Author Topic: Liber Null  (Read 109 times)

Liu

Liber Null
« on: December 12, 2020, 09:42:31 am »
I recently started reading Liber Null, finished the first chapter (Liber MMM).

But I find it hard to understand, it's really lacking examples.

Which object in the world, for the purpose of the object concentration exercise, would have "no spiritual, egotistical, intellectual, emotional or useful significance"? I can't think of any example - I could pick up a random stone or a random object from a pile of trash and would find some symbolic meaning in it without trying.

I guess the purpose is finding an object with a low degree of significance so that one doesn't get distracted by that, so that it's beginner-friendly. Even though the explanation seems to imply that focusing on something meaningless would be harder than focusing on something with significance.

Similar with the exercise of exchanging a habit against another - I find it hard to find anything that I do every day and that hasn't some meaning or purpose for me. And the few things that might perhaps count - like which hand I use to open a door - are so subconscious that trying to change them has a high risk of failure as I often would forget about not doing it, so this wouldn't fulfill the criterion of having no risk of failure.

I could of course pick a daily habit that does have significance or purpose, but I don't know any I would want to give up. I have habits I'd like to give up, but they don't happen on a daily/regular basis.

And I'm not really clear about the purpose of banishing rituals, about how to pursue the non-attachment and about why the method of sigil magic described there would work (i.e. what's the problem with consciously desiring an outcome). Especially for the latter two, an example would be very helpful.

Also with the exercises, it's not really clear how strict adherence to them is expected for success. E.g. for no movement - muscles move automatically when they relax, which simply happens when you keep in one position for a while. Am I supposed to suppress these movements as well? Or for breathing meditation - keeping the focus on the breath for 30 minutes shouldn't be that hard if one sets one's mind to it and isn't tired, but having no other thought but the breath for 30 minutes is extremely difficult if not outright impossible. So I guess the goal needs to be somewhere inbetween these two options.

I think I'll continue reading, perhaps then things will get clearer. But as that's the beginner's lesson and the latter chapters are for when one has mastered these things, I wonder whether I'll not instead have trouble understanding the rest when I don't understand how the basics are meant.

idgo

Re: Liber Null
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2020, 07:20:11 pm »
A copy is at https://azinelibrary.org/trash/LiberNull.pdf, for anyone who happens to follow along.

You know how some software is meant to be understood, like example code in documentation, while other pieces are meant to "just work", like this forum? It feels to me like you're looking at the forum how sample code is written to be looked at, in your approach to MMM. There's nothing wrong with this, and in fact analyzing production systems for education can yield greater education, but it seems worth making sure we're on the same page that this is one of those things where trying to understand every detail is absolutely hard mode compared to just using it.

The other thing worth noting when discussing Chaos Magic/k is that, if life was a card game, Chaos would be a "discard your hand and re-draw" type of move. If you have existing systems and beliefs that are working great for you and you don't want to throw them out or reduce their prevalence in your life, not all Chaos practices will necessarily be appropriate to fit those desires.


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Which object in the world, for the purpose of the object concentration exercise, would have "no spiritual, egotistical, intellectual, emotional or useful significance"? I can't think of any example - I could pick up a random stone or a random object from a pile of trash and would find some symbolic meaning in it without trying.

I guess the purpose is finding an object with a low degree of significance so that one doesn't get distracted by that, so that it's beginner-friendly. Even though the explanation seems to imply that focusing on something meaningless would be harder than focusing on something with significance.

My 2c on this one is that focusing on a significant object is vastly easier than focusing on an insignificant one, because it allows a gentle segue into focusing on the *significance* instead of the *object*. Someone could stare at their wedding ring all day, because they'd distract and entertain themself by pondering the meaning and history of the ring rather than *the actual ring*. In short, the mind has a far easier time wandering off and ending the useful portion of the exercise when using a meaningful object, which might be exactly what you mean about getting distracted by it.

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Similar with the exercise of exchanging a habit against another - I find it hard to find anything that I do every day and that hasn't some meaning or purpose for me. And the few things that might perhaps count - like which hand I use to open a door - are so subconscious that trying to change them has a high risk of failure as I often would forget about not doing it, so this wouldn't fulfill the criterion of having no risk of failure.

