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Meditation

The first step in developing one's magical senses involves developing concentration. Nothing ruins an evocation's chances of working more than if a magician thinks about what he or she wants for dinner while reading a conjuration. Once a magician can concentrate on one idea for several minutes, then he or she can easily master magical techniques. Following is the process for developing concentration.

First, find a period of time that you can devote to your exercises every day.The best times are either before going to sleep or right after waking in the morning, as you are in a calm state of mind in both instances. But no matter what time you practice, try to make it the same time each day, because setting aside the same time helps establish a beneficial routine in your subconscious.

In other words, your mind will expect a period of magical training every day at your selected time, just like it expects to fall asleep when your head hits the pillow at night.

Once you find a time to train, the next step is to find a place that is free of outside distractions. A bedroom is fine as long as you turn off the phone's ringer; and make sure no one will knock at your door. Find a good comfortable chair to sit in and face toward the part of your room that is the least cluttered or disorderly looking. Never try these exercises in your bed! As I already mentioned, your mind expects to fall asleep when you are in bed and meditation on a mattress is a little too relaxing.

when you are ready to work, turn off any electric lights and either work in darkness or by the light of a candle or oil lamp, either of which should be behind you if used. This will create a soft glow in the room that is very relaxing It is also helpful to burn incense, which helps put one into a slightly altered state of mind.Any scent will do at this point. I like using a combination of frankincense and myrrh, because the scent sets a temple-like atmosphere.

Sit in your chair and try to get as comfortable as you can, while at the same time making sure your back is kept straight. I recommend sitting with your feet pointing straight ahead and about six inches apart, with your hands rest-ing lightly on your lap, palms down. Let your shoulders relax, but try to keep your head up straight. The slight motion of your head tipping forward should serve as a warning that you are becoming either sleepy or restless. If either occurs, it's probably best to continue at another time.

Make sure you have a pen or pencil and your magical notebook handy before you go any further, so you can record your results when you are finished with the exercise.

Once you are sitting comfortably, close your eyes and begin the following rhythmic breathing exercise:

Inhale deeply through your nose for a slow count of four, and when your lungs are filled, hold this breath for the same count of four

Next, exhale slowly for a count of four, and when your lungs are completely empty; keep them this way for another count of four

Then repeat the process.

After a while of breathing in this rhythm, you won't have to count any longer, as your body will grow accustomed to keeping the rhythm. With practice, you should only have to go through the conscious counting for three or four cycles before your body takes over (If you have heart problems, just breath rhythmically without holding your breath.)

The next step of this initial relaxation process is to become aware of a glowing sphere in the air before you.

Don't worry about being able to visualize it clearly with your eyes closed, just know that it is there, and do your best to imagine it in a warm, golden color.

When you feel ready, imagine that your body is hollow and that you are clear like glass. On your next rhythmical inhalation, pull some of the light of the sphere toward your feet for a count of four, and feel its warmth filling you.

Then hold this fluid-like light within your feet for a count of four, and as you exhale, feel it glowing brighter within you.

On your next inhalation, pull some more fluid light into yourself to rise and fill another six to eight inches of your legs.

Hold as before, and feel this light glow brighter as you exhale.

Repeat this process until the light moves up your entire body, filling it with this warm, golden fluid. By now, your breathing should become an unconscious process, and you should be able to concentrate on the next step without counting.

Remember, your breathing only has to fit an approximate rhythm, so don't worry if you are off by a beat or two.

For the first week or so that you are working at this set of exercises, perform the following step

After your relaxation is completed, imagine you are sitting on top of a cliff overlooking a river There is a clear night sky above you.

Again, don't worry if you can't visualize this clearly yet. Just know that these are your surroundings

Now look at the river as it flows by you and listen for the sound of running water.As you do this, you will probably find several distracting thoughts are trying to occupy your consciousness.

Don't fight this, but instead, let these thoughts come, and try to see each of them as a positive visual symbol. For example, if your next car payment is worrying you, and you think of it at this time, see it manifest as an envelope hill of money and let it drift down the river.

This way you don't become too involved in each thought Once you cancel negative thoughts in this manner, and let them drift down the river, you can then let the next distraction come to you so you can deal with it in the same manner Never dwell on a distraction just make it positive and let it drift away In time, fewer and fewer distracting thoughts will invade your concentration.

Stick to the above exercise for the first week or So. When you see a significant drop in the number of distractions you experience while training, move on to the next step. Once you are seated and have performed your relaxation, imagine you are on that cliff again, but this time let an idea come to you, and concentrate on it.

Give it a positive symbol, or even better, make sure it is a positive idea.

Visualize this symbol, and try not to let any other thoughts enter your mind.

If you have a hard time, you might want to try letting the first few ideas that come to you drift down the river as before, and then concentrate on one.

Try and hold this one thought in your mind for as long as possible. You might find it helpful to hold a moving image in your mind, like a slow-fuming propeller, as concen-trating on the motion will help you remain focused.

Each day you try this exercise, you should be able to go a little longer without any distracting thoughts.

Once you feel you can concentrate on one idea for five or six minutes, without interruption, you are ready for the next set of exercises. Remember to work at whatever pace feels most comfortable for you, and success is ensured.