On the Magick of Thought Blog, Mike recently shared a post about the Danger of Popular Memes and Ancient Wisdom and how the blind acceptance of ideas and practices can cause the practitioner to avoid ask questions and critically examining what they are doing in order to improve it. In my own approach to magic, one of my rules is that the magician should be willing to consistently challenge his/her own beliefs about how magic works, or for that matter how anything else works. I've applied this rule to my own work and it's always helped me to stay sharp and never accept any explanation as a given. Test what you are told or what you tell yourself and keep testing it to see what you can change and/or improve upon.
To recognize when you need to challenge your own beliefs, its important to consider that what you think you know can actually hold you back from discovery. What you know becomes a prison in a sense because it keeps you from asking questions. You know it, and yet that knowing is an illusion that necessarily must be challenged, in order to open yourself to possibilities. When we treat what we know as a given, we limit ourselves and close off possible perspectives. Limitation in that way isn't useful, because it keeps us from exploring and utilizing those perceptions.
The best time to recognize when you need to challenge your beliefs is when you start to become so sure of them that you take them for granted. Once something is taken for granted it becomes part of the background, and when this occurs with what you belief it means you are no longer challenging what you believe. Instead you've accepted it and the limitations that come with it. The key is to continually challenge yourself on what you believe and ask yourself if it really applies to the situation, or if there are possibilities that could be explored. By doing so you may discover solutions you would otherwise ignore.
Magical Experiments podcast
This week's Magical Experiments podcast is with Felix Warren and discusses his work with the Goetia and how that work was inspired by the anime series Slayer. Click here to listen.