I could of course pick a daily habit that does have significance or purpose, but I don't know any I would want to give up. I have habits I'd like to give up, but they don't happen on a daily/regular basis.

The question here, I'd think, is fundamentally of whether or not you wish to pursue personal metamorphosis. I strongly suspect that living in the world may cause you to have little daily habits without significance. When you wash your dishes after eating, do you set them to dry at the near or far side of the space for that purpose? When preparing a drink, in what order do you assemble its components? When you sleep, on what side of the bed do you place the things you'll want the next morning or through the night? Even in constrained situations, these default habits can be mixed up for a while with no significant increase of inconvenience other than the inherent struggle of rolling the brain's path away from its well-worn ruts.

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And I'm not really clear about the purpose of banishing rituals, about how to pursue the non-attachment and about why the method of sigil magic described there would work (i.e. what's the problem with consciously desiring an outcome). Especially for the latter two, an example would be very helpful.

Psychological explanations are like a gangplank onto the ship of each technique: handy for getting aboard, but ultimately needing to be lifted for the technique to perform at its best.
  • Banishing rituals: Have you ever been really worried about something and then experienced a change in attitude about it to realize it was actually unimportant, and ceased being bothered about it? Banishing is an attempt to flip that same switch. Or have you ever had a friend get way too obsessed with something for awhile, and been like "dude, chill, it's not really that big of a deal"? Banishing is like doing that but for yourself.
  • Non-attachment+non-disinterest: A little like un-asking the question, if you're into zen. non-attachment+non-disinterest can be easier to start at by examining temporally: they're not unlike considering a thing right now without any consideration for the past or future of the thing. This can also be looked at as letting go of your own expectations about a thing, in order to see it for itself rather than for what you want of it: consider the classic Selective Attention Tests like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJG698U2Mvo for an example of the hazards of excessive attachment or disinterest
  • Sigil stuff: I'm curious what your existing beliefs about how sigils work might be? Sigils as a technique for getting out of your own way and ceasing to waste a bunch of mental energy ruminating on something so you can go do something more useful is, like, one of the most common explanations of their effectiveness that I see to this day. One phenomenon with sigils that Carroll touches on lightly in his explanation of them is how keeping a desire in the front of the mind for too long causes one to think more about why forces outside one's control prevent one from attaining it, or why it might not be so bad to never attain it, and both those types of change to one's thinking tend to reduce one's odds of getting the desired result.

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Also with the exercises, it's not really clear how strict adherence to them is expected for success. E.g. for no movement - muscles move automatically when they relax, which simply happens when you keep in one position for a while. Am I supposed to suppress these movements as well? Or for breathing meditation - keeping the focus on the breath for 30 minutes shouldn't be that hard if one sets one's mind to it and isn't tired, but having no other thought but the breath for 30 minutes is extremely difficult if not outright impossible. So I guess the goal needs to be somewhere inbetween these two options.

One approach is to attempt to perfect the introductory exercises as one interprets them before moving on. Another approach is to practice the introductory exercises until one understands their subjective effects, then attempt work which builds on them, and return to the earlier exercises to strengthen one's weakest skills in them at whatever time those weaknesses hinder further growth. Depending on the particular baggage and skills you've picked up from other practices, you may need more or less work in each area than the author tends to assume. For instance, an extensive background in meditation may have caused some readers to have already been practicing several of the exercises for many years before even finding the book.

For the "no movement" thing in particular, I read it as "do not instruct the body to move". A literal "no change in position may be permitted" would be unattainable, as we exist on a moving planet and bodies require a certain amount of internal motion to prevent cellular damage. But explaining the task as "do not move except the ways in which you must", while more accurate, would also lead to a lot of new students fidgeting about at the slightest itch because they "must" scratch their noses or "must" alleviate a burning desire to wiggle the toes or whatever.

And do bear in mind that a big part of the work Carroll encourages is to modify the bounds of what the individual finds "possible". Just as it may be "impossible" for someone to hold their breath more than a couple minutes at one point in time but possible for them to complete a long dive without supplemental oxygen after a few years of training, magical practices "impossible" to someone at one point in their life may become simple or commonplace at another time.

