It is imperative to the metaphysicist, whether he be a magician, a psychic or a mystic, to conquer himself. Why? Because we must conquer ourselves before we can conquer that which we seek mastery of. “Know thyself” is the old axiom, and let it be extended to embrace “Know thine enemy.” If you know your enemy, you can meet him in combat and emerge the victor. The power of the magician, of the mystic, the sage, the prophet, the psychic, the priest, over the outside world is only proportional to his control over himself. You must force your flesh and blood into submission to your mind, and then your mind into submission to your soul. Only then shall you be centered, and work as one unit not divided against itself. This is the resolution of the three conflicts of mind, body, and spirit.The Animalistic and Divine Nature “Not just another animal, not merely a product of evolutionary change, in a very special way the human spirit was touched by the hand of the Divine; Half beast, half God.” -Mitsugi Saotome
Man is a unit simplistically made up of two main sides: The Divine and Animalistic dual natures. In one aspect, we are not but primates. We react according to genetics to a given event, have the same primordial reflexes as any other animal, are characterized in the most animalistic ways to continue our own reproduction, and our actions themselves are often governed by evolutionary genetics to which we are predisposed and behave only as our physical minds have evolved to behave in order to ensure successful mating and reproduction. We eat because we need food to live, have sex because we are compelled to carry on the species, nurture our young because they too must continue the species, expel wastes just like all other animals, and much more. This is us at our most primordial foundation: no different from the animals which we butcher.
The thing which separates us from the animals and makes us men is our polar divine nature, by which we have risen to a height of control over this world, and should we so seize it, power in even other worlds. We have a very real connection to the divine forces that govern and fabricate the universe from star to star, and pluck the very strings which resonate the songs of heaven and cries of Hell. The key, central force of our divine nature is the soul, which the animals do not have and wherein they are animals because of. It is the foundation of our godly selves, and the force by which we are exalted above the other animals of this world. However, this side of us is subdued by our animalistic instincts, and I weep as I look about and see not but a gloomy veil of dust over the soul’s of men. They are animals to me, and deserve to be treated as such if it were my choice. Do not let the soul become vestigial, for vestigial parts are removed over time, and I fear for the man who loses his very soul because he did not use it.
The choice then is this: Shall we be animals, or gods? The goal of spirituality is to transcend the animalistic side and embrace the godly side of the self. To converse with the Higher Self, the Oversoul, and embrace the universe in its spiritual totality. This is the refining of the self, that we may destroy the beast that keeps us outside the gates of heaven, gnawing at our sides and scratching our fleas. However, this can not happen so long as we allow the animal in us to subdue the godly in us. In so far as we are naught but animals, we shall never realize our destinies as the sons of God. The goal of the mystic, the magician and the spiritualist is to transcend the animalistic and embrace the divine. In this manner the divine nature has control over the self, and therein we truly become ourselves(being divine by inheritance). So long as a man is divided against himself, he can not stand strong in the world of metaphysics. He shall speak to spirits, and they shall reply “Why has a dog come to speak with me? I do not waste my time with animals.” The Exercises
Now then, to the bulk of this essay: the exercises by which you may eventually come to be in control of your animal self. This is done by denying yourself the animalistic instincts that govern our lives in so far as those which are not necessary for your survival, demonstrating that your mind and not your genetic psychology is in control of yourself. Once this is done, spiritual meditation can reunite your mind with your inner self.
1.) The Overcoming of Habits
. It is first and foremost important that you overcome various habits which you know are having a direct negative influence on your life. This could be smoking, drinking, twitching, coughing, burping, yelling, getting angry swiftly, or any number of things. Whatever it is, locate it and overcome. Do this gradually, setting time periods during which you will refrain from the habit. Start, perhaps, by going a day without embracing it. Move on to several days, then on to a week, etc, etc until you are no longer ruled by the habit. The first walls has been broken to in conquering yourself. Whenever you fail and submit to the habit, punish yourself accordingly, perhaps by refusing to eat a particular food for a day, not watching television, etc; be creative, but be firm in your discipline. A reward/punishment system is extremely useful for this.
2.) Eating control
. Do not eat because you can, or because there is food in the area. Instead, eat only when you have to, and only enough to satisfy you until the next time you are scheduled to eat. Perhaps resign yourself from some of your favorite foods to demonstrate control over that part of you, and therein establish that you are in control, and not your appetite. You may even consider becoming a vegetarian for a matter of weeks(does not need to be permanent by any means). Do this same thing with drinks, only drinking when appropriate and never simply because you can. Drink more water and less soda, etc etc.
