Saturday, May 14, 2016

Lesser Key (Goetia): 16 Conversations in One Day

Yesterday, at work, I spent the morning calling the spirits of the Goetia. What follows below are the exact conversations, unedited as I typed them. They are a bit hard to read for that reason. The only thing I edited are a couple of names of humans and turned some question marks into periods. If a conversation appears to start in the middle that is because it did. Though, I immediately understood everything that was said 'before' the conversation started.

I was not going to post this but several things these spirits talked about yesterday manifested in skills used today.

The technique is simple. I read the lesser key blurb on the spirits, look at the seal and call the spirit's name. That is all. One, I asked to manifest within a triangle drawn on a piece of paper. He did so as a beautiful leopard of perfect form.

If it is in quotes, I was 'speaking'. If not, that is the spirit.

(72) Andromalius – Can you do anything about my work situation?
No. They have moved on. This is just like the XXXXX situation, XXXXX has moved on. You hang on. “Why?” Because you want to be liked. You also have traits that make you unlikable. “Such as?” Integrity. You feel like you must say something to have integrity. You do not. “[Thought of coven situation]” That is different the same way people remaining silent in front of Hilter is different but in situations of stupidity [or disagreement] when no one is getting hurt, you do not need to say anything.

[Comment: I think he made an excellent point.]

[This thought came to me just after we were done: One of the way to test the answers of a spirit is in their simplicity. A complicated answer denotes a human mind.]

(71) Dantalion – Can you tell me about the counsels I keep secret from myself?
You are not good enough. This is your core railing against Christianity. You feel not good enough but know it is not true. You feel judged as failing and that sometimes is true but sometimes not. This is a basis for a lot of anger and angst.
“how can I cure this?”
Look for the core of the feeling…to be included. You feel as if you are not good enough to be included with others. Deeper. The human state is one of loneliness. You are always ‘apart’ from one another. You have mislabeled the solitariness of life, even the deepest of love is between two people that are fundamentally separate. This is the sword of God. The only true unity, lack of loneliness, is when you unite with God. You have experienced this with the Perfection. That was unity. Now, seek the true unity. This is what has always driven your spiritual quest.
“What does True Unity mean?” It means the fundamental unity. The perfection you were unified by dropped back down into reality. You carried that experience down to earth congratulations. Now you must truly unify and carry that back down.”
Seek it willfully, intentionally.
“Can you give me a clue as to the path?”
I just did.
(70) Seere
“Dantalion told me to seek true unity. How do I do that?’
By asking me. I can take you to it just as Orobas continues to teach you after all these years. Just like him, you will not realize it is me until after the events.
“What is your office that allows this?”
Read the book.
“Is there a special way in which I need to ask?”
You just did.
“Do I need to form a relationship with you?”
You just did.
“Can you help me recognize and be grateful for the abundance in my life?”
Oh yes! [This was said very enthusiastically.]
Never mind such questions.
“With you or all spirits?”
With me.
Let there be hope.
(69) Decarbabia
“What is your office?”
“is there a deeper meaning?”
Not for you.
“For others?”
Birds can mean flights of fancy, distractions, whimsical thoughts, transitioning thoughts,they can also be birds. Some people love birds. Think of a falconer.

