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Old 10-23-15   #1
Shakti
 
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Default How do I begin? Need direction...

Hello all, I joined your lovely community years ago, but I never got to post much. It's crazy to think how much I have changed over these years. I feel like I have grown SOOO much, yet somehow I am fundamentally the same - revisiting places, ideas and forums that I was drawn to way back

I just got out of two busy years at grad school, currently unemployed and my life feels out of control. The last several months my depression, anxiety and loneliness got real bad, so as far as to cripple me and prevent me from being even a mildly functioning adult. But I wouldn't change a thing about anything! All the suffering through my life, as painful, difficult and terrifying as it has been and continues to be (and I predict there will be pain in the future too lol), is allowing me to slowly, little by little, wake up and get in touch with the calm and power within.

So my question is - How do I start a practice or religion of sorts, for myself? I just want to ground myself and have more stability. I am currently not at all disciplined but I really want to be. Let's just say I live like a child and I am starting over, starting anew - my journey to becoming whole and a functioning adult. I don't want to start at a place of judgement "Ugh, Shakti get your shit together", but rather from a place of hope, love and enthusiasm. Which is why I want more structure and stability, which I think having a spiritual practice will provide. I feel like I have spent enough time collecting spiritual wisdom, which is of no use if only understood intellectually, but not integrated into my being and experience.

I was thinking of starting with just meditating for 30 min everyday. Although I am not sure how successful I will be at it. Which is why I am reaching out to you all, maybe get some feedback on how to go about starting my spiritual journey in a concrete way. if it makes sense? I am also interested to know about your individual traditions/practices (I'm sure its eclectic and diverse!) and how you came about it?

Thank you <3
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Old 10-23-15   #2
Brigidrose
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Default Re: How do I begin? Need direction...

Welcome back Shakti! Congratulations on your completing your grad work, that is an accomplishment in itself.
I think that because once a person finishes a structured program, being put back into society is a culture shock.
To start, you can set aside a time everyday to just sit and meditate, maybe walk in the woods, find a place that feels good to you. Enjoy the space in between your thoughts. Are you drawn to any specific belief system? Maybe gather some books and go from there. It took me some time to find what feels good for me, I have a couple of different beliefs that I hold dear and incorporate them together.
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Old 10-23-15   #3
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Default Re: How do I begin? Need direction...

Welcome! And congrats on the grad work, that's super impressive. *high five*

I'm in a similar place to you currently, where I've studied a lot but haven't truly started to incorporate it (regularly) into my daily life.

One thing I've been trying to do is wake up a simple 30 minutes earlier, so I have a quiet time before I have to start getting ready for the day. That gives me time to meditate, journal, sit and enjoy the moment, whatever you feel best suits you.

If your routine is pretty much the same day to day, get one super pretty piece of paper and write a daily schedule on it, keeping it structured enough to memorize, but flexible enough to accommodate any changes. Schedule out a time to meditate, a study period, etc.

Write a list of practices you want to actually incorporate. Then really reflect on them to see if they vibe with you, or if it's just something that you read/overheard and thought you had to do. I know that I would love to do stuff like the "sun salutation" that so many people talk about, but right now with a night job and sleep problems, I simply can't.

This is the super important one though: Stop beating yourself up over *not* being more spiritual, or for not doing more. Change as you want, but don't berate yourself for not meeting yours or anyone else's standards. Life is hard, and even just managing to wake up each day and *try* is worth SO MUCH.

I too struggle with anxiety and depression. One thing that helps me is having something tangible to focus my spirituality. This could be an altar, a particular stone or flower, jewelry, a tool (athame, wand, tarot deck, etc), or incense/candle. Use it only for the moments you can truly focus, or carry it with you and when you have a minute (waiting in line at the bank, red light while running errands, or even just when you're on hold with some company) take a moment to reflect on something, or offer a prayer to whoever/whatever you hold sacred.