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I think I'll continue reading, perhaps then things will get clearer. But as that's the beginner's lesson and the latter chapters are for when one has mastered these things, I wonder whether I'll not instead have trouble understanding the rest when I don't understand how the basics are meant.

If you have any prior practices that involve holding apparent opposites in mind concurrently, you might find it helpful to pick them back up. Especially if they involve balancing opposites, recognizing the ways in which those opposites are actually the same, and then finding a third thing that's opposite to the initial pair. That's the basic philosophical gesture, if we can call it such, which I find most useful in turning the words of authors like Carroll into things that feel like useful insights.

Liu

Re: Liber Null
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2020, 02:29:40 pm »
Thanks!

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You know how some software is meant to be understood, like example code in documentation, while other pieces are meant to "just work", like this forum? It feels to me like you're looking at the forum how sample code is written to be looked at, in your approach to MMM. There's nothing wrong with this, and in fact analyzing production systems for education can yield greater education, but it seems worth making sure we're on the same page that this is one of those things where trying to understand every detail is absolutely hard mode compared to just using it.
The goal is using that forum. But I end up instead trying to understand the code because the buttons aren't clearly labelled, because some features seem useless to me even though I know many people use them, etc.

But it's a general tendency for me to put more effort into understanding than utilizing.

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The other thing worth noting when discussing Chaos Magic/k is that, if life was a card game, Chaos would be a "discard your hand and re-draw" type of move. If you have existing systems and beliefs that are working great for you and you don't want to throw them out or reduce their prevalence in your life, not all Chaos practices will necessarily be appropriate to fit those desires.

Not all is working great, but I don't know how to apply the techniques to those things that aren't. I don't want to discard my whole hand but only some specific cards but I don't know when I'll be drawing others.

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My 2c on this one is that focusing on a significant object is vastly easier than focusing on an insignificant one, because it allows a gentle segue into focusing on the *significance* instead of the *object*. Someone could stare at their wedding ring all day, because they'd distract and entertain themself by pondering the meaning and history of the ring rather than *the actual ring*. In short, the mind has a far easier time wandering off and ending the useful portion of the exercise when using a meaningful object, which might be exactly what you mean about getting distracted by it.

Yes, that's basically what I meant. But I would get distracted by a "meaningless" thing no less than by one with a personal significance. If I'd stare at a ring with no significance to me, I'd start thinking about its color, its shape, its texture, what other things look similar, what rings symbolise, which things contain rings, etc. Just staring at it without thinking about it is difficult. Or are you saying that its color, shape and texture would be something one is "allowed" to focus on?

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When you wash your dishes after eating, do you set them to dry at the near or far side of the space for that purpose? When preparing a drink, in what order do you assemble its components? When you sleep, on what side of the bed do you place the things you'll want the next morning or through the night? Even in constrained situations, these default habits can be mixed up for a while with no significant increase of inconvenience other than the inherent struggle of rolling the brain's path away from its well-worn ruts.

I don't have fixed habits about these things, except for when there is only one real option, or when I have reasons: I do tend to put specific things on one side of the bed, and specific other things on the other, but mainly due to space restrictions and which side's closer to the door and yoga mat or to the computer, respectively, and some things end up at either end depending on circumstances. Yet which things I put next to my bed and whether they end up there or somewhere else (in my bag, by the shoes, on the floor,...) changes often.
So it's hard to find something I do the same way every day since a significant amount of time and that it wouldn't be inconvenient to change. Also, if something does fulfill these criteria, it's likely to be so subconscious that it doesn't fit the other criterion of being easy to change. But thanks for the examples, perhaps they'll make it easier to find something. If I need to - based on that description I seem to be using that technique anyway unintentionally.

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Banishing rituals: Have you ever been really worried about something and then experienced a change in attitude about it to realize it was actually unimportant, and ceased being bothered about it? Banishing is an attempt to flip that same switch. Or have you ever had a friend get way too obsessed with something for awhile, and been like "dude, chill, it's not really that big of a deal"? Banishing is like doing that but for yourself.
Doesn't seem familiar to me. I stop worrying when I found reasons why my worries are unfounded, not because of some change in attitude. I can get myself out of the more severe forms of the emotional aspect of worrying (i.e. anxiety attacks) by focusing on how everything in the world is of no importance, but it doesn't really change my attitude in regards to the importance of things relative to each other. My main worries are about health, and there it's not easy to have an attitude of it not being important.