(68) Belial
You have good interpretations of the sigils.
“How can you help me with my life? Do you have wisdom for me?”
What am I given?
“What do you want?”
[laughter, good natured]
The homage to a king is the respect you have shown to other kings, show this to people, all people.
The same. You do not bow or scrape but you let us know that you respect us by how you approach us. What you say. Find a way to have respect for everyone as everyone is his own king.
(67) Amdusias
“Do you know who I am?”
Yes. More than you.
“What is the deal with the trumpets”
They announce things to be announced.
“Oh so they are a warning to pay attention to what happens next?”
“Can you provide such warnings to me? I miss things that I should pay attention to.”
“Will you provide such warnings to me?”
Yes. I like offerings.
“Like What?”
A little smoke.
“Like incense?”
“You can cause trees to bend?”
In your case things of the Tree [of life]. Entrances you may not have seen. But also yes trees as in gardening.
“What is the import of gardening?”
Garden and find out. Connect to the earth.
“Will you open the tree of life to me in new ways?
No, you do that. I will let you see ways you have not seen.
“Thank you”
Quite welcome.
(66) Cimejes
“Cimejes… Cimejes…. Cimejes… Cimejes… Cimejes… Cimejes”
Yes. [very good natured laughter]
“Can you help me with grammar, punctuation, spelling…”
Yes. You think too fast. Your brain transmits an idea not the form. Form is important. Form is understandable. Lack of form, to you, is just as understandable but others get lost in it. You need to learn form badly. Why have you not done this? It holds you back. It destroys confidence.
No, lack of caring. You love the idea, the action. You need to communicate those ideas well to inspire the action.
“You will help?”
If you study. You have to pay attention to how others write and communicate. Yes, even Mr. Trump. His simplicity will serve you, not the deception.
(65) Andrealphus
[Having looked up the word Mensuration]
Take the measure of a man.
“How can that help me?”
You misjudge. See his true motivations. His needs. His flaws. His virtues. Then you can be of service. The rest is serving your own perceptions.
“Will you help me?”
Yes. You must pause. You must look at a man with a clear mind. Never hear what he wants you to hear, never use your own interpretation. Just pause, hear past the words.
(64) Haures
 I hate the fricken triangles.
Yes. Fricken.
“Not much of a swear word.”
“What made me feel separate and unworthy?”
[ revealed some childhood experiences that I already knew contributed]
[deep sense of being looked into]
[shown images that reveal that some digestion issues are the result of feeling separate.]
[shown how my spiritual aspirations to rise contribute to separation, instead seek the earth]
“thank you.”
(63)  Andras
Andras. Andras. Andras. [look at seal]
Discords you no longer need. Openness you do. Reveal all about yourself to everyone.
“Do not I do this? I am an open book.”
Not at work. Not to many. You are not simple in people’s eyes.
“How can I be simple in their eyes?”
Who cares?  Be open.
“If you so discord, do you also know peace?”
Peace is false, there is always conflict except for very few for short spaces of times. Look even to the leaders [founders] of all religions and you will see the discord. The trick is not letting it effect you. Let them be in discord but do not be in discord with their discord.
You have seen the Perfection. Yet, you did not allow other people’s rejection of that vision have the slightest impact. This is what I mean. Do it in other ways. Do it in all ways.
“Will you help?”
Yes but you are asking of many of us. Best to know who you are asking for help when. Though, some will come unbidden and unawares like a thief in the night. Yes, I meant that connotation.
(62) Volac
No contact
(61) Zagan
Yes, you are correct. I can bless metal in accordance with its natural dominion (correspondence). Iron to Mars etc.
To make it more receptive to the powers the magician is trying to instill. All things have impurities this extends to the other realms. I clean those.
“Will you help me do that?
Sure. Call me before the other spirits. Let me prepare the object to receive them.
(60) Vapula
I help you find your passion and ground it in skill. I am angelic and only recently fallen.
“How can you help me specifically?”
You are a flighty one. I can enflame your passions to any particular project so you at least get something done.
“Why do I do that?”
Your mind thinks too fast. It is in love the new idea rather than prosecuting that idea to its fullest. You are not satisfied with any of your progress no matter how much it would help others. Someone else told you that you thought you were not good enough. Solve that and you will solve this. In the meantime, focus me on one project and get something done.
(59) Oriax
You I would inspire to prayer. The more devoted you are to prayer the more successful you will be. Magick is great but your time is best spent in deep prayer.
(58) Amy
Your best use of me would be to call me when you come across a spirit that gives you difficulty. I would reveal the treasure of its identity or meaning. That ‘treasure’ may be like one of your movies (“evil” for lack of a better word).
(57) Ose
“Change man into diverse shapes?”
From a small practical view, I can make a small part of his personality take over the larger. A man that steals a little can be turned into a thief that gets carried away and thus caught. A man whose compassion weakens him can be turned so compassionate as to be defenseless. Then, of course, the joke would be on whomever did this thing. It is best to give me an effect or impact on a person’s life and let me arrange it…
… oh there is no spiritual value to this. It may be used to defend or just in pettiness.
Divine sciences refers to alchemy but any divine path or secret can be laid bare. You want to meet Jesus I can point out the road. You want to meet Baal? That too.  I can teach you how best to worship any god to draw that god closer to you. Some are best left alone.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

How to Tell When You are Spiritually Off Track

People think spirituality is hard and living the "proper" life nearly impossible. I believe this sad state of affairs is caused by two incorrect mindsets. The first is that all human beings are totally defective. This is brought to us by the purveyors of original sin and priests that like to hold on to power. The second is that we do not realize how many people are leading their 'proper life'. This is because we've been taught that the proper life looks like Christ's or Buddha's.

