speech can convey is a process of obfuscation.
Don’t be an obfuscator.
Speak your truth with courage and conviction. Stand on a solid foundation when you do. Then prepare your blade for the hordes of The Void that will inevitably endeavor to knock you from your perch on the top of the mountain.
They can’t reach you if you don’t let them.
Your character and legacy are yours to determine.
Will you claim your spot among the immortal heroes?
I hope so.