And I usually let people be with their obsessions.

But thanks for explaining, I wouldn't have gotten the impression that that's what that technique is supposed to do.

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Sigil stuff: I'm curious what your existing beliefs about how sigils work might be?
The few times I tried, they didn't seem to have any beneficial effects. But that was quite a while ago.

There's a couple theories I have encountered:
- they make you more confident about the likelihood of the outcome you wish, so that you behave slightly differently in a way that makes that outcome more likely, or that makes it more likely for you to accept a similar outcome as being that outcome you wished
- they make you file away your wish as something you don't need to work on, leading you to either completely forget about it or only notice it again when it happened to be fulfilled by chance
- they instruct your subconscious of what you wish exactly, so that it knows what to work on (with or without it using supernatural means for achieving that goal)
- they subtly remind you to actually work on your wish

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Sigils as a technique for getting out of your own way and ceasing to waste a bunch of mental energy ruminating on something so you can go do something more useful is, like, one of the most common explanations of their effectiveness that I see to this day.
That might be why they didn't have an effect on me - you need something stronger than that to stop me from ruminating. Only reason why I do get on with things is because I can also do the job while ruminating.

Also, I most often ruminate on how to tackle things in the near future that I can't do something about right now but will soon, in order to be prepared for that, or things where I first need to decide which of several options to take. Or, when I am involved in a conversation (like this) or just had one, I ruminate through what I said or just wrote in order to find inconsistencies. Reminds me a bit of what Carroll writes in regards to questioning one's own arguments, but I just do that instinctively all the time. I certainly don't find all flaws in them, but just looking out for them doesn't do the trick for that.

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One phenomenon with sigils that Carroll touches on lightly in his explanation of them is how keeping a desire in the front of the mind for too long causes one to think more about why forces outside one's control prevent one from attaining it, or why it might not be so bad to never attain it, and both those types of change to one's thinking tend to reduce one's odds of getting the desired result.
Hm yes, I sometimes end up being stopped from achieving something by not finding a way how to or by deciding it's not worth it. But why would sigils help against that?
Also, based on my experience, I start believing that I can't achieve something or that it's better not to achieve it if I don't spend much time thinking about it - the more I think about it, the more I tend to take these barriers apart.
And one's main problems, those for which one has the largest motivation to tackle them, also tend to be problems one thinks about the most. So there automatically is a high correlation between putting much thought and putting much other effort into solving a problem.

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One approach is to attempt to perfect the introductory exercises as one interprets them before moving on. Another approach is to practice the introductory exercises until one understands their subjective effects, then attempt work which builds on them, and return to the earlier exercises to strengthen one's weakest skills in them at whatever time those weaknesses hinder further growth. Depending on the particular baggage and skills you've picked up from other practices, you may need more or less work in each area than the author tends to assume. For instance, an extensive background in meditation may have caused some readers to have already been practicing several of the exercises for many years before even finding the book.
If I were to try and perfect them based on my interpretation, I'd just give up. And I'm familiar with some of the exercises from general meditation practice. The problem is that I don't see much subjective effects on me from any of them, they seem like skills necessary for performing other skills (albeit I'm not sure how necessary actually) but I haven't seen any benefit in them themselves beyond exploring one's mental faculties.

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For the "no movement" thing in particular, I read it as "do not instruct the body to move". A literal "no change in position may be permitted" would be unattainable, as we exist on a moving planet and bodies require a certain amount of internal motion to prevent cellular damage. But explaining the task as "do not move except the ways in which you must", while more accurate, would also lead to a lot of new students fidgeting about at the slightest itch because they "must" scratch their noses or "must" alleviate a burning desire to wiggle the toes or whatever.
I suspect that's how he must have meant it. I just wonder why that's considered to be that hard - I often do that unintentionally outside of meditation, ignoring such desires as to e.g. stretch or adopt a more comfortable posture because I'm too focused on something in my mind and/or on a screen and end up ignoring my body and then wondering why I'm getting back pain etc.

