It's time for the promised post on point 2 of the Strategic Sorcery Manifesto. Point 2 states:
Many systems of magic focus on spiritual growth or religious worship, insisting that practical magic is a side issue that should only be used to support a spiritual practice or to provide aid in dire emergencies. Strategic Sorcery again poses the opposite: by focusing on the magic of finances, sex, love, health, and power you can naturally get drawn into spiritual work. By having such immediate and material concerns tied to your spiritual practice, your motivation to actually do the work is often much greater than if it is aimed only at an ephemeral goal like enlightenment or worship.
Now, this statement runs completely contrary to many if not most of the great spiritual teachings in the world. Everyone from Christ, to Buddha, to most of the Mahasiddhas, will tell you that it is better to renounce material pursuits and seek the wisdom of enlightenment. I want to state right up front that THEY ARE RIGHT.
If you are seeking an end to suffering, mystical union, rigpa, fana, you name it the non-materialistic path is best. There is no doubt about it in my mind. The best part is that you can engage in it right now in any number of ways: you can join a monastery of nunnery, you can join or even start a communal cult, or you can just liquidate and donate everything and become a wandering yogi. Contrary to what some people think, this is NOT easier to do in India than in the US. You won't have anyone fawning over how holy you are in the US, but is should be a plus to the serious wandering siddha. As far as survival goes, you can probably do better here than there with free clinics and other services. Just get yourself some durable robes and start walkin bitch.
No? Me neither. So what then are we to do?
Strategic Sorcery suggests that if we are going to insist on living in the world that we get good at it. Strategic Sorcery suggests that since you are going to be clawing after fortune, sex, power, health, good looks, and the rest that you throw yourself into it fully. You may find that when you do that, this materialistic world may just provide the platform for real spiritual advancement anyway.
One of my favorite Mahasiddhas is Khadagapa, which means swordsman. Khadgapa was a low caste burgler who after robbing a house and getting chased by soldiers hid in a charnel ground where he encountered the great Guru Carpati. He told carpati that he had no time for seeking after enlightenment but since he was always in danger of being killed by the kings men, he would like to attain the siddhi of invincibility. The Guru taught him a mantra that he was to say while circumambulating a statue of Avalaokiteshvara for 21 days. On the 21st day a snake would appear from beneath the statue and he was to pick it up without fear. For 21 days he did this without stopping to sleep or eat. When the snake appeared he grabbed it by its head, and the snake turned into a sword - the sword of wisdom. Upon grasping this sword he attained invincibility, but also enlightenment. It is said that he taught for 21 days than traveled to the Dakini realms in his own body.
The point is that even without the initial motivation for spiritual development, if you are seriously working in improving your life with good intent than you will develop spiritually. I have seen this myself over and over again. In fact I have seen a lot more evidence of spiritual evolution amongst people working on developing passive income streams, radical time management, stress reduction, and becoming pick up artists than I have at any occult lodge and most dharma centers that I have ever been involved with.
In fact one of the major things that I was amazed by when i first read "The Game" by Neil Strauss was that most of the PUA's he talked about were making amazing personal strides by practicing Huna, NLP, Hypnosis, and just good old self examination. Now that I have met and corresponded with some of these guys (in the name of research of course, I am happily married) I can tell you that the results they were getting persuing "inner game" in an attempt to develop confidence and attractiveness in the name of getting laid, would be the envy of a lot of Gurus and Spiritual teachers. Gurdjieff would have been eating his heart out.
Why did they get these results? Because if you are not motivated enough by purely spiritual motives to give up worldly distraction and become a full time contemplative, than those same motives are probably not enough to make you work your ass off amidst the trials of everyday life either. This is why most occultists spend their time reading and discussing and dressing the part. When they do try something out, they abandon it when it gets hard or when something more interesting or exotic comes along. When all you are interested in is putting something like 8=3 after your name, or the next felt cut out that you can adhere to your robe (OTO in joke there) than you quickly realize that actual work has zip to do with it.
If however you are trying to get laid, and you realize that the major obstacles are your own habitual patterns, than you get to work hard and fast. Because let's face it, has there ever been a stronger motivation for ANYTHING?
Meditation for instance, if practiced diligently, can lead you all the way to full blown Buddhahood or Christ consciousness or whatever you want to call that highest ring. Some spiritual teachers get pissed that Meditation is taught in corporations as a way to relieve stress and increase productivity rather than as part of a Buddhist curriculum. Some even get snippy that the health benefits that cause it to be taught in hospitals are what is pushed instead of the idea of full blown enlightenment. Yes, meditation will do all these things we are warned, but it must be approached with an eye towards spirituality. The funny thing is that other than professional contemplatives, the results that people in the Dharma Centers and Occult Lodges get from meditation tend to pale in comparison to the ones gotten by those doing it for the side benefits. Whether you do it for stress relief, creative insight, cholesterol reduction, personality development, or because you hope to one day be able top kill people with your thoughts (my own personal motivation :-) you will get the same benefits as anyone else doing it for any other reason. Like it or not, you will see spiritual benefits.