Thursday, May 23, 2019

Sungazing (for Psychic Awareness); is it Dangerous? Productive?

Sungazing


Staring at the Sun, Aka Sungazing


by Jude Chi

You may have heard--there are many people who stare at the sun; but then, there are far more who believe that to do so is dangerous; idiotic, even. In actuality though it is not crazy or dangerous, nor is it some New Age thing. People have been doing it for aeons, including some of the ancient Asians, Greeks, Egyptians, and Mayans.


Why would anyone stare at the sun? Isn't it dangerous? 


The truth is, that while staring directly at the sun is typically dangerous, there is a time in the evening where sungazing becomes safe. There are varying reports on what that time is though; some sources say it's 45 minutes before sundown, some extend that to an hour, others say it is the last 2 hours prior to sundown. Really though, the 2 hour suggestion in my humble opinion is erroneous, or at least, could be that to the average person. As a long term sungazer I've tried outside of the last hour before sundown. It can be hell on the eyes, so to a newbie it would be more hellish yet, and may potentially be harmful. As such, sungazing outside of the typically suggested 45 minutes time frame is not recommended. There is a time in the morning where sungazing is safe as well, but we'll get to that later (in the 'how to' section).

By the way, this article is to inform; it is not my intent to promote sungazing. What you do with your eyes is your business.

Now, let's return to the question, "why would anyone want to stare at the sun in the first place?" The primary reason people sungaze, is to stimulate psychic awareness. Beyond that, they do it to vitalize themselves with the sun's energy, for one thing. You know how crystal lovers are aware that orange and yellow crystals carry sun energy? Well in theory they could put their crystals down and instead connect directly with the sun. The energetic effect of connecting with the sun in this way can be seen in observing plants, which need the sun to grow. Though it's harder to see what the sun does for humans, it is understood that we need vitamin D, which can only be produced by spending time in the sun. Vitamin D benefits include support of bone and tooth health, potential resistance to cancer, reduced risk of diabetes and MS, and increased cardiac health. As well vitamin D is believed to slow aging somewhat. To support production of vitamin D alone, is enough reason for one to consider spending more time outside in the sun. However, for one to choose sungazing over simply spending time in the sun, they may need other reasons.

My interest in sungazing was piqued upon reading a thread where a Facebook friend said that his psychic awareness had increased multi-fold since he began sungazing. I'd been working to increase my own awareness for a long time, so it was something I was prone towards investigating. It in time became my experience to believe what he said; sungazing does indeed heighten psychic awareness. It was only a month or so of regular sungazing before I started having regular visions, and had deities and daemons dropping by to offer messages of guidance. Though it is tempting to tell more of my personal experience with sungazing, it's not a good idea, as once a post becomes personal it has less mass appeal.  

Some would balk at my suggesting that I or anyone might sungaze to heighten awareness. Those same people would perhaps say that awareness is logically a byproduct of spiritual growth, and would in that mean that psychic awareness should be earnt the hard way. However, one person's philosophy should not have a whole lot of bearing on the choices another makes. As a mere observation on this, increasing one's psychic awareness does lead to accelerated spiritual growth, just as working on spiritual growth leads to heightened psychic awareness. So there's no real issue to be balked at.


Why Doesn't Sungazing Harm the Eyes?


During the time range recommended for sungazing, the sun emits less UV radiation. It is UV radiation that causes retinal damage. As well, and I provide no scientific or other evidence in support of this, but as I began sungazing I noticed that my eyes made certain adjustments. After a while, as soon as I gazed at the sun it quickly turned blue. When it is blue that way it does not feel uncomfortable at all to gaze at. It is as if the sun provides its own filter, in a sense. But I will add this--outside of the recommended ideal 45 minutes, at certain times the blue will not appear. Such times are obviously not the time to sungaze! It would be remiss not to add, that there's no telling if the sun will turn blue for you.

If eye damage is of concern for you but you still want to try, consider sungazing with your eyes closed. In doing so you are still fully connecting with the sun's energy and you are still assimilating sun energy in a significant way, as the eyelids are semipermeable. Thank you to my friend Adam K, who brought this alternate procedure to my attention.


What Else Can Sungazing Do?


