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See "Symbols."

OCCULT, OCCULTISM (See also “Ascending and Descending Energies,” “Astral,” “Black Magic,” “Magic,” “Mysteries,” “Paganism,”  “Problems,” “Psychic,” and “Wiccan.”)

“Occult” and “occultism” usually refer to various experiences and powers that are beyond normal human experience. They may include a number of psychic powers, non-physical places or spheres, and the practice of pagan or Wiccan spirituality or even certain “dark arts.”

Often a division is made between “psychic” (see) studies, powers, and research versus “occult” activities. “Psychic” implies mental telepathy and has been studied to some extent by science. “Occult” implies darker, deeper forces, and powers. However, in many ways, the subjects of these two fields tend to cross over and even merge at some points.

Occultism often encourages or trains people to experience and learn various powers that are often not yet recognized or studied by science. Examples may include psychic reading of, or power over, others’ minds and emotions; predicting the future; astral projection of one’s awareness or one’s “astral body” (see “Energy Body”) to other locations or people; visiting various nonphysical layers or levels of “inner” realities or “invisible” worlds (see “Delusion”); using spells, incantations, and other magical arts to gain what one desires; meeting various spirit beings, ghosts, or occult powers and forces; and other mechanisms to explore and control the “astral” or “ethereal” world.

While some such experiments and explorations may be relatively harmless or even help you concentrate better in meditation, other such attempts may be dangerous. Often, if you meditate regularly, you may come across such experiences in meditation. Some “occult” experiences may even be somewhat common, if not regular, when you become a middle-stage (see) meditator. This may be especially true if you become an end-stage (see) meditator.

However, they can, instead, be a distraction from meditation. On one level–relatively safe and practical–they can become a side study, just as you might meditate for a while each day but also study psychology or write poetry on a daily basis. If examining occult and psychic claims and abilities are simply a side study of yours–not the core of your meditation practice–then such study and practice may be relatively harmless.

On the other hand, any kind of focus specifically on darker subjects, whether you do this in meditation itself, or as a side study to it, may lead you to distortions and disruptions in your inner life, sometimes sever: not just in your meditation practice but also, potentially, in your life. Studying and pursuing an awareness of darker occult powers and forces is similar, for example, to pursuing knowledge of dark, angry, and hurtful psychological memories within yourself.

It also is similar to practicing emotional and physical manipulation of others to gain power over them. Yet another example is if you were to seek out serial killers and rapists so that you might understand them better. No study of darkness goes without its negative consequences.

For study of occult powers and forces, you need, at the least, a wise meditation master whose goal is to help you find the powers and forces of light, love, peace, and joy. If you are working alone in meditating using occult forces and powers, you should seek light, peace, love, and joy as your principle guiding practice. Let those qualities in occult studies naturally take you into ever wider and deeper places. In short, it is wiser not to explore dark caves but rather to find the sun and then wait for it to invite you to ride its beams into those caves so that you might explore them.

See “Mantra.”

ONE, ONENESS, THE ONE (See also “God,” “Illusion,” “Mystic,” "Non-dualism," and “Reality.”)

“One,” “Oneness,” “The One,” and sometimes “The All” have several meanings. The first is that there is an experience that you may find in meditation of seeing or feeling the underlying oneness or unity of everything. This is not a simple mental belief or abstract conviction that all is one; rather, it is an actual experience that this is so. For example, in meditation, nature, or art, you may feel that everything within range of your senses is connected.

A second meaning is much like the above, except that you actually feel you merge with this oneness. This merging experience is not separated into you the observer and whatever you are observing; rather, you actually feel merged. A moment like this may also occur in meditation, nature, or art when you literally experience, in your consciousness, a merging with everything else. This is, properly speaking, a mystical (see) moment.

A third meaning is a more intellectual version. When you use a word like “The One” or similar wording, you may be describing what you think God (see) is. It is not a meditation or mystic experience. Rather, it is simply your mental idea of what God might be.

See  "Acceptance."


OTHER PEOPLE, MEDITATING WITH/AROUND/INAlso see the short Guidebook to "Other People.”

"Meditating with, in, or around Other People" can mean that you are meditating

(1) In a pair or small group.

(2) In a large group

(3) In public

(4) On or inside another person

The following is a brief definition of each.

(1) In a pair or small group. This most often means that you have your own meditation partner or partners. This is not simply a pair or group of people who sit and think or feel together. Rather, it is two or more people who are meditating at the same time, whether on the same subject or different subjects, and whether with the same focus or different focuses. For example, any couple or small group of friends who set aside a specific meditation time and then meditate together are a pair or small group in meditation practice together. If they share a worship, art, or appreciation-of-nature event, this, too, may be a type of meditation.

There are both advantages and disadvantages. The primary advantage of such meditation is the strengthening of the deeper energies and feels, especially if people are sitting within several feet of each other. Your body broadcasts significant energy to two or three feet, perhaps especially during some deeper or more intense meditations. And such energy from others near you often can be perceived, even if subtly or unconsciously. The resulting sharing of energy can help you create and sustain a stronger meditation experience. If you can sit even more closely together, hold hands, or otherwise touch in some way, the experience can be even more magnified.

The primary disadvantage is that if you find someone else being near you distracting, you should not meditate with others or, perhaps, not this particular person. For more details, see the short Guidebook to "Other People."

(2) In a large group. Large-group meditation does much the same as "1" just above. However, the potential strengthening of intensity or of depth can be greater. Large-group meditation does not mean a large group of people listening to a lecture, taking a class, or having a good day together. Rather, it means ya large group of people, many or most of whom are actively engaged in some form of meditation. Examples include worship services in which non-lecture forms of worship are used such as praying (either in one prayer together or in individual prayers at the same time, and in singing, chanting, and repeating words together (which is a form of group mantra (see).

Large-group viewings of art, listening to music, and other arts events can have a similar, if usually milder, effect. Large groups with most or all individuals at a distance, such as televised worship, also can have a meditation effect; however, they also are, at the same time, an individual meditation, combining both aspects, especially and more strongly if the televised event is a rerun seen by fewer people.

Advantages and disadvantages are similar to those in "1" just above. For more details, see the short Guidebook to "Other People."

(3) In public. Public meditation simply means that you are meditating as an individual in a public setting and/or around others who usually do not know you are meditating at the time. It does not include simply being thoughtful in public, nor being just aware of yourself in public. An example is meditating as you walk or sit in a public place such as a park, an office building, or on a train. You can meditate this way with eyes closed or open. You even can meditate, for example, in the middle of a meeting, of leading or being in a teaching or training session, or while talking with someone else. Much depends on how well, how easily, you can move into a state or method of meditation while around others.

(4) On or inside another person. In this type of meditation, you generally are focused on a person, or perhaps actually focused on a point within them or their sphere. This kind of meditation does not mean how you normally look at, talk to, of listen to someone else. It means actually using a meditation focus on or within the person. Generally, it is unethical to do this with just anyone if you do not have permission. If you do this to improve communication when you are talking with one or several people, or even in a training or teaching session, you ethically may focus on a point midway between you and the other person, or midway in the center of the group. Usually the focus should be either in the center of the group slightly above everyone's head, or in the center of the group at an approximate level with everyone's heart.

Advantages and disadvantages are similar to those in "1" just above. For more details, see the short Guidebook to "Other People."

OUTER, OUTWARD See "Inner/Outer," "Immanent and Transcendent," "Transcendentalist Meditation," and “Self.”



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