Wednesday, September 7, 2011
The Meaning Of Occult Techniques
THE MEANING OF OCCULT TECHNIQUES
There are countless so-called exercises and techniques, and they vary greatly in effectiveness and dangerousness. Here also, it is advisable to exercise moderation and not attempt to accelerate one's own progress unduly through the simultaneous application of many techniques. The value of most techniques lies more in regular practice than in the actual form of the exercises involved. It does not really matter whether one stands on one's head, holds one's breath or peels potatoes – what is important for success is the degree of consciousness with which one does these things.
Thus even the best and most secret techniques remain completely ineffective if one practices them in isolation from the rest of one's conduct and without an awareness of their symbolic character. Those who practice a technique in this way can never integrate it into their lives. As Goethe put it: “What use is the philosopher's stone if the stone lacks a wise philosopher?” By the same token, any activity, however simple or banal, can be sanctified if one uses it consciously and thus bestows it with meaning.
A ritual is the conscious, microcosmic reflection of a cosmic reality. Thus, in my view, the most exciting esoteric exercise is to elevate daily life into a ritual. If we wish to overcome polarity we must first get rid of the division between “esoteric exercises” and “normal life” - otherwise we shall degrade esotericism to the status of a spare-time occupation. The aim of this effort is to transform every handshake, every word, every action into something sacramental. Consider the flower in the meadow, radiating the beauty of its blossom and the fragrance of its scent. What is it doing other than constantly praising its creator? Similarly, what are the songs of the birds and the sounds of the sea if not part of a continual hymn to God? It is only we human beings who always imagine we have more important things to do and who make ourselves into the central justification for our actions.