Also, he says no blinking, which to me would mean, also no unintentional movements. He can't really mean no blinking, though, (unless he means, no opening of the eyes) because keeping the eyes open without blinking would be really unhealthy. For me, my eyes tend to open and close unintentionally when I'm meditating (when I start out with eyes closed). I can suppress it when I focus on it, but I'm not sure whether that's the point.

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If you have any prior practices that involve holding apparent opposites in mind concurrently, you might find it helpful to pick them back up. Especially if they involve balancing opposites, recognizing the ways in which those opposites are actually the same, and then finding a third thing that's opposite to the initial pair. That's the basic philosophical gesture, if we can call it such, which I find most useful in turning the words of authors like Carroll into things that feel like useful insights.
I may not have any prior practices in this regard because I don't know what you're talking about exactly.

I continued reading Liber Lux, and I guess I can't get out of looking at the source code ;) For most things mentioned there, I'm either like "how is that going to do what it's supposed to?" or "I have no idea which problem that could help with and it's too dangerous to pursue for its own sake" or "why would that be the case?". E.g., what do you need no-mind for?

The section on Gnosis clarified a misunderstanding I had. I assumed by no-mind or not-thinking the author means the absolute non-existence of any thought, emotion or sensation that you get in the few moments of successful void meditation. But he's talking about single-mindedness.

That's what I meant by it being hard to understand the text when I don't understand how the basics are meant.

And the way described for invoking the augoeides looks to me like it works by strengthening one's pattern-recognition faculties, making one see significance in any random occurrence. Because I see without even trying to which psychological mechanism this works on, I can't really unsee that and actually believe in it.

Well, with some of the things suggested I should probably just try it out, at least those that don't seem highly risky. But I often have no idea how to.
Writing a diary of coincidences seems like something I could start with. That might help me ease into the mindset for some of the other practices. But I'm finding it hard to decide whether something counts. The bunch of coincidences I encountered thus far today were things like, there was a cat outside when I was looking out the window, it looked roughly into my direction at that moment, and when I wondered whether that counts it looked into my direction again. If I'd count things like that it'd just make it easy to dismiss the majority as not being unlikely occurrences.

It might be helpful to use that term Kia for referring to awareness per se. When I say awareness or consciousness or self, people often think I'm talking about the mind or the ego. I don't think that term is widely enough known, though, to facilitate communication significantly. And based on the Wikipedia summary of the term, Carroll's usage of Kia is different from Spare's and Grant's...

Just to clarify, I don't disagree with everything I read thus far in this book. But those things I agree with don't teach me anything new.

idgo

Re: Liber Null
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2020, 03:02:23 am »
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Yes, that's basically what I meant. But I would get distracted by a "meaningless" thing no less than by one with a personal significance. If I'd stare at a ring with no significance to me, I'd start thinking about its color, its shape, its texture, what other things look similar, what rings symbolise, which things contain rings, etc. Just staring at it without thinking about it is difficult. Or are you saying that its color, shape and texture would be something one is "allowed" to focus on?

I've been contemplating how to better explain this, because I have a strong but inexact sense of what it means due to the analogy to evil eye, and when I discover myself to have beliefs that I can't clearly articulate they tend to nag at me until I solve that.

So, I think another way to approach it is the difference between thinking with something and thinking about something.

For example, if I'm thinking with optimism, I'm probably not feeling hopeless while doing it. But if I'm thinking *about* optimism, I could be thinking about it from a state which contradicts it.

The object fixation exercise is thinking, or thinking "with", the object being fixated upon, which is different from thinking about it. Let's pick a perfectly mundane object which I might presently fixate upon: the top of the head of the hinge pin of the middle hinge of the door of this room. It happens to be near eye level from where I'm sitting, matte rather than shiny so it won't reflect any distractions in the room behind me. I find it helpful to say silently to myself "it begins" when starting an object fixation exercise, and "it ends" when concluding it, to decrease any internal justification of distractions in between those temporal bookends.