Sungazing stimulates and activates the pineal gland, and in that, subsequently boosts the production of serotonin and melatonin, the bodily hormones that make us feel good [statement based upon information released by Dr. Edward F. Group III]. Melatonin and serotonin are known to alleviate stress and anxiety; they also help regulate sleep. As the sun is an intangible food source, it reduces feelings of hunger; and as Dr. Group pointed out, there is a direct connection between having low serotonin levels and craving carbohydrates. Furthermore on this same topic, Dr. Group said (paraphrased) that,"not spending enough time in the sun lowers vitamin D levels, which subsequently leads to weight gain."

Sungazing is said to increase physical energy, and that some do it towards that end is the only support available for this statement. Some have offered though, that in being generally happier and without losing as much energy to stress, one is going to be more energetic. Who knows. Furthermore, some say that sungazing will improve one's eyesight, but I found no basis to believe or disbelieve it. As well, those who meditate may find that their meditation sessions are more profound after sungazing for a while. And, as we age the pineal gland decreases in size, and today's living seems geared towards reducing its functionality. Sungazing is believed to increase the pineal gland's size; this due to brain scans conducted on Hira Ratan Manek. When he was 70 years of age, his scans showed his pineal gland to be thrice the size of the average man's.

By the way, Mr. Manek claims that sungazing can stabilize the emotions within a period of three months, can clear a person of illness in between three and six months, and will reduce cravings for larger food intakes within a six to nine month period. Note though, that if this were true it would be based upon one adhering to a certain recommended procedure, including increasing the amount of time that one gazes upon the sun for, by ten seconds each day, keeping a record to ensure accuracy, and sticking with the plan.

And speaking of Mr. Manek, some will call him a charlatan, as he was filmed eating after having laid claim to not needing to eat due to his consistent sungazing. However, do some investigation on that and you'll see, that he was under permanent supervision for the one year that he did abstain from eating within. If you could not eat, for example, wouldn't you still want to eat for the sensation sometimes? The guy is human, after all.


How is it Done?


As already recommended--sungazing is considered safe if practiced within the first 45 minutes after sunup, and also within the last 45 minutes before sundown. Though there are many who believe that an hour is safe, each person needs to know all the facts, then make whichever informed decision they do.

Instructions

Make sure that you only do this during the recommended time frame. It's up to you to decide whether morning or evening works best for you.

The first time, gaze at the sun for ten seconds. While doing so, softly diffuse your gaze. Then wait 24 hours to repeat; but when you do it that second time, gaze for an additional ten seconds (i.e., for a total of 20 seconds). Then 24 hours later, lather, rinse and repeat; 30 seconds this time. Add 10 seconds each day. Keep a record so you don't forget how long, as to introduce the eyes to the appropriate amount of sunlight is integral during the process. When you reach the point where you are sungazing for 44 minutes, you have maxed  out; that's as far as you can go. You can keep on doing it, but cannot make your sessions any longer.

That's all there is to it, really. You may find yourself growing in spirit exponentially. You may find the universe speaking to you in new and different ways. You may even find yourself experiencing what I do--visions and visits; and also sigils emerging from the sun, to analyze and gain messages from.

Know that at times there have been reports of people who've stared at the sun and harmed their eyes. Unfortunately, in such reported cases we don't know all of the facts. If it was the result of sungazing, were they following recommended practices? We just don't know. Basically, if you are doing it and it doesn't feel good, don't continue. For the record, another excellent way of connecting with the sun's energies, is through performing the Liber Resh vel Helios ritual on a regular basis. The only risk in doing so, is that you might turn Thelemite! Hah!

If you learnt something from this, please share.

Jude

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The Beginning Magician (4: More Yoga Activities to Keep You Busy)

asana, yoga, pranayama, breathing

Note from the Editor: It seems that in magick, that the bulk of beginners prefer to slide past working on the breathing exercises, mantras, and other elements of yoga. However, though one easily can do that and experience success in magick, let's now stop and consider one of the greatest historical examples of what yoga and its elements can do for us within magick when we do work with it. Aleister Crowley, is who we look to.

