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  Resolving Ordeals
Self Realization Posted by Xnoubis on September 27, 2000 @ 10:03 AM
from the wand-of-trouble-power dept.

I've recently been enjoying a book by A.H. Almaas called The Point of Existence: Transformations of Narcissism in Self-Realization. His idea of narcissism, in brief, is that it "involves being identified with relatively superficial aspects of the self, as opposed to being aware of one's identity as Being." It's a marvellous work that I'd recommend to anyone interested in spirituality or psychology.

But this passage, early in the book, caught my attention right away: "When a person is working on self-realization, this narcissism is increasingly exposed; in fact, it is usually aggravated for some time. When we approach the dimension of essential presence we inevitably confront the narcissism inherent in our disconnection from that presence. The success of the work on self-realization depends, to a great degree, upon successfully resolving the arousal and intensification of narcissistic manifestations."

This seems relevant to Thelema. Most of us have probably had this experience of the intensification of "veils" as we progressed through magical work, or if not, surely all of us have known others who have. Some Thelemites refer to these experiences as "ordeals." What I'm not familiar with is any method native to Thelema of resolving these ordeals.

The magical orders with which I'm familiar generally handle ordeals only at a political level: it's your own business until you create an administrative problem, and then the administrative problem is addressed.

Are there groups out there who have had success in helping aspirants through these tough spots? How is it done?




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    Re: Resolving Ordeals
    by Cob-Ra on Thursday September 28, @09:30AM
    Hello.

    It troubles me that you would automatically label the ordeals of the ego as tough-spots.

    It is well to say that even sorrow could be enjoyful. The trouble only arises when the person places too much seriousness or pressure on himself. Which reminds me, "we're here to have fun."

    The problem signs are easily recognizable, since when the group thinks for the individual it immediately stops being fun.

    • Re: Resolving Ordeals
      by Xnoubis on Thursday September 28, @10:28AM
      I'm not sure that we're really in disagreement here. A person placing "too much seriousness or pressure on himself" is thereby manifesting an ordeal. Crowley's "Vision of the Universal Sorrow" would then not be an example of an ordeal, for instance.

      I would suggest that, although the problem signs may be easily recognizable, the resolutions are not always easily accomplished.


    • Re: Resolving Ordeals
      by Xnoubis on Thursday September 28, @12:34PM
      Upon reflection, I feel that I've got to backpeddle here a bit.

      There are other kinds of ordeals than losing one's sense of fun. And many of them are very, very difficult to recognize, let alone resolve.


      • Re: Resolving Ordeals
        by Cob-Ra on Friday September 29, @10:20AM
        en actual, all acts that lead to a result can be an ordeal. The popular philosophical presentation is that the human is a crippled race. One can think he has done everything right, yet since there is no absolute direction to transcending - which everyone does - he realizes he is only manque, that all of his desires and aspirations cannot be full-filled. (A perfect example is Ralph Nader, or anyone that seeks to learn magick). In the end you are left with desire.

        The drug abuser knows when his high stops being fun. So it is the sign that he must do at least one thing differently, with not implying that he should stop or no. If it is one's choice to die by drug-use, or to aspire to live, or both, that choice has resulted from the wisdom of the person. And usually no one will ever offer a suitable option to him; which could be done quite easily. But it doesn't matter - it's a crippled race after all.


        • Re: Resolving Ordeals
          by Craig on Friday September 29, @07:54PM
          does that sort of manifest as, 'kill yourself for God' and that is where the ordeal begins, and so
          it goes, or is it even more complex in that it
          begins when you realize that it is a combination
          of the two, the perfected will and that which is beyond the will, and always will be in that change is stability, and as you pass through the ordeals
          it is neither fun or hell,here or there, rather a continual
          passing through the constant juxtapostion of the two, the yin with in the yang, Nuit Hadit Ra-Hoor-
          Khuit, 'the conqueror is not the universe of the
          cycle, cycle'...gnosis IS faith, but faith tempered with direct experiance of the ineffable !
          ...and having said that and knowing it is unutterable!!!...my lips tremble at the edge of yours, abyss!...open!!!


