I just wasted an hour of my life on Youtube. I put in the term “UFO” and then clicked one video after another usually quitting the video just a few minutes – or less – into it. The internet is an amazing thing. It truly does allow anyone to propose theories, viewpoints and even their own particular mania. It is also endlessly confusing. The problem with the internet is simply this… usually there is little or no way to determine the expertise (and mental sanity) of the poster and so you have no idea whatsoever about the reliability of the post unless you happen to be reading material upon which you are an expert.
Let me give a few examples. It wasn’t long in my video hopping before I stumbled upon a popular subject – 2012 alien Invasion…. it seems popular because there are thousands of sites and videos on the topic. I was somewhat intrigued by this possibility I must admit but then saw something else – predictions that London 2012 Games will be the venue for such an invasion. Even stranger I thought but then… hundreds of sites and videos on Fake 2012 Alien Invasion at London Olympics…. OK – I pick perhaps a strange and far fetched topic to start with but on the one hand there are people who believe and perhaps feel they have some evidence (?) that an alien invasion will occur in 2012. Then there are those conspiracy theorists who turn this on its head stating that this will take place but…. it’s fake and is an attempt to make us all agree to a new world order and a single government….
By now, you are likely wondering “What on earth is this all about?” Well, whatever you research on the internet you will find every possible viewpoint, opinion and belief on all sides of the issue from self proclaimed experts. Many of them will cite respectable organizations as evidence including, in the above example, NASA. We then have to confront another issue – technology. These days, it is possible to more or less make a convincing fake video of virtually anything due to some pretty amazing technologies that are available as programs for quite small money. The end result is a headache. What is correct? what is real? what is to be taken to be true?
Build in the news media generally along with politicians and anyone else with an opinion across all forms of media or just the friend who is obsessed with his or her viewpoint (possibly just like me) and it spells a nightmare. Today, I think more than ever, information and misinformation, truth and lies are very difficult to distinguish between. Everyone, it seems, has an agenda. As some might put it, the ‘matrix’ has become much more complex and entirely more captivating over the last two decades. The truth, as one TV show I used to like, is however out there somewhere…
And so – to my point. One of the most difficult aspects of the training of a Magician is the development of the trained mind. Among others I think Dion Fortune was very forthright on this topic and one of my favorites, Franz Bardon, was insistent on not just initial training but continual attention to training the mind. In fact, Bardon’s initial exercises on this topic are extremely demanding and I often practice his basic exercises in free moments and still struggle with them too.
The Magician, I think, must shut out the ‘matrix’ or the external world as irrelevant to a large degree. He knows it to be unreliable and almost certainly designed to side track, fool and hold back oneself from the truth. Some occultists use the oft quoted term on this site of ‘sleepers’ to describe most people who are totally engaged with this outer so called reality. I guess, a more modern internet-related terms would be Sheeple. The Magician knows that the truth can almost certainly only be discovered in the reality of the inside – in the deep moments of mediation and connection with the All or the One. He also learns that often this connection is visual in the form of symbols which must be unraveled and understood in the same manner.
The importance of the trained mind is to shut out the clutter. To be able to single mindedly focus on that inner source of wisdom and not just during meditation but in our daily life. We learn to listen to our ‘intuition’ and we develop confidence in its accuracy or relevance in the process.
For me, my personal struggles with training my mind – with Bardon’s exercises – is also reflected in the fact that I often find myself worrying deeply and almost unconsciously about all kinds of none sense – things that I either cannot control or that I imagine might happen. The truth is my mind has received some training for sure but it still unconsciously is non controlled. I have the ability to poorly control my mind when deliberately and consciously trying but most of the time I am just another sheeple….. In fact, if I were honest, I don’t actually know anyone that I have ever met who I can say has a completely trained mind – I am convinced there are a few people out there who do but I am yet to meet one of them.
And so, Bardon is correct – we must continue to work on training the mind, on concentration, on emptying the mind and keeping it empty until we become adepts at this practice. That, I fear, takes most of us more time than offered in a single lifetime. But, today, more than ever before in known history, we need to do this – for our own sanity.