3.) Control of Movement
. Take a gesture which you are accustomed to using on a daily basis(such as a wink, smile, hand gestures, etc) and do not use it for set days of the week, keeping to this schedule rigidly. If you catch yourself doing the gesture, punish yourself accordingly(never be extreme in your punishments). If you usually sit cross-legged, sit with your legs out straight. If you usually lean to your right, lean to your left. If you walk quickly by nature, walk a little slower, and vice versa. Do not let instinctual habits of physical movement control you, and monitor everything you do accordingly throughout your day, looking for what little things you can gain control over. This is the mastery of your movement, that you may do nothing without a purpose.
4.)Control of Speech
. Monitor your very speech. Avoid saying words that you typically use in every day language, paraphrasing where need be, no matter how odd it may make you sound. Do not let the routine conformities of speech which society has engraved into your mind rule you, but instead rule all things about your speech, that nothing you say will be said without a reason, and that you may never say anything which has no benefit. Avoid speaking idly of useless things which have no benefit to yourself or the listener, and do not insult, yell or curse, for these are the manifestations of animalistic rage. If a question is asked of you, answer it concisely and to as accurate a degree as need be. Do not babble on about a subject after it has adequately been covered.
5.) Control of Thought
. This is essential in meditation, and just as it can aid your meditation, so can meditation help you towards this end in a mutual effect. Monitor your thoughts closely throughout the day, trying your hardest not to let your mind wander on pointless things. Choose something that you usually find yourself thinking about during the day(perhaps a girl/guy you like) and try not to think about it though out the course of the day. Each day go on trying to suppress and control such streams of thoughts, so that when you need a focused mind it is not cramped with the trash that the average person lingers on.
6.) Make a new ritual
. Establish a new routine for each day; something that is not a part of your usual schedule, and will require its own separate amount of attention on a regular basis. A good example would be buying a plant that requires constant nurturing, such as a small bonzai tree. Whatever it is, make sure you stick to it with all the fervor of an important religious rite. Do not swagger in your dedication to this daily routine, but do not let it control you either. After a matter of weeks, get rid of it.
7.) Control of Personality
. If you are subject to the horrible idiocy that is the mainstream scale of popularity, then go against the grain a little. If you are one of the popular jocks, start spending some time with the “unpopular” people that you would have normally never considered even being around. The inverse should be applied to the people that the social ladder does not favor in regards to being kind to others that you typically would pass a rude glare to. Do not let the conformity of the social world force you into obedience. Dogs are forced into obedience, not gods. If your actions bring a little social scorn upon you from those you fancy to be your friends, know that it is all part of the test upon the completion of which you are not ruled, but can begin to rule.
8.) Sleep Control
. Establish a mentally controlled biological clock for yourself. On weekends that you don’t have things planned for the morning, try waking up at about 8:00 with no alarm clock. This can be accomplished by enforcing in your mind the previous night that you WILL wake up the next morning at 8:00. In this way you gain even a subconscious control over natural psychosomatic responses.
9.) The Destruction of Niceties
. If you are accustomed to sleeping in a fluffy bed with warm blankets and a comfortable pillow, do away with it in favor of something more simplistic, though perhaps not more comfortable. Do not take warm showers(this does not mean they have to be freezing), avoid your favorite foods, and bring yourself to do things that you usually would not do in a lack of dedication(such as begin going to your church or temple every Sunday, etc). If a place you need to go is walking distance away, and you have spare time, then walk there. If you have someone clean your house, begin cleaning your own house. Be creative.
I have here provided a descent list of ways to gradually gain conscious control of the usually subconscious and/or instinctive facilities which tend to govern our lives. Following through with these is not simply a step forward in the spiritual path towards embracing personal godhood, but also an extraordinary act of self discipline which can only reflect positively not only all areas of metaphysics, but all areas of life.
Above all, be creative. I’ve only given you nine little exercises you can put into practice, some taken from the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius, some from Liber III vel Jugorum(expanded upon by myself), and some from my own walk of life in so far as they have proven beneficial in my discipline. Expand upon these yourself, always looking for the little things which seem to govern you, and turning the tables so that you govern it. If you can conquer yourself, you are one step closer to conquering this life.