So, I place my attention upon the little disk at the top of the hinge, and declare internally that the exercise of object fixation has started. Then, my brain starts volunteering more interesting things to think about. The trick to such a boring object is that the things my brain volunteers as alternatives for focus will be easily distinguishable from the object itself because they are interesting and it is not. The brain offers suggestions about what the combination of the hinge pin and the rest of the hinge look like together, but things it looks like are not the object, so those thoughts are dismissed. The brain offers symbolism on the meaning of hinges and doors, but the object is not symbolism nor a hinge nor a door, so those thoughts are dismissed. The brain offers speculation about the past of the hinge pin head: the ores it was quarried from, the factory it was smelted in, the tumbler which burnished it to its matte finish, the installer who affixed the completed hinge to the door, and all points between... but none of those interesting thoughts are the hinge pin right now, so they must be reluctantly dismissed. The brain then volunteers to imagine possible futures for the hinge pin, things which could be made from it, people who might later see or touch or modify or interact with it... but those more-interesting options are still not the object at the moment of fixation, so they must be dismissed as well. The brain points out that there's nothing left but to acknowledge the experience of sitting and staring, and to try to claim that the object is itself an experience as justification to break focus on the object itself, but even this excuse must be dismissed as well.

So in a way, the object of the fixation exercise gains great importance because the brain assumes that whatever it's putting that much focus into must be important, and thus tries to contrive explanations. But if those explanations are brand-new because the object was mundane, they are easy to spot and dismiss than they would be if they were woven into one's worldview before the exercise started. Observing the behavior of the brain as it attempts to create its own entertainment is an education in itself, because after awhile one learns to recognize what parts of experience are just shit the brain made up to avoid boredom. (the perception of which parts those actually are is likely to change over time).

So, I'd say that the color, texture, etc of the object in the moment of observation are all that one should strive to perceive, but if you find yourself thinking *about* the color (other places you've seen it), the texture (what it might be like to touch if you touched it in the past or future), etc, the thinking-about is still something to draw back from because thinking about a thing is not the same as observing it as it is at the moment of observation.

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So it's hard to find something I do the same way every day since a significant amount of time and that it wouldn't be inconvenient to change. Also, if something does fulfill these criteria, it's likely to be so subconscious that it doesn't fit the other criterion of being easy to change. But thanks for the examples, perhaps they'll make it easier to find something. If I need to - based on that description I seem to be using that technique anyway unintentionally.

I read the description of "impossible to fail" less as trivially easy, for changing habits never is, but more quantifying an absence of external excuses. For instance, the habit "I shall watch the sunrise every morning" is possible to fail, because some mornings may not have a visible sunrise due to weather conditions. But the habit "I shall look out the window at dawn every morning" is nearly impossible to have failed by external circumstances if one is already in the habit of being awake in a location with a window available at that time.

You could also just add a habit and watch how your brain responds. It could be as simple as to always touch the plate or bowl with your fork or spoon before taking a bite of food -- my interpretation of the point of habit work is to gain insight into how the individual brain relates to habits, and perhaps most usefully to learn to recognize habits of thought and identify how they could be changed so one can choose whether those changes are worthwhile rather than simply assuming them to be somehow externally imposed.

 
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Hm yes, I sometimes end up being stopped from achieving something by not finding a way how to or by deciding it's not worth it. But why would sigils help against that?
Also, based on my experience, I start believing that I can't achieve something or that it's better not to achieve it if I don't spend much time thinking about it - the more I think about it, the more I tend to take these barriers apart.
And one's main problems, those for which one has the largest motivation to tackle them, also tend to be problems one thinks about the most. So there automatically is a high correlation between putting much thought and putting much other effort into solving a problem.

Sigils are likely not low-hanging fruit for you in tackling mundane problems, then. As you progress through the book, you may encounter challenges of types that you don't usually face, and for those, sigil techniques may be more helpful than you've found them to be for prior applications. Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of the way MMM discusses sigils -- might do a writeup on resources I prefer some time.

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I may not have any prior practices in this regard because I don't know what you're talking about exactly.

I'll think further on how to explain that, then. I would like to have an explanation which conveys the concept, though it may have to start with some exercises or something to actually work for folks who've gotten to where we are along paths much different from my own. It feels obvious to me because I accidentally picked it up long before I had anything useful to do with it, but that just means I need to step farther back to figure out how to share it with those who haven't necessarily met it yet.