So before I share how to know if you are on track, let me change your idea of what a 'proper life' looks like. Please allow me to introduce you to Madame Rachou. She ran the Beat Hotel. She grew up around artists and once declared that it was her mission to 'protect' artists and give them a place to work. She ran the hotel with an iron fist. If you used too much electricity, a little light would turn on in her office and she would bang on your door and tell you to turn off your hotplate. By ruthlessly watching expenses she made sure she could rent rooms very cheaply.

The people that lived there William S. Burroughs, Alan Ginsberg and others who were the founders of the Beat Generation, the Beatniks. They were the inspiration to David Bowie, the forerunners or creators of the sexual revolution, anti-war viewpoints, and the hippies. The lite the fuse that lead to the acceptability of pornography (that one is of dubious value) and homosexuality. The blew up social bombs that led to a host of other cultural changes. In short, the Beat Hotel was the birthplace of a cultural revolution that freed people from the rigid box of 1950’s attitudes.

No one has ever heard of Madame Rochou but she lived her proper life and created an environment that created a new cultural environment. I have no idea if she was a ‘nice’ person, what ‘sins’ she committed or what personal demons she fought. As far as the culture is concerned, no one cares about these things. The simple fact is that we live in a much different social world because she ushered it in by living her proper life. She manifested her soul through doing the work of her soul. She did not care that ‘her’ artists were vilified for producing gay pornographic books or anything else. Society be damned!

This does not mean your soul’s work must be that radical.

Exactly how to find your soul’s purpose, is not the subject of this post. Learning when you are off-track is. Warning, I am about to share something that will lead you to believe that I am talking about sin. I am not.

Have you ever come close to doing something wrong? Maybe you were tempted to cheat on your wife and you were just about to say that one thing that would open the door. Maybe you were about to steal, had the object in hand and then put it back. Maybe you were about to tell a lie that would have saved you but damaged someone else. Remember that time. Remember that nervous tension that was in your body? It feels a bit like insecurity but with an edge to it. That feeling.

When you are doing something off-track you feel that but the volume is turned down. The sensation is an underlying tension, a tiny nervous doubt that does not even enter your awareness, unless you look for it. You could feel this when you decided you are going to be a great occult author, when you are going to open a bicycle shop, when you are about to take a job, when you are about to date someone. It can happen at any time. Notice that none of these things are conventional sins. What this feeling tells you is that you are about to do something that will prevent your soul manifestation.

The feeling you are looking for is not guilt, not fear, and not social anxiety. It is like that but more subtle. You have to pay attention. When you find it, do not do what you are about to do. The ability to pay attention and act with discipline is part of what it takes to find your soul purpose.

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Benefits of Trusting the Gods

When my Pagan/magickal life was new, I ran into a few disasters. Some more experienced people would tell me that trusting the gods is an odd thing, as They do not always have the same desires we do.

During that time, I felt completely used and tossed away by the gods of the tradition I was working within. I did what I ‘heard’ they wanted me to do, which was to bring one person into the coven just by being me. Once that was accomplished, I was ejected with malice*.

Fast forward fifteen years…

Over the past year, the gods and my soul have given me the same direction. That direction involved radical life changes. Life changes that were so over the top that I had a hard time accepting them as even possible. As time went on, they opened door after door that allowed me to see the possibility of these changes actually occurring. I then started taking action on each item they presented.

Note: As long time readers of this blog know, I am not much for personal privacy. I have spilled the beans on myself a great deal. This is cryptic because it involves others.

The, what I can only consider radical steps, occurred one after the other until I was ready for the last leap. In fact, I was literally five days away from making that last unrevocable step. At that moment, my family received devastating news. Aside from the shock, I felt betrayed. I uttered phrases like, “This is the second time that I have totally trusted a witchy goddess and the second time she said, ‘Ahhh, thanks for trusting me. That was so cute. Now F… Y..’”

