Concentration

The thirty-second bead on the blessing cord is the blessing of Concentration. It is the earth of Chokhma. This blessing brings forth the focus we need to be able to be effective magicians and spiritual seekers. Many different spiritual and magical traditions have the beginning meditation of focusing all of your concentration on one thing and clearing your mind by bringing your focus back to that one thing. Our minds and surroundings are always trying to get our attention and by focusing our concentration on something we can clear our minds and increase our ability to do magic.

When I was in the second and third grade, when my teacher would be lecturing about something boring, I would focus my attention on one spot and see how long I could hold it. This became a practice when I was bored at home or at school. I would return my focus to the dot in a painting or the tack in my poster and focus all my attention on it. I sometimes couldn’t keep the focus for very long and would go into thoughts about cartoons or whatever suited my fancy. My teacher would call it “spacing out”. Without knowing it, I was doing beginner methods of concentration meditations.

Different cultures have used focused concentration on one thing to clear the mind in meditation for thousands of years. Some bring focus to our breath, a candle, mantra, chakra, and sometimes just the releasing of thoughts. Each time their thoughts wandered they would bring their concentration back to the focus.

With breath meditation you focus your thoughts on your breath. This could just be on your normal breath or focusing on counted inhalations and exhalations. Normal breath makes you focus on your natural breath. Counted breaths have a certain number for each inhalation, exhalation, and sometimes the pauses in-between. Such as breathing in for four, holding your breath for four, exhaling for four, and then holding out for four counts, and repeating the cycle.

Many Craft teachings start you out on concentration on a candle flame. You focus your concentration on the candle and try to think only of the candle. Sometimes you even let your eyes close and see how long you can hold the image of the candle in your mind. This builds both your concentration skills and the ability to visualize.

Mantra is a Hindu and Buddhist practice of focusing our attention on a group of words or one word. Usually a Mala or grouping of beads is used to count how many times it is said. The Catholic Rosary could be said to be a mantra practice since it is a group of words said over and over with concentration. There are many types of mantras for multiple purposes. For this concentration practice you can use one of the seed sound mantas like OM from the Word chapter. You can also use an affirmation which focuses concentration and also affirms the reality that you want to achieve.

One of the practices I loved from Kundalini Awakening: A Gentle Guide to Chakra Activation and Spiritual Growth is to focus your attention on a specific chakra in your body. Where our concentration goes, our energy flows. This is a gentle way of awakening chakras by simply focusing our attention on them. The attention sends our energy to that chakra. Usually this is done first by a balancing chakra meditation, then focusing on one, followed by another balancing to smooth out the energy.

When we are concentrating on anything, it is okay for our minds to wonder as long as when we become aware that we have wandered that we return back to the focus of our concentration. Having wandering thoughts isn’t failure any more than fatigue from exercise, it’s a natural part of the process of practicing concentration. Over time working with concentration you will be able to focus for longer and longer periods of time, just like building up a muscle. This is an important spiritual and magical skill to learn. Choose a method to focus on for this meditation. Breath, a visualized candle, or mantra work best for this meditation. A great mantra is the God name of this Sephira: Yod-heh-vauv-Heh. Set a timer for your practice of concentration. You can build up from a short two minutes to fifteen or more.

Meditation of Concentration.

Hold the thirty-second bead on the blessing cord, the bead of Concentration, the blessing of Earth in Chokhma.

Count yourself down into a meditative state.

Allow the screen of your mind to expand around you to form a sphere. Resonate the god name of Chokhma: Yod heh vauv Heh.

Focus your concentration on your breath, a visualized candle, or a mantra. Gently allow your concentration to rest upon this focus. Be gentle with yourself if you begin to think or daydream and just bring your concentration back to your focus. Let your focus be your whole world as you gently release all other thoughts. Let them drift away like a released helium balloon, like clouds on the breeze. Keep your focused concentration on your focus until your timer sounds.

Know that concentration is like a muscle. The more you work with it the stronger and more enduring it gets. Every time you concentrate your mind you are getting better at it.

Feel a gentle descent and let your screen of the mind shrink back to normal size.

Count yourself up to waking consciousness.

Ground and center as needed.

Contemplation

What steals your concentration and distracts you from your focus? Is there a thought that comes up a lot to steal away your focus? What do you concentrate on the most in your life? Does that focus of concentration embody where you want to go with your life? What goals do you want to concentrate and focus on?

Stillness

The thirty-first bead on the blessing cord is the blessing of stillness. It is the blessing of earth in Kether. Stillness is a feeling of centeredness and active peace. From this “place” of stillness we can see how things in our lives are going to move. We can see the rhythm and cadence of all that is going on in our lives without being unbalanced by it.

