I’ve been working with a practice for the last several months that is really kicking my butt. It comes from Josephine McCarthy’s book Magical Knowledge Book I Foundations. It’s the very first exercise in the book, and it seems so simple, but it’s really not.
This practice is fundamentally different from the practices I put in my book, because it has a very specific end goal in mind. You can fail at this practice. In fact, you will, probably for weeks, if not months of steady work. I’ve only succeeded a few times. However, if you’re looking for a practice that will help you to really kick your spiritual development into high gear, this is the place to start.
I will briefly describe the practice here, but I also recommend that you buy the book. It’s especially useful for those interested in the esoteric path, but it has a decidedly mystical feel to it as well.
The basic practice is to close your eyes and count each breath until you get to ten. The challenge is to do it without being distracted by either inner or outer stimuli. If, in your counting, you have a stray thought, you need to start over. If hear a car go by and you take note of it, start over. If you get to 7 and you get excited that you’ve almost made it, start over. This practice is a harsh task-master, if you are honest enough with yourself to let it work. Only you will know if it’s working, so you have to be brutally honest with yourself, or the whole thing is pointless.
This practice builds towards an entire system of esoteric work in McCarthy’s book, but this practice, as part of a Gnostic practice, can really polish that mirror so the Light can shine. Give it a try! I like to set a timer for 20 minutes. Any more than that and the distractions become overwhelming. If you do, please let me know, in a comment to this post, how you did.