Instead of losing my shit like I did the last time, I told both the Goddess and my spirit that they have to explain this to me. The response I received was a bit of the ‘Secret Game’ mentioned in a recent post, “You will see in time.” Really? FU right back. I would ask again and again and again and, once I was calmer and totally accepting of the situation (about a week) They explained.

“You are now in the perfect place to deal with this. There is a lot of help now that would not have been there had you not listened.” This is true. What is also true is that it is somewhat likely that, after this period passes, that last final radical step may still happen. Even if it does not, the first steps have opened up other doors for us** and exposed me to a very different life experience. This is something I value, even though the transition is difficult.

So, going back fifteen years, I remember going to my last circle with that coven. He “hps” was being drawn down on and I heard in my head the voice of the Goddess, “You have always been accepted [by Her] in this place but the rest has to come through her [the hps].” At that precise moment, that hps said, “She [the Goddess] is not here. I am not getting anything.” I knew then I was done in that group. Now, I wonder, if I had a bit more patience and trusted the goddess to handle the hps who was unwilling to hear or incapable of hearing, how life would have changed. I will never know.

I do know that I would not have lasted in the group long. There were too many untenable dynamics. Things may have ended without that obsession.

The point is that this time, I did listen; I did follow through; I gave myself time to hear, as Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story. Things are working out very differently.

This is what doing the Great Work is about. Being in the same situation and reacting from a place of greater spirit than one did before. It is a willingness to engage that spirit over and over again until such things are possible.

I have no faith in the gods. Faith is weak and indefensible. I have experience with the gods. I know they exist and I know they have a very direct impact on my life. I have also learned to trust them they same way I learned to trust people. I experience with them. I watch them. I observe actions and results. Eventually, trust is born both of one’s own due diligence and the other party respecting the trust given.

*On the part of the humans involved
** I became a married man last month.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Lesson of the Coven

Many years ago, I was rejected by an Alexadrian coven. My spiritual mentor, a non-coven member, played a very strong role in the situation. The series of events that lead that to that final rejection left me in a state of obsession chronicled ad nuaseam in this space. 

The obsession lasted ten years. During that time, I focused on the events and the actions/motivations of others, as well as myself. This led me nowhere. This situation was made worse by what I call the "Secret Game". This is played by telling me you have a secret about me (in this case about what happened during those times that caused my rejection etc.) and then refusing to tell me the secret. That game still bothers my psyche so much that my good friends know that game is off limits. If any of them play that game with me, the relationship is over. There is no compromise. 

Over time, I rejected everyone that was involved in that incident. By everyone, I mean everyone that was even close to it, that participated on any level or took an opposing side of the conflict.  By rejecting everyone one and everything, I began to reclaim a bit of my personal sovereignty. 

Today, through an unrelated meditation, I think I learned the lesson of those times. When you reject anyone, you reject a part of yourself. Each person that played role in those times, was a reflection of some part of myself. I had considered this before but got hung up on the specifics of their actions, which I feel I would have never engaged in. That was a mistake. Each one of the persons was, generally speaking, engaging in very analogous actions that mirrored my own life choices. 

I will not outline them all here, as many of those choices I would no longer make. I will reveal that one of them is one that mentor played, the Secret Game. I had asked him very direct questions that went something like this. "You were at the meeting. What charges brought against me?” He refused to answer. Frankly, he held on to that secret for much longer than was healthy for either of us. It was the length of his secret keeping that I focused on. That was the mistake.

His actions did reflect part of my personality. Though, I did not even know I had it at the time. I present the mystery to others. I believe I do so in a healthy way but I do present the mystery. He had presented or embodied a mystery. That is the only part that matters. He embodied a mystery of mine; I embody a mystery for others.

In tonight's meditation, I had to "own" this part of my personality. I also had to own the more negative aspects reflected by others as well. By rejecting them, I had rejected parts of myself. My fully accepting these parts, all of them, I have healed some other part of myself that I did not know was hurting. Perhaps the better word is “missing”. I was missing something. I was less than whole.

This is the type of lesson that usually spurs a spiritual growth spurt or a new mystery. I look forward to either. 

There is a lesson-part that is beginning to take hold already. I will work on the following: When I see someone engaging in behavior that bothers me or that I reject, I will examine how that is analogous to my own behavior. It does not have to be the same to be the same. I will then accept that part of myself. This will prevent me from rejecting others.