I am not sure where I heard it or read it, but when Shiva lord of the dance was described he was said to be the stillness of the center and the whirling cosmic dance. He was both in motion and centered in stillness. This has always stuck with me. I know that ecstatic dance has sometimes put me in this place where I could move my body, yet my spirit was feeling centered stillness. Stillness is that clear, uncomplicated awareness of being. Some people feel this in passive meditation when the mind is clear. The dancing Shiva has it while his body spins and his center is calm like the eye of a storm.

The Wheel of Fortune, one of the major arcana tarot cards, depicts a wheel going round. One of the things I council with the Wheel of Fortune is that where you place your focus changes how the wheel affects you: If you are focused on the outside of the wheel, you experience a roller coaster of experience. On the high part of the wheel you are lucky, your life couldn’t be better, everything is coming up roses and you get so excited you just can’t stand it. At the bottom of the wheel, you are at your worst: life sucks, you have the whole world on your shoulders and you are at your most depressed. The wheel can make us feel like we are almost bipolar with highs of mania and lows of depression.

This is what we experience on the outside of the wheel. In the center of the wheel is the axle around which it rotates. It is the stillness in the center of the dance of this cycle. From the center you can feel the up and the down without it moving you out of your center. You can have the luck and adversity and neither shakes you out of your equilibrium. You are part of the dance, but you have the stillness and centering to deal with all the twists and turns of the wheel. All of the cycle pivots around you instead of the other way around. The center of the wheel is the stillness we need to maintain to learn all that the Wheel of Fortune, of life, has to teach us.

When we act from this place of centered stillness we are like Shiva dancing. We find the rhythm of the dance and are not unbalanced by its motion. From a place of stillness we can observe and predict the next steps. All our parts are aligned in stillness and we feel greater unity with all of creation.

Meditation of Stillness

Hold the thirty-first bead of the blessing cord, the bead of Stillness, the earth of Kether.

Count your self down into a meditative state.

Visualize the screen of your mind expanding into a sphere around you. You feel a sense of rising as your sphere begins to fill with radiant prismatic light. Resonate the God name of Kether: “eh-heh-e-yeh”

The radiant light flows through you, making your spirit body feel fluid as you become one with the light. This place is timeless and yet contains with in it all times. Around you images flash of your past, but you feel a disconnection from these experiences. You are a silent observer on the outside of your time-stream. Focus your mind and intention to see a time where you felt the stillness.

See the time you felt stillness before you. You are an outside observer of yourself. Observe what you are doing. Look at your posture and even observe the energies that emanate from you as you feel stillness. When you feel satisfied that you have observed enough from the outside, merge with this past self. Feel what they feel. See what they see. What are you thinking about? What are you feeling? Where in your body do you feel your stillness the most? How are you dealing with the current situation? Draw your spirit self into the place of stillness within this past self. Observe how it feels to be completely one with this stillness. Feel how everything around it flows and dances while it remains the pivot point of it all. Now that you have found this stillness, know that you can return to it at any time.

Project yourself back out to be an outside observer again. Move back into the white radiant light of the place of timelessness that is all times. Set your intention to see a time in your past, where you had lost this stillness and the dance was swinging you out of control. See this time before you. Again you are an outside observer. Watch your past self loose their stillness. Observe what your past self is doing and going through. Feel and observe the energies that emanate from you. What are your posture and expression like? When you feel ready, project yourself inside your past self. Observe and experience what loosing stillness feels like. Why is this happening? You are just an observer, so you can disconnect from these feelings and reconnect to your intuition. What is it saying to your past self? What is the lesson of this time?

Now feel your past self’s body. Even in this time of unbalance can you find the stillness? Where is it now? Connect deeply to the stillness and allow it to spread from this place where you found it. Change the scene of you loosing stillness until your past body and your present “body” are in the stillness once more. Feel things calm as you regain your equilibrium. See and observe how the scene changes when you are in alignment with your stillness. Move again outside your past self, leaving behind the sense of stillness. Observe how everything you experienced from the outside has changed. The energies flowing off you and your posture have changed. You have not changed the past, only the way your present self interacts with it.

Step back into the white radiant light that is timelessness and all times. Know that you can find your stillness in any situation by taking a deep breath and focusing your mind to where your stillness lives within your body. The images of your past selves fade and the light grows more intense. Then it begins to fade and you feel a slight decent as your screen of your mind returns to its natural color. The screen recedes to its normal size.

Count yourself up into waking consciousness.

Give yourself clearance and balance and ground, as needed.

Contemplation

When do you most feel the stillness? What throws you out of your stillness? How do you regain stillness after you have been thrown out of it?