Aleister was so ill as a child he almost died. He's been quoted as saying that he did not realize early enough in his life that he could have made changes to improve his health, so did nothing. But when he realized he could self treat, he did so. It was done through his engaging in various methods of self discipline, including mountain climbing (physical), chess (mental), magickal and mystical pursuits (spiritual); and also through yoga, which addresses body, mind and spirit. The Great Beast 666 went on to become one of the greatest magicians of all time, and few will dispute this; as well he became one heck of a prolific author.

Yours truly (editor Jude Chi) was one of those who dismissed breathing exercises for a very long time. After a while though it seemed worth an effort to try. Once one does try there is no turning back, as the changes they will experience upon doing so are radical, IMHO. Point being, don't be in such a hellfire hurry to skip to the good parts of magick. Much power lies within the topic matter broached upon in a basic fashion right here. On a side-note, to clarify the title, some basic level of pranayama was presented in lesson one of this lesson series.
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Magick :: Discipline in Breathing


by Adam K


Greetings. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

In Magick, one could well ask, “why would one chant, and what could it mean?” We in the West typically have a hard time understanding the purpose behind doing or saying a thing that apparently has no inherent purpose. Here I’ll attempt to address that concept, as well as I am capable of.

It would be easiest to begin by asking, “what is Pranayama?” Well, there are two things we don’t think of as all that important until we aren’t getting them. One is sex. The other is air. You figure out which one you will actually die without. We have talked about your breathing before, and now we will actually go out of our way to make it difficult by simply thinking about it while doing it, and making a routine out of it. I know, I know, why would we want to make it difficult, is what you’re thinking. Think of it like working out. When you are working out, you are intentionally doing a difficult thing to both make doing everything else easier and to alter your physical relationship to the world. Much the same is true with the Hindi practice of Pranayama, or, literally, Breath Control. Of course, as is usual in transliteration, prana means considerably more than just breath or air, and yama means something more than simply control; truer when we make them into one whole word. However, for now, breath control will suffice.

Prana is pretty much identical to the Chinese concept of Chi, which is a sort of life force energy that exists in everything around us and in us. Think of it like The Force in Star Wars, but much more subtle. pranayama is the act of controlling our intake and use of that energy, which is tied up in the air that we breathe.

In Western society, we have a tendency to pick up some pretty bad habits where our breathing is concerned. For example, we generally learn over time to breathe almost exclusively from the top sixty percent of our lungs, and that breathing is very shallow as a result. If you observe the way any young child or infant breathes, you will see it is much different from how adults, especially adult males, breathe. Children haven’t picked up the bad breathing habits we have yet. They breathe more deeply, and from lower in their core. It is at least a likely contributor to why we have so much less energy as adults than children do.

If you gain nothing else from this, it is worth the effort of correcting your breathing just to recapture a portion of the energy of your youth. So here I will give a simple method for doing that. Try it and see for yourself if you feel any difference after doing things differently for one week.

Since this is yoga we are talking about, the first thing you will want to do is get in a position, or asana, that you are somewhat comfortable with. It doesn’t need to be anything difficult like the lotus asana because the point to this is to alter your breathing habits and not to have your focus drawn away by undue discomfort. We’ll worry about doing that later!

mindful breathing
Once you have found an asana you are comfortable with, you should make sure you are dressed comfortably, that there is no restriction to your breathing, nothing tight around your waist. If you have privacy and aren’t overly self conscious, a good suggestion is to practice this nude. If not, a loose fitting robe of some kind is recommended.

Now find a nice, quiet spot to perform in. Take your chosen asana. Simply begin to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Here is the hard part: breathe in for a count of four seconds, then hold the breath without tightening your throat for four seconds, exhale slowly and evenly for four seconds, and hold again without tightening your throat for four seconds. It may be helpful to have a metronome (and yes, there is an app for that) set to 60 BPM to help you keep track of this. Another key is to breathe quietly enough that you cannot hear it, and inhale and exhale fully with each breath. Try to remain otherwise as still as possible while doing so. Imagine a string attached to the ceiling and extending down to the top of your head, and it is holding your head, neck, and spine straight and vertical. Breathing should start from the bottom of your lungs on inhaling, and should end there as well upon exhaling.

