Common steps and sub-activities

Aleister Crowley’s disturbance minimisation

This is more advice than a method, but the advice is sound.  Crowley said that if you attempt to use any of the other more benign suppression techniques such as relaxation or stimulation via triggers, you become hypersensitive to any form of sensory input – and it is true. Things you might never have noticed become acutely annoying.

The slightest noise or distraction can bring you back – a buzzing fly, a mobile phone, a door slamming, the postman putting letters through the door, an ice cream van with its jolly little ding dong call, even a blackbird singing in a bush nearby,  - can bring you back if all you are relying on is suppression based mechanisms.

As such he advises that you must find a place that really does offer sensory deprivation or absolutely minimises the disturbances you will get.  No phones, no traffic, no police sirens and so on.  Many of the techniques on this site were taken to a sort of perfection by Aleister Crowley in his system of Magic. And I like his descriptions so much I wanted it in anyway – he was fun!

YOGA FOR YAHOOS - Crowley

It will hardly have escaped the attentive listener that in my previous lectures I have combined the maximum of discourse with the minimum of information; that is all part of my training as a Cabinet Minister. But what does emerge tentatively from my mental fog is that ….Until you actually start the practice of [magick], you cannot possibly imagine what constitutes a disturbance.

You, most of you, think that you can sit perfectly still; you tell me what artists' models can do for over thirty-five minutes. They don't. You do not hear the ticking of the clock; perhaps you do not even know whether a typewriter is going in the room; for all I know, you could sleep peacefully through an air-raid.

That has nothing to do with it.

As soon as you start the practices you will find, if you are doing them properly, that you are hearing sounds which you never heard before in your life. You become hypersensitive. And as you have five external batteries bombarding you, you get little repose. You feel the air on your skin with about the same intensity as you would previously have felt a fist in your face.

To some extent, no doubt, this fact will be familiar to all of you. Probably most of you have been out at some time or other in what is grotesquely known as the silence of the night, and you will have become aware of infinitesimal movements of light in the darkness, of elusive sounds in the quiet. They will have soothed you and pleased you; it will never have occurred to you that these changes could each one be felt as a pang.

But, …, this is exactly what happens, and therefore it is best to be prepared by arranging, before you start at all, that your whole life will be permanently free from all the grosser causes of trouble.

The practical problem is therefore, to a great extent, 'How shall I settle down to the work?' Then, having complied with the theoretically best conditions, you have to tackle each fresh problem as it arises in the best way you can.