Liu

Re: Liber Null
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2020, 06:54:16 pm »
So, I'd say that the color, texture, etc of the object in the moment of observation are all that one should strive to perceive, but if you find yourself thinking *about* the color (other places you've seen it), the texture (what it might be like to touch if you touched it in the past or future), etc, the thinking-about is still something to draw back from because thinking about a thing is not the same as observing it as it is at the moment of observation.

Thanks for the explanation. That makes it a bit clearer I think.

Tried it once again today, and most of the distracting thoughts I got were meta, i.e. remembering the phrasing of the instructions, getting ideas how to describe my experiences if I were to keep a journal or talk about them in a context like this, noticing that I didn't have a distracting thought in a while,...

That's similar to when I try to do void meditation (i.e. empty mind).

Except for my visual field, my mind didn't contain the object I was focusing on (a part of my backpack), so I had to sometimes make sure I was even still focusing on it and not getting it blurred.

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I read the description of "impossible to fail" less as trivially easy, for changing habits never is, but more quantifying an absence of external excuses.

A well-designed new habit isn't necessarily difficult to adopt.
In regards to how to design a habit, I'd recommend the book Tiny Habits.

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For instance, the habit "I shall watch the sunrise every morning" is possible to fail, because some mornings may not have a visible sunrise due to weather conditions. But the habit "I shall look out the window at dawn every morning" is nearly impossible to have failed by external circumstances if one is already in the habit of being awake in a location with a window available at that time.

I would consider that still possible to fail, because you haven't set yourself a reminder, a prompt, so you might get involved in some other activity and forget about time while waiting for dawn.

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You could also just add a habit and watch how your brain responds. It could be as simple as to always touch the plate or bowl with your fork or spoon before taking a bite of food -- my interpretation of the point of habit work is to gain insight into how the individual brain relates to habits, and perhaps most usefully to learn to recognize habits of thought and identify how they could be changed so one can choose whether those changes are worthwhile rather than simply assuming them to be somehow externally imposed.
Finding a random new habit to add is easier than finding an old one to discard. But I've already intentionally implemented quite a couple new habits this year, in addition to those due to the particular circumstances (plus failed to implement a bunch of others for various reasons). I'm not sure what I could learn from trying to implement a random habit over implementing one with a purpose, except that the emotional relation to the habit would differ. But I already know how the emotional side affects the ease of implementation.

Guess that might mean I already got that part then and don't need to do the exercise. But I'm wary to conclude that, because I might misunderstand the purpose on the exercise based on what I already learned in other contexts. For some sections in this book, it feels to me like it's preaching to the coir, but that might just me not understanding what it's actually talking about.

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Sigils are likely not low-hanging fruit for you in tackling mundane problems, then. As you progress through the book, you may encounter challenges of types that you don't usually face, and for those, sigil techniques may be more helpful than you've found them to be for prior applications.
I'll have to give it another read, but I didn't notice any such during my first read-through yesterday.

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Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of the way MMM discusses sigils -- might do a writeup on resources I prefer some time.
That might be helpful ^^

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I'll think further on how to explain that, then. I would like to have an explanation which conveys the concept, though it may have to start with some exercises or something to actually work for folks who've gotten to where we are along paths much different from my own. It feels obvious to me because I accidentally picked it up long before I had anything useful to do with it, but that just means I need to step farther back to figure out how to share it with those who haven't necessarily met it yet.
It's possible that it's something I'm familiar with, I just can't really tell based on your description.

Liu

Re: Liber Null
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2020, 09:25:54 pm »
Gave it another read. Here is a summary of my impression of some of the sections, including some open questions.

Gnosis
This mentions another method for not-thinking: looking at one's mirror-image without blinking. It doesn't work because my eyes itching constantly distracts me. Liber Null says it'd work by the effort of keeping the image unwavering, but I don't know what effort it's talking about, only the not-blinking is hard and rather has a detrimental effect on any focus.

