The pros and cons of "spiritual" habituations

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Today I'd like to discuss what I like to call "spiritual habituations."


Some examples of these include chakra perceptions and reliances, aura perceptions and reliances, and nadi or meridian perceptions and reliances, to name a few. But the phenomenon is not limited to just those. For example, if you learn to dislocate your astral eyes, that would be an example of a spiritual habituation.


We can conceptually divide all habituation into new and old. New habituation always goes up against the burden of the old. So for example, if you're not accustomed to seeking chakras, that in itself is a habituation and for a lot of people that's what the "old" bodily habituation will look like. Then when you train yourself to see them, you're going up against your previous disbelief, non-expectation, and non-reliance on chakras. When the mind is rigid, old habituations in the form of experience patterns are very hardened and they can seem nearly impervious to change.


So now the pros and cons should start to become evident.


The pros of spiritual habituations are:


1. They get easier and easier with practice.


2. Eventually they can go on auto-pilot and they can stop requiring active participation.


3. They demonstrate a side of experience that appears amazing and extraordinary at first, and this can be very mind-opening in a good way.


The cons are:


1. The mind begins to cling to these habituations as "this is what truly is."


2. Habituations when engaged constantly harden over time and especially once they become conventionalized (you get lots of people to agree with you about them), they can be hard to get rid of later on. If you think you'll never want to get rid of them, consider your possible dissatisfaction with the old habituations in general. What seems shiny, amazing and new today may seem old, limiting and annoying 1000 subjective years later. It may be hard to imagine, but consider that at one time your body's dense and simple physicality itself seemed amazing and satisfactory at some point.


3. The mind starts to become stupid by losing sight of alternatives. This is related to point #1 above when the mind clings to a habituation as "this is what truly is." As a result the mind cannot understand that all experiencing is completely wide open at the root.


So in practical terms, for example I convince myself that I am being healed when white light suffuses my body. If I make a habit of this, I can get better and better at this as the experiential pattern gets habituated through repeated practice. The downside is that now to heal I need white light. I can't heal with blue light anymore. I can't heal with sound. I can't heal with touch. And so on. As we get better and better at a habituation it begins to displace alternative experience paths.


Another example. Suppose I practice a microcosmic orbit and I experience tranquility as a result. The pro of this is that with time it gets trivial to feel the pattern of experience that resembles the flow of energy in that path, and as it becomes associated with tranquility and/or other qualities, these qualities become easy to bring forward. With enough practice the whole visualization can go on auto-pilot and stop requiring moment-by-moment deliberateness to maintain. The downside of this, is that now if this visualization is disrupted for any reason, there go all the associated positive qualities like tranquility and whatever else (like health, for example, or whatever spiritual qualities). And another downside is that the mind starts to think that the pattern of experience involved in the microcosmic orbit is a true existent, like it's really "out there," truly real, and like it can't be any other way. So alternative experiences become locked out, and clinging commences in full force, especially once this becomes conventionalized. So if you live in a culture where not just you, but everyone agrees that they experience the same "flow of energy" then it becomes extremely hard to get rid of this specific flow and to replace it by an alternative pattern of experience. So if you prize flexibility as a virtue, then obviously this is a demerit.


So any habituation is in truth a re-habituation, because we go from old to new habituations. When the mind is in a state of clinging, experience is very rigid and replacing one habituated pattern with another requires intense amounts of work, and once accomplished, it becomes very hard to change once again. But the upside is that for a short time new habituations can demonstrate some very amazing and heretofore hidden sides of experiencing, and they can lead to some important "a-ha" moments. And this can be done without any overall softening of the mind, so in other words, in some sense, this might be the quickest short-term path to your next "a-ha" moment. This might be a good thing.


An alternative to this or that spiritual habituation is to lean toward the overall softening of the mind. In this scenario the mind is trained to loosen up old habituations without replacing them with any overly specific and dedicated new habituations. The downside of this approach is that initially it's very very hard to accomplish and it's also hard to believe because it's so unspecific and in the mindset of an ordinary being specificity is often a prerequisite for believability. So it's hard to get started with this approach and it's hard to master. It's much easier to train oneself to experience energy meridians than it is to train oneself to stop experiencing one's own Earthly body as a fixed shape and therefore learn that it's lacking in any fixed meridian paths. So general mental (read: experiential) flexibility is a boon for people who prize freedom of experience, but it's harder and scarier to acquire than the more specific and more repeated visualizations and associations.


If we go back to examples, suppose I train myself that when I press a certain point on my forehead, my vision becomes magnified. With repeated practice you can make this work like a gadget, you press a button and voila, it's like you have a set of instant binoculars in front of your eyes. Awesome, right? But the downside is that you now need to press that spot on your forehead to activate this. What if your hands are busy? This sucks, right? This places a limit on your experiencing.


Another example. You train in incantations. When you repeat a certain specific incantation you enter into a different world. The upside here is that with practice this becomes a highly reliable and highly repeatable process which works like clockwork eventually. Downside? What if your mouth is taped shut? What if you can't speak for whatever other reason? You just lost your ability to travel to a different world in that circumstance.


Another example. Suppose you train yourself in meridian perception and reliance. Then you can strike your enemy's meridians. The problem is, your enemy can now strike your own meridians for the same effect.


Had you instead trained in the overall experiential flexibility, you'd never become stuck no matter what. Every experiential end point can be achieved by a myriad of ways. So for example if you were interested in realm travel and if you learned to put your mind into a state of traveling between realms using abstract and general understanding and approach, you could activate it at will no matter the circumstance, which is very flexible. Similarly, if you are interested in combat, and if you learned to use raw intent to disable your opponent, then you'd no longer need to strike specific meridians, and your opponent would have no easy meridians to strike on your body.


The downside of seeking general flexibility is that you have to give up convention to the extent you acquire flexibility. You won't be able to agree with people on a fixed way to do anything. You'll be more and more by yourself, alone, and your definition of yourself will also become and more and more generalized when eventually you'll lose a sense of a fixed phenomenal self completely if you keep going that way. This can be a huge boon, but this can also be a huge detriment if you actually like convention for some reason. This flexible mode of experiencing when pursued can eventually lead to being completely untethered from any phenomenal reality, which can be super-scary for the uninitiated and those lacking in commitment to the ultimate wisdom.


The good thing about habituating one specific flow of experience is that you can keep your old rigid patterns and just keep slightly modifying them in a way that feels incremental and additive. So for example, learning to perceive meridians can appear like an addition to the typical experiencing of the human body which lacks the perception of meridians. This makes it less threatening. It's psychologically easier to change your experience in a way that feels like you're adding to it than to soften up your experience in a way that feels like you're subtracting from it.


We could say what I call "spiritual habituations" are habituations leaning to phenomenal specificity, and the more general kind of flexibility is a habituation leaning toward the phenomenal ambiguity. Ambiguity is harder to cultivate initially because conventional beings lean toward specificity by default, but over the longer term it offers more flexibility.

Edited by goldisheavy
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