Formula of IAO

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Formula of IAO

Postby LD330 » Thu May 30, 2013 11:11 pm

I'm a little bit confused about the formula of IAO, and this confusion could be resulting from mixing two different systems, but regardless of that I'm still confused.

The other system besides I guess a Thelemic method of initiation (along the lines of liber LXV and the AA) is Buddhism. One of the books I've found that has made the most impact on me is called Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha (http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/dharma-wiki/-/wiki/Main/MCTB?p_r_p_185834411_title=MCTB). In this book in part 3 the author talks about the progress of insight. This seems to go along with the formula of IAO. In this book it is basically labeled the stage of the arising and passing, the dark night, and equanimity, and the practice to bring about these stages is vipassana meditation ("noting").

This all seems fine, but if one were to just do vipassana, it seems like one would end up in the dark night a lot (the author says these stages are cyclical). Like so much so that it doesn't even seem worth it to meditate because that would suck so much.

On the other hand, the whole progress of insight seems to progress whether you want it to or not. In that sense doing vipassana meditation would make sense.

My question is, is this sort of thing specific to vipassana or is every system of initiation like this (ending up in the dark night all the time)? I'm not trying to avoid the work, and I know how amazing at least the "I" or arising and passing stages can be, but in a way it doesn't even seem worth it if you're just going to end up thrown back in the dark night regardless of what you do. I'm sure there will be depressing parts of anyone's life, it just sucks when they all come at you at once and there is literally nothing you can do.
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Re: Formula of IAO

Postby Los » Fri May 31, 2013 10:22 pm

ld330 wrote:if one were to just do vipassana, it seems like one would end up in the dark night a lot (the author says these stages are cyclical). Like so much so that it doesn't even seem worth it to meditate because that would suck so much.

On the other hand, the whole progress of insight seems to progress whether you want it to or not. In that sense doing vipassana meditation would make sense.


Well, there's your problem: it "seems" to you like such-and-such, so it "doesn't even seem worth it," but it could also "seem" such-and-such....

You have nothing to base these "seems" on. They're nothing more than you imagining and speculating about what doing X "must" be like.

Just try doing the practice, without any preconceptions of what "should" happen. If it turns out that you don't like it, then stop. Go play cards or watch a ball game or something instead. Nothing bad's going to happen to you.

My question is, is this sort of thing specific to vipassana or is every system of initiation like this (ending up in the dark night all the time)?


What exactly makes you think that every system of initiation "ends up in the dark night all the time"? Some dude said it in a book, and it sounded kinda good, so you just went with it?

You're making mountains out of molehills here. Properly performed by a healthy individual, the Great Work will not lead to depression.


"Remember all ye that existence is pure joy; that all the sorrows are but as shadows; they pass & are done; but there is that which remains.

[…]

They shall rejoice, our chosen: who sorroweth is not of us.

Beauty and strength, leaping laughter and delicious languor, force and fire, are of us."
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Re: Formula of IAO

Postby LD330 » Fri May 31, 2013 11:29 pm

Fair enough man. I'm just curious as to how all of this is going to go. The reason I bring up that book is because what he had said about the progress of insight is what had matched up with my own experience most fully. I've had ~6 months of an amazing mystical experience and 2+ years of an awful "mystical" experience. This all happened on accident to me. I'm wondering if this sort of thing is going to stay like this (ping ponging back and forth between ultra highs and ultra lows all the time) or even out.

You're right that I have nothing to base the "seems" on. I was hoping someone with more experience would elaborate on this formula and how it goes in a person's life. I could be wrong with this entire question though and it could all be a matter of what's happening in an individual's life at the time.

"Just try doing the practice, without any preconceptions of what "should" happen. If it turns out that you don't like it, then stop. Go play cards or watch a ball game or something instead. Nothing bad's going to happen to you."

I understand that. Once you start you can't really stop though. "Let him remember that being entered thus far upon the Path, he cannot escape it, and return to the world, but must ultimate either in the City of the Pyramids or the lonely towers of the Abyss. (Liber 185)"

I am just complaining though. Sorry about that. Right now I think I am in the "O" part of the process and my control is slipping.
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Re: Formula of IAO

Postby Los » Sat Jun 01, 2013 1:16 pm

ld330 wrote:I was hoping someone with more experience would elaborate on this formula and how it goes in a person's life.