I hope I gave you at least some ideas or inspiration. Feel free to message me or ask me to clarify. =)

Also, have fun! Experiment with what makes you happy/spiritually fulfilled. That's the best way to actually incorporate it.
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Old 10-26-15   #4
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Default Re: How do I begin? Need direction...

Shakti - you wrote:

Quote:
So my question is - How do I start a practice or religion of sorts, for myself? I just want to ground myself and have more stability. I am currently not at all disciplined but I really want to be. Let's just say I live like a child and I am starting over, starting anew - my journey to becoming whole and a functioning adult. I don't want to start at a place of judgement "Ugh, Shakti get your shit together", but rather from a place of hope, love and enthusiasm. Which is why I want more structure and stability, which I think having a spiritual practice will provide. I feel like I have spent enough time collecting spiritual wisdom, which is of no use if only understood intellectually, but not integrated into my being and experience.
For me, all practise stems from belief - what we see and understand about the world, nature, Divinity. If you believe that the Earth is sacred, for example, you don't defile her; you might make specific lifestyle changes, your rituals might attune you to the rhythms of sun and moon. I would start with an evaluation of who you are and what you believe - clarity is power. Without it, you can fall into the mindless "doing" - looking at the spiritual life as something that makes YOU feel good, as opposed to something that deepens, challenges and expands you, and ultimately, you do for the good of the whole, not your own feelings, however pleasant those feelings may be.
Spirituality is hard work, and involves the intellect! much as you might hear otherwise around the net, you know?
So I'd start by asking yourself, a few questions, such as - what do you believe about the nature of God/dess? What in life do you hold most sacred? What do you love? Which spiritual figures/writers throughout history do you admire most? and so on. Those questions may not be easily answered, but they provide the foundation, the basis for practise. Because - meditation aside, I think that is always good and important for us all, irrespective of belief - without a strong basis in belief, practises can become self serving and superfluous - pseudo-spirituality.
I just wanted to add this, as I think it
is important to work with our heads as well as our hearts, and know what we believe and then let our actions follow.
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Old 10-26-15   #5
Windsmith bat Gaia
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Default Re: How do I begin? Need direction...

Quote:
Originally Posted by feranaja View Post
Shakti - you wrote:

For me, all practise stems from belief - what we see and understand about the world, nature, Divinity. If you believe that the Earth is sacred, for example, you don't defile her; you might make specific lifestyle changes, your rituals might attune you to the rhythms of sun and moon. I would start with an evaluation of who you are and what you believe - clarity is power. Without it, you can fall into the mindless "doing" - looking at the spiritual life as something that makes YOU feel good, as opposed to something that deepens, challenges and expands you, and ultimately, you do for the good of the whole, not your own feelings, however pleasant those feelings may be.
Spirituality is hard work, and involves the intellect! much as you might hear otherwise around the net, you know?
So I'd start by asking yourself, a few questions, such as - what do you believe about the nature of God/dess? What in life do you hold most sacred? What do you love? Which spiritual figures/writers throughout history do you admire most? and so on. Those questions may not be easily answered, but they provide the foundation, the basis for practise. Because - meditation aside, I think that is always good and important for us all, irrespective of belief - without a strong basis in belief, practises can become self serving and superfluous - pseudo-spirituality.
I just wanted to add this, as I think it
is important to work with our heads as well as our hearts, and know what we believe and then let our actions follow.
Really fantastic advice, fera!
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Old 10-26-15   #6
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Default Re: How do I begin? Need direction...

^ Agree!

I just want to add that it might be hard to keep a discipline of meditating 30 minutes each and every day, especially in the beginning. And especially if you have not thought things through like in Fera's post, it might be a bit tricky to keep up the motivation.

Perhaps you could start by trying to connect with the natural world? I personally think that there is nothing more calming and grounding than a walk outside, plus you get a little bit of exercise. Do you have any parks or forests nearby that you could visit?
You could always find a special place where you might want to just sit down and start your meditation practice outside in the fresh air. It does not have to be anything complicated at all or long. Even just a few minutes is enough. Concentrate on you sitting outside, the surface you are sitting on, feeling the fresh air, breathing and listening.