Blood

The thirtieth bead of the blessing cord is the blessing of blood. It is the blessing of water in Malkuth. Blood is the river that passes through the generations. Our blood has passed through our ancestors, through us, and on to the descendants who come after us. It is this river of blood that moves through us and gives us the ancestral patterns and memories of our people. Our blood holds within it the memories of all the ancestors who have gone before and all the memories of our descendants in the future as well.

When we talk about our family we say “they’re my blood” or use the adage “blood is thicker than water.” We acknowledge that our blood ties us to our people. Many have postulated that our past life memories could also be memories from our blood ancestors, passed to us like the instincts of birds to return to the same places as their ancestors. Whether this is a genetic transmission of information or a morphogenic field impression or something else doesn’t matter. It is true that we have information, patterns, and “blueprints” that are passed to us through the “river” of blood that flows through time.

The things that are passed through the river of blood are both good and bad. Our strong determination, optimism, decisiveness, as well as a weakness for sweets, want for a steady job instead of self-employment, or alcoholism, for example, are all passed through this connection of blood. We are deeply connected to our family and the information passed through the blood. Both good and bad are passed to us and can be awakened within us. They give us those peculiar talents that are passed to us and the addictions that plague us.

The best thing about this river of blood is that you can commune with it in your meditations to be able to go back and see why a pattern is within your psyche and change it, if you so desire. You can also go back and activate talents from your ancestors to deal with your life in the present. You are the product of a thousand loving choices and these ancestors have a vested interest in what you get from them and in transforming the harmful things that may have been passed to you.

In this meditation we visit the river of blood and use it to commune with the ancestors and the patterns passed on to us. You have the opportunity to call forth gifts and talents of your ancestors and transform the patterns harmful to you.

Meditation of Blood

Hold the thirtieth bead on the blessing cord. The blessing of blood, the bead of water in Malkuth.

Count yourself down in to a meditative state.

Allow the screen of your mind to expand out around you, forming a sphere. Feel the slight shift as a garden begins to grow up around you in the sphere of your mind. Resonate the god name of Malkuth: Ah-do-nai Ha-ah-retz

Explore your garden. You find a cave within the garden that leads deeper into the earth of your consciousness. As you walk into the cave, it spirals deeper and deeper. Finally the cave opens up into a cavern with a river flowing through it. This river is a bright red and blue. As you come closer, you can hear a heartbeat. Listen for your own heartbeat and allow it to attune to the rhythm of the river. Step up to the edge and dip your fingers into the flow. Tell it your intention to connect through it to your ancestors. Share if you have a particular intention to awaken or transform talents and patterns that are passed to you from the ancestors.

Feel if the river is ready to connect to you. If it is, step into the flow of the river of blood. As you get to waist depth, turn into the flow toward you. Ask to know where the pattern you want to release began. You may have an ancestor rise up from the river or you may see it played out on the surface or in the depths for you to view. See why this pattern started and why it has continued. You can trace this pattern down the flow from your ancestors to see why it continued in your family. Follow what you see until it comes to your generation.

Acknowledge why this pattern continues in your life now. Explain why you want to change this pattern that no longer serves you and your descendants. Thank the pattern for the aid it has given those who went before and then ask that it be transformed and released, putting your intention behind it. What is the effect within the river of this intent? Does the pattern boil out? Does it just fade? Thank the river for this healing and awareness.

Ask the river to show you the pattern you want to foster in your life. It may be a talent of an ancestor or their knowledge. Call this up from the blood. An ancestor may rise to talk to you from the blood or the pattern may appear on the surface of the river or in its depths. Ask to see how this pattern originated. See how it has served your ancestors in the past. Thank it for helping your ancestors and ask that it be re-awakened in you. Dip your hands into the waters of the river of blood and scoop up the pattern and pour it over your body to absorb it. Feel as the pattern mixes and mingles with your own blood and spirit. If an ancestor rose up from the river, you may embrace and merge to gain the pattern and awaken it within you. Thank the pattern for being with you and fill it with light so you can pass it on to your descendants in the river.

When you are finished, leave the river. Give thanks one more time to the river and your ancestors and descendants for their aid and love. Turn back and walk out of the cave into the garden of Malkuth. Return to where you entered and the garden fades around you. Allow it to fade as you feel a slight shift. The screen of your mind returns to its normal size.

Count yourself up into waking consciousness.

Give yourself clearance and balance and ground, as needed.

Contemplation

What are the gifts you have received through your blood? What are the weaknesses passed to you through your blood? In what ways could these strengths be weaknesses and what ways can these weaknesses be strengths? What will you leave to those who receive the river of blood after you?