Well, as far as I'm concerned, this formula doesn't speak to an individual's life in the sense you're talking about. The meaning of IAO is considerably different under the New Aeon. Perhaps it would be best for me to quote Crowley in an excellent passage from the appendix to the Book of Thoth, where he directly comments on this:

Aleister Crowley wrote:The "formula of the dying god", as this is usually called, does actually exist, but it represents a stage in human development which is now past as far as external theology is concerned. It has a sort of shadowy validity in psychology; for instance, in taking up a new task of any importance, one begins very pleasantly, the period of Isis; the task becomes tedious and baffling, one begins to despair, the period of Apophis; then suddenly the subject is mastered and one comes to a triumphant conclusion, the period of Osiris.

But the whole of this formula depends upon ignorance of the laws of nature; there is in fact no catastrophe. Natura non facit saltum; all change proceeds with perfect order, ease and harmony. It is the great task set before mankind at the present moment to realize, and therefore to adjust, means of action to the facts of the case, thus preventing the illusion of catastrophe by eliminating the element of surprise. It is of course also of supreme importance to eliminate that prejudiced desire which is the poison of will, "For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect".


What Crowley is saying here is that the way you're using IAO -- initial enthusiasm, depression, joyous mastery -- does have a kind of validity, still, but it's based on a very faulty understanding of the universe. It derives, ultimately, from the misguided view that there could be a "calamity" in nature. For example, the ancients believed that the sun "died" every night and had to be "resurrected" by their magic. The same sort of psychology underlay all the myths of dying gods, including Christ.

But these understandings of nature are all completely wrong. There is no calamity. What they thought was calamity was just an illusion created by the rotation of the earth. The sun was always there. Always shining, always warm, always perfect.

By analogy, Thelemic attainment involves coming to the same sort of conclusion about the Self. Those periods of depression that pass through the mind are just that: shadows that pass and are done (which correspond to the "shadow" of night created by the rotating earth blocking the sun from our view).

More broadly, it's not just periods of depression, but all of the mind's thoughts (and especially its thoughts that any particular thing in one's life is a "problem" or a similar kind of calamity). I'll tell you a secret: "problems" don't actually exist. "Problems" are an idea, a way that your mind labels things. The True Self dwells *beneath* the mind, and so the True Self has no problems.

The whole idea of thoughts/problems/sadness is just an illusion: by discovering one's True Nature and living from that depth, one affirms that the True Self is always "shining" beneath the veil of the mind, always present, as the sun is.

See the chapter on IAO in Magick in Theory and Practice, where Crowley reformulates the word as VIAOV, with V representing the Holy Guardian Angel (i.e. a metaphorical way to talk about a person's True Self), which is present at the beginning, the end, and is omnipresent throughout the process of initiation.

In that scheme, there is no "dark night" -- the I represents the spermatoza, the A represents the Fool in the Tarot (the "seed" of aspiration produces the Fool who does not understand that he understands), and the O represents the Devil in the Tarot (the enlightened one, whose O represents the zero that the universe cancels out to, which balances and equilibrates the I, which signifies both the individual (the pronoun "I") destroyed by initiation and the phallus that is joined to the Yoni (O) and equilibrated by the four elements, or the pentagram A).

I've written a little more about IAO on my blog in my essay on the Star Ruby ritual: http://thelema-and-skepticism.blogspot.com/2012/11/end-as-thou-didst-begin-star-ruby.html

So basically, I just don't get what you're talking about. Two years of "awful mystical experiences"? What does that mean? It's foreign to me. Can you elaborate?