Evocation/Invocation
The methods there seem a bit of an overkill to me and only discourage me from even trying. I know, I'm lazy, but I'd rather use less excessive methods for creating thoughtforms or adjusting my psyche. Those might be slower and cause smaller changes but I'd at least have more confidence in that they work.

Liberation
Seeking out what seems nonsensical to find comparable issues in one's own beliefs - I'm not very confident that I could learn much from that. Perhaps I'm thinking in the wrong direction? The kinds of nonsensical beliefs I'd think of would e.g. be flat-earthers, fundamentalists, various conspiracy theories,...

Basics: Food, warmth, sex, transcendence.
I'd rather list movement instead of sex, or at least as an additional point.

Anathemism
Eating food one finds loathsome until it doesn't bother one anymore. Based on my experience, that doesn't work: I ate potatoes at least every few days for most of my childhood (usually buried under some sauce, though), and I still dislike the taste the same.

Scheming against one's sacred principles. Hm, mine are knowledge and self-preservation(/comfort/avoidance of pain). I don't think I want to work against those. Similar with the point on destroying the sacred, dunno anything in that regard that'd make sense to me to do.
Guess less fundamental principles are meant, but no idea where to start - it says, questioning one's beliefs, but I think I'm doing that anyway, to a certain degree at least, and further levels of that aren't that easy to access that one could just randomly start doing so.

Augoeides
As I mentioned before, I'm wondering how to intentionally consider everything a sign from it and to take it seriously.

The Double
Basically the astral self. Mine looks more or less like a dragon usually, and I don't notice any of the side-effects a theriomorphic shape is supposed to have. Admittedly, adopting the shape of a cat does have some effects on my psyche, but quite different ones from the ones listed.

Visualizing one's hands when falling asleep is a new technique to me for inducing lucid dreaming.
If I see myself at all in a dream, then usually in third person perspective. So yes, that might help inducing lucidity by its novelty.

Not sure whether sight is such a central sense in dreaming, though, much of it is rather about tactile sensations and hearing things people say.

Might try that one, though, when I set out again to achieve lucid dreaming.

Transmogrification
How is changing residency or searching for a new job all the time supposed to be conductive for working on one's goals? That'd only tire me out and would be the direct opposite of some of my goals.

The aims of no lust for result and finding meaning seem a bit contradictory to each other.

Random belief
How to believe something one isn't convinced of? Or is it about merely acting as if one would believe?

Alphabet of Desire
Doesn't seem complete and several opposites don't convince me.

I'm not very hypersuggestible in highly emotional states. I rather tend to be even more skeptical. Hm, so if the author presupposes that gnostic states make one hypersuggestible, then that might explain why he considers them central to working magick.

How do you use the gnosis of fear or terror constructively? When I have an anxiety attack or experience something shocking, it doesn't paralyze my mind, it rather sends it into overdrive and gives me tons of new worries of things that might be going wrong. That makes it much harder to work on progress due to being physically exhausting and because I instead have to work on calming myself down and figuring out what is an actual issue and what is just me misinterpreting something out of worry or developing psychosomatic symptoms. Sometimes it shows me actual areas of improvement I had been neglecting, but that's rather the exception. Sure it's an opportunity for practice in and of itself, but nothing to use as a means for any unrelated goal.

Aetherics
Some practical techniques, some of which I (try to) use already (mainly, those involving utilizing the aetheric force in one's own body). But very short instructions. That summarizes the whole book well, I often would need some more instructions to grasp what the author means exactly and how to utilize it and for what purpose. It does contain a range of techniques that I could give a try, but most would first need a long practice time and I often wonder whether it'd work for the intended purpose at all. 


I also gave Liber Kaos a read now. I like it more, and the section on quantum mechanics is one of the more coherent instances of "quantum stuff explains magick" I encountered thus far. Not completely convincing, but at least consistent - it could very well be the case that it's an accurate description of reality, it just doesn't prove it.

Also in this book, the actual instructions for practicing magick seemed very short, though. And I'm again somewhere between "why would that work at all?" and "if that does work, why make it so complicated? do you really need all these ingredients?", with a tad of "I have hardly any of the goals listed as examples, how to apply this to things I'm more interested in?".

Also gotta read that once a second time I guess.