Good luck! And welcome to the forums!
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Old 10-27-15   #7
mr cheese
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Default Re: How do I begin? Need direction...

..
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"But what, according to you, is a true philosopher?" he asked.

"He," I answered, "who loves to contemplate truth…who is able to arrive at whatever remains ever constant. He who is capable of seeing the Whole is a philosopher; he who is not, is not."

Plato (Republic, V, 475; VI, 481-485)


Last edited by mr cheese; 10-27-15 at 09:19 PM.
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Old 10-27-15   #8
mr cheese
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Default Re: How do I begin? Need direction...

http://www.dreampower.com/rising_light.html

Something simple and energizing 10-30minutes try for at least 3 times a week preferably daily
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"But what, according to you, is a true philosopher?" he asked.

"He," I answered, "who loves to contemplate truth…who is able to arrive at whatever remains ever constant. He who is capable of seeing the Whole is a philosopher; he who is not, is not."

Plato (Republic, V, 475; VI, 481-485)

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Old 10-29-15   #9
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Default Re: How do I begin? Need direction...

The first thing I'm going to recommend that you do, is go to Astrodienst and get a drawing of your astrological natal chart. I recommend knowing what the seven classical planets (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn) are doing, as well as Uranus, Pluto, the North Node, Chiron, and Orcus. That will take you rather a long time, perhaps; although this is sufficiently important that I think you'll find the time investment to be worth it. If you don't want to necessarily become an astrologer yourself, then there are plenty of professionals around, whose interpretation you can use as a starting point. You won't understand any of it at first, which is completely normal; the point is just to start soaking yourself in it, and familiarity will come by itself.

If you are wondering why I am telling you to learn your chart, though; it is because your chart is a fantastic description of the specific personal challenges that you have in life. I can't give you advice about your specific issues, because I don't know what they are.

The other thing I will tell anyone to do as another early step, (which astrology will help you do) is to start thinking in terms of correspondences. Crowley's Liber 777 is the usual work on the topic for magicians, but he is as elitist as usual in that book, and assumes that you already know rather a lot. For a new person I'd recommend the number descriptions in John Anthony West's Serpent in the Sky. Most of the rest of that book is an angry rant against mainstream Egyptology, and therefore is not much use; but the descriptions of the numbers he gives are good, if a little brief. I would also recommend reading this document on the subject, as well as Robert Lawlor's Sacred Geometry: Theory and Practice. You should be able to find pdfs of those two books online, which I would recommend, because print copies are likely to be more difficult to obtain.

There are various other things. The visualisation exercise Mr. Cheese gave you is decent, and another standard one is the Qabbalistic Cross. What I did initially was the QC daily for a couple of weeks, before moving up to the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram; although some might recommend that you stick with more basic things first, to flex your energetic muscles before you start doing more hairy things. I am a hypocrite in recommending this, though; the only ritual I do at all these days, is a daily recitation of the Saptaslokistotra Durga, which is related to Kali.

It really depends on what you want to do. The only time I would truthfully bother with energetic exercises, is if I wanted to get back in training for several weeks before attempting an evocation, which I'm very unlikely to do at this point; my Goetic incident pretty much scared me completely straight, as far as ritual is concerned. Then again, I can't really say that either, because I perform minor invocations of a couple of servitors on almost a daily basis; it's just that that sort of thing is so completely normal for me at this point, that I scarcely remember doing it.

I view things like the QC or Middle Pillar as the aetheric equivalent of weight training, although it is interesting how my perspective on various things changed, after doing the MP.
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Old 10-29-15   #10
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Default Re: How do I begin? Need direction...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Windsmith bat Gaia View Post
Really fantastic advice, fera!
Thank you - I don't see the point in specific exercises until Shakti knows what her beliefs are. Once she does, the rest will flow.
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