Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Meditation and Distractions

I know lots of pagans don't meditate daily, and many of us get distracted with the business of living and forget to take this self-care step for ourselves, so we're just not as practiced at it as a Tibetan monk.  But I think I've discovered the fast track to getting good at it.

This isn't about buying some horribly expensive product like Holosync, and while it could involve sales I doubt it would take off very big if someone tried to make money off of it, so I'll just give it away.  Little girls screaming.

That's the key to becoming an uber-fantastic meditator, I'm sure of it.  Let me explain.

My bedroom, where I do most of my meditating since I had to let a friend move in and take over my temple space, faces the front yard and the street.  The house next door, closest to my bedroom, has a little girl who frequently has friends over.  Last night, I had some time before dinner prep and when the roommate got home, so I thought I'd relax from the day and meditate.  I'd gotten about a third of the way into trance, when the girls started playing in the front yard and the screaming began.

Before I go further, let me state that I am absolutely not anti-child.  I like kids, they're cute and stuff, and I would never want harm to come to any of them.  That said though, I think the piercing sounds of a bunch of little girls has got to be the most trance-shattering noise out there.  I can meditate my way through certain levels of pain, past dogs barking, and blithely not hear helicopters flying overhead while I'm in trance, but those little girls knocked me right out of it in nothing flat.

If you can meditate through little girls screaming, then my pointy hat is off to you.  Personally, I'm considering paying them $5 each to just run around and scream with glee while I'm recording it, to use as a meditation-strengthening tool.

Monday, May 16, 2011

About possession and exorcism

I keep hearing about various small churches trying to cast out demons of homosexuality from young men, or various religious leaders trying to pray sin and/or demons out of certain cities, and I reflect on the number of people (pagan and non-pagan) who have tried to convince me that their story about either witnessing possession or being possessed was fact.

Honestly, I doubt if even 1 in 100 of those stories have any truth to them.  Not because I'm a skeptic about mystical occurrences, but because I just don't think any evil spiritual entity has anything to gain from possessing a teenager or making more people in San Francisco gay than other places.  Probably because I just don't believe in the Christian right's view about demons.  Sure, there are some less-than-friendly spiritual entities out there - you can't really get away with believing in the good ones without accepting the bad ones as real too, but you also can't tell me that throwing a glass of ice water in a possessed person's face will end it and not expect me to scoff.

I've seen trance possession as part of my spiritual practice, and if you haven't then there's really no explaining it.  But ice water won't end it, honest.

I think a lot of the people who claim someone or someplace is demonically influenced just don't want to admit that reality is what it is, so they have to blame the parts they don't like on some cosmic boogeyman.  And as for the people faking being possessed?  They're just looking for attention, they're bored, and they feel like that may be the only way they can get away with using really foul language.

So, my magical friends, the next time someone starts pretending to be possessed by demons, here are your tests:

#1 - throw a glass of ice water in their face and see if they snap out of it
#2 - if #1 fails, pour a second glass of ice water down the back of their pants
#3 - if #2 fails, that's when you very quietly try the smudge.  Anything beyond this, hopefully you've got something in your BoS to deal with the situation.

I've never seen #1 fail.