Still to ponder: How can I do this and still reject people that are toxic to myself? Is mere recognition of the analogy enough?

Sunday, March 27, 2016

How to Thrive Within Negativity

No matter who you are something you perceive as negative will enter your life. Even the Dalai Lama had to flee his country.

Such a thing recently happened to me. At first, I was confused and a little angry. I had followed my spiritual promptings, the words of my Goddess as I hear them, and landed in a very difficult situation. This prompted some questions for that Goddess and some anger. The same messages had come from my soul. This too brought into question my ability to hear spiritual messages.

As is my habit, I asked the Goddess what I was supposed to learn. "What are you trying to teach me?" She assured me my original anger was understandable but misplaced. After about a week, I understood.

The trick is to blame no one. This was not any person's fault, nor a Goddess's. Life happens. In the absence of blame, there is only the situation. Dealing with the situation at hand is the only option. Blame simply brings unnecessary pain and stress. In addition, it makes me feel alone and adrift. After all, if it is someone's fault, and I didn't see it coming, how can I be assured that I will see it coming the next time?

Understanding life happens and that blame is not in the equation brought immediate peace. Sure there is sadness and adjustment but I am in my center place.

Many people that I know in Paganism came to the path from a place of despair. Frankly, many of them appear to be a bit unhinged and in need in of professional mental health intervention. Now, I am not so sure that is true. I see how such deep angst, despair and erratic behavior can be brought about by simply mishandling situations.

So, here are a my tips for dealing with adversity.

  1. Blame no one. Even if you were attacked, beaten up, stolen from refrain from placing blame.
  2. Deal with the resulting situation in a professional manner. If this happened at work, what would you do? You may fire the primary actor. You may even report that person to the police. Once that is done, you simply work on replacing that which was stolen and move on. 
  3. After things are dealt with and the emotional shock is gone, assess what part you played. Did your instincts tell you this person was a thief and you ignored them? Did you leave the stolen item unprotected. If this was only a social emotional 'theft', that means your left your personal boundaries too porous. Again, you cannot blame yourself. That leads to guilt, which leads to hopelessness. 
         If you do this too soon, your emotional defenses will get in the way.  Give yourself time to                assess the situation as dispassionately as possible.

     4. Learn how to not contribute such grief again. Your friends will teach you or self-help books will         give you clues. Always pray to your deity of choice to teach you. All of them respond to such             requests. Asking to be taught is the epitome of humility. 

Doing these things reduces one's emotional angst. That reduces behaviors that are, at some level, intended to sooth pains but end up making things worse. You will also find that you will be more stable than you have been in the past. Others will notice. 

Many of the behaviors that lead people to think you may need professional help will fade away. They will be no longer necessary. You will feel like a god or goddess in a storm. The cold winds will blow with fury but you will remain warm. The rain will fall but you will be dry. There is a strength here that many cannot imagine. I invite you to experience this strength.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Mic Drop for Jesus

My issues with Christianity have been documented in this space. Earlier in the week, I was taken to school by none other than Christ himself…at least he was Christ in my head.

To recap, I have never bought into the idea of original sin. I think the idea is degrading to humans and our spiritual connections. Moreover, I have found that the attitude of many evangelicals is repulsively judgmental. Significant portions of them, no matter how nice they are socially, espouse ideas that I do not think are nice at all.

Yesterday, an old friend contacted me. She was having a crisis of faith. Oddly, it is not unusual for me to field this issue. I am stunned when Christians come to me or simply have that conversation with me as they know what my attitude has been in the past. I gave her the same advice I always do. Pray to Jesus and ask him to teach you what you need to know to reconnect.  Jesus, like every other god that I have encountered or advised someone to pray to, has always responded. Always. Every time.  The signs are usually so obvious a complete novice picks them up. There is no need for anyone to encounter anything as dramatic as a burning lawn shrub.

After this conversation, I hear a voice in my head. The quoted text below isn’t quite right but it is close.

