And so it is, I stand accused of being too hard on myself, of having an ideal of what it is to be a magician and then getting down on myself for watching Dexter. Opti posted it in the comments yesterday, and he got me thinking about it. Maybe I am too hard on myself. I could certainly stand to be nicer to me. I like taking it easy on myself, frankly.
While I appreciate Opti's friendly advice, there's more to it than I tend to let on. If it were being down on myself for watching some tube once in a while, or even on a regular basis, I'd agree that I'm being too hard on myself. Besides, it's freaking rare that I like a TV show that isn't an interpretation of a historical event, a presentation on the nature of Nature, or a postulate regarding the origins of the universe. It's like I've heard there's a candid photo of my Dad at work from before I was born that a lot of people are looking for. I can't wait to see it. I think when they finally recreate the instant of the big bang, they'll see a wise and kind face, with a touch of sorrow around the eyes, speaking a Word. In the mean time, I enjoy the plot and characters of Dexter a great deal.
I don't like having the time to watch 3 season's worth, around 36 1-hour shows, back to back. Plus interviews with Michal C. Hall. I don't like that I would spend that big of a chunk of time watching the show to escape from my reality. I don't like the escapism. It's not what I would sit around and put up with out of my magician friends, either. Are we not masters of manifestation? Can we not simply dial back the edges of existence and speak directly to the powers that manifest reality itself? Eh? I mean, come on. I get stressed and escape into TV and Flash video games. While it's a perfectly acceptable coping mechanism for depression and anxiety for the uninitiated, I know too much to fall into that trap.
The problem is that I'm being passive when I think I'd be more useful in an active phase. One of the things I advocate a lot is proactive design of your reality rather than passive reaction to it. It takes presence of mind, years of study, spiritual initiation, and a combination of imagination, determination, and pragmatism that can only be achieved through prolonged spiritual practice. That's how I think we're supposed to be. It's an ideal, I agree, but it's my standard. I measure myself against that scale. Am I in harmony with my Sphere of Influence? Have I done all that I can do to engineer my current experiences? Did I achieve my full potential as a Divine made flesh?
I'm not saying the life of a magician will be all roses and daffodils and piles of gold and gems (although the gold and gems should be given for all magicians, just because). I'm not saying we even have complete control over what manifests around us. But I do think when we look around and see things that suck in our sphere of influence, we should be ready and able to take magical action. Sitting around avoiding the problems isn't even good for "mundane" folks. A well-adjusted, proactive, balanced materialist will be looking at their life, taking inventory, accepting the things they can't change, and applying themselves to the things they can. I don't expect myself to do any less than that.
I guess it goes deeper than my ideal magician. It comes down to how I approach the world, and the role of humanity in general. I think it's our duty to make the best life possible, pursue fun and pleasure at every possible chance. I think we have the ability to feel pleasure because it leads us towards what is good, what we're supposed to have in our lives. I think we incarnated out of love for this world, and that we owe it to ourselves to try to enjoy as much of our conscious time on the planet as possible.
Deep and profound philosophy, I know. I could say it simpler. I want to have fun.
So when I'm not having fun, I'm failing at life, you see? When I'm faced by trials, or slow torturous moments of existence, it's harder to get proactive than it is to veg out and go into an electronic coma. If that were the highest level of pleasure I could attain, then yeah, that would make sense to me. But it's not. Life is much more brilliant than that.
Not only that, by ignoring the stressors in my sphere, I'm allowing their cumulative effects to grow. Things change through my decisions and actions in this world. I am the fulcrum, the manifestation point of all that is above and all that is below within my sphere of experienced reality. It's my choice how things will go each day. I don't get to choose everyhing I have to work with, but I have a lot more available than TV and internet gaming.
So, while I may seem down on myself, it's part of a process. It's the application of heat to the alchemical prime to release the impurities and begin the refinement process. It's a kick in the ass to motivate me. After spending a while berating myself, I move on to take appropriate action. Right now it's evaluation and planning. Yesterday's ritual was a step in the right direction, clearing up some old garbage and replacing it with something more appropriate. The next steps are apparent, but they need more contemplation. There are forces at work beyond my control, and those things I cannot influence must be adapted to.
And as a Magician, the methods I use are magical. They are both contemplative and ceremonial. They are symbolic and practical. They are, above all, powerful in the hands of the skilled and unskilled alike, and gaining that skill is my ultimate goal. Well, not really. But the ultimate goal can only be achieved by gathering the appropriate skills.
Skills I'm not getting from Dexter.