Focal Meditation: Basic State Management

Magic can be understood as a comprehensive skill set. The Focal Meditation technique described here is a root-level skill upon which many other techniques tacitly rely. Too often, however, when reading instructions for various workings that do depend on this skill, the skill is presumed and never explained. Practice these exercises over a course of six weeks and you’ll be well-prepared to quickly master too many more advanced techniques to count! 

Western Meditation

 The term, meditation, has many meanings, differing across contexts and individuals. Search engine results on meditation commonly include Sanskrit terms and Hindu-Buddhist concepts. These results seem to suggest that mediation is an Eastern invention. It is a misleading over-representation, however. East/West differences in meditation: Spirituality or Technique is helpful in that regard.
There isn’t anything wrong with Eastern cosmological concepts, per se. There are good reasons to seek out Western-based practices nonetheless. That’s particularly true for people reared in a Western culture, seeking Western-based magic. The problem with finding Western-based mediation sources is simple semantics and search engine indexing. The search term, “meditation” indexes Eastern-based and heal-based results because of the volume of pages available. In contrast, Western-based practices are more associated with other terms, like contemplation. There’s a translation issue as well. Most meditative practices in the Western Tradition have strong religious connotations. Therefore, a practice name or descriptive phrase is often translated as prayer in English versions. For interested parties, appending Hermeticism and Theurgy  greatly improves search engine results. In the meantime…

 Western-Rooted Meditation

Where generalities are available, Western-based meditation is usually purpose-driven, or goal-oriented. For example, Merkabah Mystics meditated to see God seated in His throne. To highlight the semantic issue, the shamanic vision quest label might apply. If that thought occurs, you’re on the right track. Meditation from the Western Tradition is usually intended to do something specific. There are Eastern meditative practices with practical aims as well. Where so, the aims themselves tend to define the East/West differences. 
In the Western Tradition, there’s usually a conceptual object to meditate on. So along with a goal, there’s a definitive starting point. Here again is a reflection of a spiritual journey. The modern path working practice in Golden Dawn and related magic takes on that very form. Beyond that general form, specifics from antiquity are scarce. It may be that beginning and end points seemed enough. It’s also possible that low-level technical instruction was never written down. Master-apprentice instruction may have been verbally transmitted instead, by tradition. It is a fair bet though, that a novice Merkabah Mystic, for example, underwent some basic training. Without a record of it though, modern training techniques are best approximations, at best. 

The Current Effort

The form of meditation described below is a root-level skill with many applications. Basic spell castingcharging sigils, and black mirror scrying are among them. In a phrase, the technique is to focus on a single thing, to the exclusion of all else. Similar instruction was common in lodge and coven training through the 20th Century. Lodge and coven membership continues to wane into the 21st Century though. The instruction is therefore offered in service of the Western Tradition writ large. 

If you’re an early-stage practitioner of a Western-based magic tradition, practice this skill daily. You’ll cut months off of your learning curve for more advanced techniques.

Focal Mediation as Magic Training

Consider the mechanics of a basic spell. The form goes something like this: 
  1. Ground and Center: clear your mind of extraneous concerns;
  2. Fill your being, heart and soul, with the goal of the working;
  3. Release that goal out into the world/universe;
  4. A moment of gratitude;
  5. Ground and centering again, this time to clear your mind of the magic work just completed. 
  6. If you follow the methods on this site, you’ll have a little something to eat at this point. Nothing brings you back into normal mode faster or better.  
 Some systems of magic involve additional steps. These represent the essentials for present purposed. Focus in on step 2. The success or failure of a magic operation usually depends on success there. The issue is this: if the intent of the working is ambiguous, the magic effects can become convoluted. If that happens, the probability of success is low. Even worse, unintended consequences sometimes make matters worse.
The focal meditation technique helps with step 2, if practiced routinely. That is the primary purpose of the following instruction.

The Focal Mediation Technique

Extraneous thoughts and feelings are likely to occur during any meditation. It’s expected and natural. It’s nothing to be worry about. When you notice it happening, simply get back to the task at hand by refocusing your attention.
A good rule of thumb is to shoot for 10 minute sessions for levels 1 and 2. Once level 3 work begins, start with 10 minutes and work to extend your sessions to 20 minutes. 

Level 1 

Do the following exercise in the morning and evening for at least two weeks:
  1. Get into a comfortable position and take a few deep, cleansing breaths and relax your body.
  2. Become mindful of your body and your state of relaxation. Scan for somewhere in your body that is notably tense.
  3. Focus your attention on that body part. Try to make it even more uncomfortable by focusing on it. Strain your attention to make it feel intolerable there.
  4. When you feel you’ve reached the limit, take in a deep breath and release the tension as you exhale. Do this once and only once.
  5. Take a moment to shift and move your body, gradually working to a gentle stretch, which you’ll need.
  6. Repeat steps 1 through 5 with a different body part.
  7. Repeat steps 1 through 5 at least 4 times, more as desired.
  8. When finished conclude with a deep, cleansing breath and a moment of gratitude.
  9. Have a little something to eat.  

Level 2

 Do the following exercise every morning and evening for at least two weeks:
  1. Choose one of the following feelings to focus on: compassion, love, happiness.
  2. Take a few minutes to think of a specific time when you felt the target feeling,
  3. Get into a comfortable position and take a few deep, cleansing breaths and relax your body.
  4. Bring your chosen focus to mind, and think about how you typically feel when you feel it.
  5. Bring your target memory to mind and pay attention to how recalling the event makes you feel.
  6. Consider whether your current feelings match the feelings you original had when the memory was formed. Make every effort to make those feelings match.
  7. When you feel your current feelings are as close to the original feelings, linger in that state.
  8. When finished, take a moment so shift your body. Gradually work to a gentle stretch, which you’ll need.
  9. Take a deep, cleansing breath and a moment of gratitude.
  10. Have a little something to eat. 
 Choose a different feeling to focus on each day, and never use the same feel/memory twice. 

Level 3

Do the following exercise every morning and evening for at least two weeks:
  1. Think of something you want but don’t have.
  2. Get into a comfortable position and take a few deep, cleansing breaths. Relax your body.
  3. Bring the desire to mind. Focus your attention on it to the exclusion of all else. Continue for as long as you wish.
  4. When finished, take a moment so shift your body. Gradually work to a gentle stretch, which you’ll need.
  5. Take a deep, cleansing breath and a moment of gratitude.
  6. Have a little something to eat. 
 For level 3 work, use the same desire on several days before moving on to another desire. 

A Focul Meditation Routine

Practice these basic techniques for at least six weeks. Thereafter, maintain a practice of 2-3 times per week. Randomly select from Levels 1, 2, and 3 for any given day’s practice. Experiment with things to focus on. Your body, feelings, and desires are hardly everything there is. Find other things to focus on. Be creative, and be persistent. This skill and any magic that depends on it can always get better. Whatever skill level you’ve attained, always strive to improve.