Ramblings on Discipline

Ah, yes the second most scary word in the English language (the first, as we all know is commitment); self-discipline.

(insert creepy music here)

Why is this so hard to get through to people? As a teacher (in adult education), I find it amazingly difficult to convey to my students that they will need to WORK in order to achieve their goals. I mean, they paid for the class, they manage to show up, and bring the required supplies, but once inside the classroom it is suddenly time to whine and complain that this is too hard, and I am not giving them enough breaks!

And even more frustrating is this sense in the larger community. As an occultist, I do happen to keep my finger on the goings on out there in the occult realm. And these days, I am hearing a lot of whining and crying because the ‘elders’ are not handing over the ‘secrets’ to the ‘newbies’ with ease or speed.

This concept is so wrong on many levels. Let us begin with what they call assumptions. Assumption one; there are ‘elders’ and they have responsibilities to ‘newbies.’ So this is not an entirely wrong assumption, there are adepts within the Craft, and they do take on a great burden of responsibility. But, it is not to those coming to walk the path directly, nor are the responsibilities as cut and dry as they might seem. There is no hierarchy that deigns what level you have reached, even as we try to work degree systems, there is much personal variation. Many adepts that could be called ‘elder’ are loathe to take on the name, because they are wise enough to know just how much they don’t know and how far they still have to travel on the crooked path. They are also aware of their priorities, one of the first being to preserve and uphold the Craft. It can not be remade, re-pieced, or torn apart and dissected. To destroy the Craft is about as close as we get to the concept of blasphemy. But yet, we are instructed to keep the Craft alive. That means letting it breathe, feeding it, and letting it grow, without hacking off limbs, or foundational supports. Being a parent is not easy, nor is being a member of a village.

Assumption number two; there are ‘secrets’ and they can be handed over. Yes, there are things we call secrets, however like most lingo in the occult world, this is an allusion. It means these things are secrets or mysteries, because we have no way of explaining or even conveying them. They are simply things that someone comes to as they walk the paths. So, even if we could hand them over, we really couldn’t. And, truth be told, I haven’t come across one yet that wasn’t hiding in plain sight. It isn’t about the acquisition of the secrets, it is about changing the practitioner so they can see them. They were there all along.

Assumption number three; there are ‘newbies’ and they are somehow different from other people on the path. Every one was a babe at some point, everyone was new to this world at some point, and every one is currently discovering something new. Perhaps, we may class these ‘newbies’ as different due to their lack of experience. Which is fine, there is nothing wrong with begin new, or inexperienced. Go out, do some work, get some experience. And viola!, you will have become experienced, and ready to find more experience somewhere else.

And finally, the concepts of ease and speed. These two concepts just do not go with learning any occult discipline (there’s that word again) or craft. It ain’t easy, it is flat out work. It is often harder work than you have come across. It is about changing yourself, and not necessarily in ways you understand at first. And it is anything but swift. The process of transmutation is slow, and often happens under pressure. It takes time. The passage of time is a key component to the concept of traveling or walking a path. I’ve been on this path for over 35 years now and I’m still discovering myself, still learning, still struggling with some things, and still finding my way. And in all that time I have never once found an occult drive-through that served anything worth eating.