Let me apologize for the typos in part I. Ick.
In the last part I had mentioned that the first thing a person should learn to do is take down their shields. So how do you do that?
Here’s a simple exercise. Get four very close friends of mixed genders. Now relax yourself and remain relaxed. Now take off all of your clothes, and without covering any part of you tell your friends every secret you have about yourself, everything you think and feel about them, and be absolutely honest about everything and make no effort not to share or hide anything. Don’t be nervous or shy, be relaxed and let everything just go right through you. After you’ve done this, repeat the exercise with four strangers.
Okay, that’s a bit extreme, but if you did it and continued to live your life in that manner for a period of time, it would probably work. Realistically though most of us will choose a path that is a bit slower. But then again, some people are probably okay with the idea of being naked in front of four strangers while telling all of their deepest, darkest secrets.
But this method is the basics of what needs to be done. The barriers we have put up to hide behind need to be taken down. We need to expose ourselves completely and leave ourselves completely vulnerable, and let everything pass through us and come out as it develops. This is a state of being without any kind of defense.
Not only do we have to work on taking down the shields that protect us from others, be we also need to work on taking down the shields that we use on ourselves. We need to be able to expose ourselves completely to ourselves. This means taking the time to look at exactly what we are, what are personality really is, and what our flaws are. And we need to be brutally honest about exactly what we are and not try to shy away from it, or justify it, or repress it, or hide behind something else, but rather admit to it. Until we know the truth about ourselves, we can’t be honest about what we are to others.
It also means being comfortable with ourselves, both physically and mentally. We shouldn’t be ashamed of the type of person we are, nor should we be ashamed of our bodies. You don’t have to be a saint, everyone has their issues. Likewise you don’t have to look pretty, you can be completely hideous. But you need to be able to deal with that and accept that and be proud of what you are regardless of what that is. And of course, once you’re completely comfortable with what you are, it’s going to be so much easier to stand naked in front of four strangers while telling them everything about yourself.
I’m not encouraging people to try the above exercise, even though it would probably work.
The next step, once you’ve managed to be honest and comfortable with yourself, is to expose yourself to others (metaphorically!). Be honest with people. Tell them how you really feel. Let them know about you, the stuff you normally don’t tell anyone.
The problem here is that everyone is different. Some people have very light shields and are usually very honest. Other people have very thick shields and try to keep everyone out. You have to be self-aware and honest enough with yourself to identify what it is about you that you keep from others. It isn’t enough to just be honest about the things you’re willing to be honest about. You have to find the things you would never want the other person to know about you or see in you, and expose them to that. Try to have a more intimate relationship with most people.
And I don’t like mentioning nudity because of the reputation it has within the magick community, but this is an area where it can be very useful. With people who are very modest it’s almost necessary that they expose themselves sometime within this process. But even for most people, casual nudity is something that is generally regarded as very intimate and reserved for only a handful of people. Because of that it can really speed up the process and help with taking down ones shields. On the other hand, if a person is a nudist, it probably won’t help them at all. But they’ll probably want to do all of this naked anyways.
Okay, next time I’ll talk about putting the shields back up. You should probably wait for that before taking them down completely.