This all sounds simple enough, but compare it after a few minutes of practice to regular subconscious breathing, ask yourself just how much more difficult it is. But the key to this is, to keep doing it until without realizing it, you are no longer even thinking about it. It has simply become the way that you breathe.

If you feel you are becoming too comfortable with this, then it is advised that you simply take longer with each breath. Simply decrease the beats per minute on your metronome to 40 BPM, for example, while continuing to inhale, hold, exhale, and hold, each for four beats. And when that becomes too easy, decrease the bpm to 30 BPM, and so on.

Don’t make yourself overly comfortable while practicing this, but likewise, don’t allow it to be too terribly uncomfortable. The key to growth is to push your limits, not to rush past them blindly, after all. I am sure that as you progress, you will notice considerable physiological changes over time. Your regular rate of breathing as well as your regular pulse rate will slow as a result. The slower your regular pulse, the longer you live, oddly enough.

And, for the sake of making things even more difficult, we will now incorporate mantras. Instead of simply counting seconds, we may choose a phrase with a rhythm to it that holds some special meaning for us. This phrase will be a mantra for you, a phrase that, through repetition, will lose all conscious meaning in that moment, but which will alter your subconscious mind in significant ways. The science and art of creating change, indeed. But the key to effectiveness in the use of mantras, is to be sure you aren’t telling your subconscious self things, that to it, will seem patently absurd. You probably won’t convince your subconscious that you can stop a tank with a pinky finger, for example, unless you are also telling it HOW to stop it with your pinky finger (likely that would involve being in the driver’s seat of the tank, of course).

Start with something simple, but that has enough detail that it won’t be mistaken for vague nonsense. Barring that, use one that has little to no actual meaning to you, but which has a proven record of success. “Aum mani padme aum”, for example, is one such mantra. Meaning “hail, the jewel in the lotus,” it can easily be thought of as parallel to Liber AL’s own “The khabs is in the khu, not the khu in the khabs.” This phrase means that you reside within the universe of Nuit as Hadit, a star in that universe. It also means that the true quintessential YOU is not the mask of your persona that is the visible aspect seen by the world (the mask of khu), but the genuine self that must by its very nature continue as an indestructible fire, a star, a burning light that is the pure, immutable YOU (the khabs, the star, the soul, call it what you will).

But, really, any phrase that has a rhythm that can match your four beats per measure pattern of breathing can be a mantra. Just be sure you aren’t programming yourself to be the next Nickelback. Nobody needs that! (Lol)

If you want to really push this to the next level, you can practice your breathing exercises while jogging. Start with inhaling for three steps and exhaling for three steps (don’t hold your breath while jogging, as it is likely very unhealthy). After a while, change it to four, and move forth from there. If it becomes exceedingly difficult, simply lower the number of steps per breath back to a reasonable but not overly comfortable level. In time, you may be able to lower your regular resting heart rate to as low as 40 BPM! This is, in fact, the rate for many professional athletes and elite combatants, so it is possible! Just keep at it.

By now, I hope you have begun keeping a magickal diary or journal. These practices I have discussed would be ideal to keep track of in that journal. You will want to keep a record of how your awareness, focus, and wakefulness are all affected by the change in your breathing, both in the immediate and the long term. How also does the change affect your other daily activities? What correlations can you draw between your breathing and any improvements or lack of improvements you can see? Include anything you even remotely might feel is relevant. You may be surprised at what you could learn over time. From my own experience, I can say that any alteration in my breathing habits dramatically affects whatever activity I am involved in at that time, and that includes physical, mental, and magickal pursuits. It also affects my immediate emotional state, leveling out any extreme emotions I may be experiencing, especially if the breathing is accompanied by any form of rational thought exercises. But these are my experiences, not yours. That is precisely why you should be keeping a record of what you experience.

I know there has been more time than I previously indicated there would be between articles, and this is something I will try to work on. Stay tuned for more exciting adventures in the coming months! Until next time…

     Love is the law, love under will.
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Other Articles in This Series
The Preamble
Part One, Elementary Level Knowledge
Part Two, Rituals
Part Three, The Gods of Thelema
Part Three, The Gods of Thelema Continued
Part Four, More Yoga Activities to Keep You Busy (this page)

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