“Why did you not advise her to leave me and try another god?”
“Because she has been yours her entire life.”
“But you don’t like me.”
“I have no business interfering in someone else’s relationship with their god.”
“But you don’t like me.”
“I don’t like your teachings but more so, I do not like what your followers say and do.”
"They do not know me. Neither do you."
Now call me daft but that was the point that I realized who I was talking to.
“Why do you hold that against me?”
“Because if I say or do something that my gods don’t want me to, I hear about it.”
“What makes you think I don’t tell them?”
“They don’t seem to be listening. Why don’t you correct them?”
“Yes, I have heard that excuse before. If I ignored the teachings of my gods, they would drop me.”
“What makes you think I haven’t? Have you not seen all these people have is the law?”

BAM! That was a mic drop moment for Jesus.

He continued anyway, “They have no love.”

No, I am not going to convert but I am slowly becoming more accepting of Jesus and his pantheon. I do believe that is because I am a theurgist. My universe is now expanding. So is my mind, my emotional ability and my life. My goal is not consistency but truth and not THE truth but the truth I need to move forward. This is just one small piece.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Pagans -- Do Not Lower Yourself into Your Religion

I did not know it at the time but I became Pagan because it was not Christianity. I could also read about it in English and many of its ideas made sense to me.

My rabid anger at Christianity was not explainable. I had not been directly harmed by a church member. My anger toward the religion flared the moment in my high school years when I was approached by the evangelical soon to be brother-in-law of a close friend. Again, he did not do anything outside of a social norm. I was simply fundamentally appalled by the ideas he presented.

It was three or four decades before I came to know my reason for being so against Christian thought. My understanding of reality does not include the degrading, spirit-killing, self-loathing concept of original sin. There is no place in my reality where I will condemn you for being born. That said, neo-Paganism is not without its major flaws.

When I speak with new Pagans, I offer two pieces of advice. Keep your mouth shut and your pants on.

Keeping your mouth shut is a rule I developed because the barest touch of the other worlds lends one to believe one has discovered a new thing. That one is suddenly wise and knows what one is doing, etc. This is false. You simply do not rise past that falsehood while flapping your gums. In that state, the speaker is an arrogant douche bag. Even people that have no idea what the other worlds are like know this. The only person that does not is the speaker.

Keeping your pants on comes from the lack of dogma and rules in the neo-Pagan community. One can fuck, have sex with or make love to anyone one wants to. As long as it is consensual, so the myth goes, no one will judge you for it. The fact is that they will sit in judgement but they can’t on religious grounds. They will judge you because they want the person you are doing. They hate the person you are doing. They want you and you don’t want them etc. While that is an issue, humans being humans is not really the point of the rule.

Some human beings can have sex with many partners and be just fine. A beauty of Paganism is that they are not judged for this. Most humans raised in my culture cannot do that. The myriad of lovers eats away. They have less self-worth. They begin to lose the personal integrity of their own being. Since the neo-Pagan culture has no prohibition against promiscuity, they see no harm in their actions. They do not see how much harm they are doing to themselves.

Here people lower themselves into their religious paradigm instead of rising above it. This is not spirituality; it is self-destruction.

The path here is constant self-surveillance. Sure the sex feels good but do you have to be drunk before, during or after to do it? Do you get a little bit depressed afterwards? Has it gone so far that you are always depressed even during the act? Has it gone so far that you don’t know what your standards are for choosing a partner? If you are promiscuous and do the self-assessment honestly and you find no issues, fall to! Be confident enough to know that you are the exception to the rule in our culture. Do not drag others in that are not exceptional as well.

This just isn’t about sex. I follow Hermes. Hermes is a thief. If I were a man of avarice, I may use that as an excuse to steal things I wanted. I would forget the hymn that uses the word “fraud divine”. I would lower myself into my religion instead of rising up. What exactly is fraud divine?

Hecate is darkness in many of Her forms. If we simply act out and become dispensers of darkness, we lower ourselves into our religion. We must look to the purpose of that darkness to raise ourselves.

When we raise ourselves, we engage in behaviors that are true to our souls not to society. This is freedom like no other.  Exalt your true nature.

There is no part of my reality where I will condemn anyone that engages in activities described above. I may stop interacting with a person but that is not the same as condemnation. It is preserving my sovereignty in my reality. This keeps me safe and sane.

My point here is that religion is a schema for a chosen viewpoint of reality the point of which is to develop your own sense of what is real in your universe. Rightfully pursued, it is an avenue to true freedom. When wrongly pursued, it leads to a life more akin to reality television than true spirit.