Friday, May 9, 2014

PBP- Week 19: Jinxing yourself

No matter how new or how experienced you are, there will always be times where you will work towards something and not succeed. There are a ton of reasons for this, but most are out of our control. I think about energy work as swimming in a river. If you are working towards something that is a likely outcome, you are swimming with the current and the water itself pushes you towards your goal, all you have to do is guide a bit and open your arms to receive. However often we find ourselves working towards something that is not one of the likely outcomes. Now we are swimming upstream, and the water fights us. There may be debris in the water that will get in our way. But the water and the debris is external. All we can do is swim to the best of our ability and keep our eye on the prize.

So what does this have to do with jinxing yourself? The mind is a powerful tool, but it can work towards or against us. When we visualize, we focus all our mental energy on the thing we wish to manifest. We use the mind to send this energy out into the world. But the mind sometimes seems to have a will of it's own, and will fixate on things that you might not like.

Fear, worry, anxiety, obsession, hatred, insecurity....these are all ways in which our mind tries to sabotage our work. If I am working on becoming more healthy and loosing weight, but every time I get dressed, look in a mirror or see a picture of a model I start thinking about how unhappy I am with my body then my mind is building up this image of my self as unattractive. If my mind spends more time thinking poorly of my body than it does thinking about a healthy, attractive body, then it will try to create the image it has been seeing....and will try to undermine any actions I have been taking towards my goals.

I think this is why a lot of workings focus so much on mental work. The physical work is often easy once you get your mental self in order. Very rarely am I physically stopped from achieving a goal. Most times it is the mind that caves first and once the mind is no longer committed it becomes very hard to commit the body.

There seem to be two main types of workings: fire/forget and maintained. Each requires a different kind of mental focus to prevent self-jinxing.

When you work with a fire and forget method, you do your working and then essentially walk away. The intention is to build and release the energy and then not to think about the working. I find this type of working lends itself well to things that are mainly out of our control or things where we don't know exactly how our needs will be met. For example, if I am in a real bind and am not sure how I will make my bills for the month. I can do a working to ensure that I have the money to make it through the month. I don't know how the money will come, but I am trusting that it will come. If I continue to obsess about how tight my situation is, I will just be thinking about the lack of money (which is not the energy I want to be calling toward me). I also may not want to limit the way that the money might come, so visualization could close my mind off to a possibility I hasn't considered.

What I have found works for me in this case is stay aware of the thoughts and feelings I am having. I am obsessive by nature, and when a thought hits my mind, it can be very hard to get it out. When my mind starts playing “what if”, my tendency is to go along for the ride, so I really have to make sure I am paying attention so I can stop the train before it gains too much momentum. For me, words work best to derail my mind. Chanting or singing creates a blank slate in my head. If I can get my mind thinking through the words of a chant or song, it will stop thinking about whatever it was thinking about before.

On the other hand, sometimes it can be helpful to keep a maintained focus over a long period. Lets say I want to quit smoking. This is something that will require a lot of effort over an extended period. I may do specific workings along the way, but every day I will be working on maintaining my mental focus and keeping to my goals. At first glance this may seem easier to keep on track, but negative mental talk is persuasive. It can be very easy to talk yourself into making exceptions or doing something 'just this once'. In the case of habits (whether you are trying to break a bad one or build a good one), it is like a bell curve of effort. At the beginning, it seems like it is impossible. I find myself slipping or just doing things without thinking about them. And yet, the more your bring yourself back to your goal, the more you push through, the easier it becomes. There is a turning point where you find that your first response is now the desirable one and mistakes are fewer.

Visual clues seem to work best for me with maintained workings. If I am trying to avoid an action, I may put a reminder on the thing most strongly associated with it (so perhaps a charm on the pack of cigarettes). If I am trying to build a new habit I may wear a particular piece of jewelry as a trigger, so that every time I see it I am reminded of what I am trying to do (I like using knotted cords for this, things worn on the hand where they are readily visible, and the creation of the knotted cord can be part of a working towards the goal as well). Making a mini-ritual out of it helps too.

I will often build a statement of intent that reinforces my goal. Keeping track of your progress helps as well, so a journal or daily reflection is very useful. Sometimes I find that having a negative feedback statement is useful...something that you must do before you do (or don't do) the action. So for the smoking, if I know I need to say something like, “I know this cigarette is bad for me and that it is setting me back on my goal to be more healthy, but I am going to smoke it anyways,” then I will be less likely to actually smoke it (especially if you know you have to say it out loud in front of other people!).

One very powerful tool against self-jinxing is one that isn't so much focused on anymore. When I was learning, the role of tools was explained more. Tools (and I'm including things like incense, stones, herbs, or really anything you might use in a working, not just your blade and wand) help us step outside of our regular life and into a world where all things are possible. Our society is very close minded when it comes to miracles, energy work, spirits and other things that are often a large part of our practice. It can be very hard to leave all those societal voices behind when we work. We may find ourselves thinking that the things we are doing are silly or wondering how 'just thinking' about our desires will bring them into being. As we build up our ritual though, as we touch our tools and speak the words, we are silencing these outside whispers.

I firmly believe that one of the fundamental pillars of my personal faith and practice is that of awareness. Step one for me, no matter what I am doing, is to check in with my Self and see where I stand. By taking notice of where I am at and being brutally honest with myself about where I stand, I am breaking free of the sleep-walking habit state that many people exist in. Mine is definitely not the only path that celebrates this type of observation, and I think that it is hard to create change without fully being aware of where you are as well as where you want to go.

For me, exploring my Self includes work on my mental state. It means holding up a mirror and looking at the parts of me that are weak or fearful. By following these negative energies back to their source, I often find that I am better able to respond to the manifestations of them by understanding where they come from. And this is what helps me to keep those negative energies from hijacking the things I work to accomplish.

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