Once you start [on the path] you can't really stop though. "Let him remember that being entered thus far upon the Path, he cannot escape it, and return to the world, but must ultimate either in the City of the Pyramids or the lonely towers of the Abyss. (Liber 185)"


Yeah, yeah, yeah. Forget all that. If doing certain practices has resulted in dissatisfaction for a period of years, then I would stop doing those practices. And if you're seriously depressed (or prone to depression), I would forget all about "magick" for a while and get some professional help. There's no shame in that.
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Re: Formula of IAO

Postby Takamba » Sat Jun 01, 2013 1:39 pm

Los, I like your new style of presentation. I've always appreciated your ideas, good job on being less argumentative in presenting them.

Los wrote:I'll tell you a secret: "problems" don't actually exist. "Problems" are an idea, a way that your mind labels things. The True Self dwells *beneath* the mind, and so the True Self has no problems.


Yeah, like John Lennon said, "Ah, people asking questions lost in confusion.Well I tell them there's no problem, only solutions."
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Re: Formula of IAO

Postby LD330 » Sat Jun 01, 2013 3:05 pm

Haha okay. Thank you. I understand what you're getting at. I know that regardless of what anyone does, it's nature doing it, not "them," there never is a "them."

I guess a lot of "the issue" has to do with the fool tarot card.

So basically, I just don't get what you're talking about. Two years of "awful mystical experiences"? What does that mean? It's foreign to me. Can you elaborate?


I get your point of view (and it's probably a testament to that point of view that I almost forgot what I meant, haha) but there are points where you realize that habits you've accumulated over your life are inconsistent with results you'd like to obtain. So you take the leap of the fool and those habits all come back to you but this time from the external universe.

The thing I don't understand is, on one hand, you could just immediately accept these "new" (new to you) laws of the universe and start living immediately according to them. That would make the most sense. On the other hand, even if you don't, you realize that it's not "you" doing any of these things so in that sense you're still following the same laws of nature. But you need to find some sort of way to work either one because you're still living with the consequences of the actions of your whole life leading up to "the leap." The answer to this is probably "pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result," but again that's a "new law" of the universe and part of the habits you need to break. (Is this the point where I'm missing it? I can understand that everything one does is their true will and in a way pure will and unassuaged of purpose. I can understand that intellectually but I haven't brought it into full consciousness yet).

All your points still stand though. Didn't the old aeon prophets recognize that everything was just a fact of nature? I can't imagine them not recognizing their own process as that of nature.
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Re: Formula of IAO

Postby Los » Sat Jun 01, 2013 8:33 pm

ld330 wrote:The thing I don't understand is, on one hand, you could just immediately accept these "new" (new to you) laws of the universe and start living immediately according to them. That would make the most sense. On the other hand, even if you don't, you realize that it's not "you" doing any of these things so in that sense you're still following the same laws of nature.


I don't really follow you here. I think you're trying to say that even someone who rejects the Law of the Thelema (which you're calling the "new laws of the universe") is still following that Law because a person cannot help but do his or her Will ("thou hast no right but to do thy will").

If that's what you're saying, here's a metaphor to help get your mind around the concept: a plant will always try to grow, no matter the conditions. Even if you keep it some place dark that's not conducive to its growth, it will try to grow as best it can, given those conditions. But if you took that plant out of the dark and brought it into the sunlight and nourished it with water and the right type of soil, etc., then it would flourish.

Something similar is going on with the True Will: your Will is always trying to express itself as best as it can, though in the case of nearly everyone, that Will is thwarted by the restrictions of the mind, which stunts its expression.

Practicing Thelema is like bringing your Will into conditions that are more suitable for its expression.

To put it another way, you're always doing your Will, but you can almost certainly stand to do it better, and that's the whole point.

But you need to find some sort of way to work either one because you're still living with the consequences of the actions of your whole life leading up to "the leap." The answer to this is probably "pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result," but again that's a "new law" of the universe and part of the habits you need to break.


I don't know what you mean here at all. Is there some way you can rephrase all this with very specific, concrete examples?
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Re: Formula of IAO

Postby chris S » Sat Jun 01, 2013 8:56 pm

You see enlightenment isnt anything special.. it cant be given to you, as you already have it.
The work that needs to be undertaken is in stabilising your experiences to that of your true self or sole mediator.. where to meditate or to act in everyday life is identical, there is no effort as this your true nature.
So you can understand that it comes without effort.. paradoxically, nothing needs to be done.
.. and i mean paradoxically as this isnt a cop out for not doing the work.
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Re: Formula of IAO

Postby gurugeorge » Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:55 am

ld330 wrote:Didn't the old aeon prophets recognize that everything was just a fact of nature? I can't imagine them not recognizing their own process as that of nature.