    Re: Resolving Ordeals
    by Nexist on Monday October 09, @12:00PM
    On the original question, the solution lies within the elements of the Priesthood within any tradition. A Priest's primary function is to care for and counsel "his flock". Now in Thelema, this must (of course) dispense with the heirarchical imposition of authority, however the role of guide is still inherent.

    Jumping to the sect with which I am most familiar, the OTO has this fledgeling priesthood, which should (IMO) be officially tasked with this, and one's ability to perform in this capacity should be a strong factor in deciding the eligability of the candidate

    • Re: Resolving Ordeals
      by Xnoubis on Tuesday October 10, @08:34AM
      Interesting idea.

      In order to really dispense with hierarchy, though, shouldn't the role of guide be distributed more generally than to an assigned priesthood?

      Either way, though, how are people trained to help in this way? How do priests (say) distinguish between another person's veils and their own? How are issues of projection handled, where the priest becomes part of the issue for the "parishoner"?

      These aren't questions that can be answered concisely, I don't think, but they're important. And they also point to many of the difficulties that occur again and again within Thelemic communities.


      • Re: Resolving Ordeals
        by Tim Maroney on Wednesday October 11, @02:37AM
        To fall into a Mordecai-fashion nit-pic-cum-pun, they can be answered concisely, but not in a way that really helps to solve the problem.

        The problem and the concise answer are the same: Crowley treated disciples with rudeness, contempt and authoritarianism. These methods were ineffective in inculcating spiritual development within most who worked with him, and any emulation of them now would be at least that ineffective. The Thelemic tradition is holding an empty bag on stewardship responsibilities of this sort and can only beg other traditions to suggest something to fill the hole.

        So as not to be as completely unhelpful as the concise version would demand, the one thing we have which I see in the bag of tradition comes from an enlightened reinterpretation of the OTO initiatory tradition, conceived of as a fraternity and professional (to use the term freely) development path. The methods and messages he preserved, often with incomplete understanding, speak themselves to an ideal of fraternal relations which can be interpreted in line with modern values of social justice and freedom. Thelemic charity to my mind consists of helping others solve their problems, and should be practiced in a generally beneficial fashion, not confined to an in-group.

        (I just have a feeling that the OHO Baphomet would rank among the least suited to those values in practice in a real, functioning organization.)


    Re: Resolving Ordeals
    by solidsurfer on Friday October 13, @11:37AM
    Problems arise, steps are taken to overcome these, something new presents itself, and so forth. How about a goal-orientation towards annihilation then? The mystic way. A complication that puts an end to complications?

    This in itself poses a problem as well, having to do with a restricted point of view.
    Thus the mystical/magical brotherhoods will also have to come to terms with the usual antipathies and sympathies common to overcrowded human society. Being a member of such a society can be an ordeal, sure! There is also the path of the hermit ofcourse, also a rather hefty ordeal.

    So, ordeal-wise, we all are called, and some of us chosen for some very special ordeals.
    Now, while under the strain of an ordeal confusion is bound to arise, and this might very well be its bliss and scourge.
    ... we will never ever know, not until we've been there !! (and now I am gonna go and visit the solarium, cos this posting has been quite an ordeal =)

    Re: Resolving Ordeals
    by Nekial on Tuesday January 23, @06:01PM
    93

    As regards whether or not these are ordeals, two things: if one perceives an event as an ordeal then it is, even if it is only tying your shoes. And if one doesn't perceive it as an ordeal, it is not, even were it climbing K2.

    Second, anything standing between an aspirant and, let's say, Ipsissimus can be termed an obstacle, ordeal, challenge or test. As you like.

    As to the question of Thelema's empty bag, in the traditional orders one had one's sponsor and superior acting as Brother/Guide. Also, there is in some cases a grade wherein it is one's business to tend one's garden. Having said that, it seems likely that with a little effort we call all find someone to go to with our personal crises/ego challanges. If we're not looking out for our fellow thelemites (at least) then what's the point of an order anyway? or this site?

    My opinion is that, if what you're doing has brought your ego to lash out, then staying the course will get you through.

    93 93/93

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