Reining In The Random

Blank Book

(Image from Paper for Fountain Pens)

Jane Roberts’ Seth, theosophy, New Thought, and other such philosophies have one core idea in common: That at spiritual and metaphysical levels we create our own realities in the physical world just as much as our physical actions do. The way to tap into these levels, they say, is through meditation, visualization, something similar, or all of the above. These combined and done in tandem with physical actions become a powerful too of existence on Schoolhouse Earth.

There are means, suggestions, and exercises that each of these philosophies offers, and I’ve used many of them to good enough effect on some things before that I’m pretty confident in their ability to work as advertised more often than not.

But nowadays my life has come to be increasingly tangled in all kinds of frustrating ways. And while my spiritual work has almost completely eliminated my old problem of depressive episodes striking me from out of nowhere, I still have the issue of ones coming from external triggers, a bigger issue lately because those triggers are hitting me almost every day. So in addition to the physical means I’ve set about using to try turning things around, I want to go back to incorporating metaphysical means as well.

This, however, is where certain exercises that I’ve developed for non-metaphysical work in the past, which have succeeded spectacularly well for those other things, are giving me problems when habitually applied to spiritual work.

Background, Part One: I am a writer primarily of books, occasionally of short stories and poetry. The writing habit I’ve developed over the years is to give my brain free rein to generate ideas when I’m at the beginning of a project – let it off its leash to run off wherever it wants. When it flies off randomly in all directions I’m rewarded with many of my best ideas, sometimes outlines for entire novels. Later the imagineering becomes more disciplined, but from start to middle, the wildling brain is given control (or more accurately, freed from control).

Background, Part Two: I also set about worldbuilding at the beginning of projects. I construct the characters, their lives, their worlds, in intimate detail. A good 90% or more of this won’t end up in the story, but its critical for the author to know these things in order to inform the story. I like the term “worldbuilding” in particular because by the time I start work on a book, I do have a whole world to build on.

But as smashing as these techniques are for writing, they really stink when my brain habitually tries to use them for meditation and visualization. So what’s the problem?

The first one should be plain: Letting my mind loose for meditation is perfectly fine when I want to be led to whatever my Higher Self thinks I should be working on, but not so much if I want to focus on anything in particular. And I’m so used to the unleashing aspect that I’m often two or three degrees away from what I’m trying to focus on by the time I realize what’s happening.

I’ve disciplined my brain to be undisciplined, as it were.

The second one has been surprisingly problematic. You would think that plenty of detail would be more helpful, especially in the case of visualization, but my experience more often than not so far has been that a flood of details just overwhelms or dilutes what I’m trying to accomplish.

So I’ve proposed two solutions for myself:

Problem 1: As I said above, while I’ll let my mind go racing whenever I start a project, typically by the time I’m halfway through everything comes into much sharper focus. The thing is, I may be still at the beginning of sorts of my renewed spiritual project, but in terms of my life itself – well, with luck, I’m roughly halfway through. If I can remind myself of this fact deeply enough then it might not be too much to expect that I could use the halfway–point writing techniques to focus myself for meditation and visualization also.

And for Problem 2, I’m going to bet that less is more. When there are a lot of large issues that need work, they can’t all be changed quickly in large ways, just as (usually) they didn’t become large issues quickly. As you chip away a piece at a time with actions in the physical world, I suspect that the same principle holds with the spiritual side too.

For an example from a sideline: People have asked me, “If you could do just one more thing to your house related to emergency preparedness, and money was no object, what would it be?” My answer is that I would have a well dug and install a non-electric hand pump, so that water was available any time, even and especially if the power goes out. (I live in a rural area with above-ground power lines, so this is not a light concern, no pun intended.) I’ve lived in a rural house with a hand-pump before and it came in super-handy.

But the point is that when it comes to visualization, instead of trying to fill my mind with everything at once, I would simply envision everything like it is now – only, in this example, with the well in the backyard. Every detail of the pump itself. The feeling in my arm muscles as I pull the handle up and down. The sound of water when it first spits out, then as it splashes into a bucket. The taste of the water, with a little bit of an iron tang. Maybe even somebody with me holding the bucket while I pump, or vice versa.

See the details? If I try to info-dump everything at once in a book, the important bits will get lost, and that’s provided I don’t lose the reader altogether first to sheer boredom. Likewise, when I try visualizing multiple kinds of different changes in one meditation session, all the details wash out. This way I can focus on one important thing, imagining it plainly as if it were an already-present reality in my life.

Less is more. Or in this case, to put it metaphorically, keeping the devil away is in the details.

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