It's more like this: the concept of VIAOV connotes non-duality. All the strivings (with their depressions and small joys, the IAO formula per se) are (not exactly illusory but) like illusions, in that "they pass & are done; but there is that which remains." That "that" is what everyone really, really is, underneath the changes (compare the traditional image of the sun behind the clouds - in a generally cloudy country like the UK, one can be forgiven for wondering if the sun is actually there at all! - but nowadays nearly everyone's been up in an airplane and marvelled at the glory above the clouds!)

Now, within most religions (whose overt teachings are usually dualistic, with Worshipper here and God over there) there were of course schools that were non-dual in nature, schools that understood the fundamental continuity. But they were generally considered to be either politically dangerous and only for the elite (e.g. Advaita Vedanta) or both politically dangerous and too risky for the unprepared practitioner (e.g. the Tibetan non-dual systems like Dzogchen or Mahamudra). The only non-dual teaching that ever became a national religion was Can (Ch'an, Zen) in China, and while it had a good innings, perhaps it wasn't the right time then. (And it's true that for some people getting a sense of non-duality without some kind of preparation can be misleading (the old trap of "well why don't I just go out and kill someone, or just lie in bed").)

By "politically dangerous", I mean that people who are fundamentally free and who know themselves are less likely to fall for the idea that they need "leadership", or (and this is the crux of it for exoteric religions) that they absolutely need some sort of priestly intercession to reach the Divine.

But now, one of the great changes in the New Aeon is that these teachings are no longer esoteric, no longer to be considered politically dangerous, or particularly dangerous for practitioners; they are out in the open. With an educated populace, the "risk" isn't so great, and there are enough warnings of the pitfalls out there, and enough of the various teachings hanging out their shingle for people to triangulate. Plus also, these teachings cannot be hidden any more, even if it were desired, because science bears them out: we are all one "stuff".

So, while life still has its ups and downs and downs and ups (the IAO formula) the key is to get to a place where there's a deep understanding that what you really, really are isn't actually being affected by them - it's already pure joy, and doesn't need any particular thing to happen in order to make it happy, and it is fundamentally unaffected by the "vehicle's" problems (it just "partakes" in them). That is constantly humming along in and throughout every change ...
********

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Re: Formula of IAO

Postby Swamiji » Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:21 pm

The thing is, insight is great but you need a combination of insight and techniques of concentration. If I recall, the book you mentioned says that too, though perhaps its not very clear on how those two interplay; the way out of the "dark night" is through the development of both.
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Re: Formula of IAO

Postby LD330 » Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:26 pm

I don't really follow you here. I think you're trying to say that even someone who rejects the Law of the Thelema (which you're calling the "new laws of the universe") is still following that Law because a person cannot help but do his or her Will ("thou hast no right but to do thy will").


Yup, linguistically that is what I was saying. I've been thinking about this the past week or so. I hadn't really realized that before.


So what I'm getting from all of this is that there comes a point in your progress where you just don't really care about your personality any more (like for example Crowley considered "Aleister Crowley" the lowest level of his being compared to Perdurabo, Therion, etc. His being would stop caring so much about "Aleister Crowley."). In ditching that lowest one you would also be ditching everything else too (ditching "Aleister Crowley" would necessarily ditch "Perdurabo" because "Perdurabo" is a figment of "Aleister Crowley's" mind). (If anything is unclear about that paragraph let me know)

Is this why you guys don't care about IAO? I'm not at that point yet. I can see how you can get there, but I think there's still a fair amount of crazy stuff to happen before I reach that point haha. I can pretty much not care unconditionally already, I had to learn that pretty quickly, it's just not out of total awareness yet. From this perspective it seems like IAO doesn't even matter past the first cycle. I can't even imagine what happens to your awareness once you're able to observe yourself from that perspective.
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