This 6 week “challenge” thing that I mentioned is basically just the introduction to implementing a lifestyle based on training the body-mind-spirit complex. In other words, having the discipline to make it through the first month and a half *and* record the process in a journal is basically the entry requirement to a larger community that focusses on developing one’s Self into the best, highest, most fulfilled version you can; a personification and activation of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs

The structure is divided into seven sections (my interpretations in brackets): Four meditations, entitled Focus (mindfulness of breathing, entry level meditation practice), Love (metta bhavana), Gratitude (Kataññu Sutta) and Regeneration (zhan zhuang qigong)… next come Strength (a graded set of isometric calisthenics), Magic (involving writing and sealing a letter to yourself outlining your goals and aspirations for a set period, then opening the letter after that time has passed – I chose the six weeks of the initial “challenge”) and finally Darkness.

The task for this segment is to examine your inner darkness and identify your demons, to organise these complexes into their strengths from 1 Smallest up to 5 Largest, then to examine each of these by devoting an hour of creative writing or art to them. As with each of the seven tasks, it’s pitched to the very lowest novice level; for people who, perhaps, have never done any kind of self-analysis or have no established structure for examining their shadow self. They are advised to maintain an attitude of love, curiosity and acceptance as they write about their darkest parts – things they might be too ashamed to discuss even with their closest friends – and to remember there is a distinction between having done bad things and being a bad person. Have these Demons taught them anything, or even served to protect them in some way?

Instantly this reminded me of the I.O.D. (Identify – Objectify – Dismiss) technique I had read about in Phil Hine’s books, so quickly got down to Identifying and Naming my Demons. Since it was the most recent eruption of my Badself, I cast my mind back into the party just before I decked that guy. The main demon active (in collaboration with Anger and Booze) was Jealousy. I wrote about my insane jealousy watching my wife interact with other men, how it gets worse the more I drink, but I still end up drinking more to shut it up… perfect preamble to a dissociative episode.

Now, regardless of the fact that the guy I put on the floor was being an absolute lech and making inappropriate comments to my wife, it’s still socially unacceptable to deck him for it. Thus sideways went Waking Me and out came Other Guy with a cheer squad of the Demon Jealousy. Writing about jealousy, however, just uncovered a seething mess of anger, accusation, possessiveness and mistrust. I got to the end of the hour having spewed my bile onto paper but without having found any redeeming features or any way of integrating it constructively. So… next step, Objectify.

I thought I might draw it – in my mind’s eye it looked like a huge pissed-off cat with its ears flat sideways and a venomous snake for a tail. I decided to quickly have a look at how the Demon of Jealousy has been pictured in the past, so put the title into Google. Strikingly, the second hit was an article on Phil Hine’s site. I took this as a strong sign and clicked the link. As you can see, it’s an article about techniques to objectify and control personal demons, and there’s also another on a swift banishing ritual. Pure fucking gold!  I decided to have a quick flick through my Hine library to find the bit about I.O.D. – you know, that cartoony drawing of a pointy-hatted wizard with a huge toad-like demon on a string.

Not in Oven Ready Chaos.

Likewise Prime Chaos.

Where the… ?  I stuck “IOD” into google. No hits. “Phil Hine Identify Objectify Dismiss”, same again, but I see why: Identify, Objectify *Banish* is a technique put forward by Donald Michael Kraig in his book Modern Magic. I quickly grab my copy off the top shelf (I’ve seriously not even looked at this book for five years) and flipped through until I found it. Yep, a technique for banishing undesirable aspects of your persona, complete with an artily-drawn image of a robed dude holding a demon on a thread (not cartoony, no pointy hat).

Which slowly dawns on me: Identify, Objectify, *Dismiss*… as in “not banish”, as in “temporarily send away”, as in “leave it sitting in the shadows until you need it again”. Maybe the Other Guy finds it useful to maintain a menagerie of powerful Demons he can summon at a moment’s notice, but having them slopping over the boundary into my waking state is certainly not helpful at all. Of course, perhaps it’s helpful to him – send in the dogs and ride the sleigh(t) into the driver’s seat?

Right. The Work begins.


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2 Responses to “Darkness”

  1. Power Word | mixmage Says:

    […] to my previous post, I performed a ritual with the intent of gaining a power word to snap myself out of impending rage […]

  2. Achievement Unlocked! | mixmage Says:

    […] I mentioned a 6 Week Challenge? Well, I did it. I lasted the course, kept a journal and sent it to the organiser. I’m […]

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