Saturday, August 27, 2016

Doing is Required
I play disc golf as a hobby. For those unfamiliar with the sport it is fundamentally the same as regular golf only using thrown plastic discs instead of hitting a ball with a club. The holes are baskets with chains hanging above them to stop the discs.

Many people often learn the techniques by watching videos online. They teach driving (a throw from the tee meant to go a long distance), mid-range shots, and putting (when you are close to the basket trying to get the disc in), as well as giving tips on practice methodology. I have watched these videos too, and learned from them. Watching the videos alone would do little, however. I had to go out and use the techniques on the course to really gain a measure of proficiency. 

Until recently my average drive from the tee was about 275 feet. Once in a while I could hit the 300’ to 325’ range. That is a little less than the average for someone at my level of experience.
During a round this weekend I realized that my shoulders tensed up as soon as I stepped up to the tee pad. This would not be something I would notice watching a video even though the advice to “keep loose” may have been mentioned. When I made an effort to relax those muscles I stood more vertically and I could feel the difference all the way through the shot. I was astonished to watch that drive travel 341 feet and land within five feet of the basket. Normally, I would par (the amount of shots one should need to make the basket) that hole but that sort of distance makes for an easy birdie (making the basket with one less toss than par). Further, by adding that additional fifty to seventy-five feet a drive there would be little chance that a second shot would go wild. Basically I have eliminated a lot of bogies (one over par).

After that one change in posture my average drive was over 300 feet. I routinely hit 325. Later that round I let one fly that landed 375 to 400 feet away from the tee. For me this was an incredible distance. I had only thrown 400 feet once before, and that was a fluke.

The downside was that the toss was so long that I threw it out of bounds. In disc golf out of bounds usually means that the disc left the course completely. This is penalized by scoring an additional toss. If it takes four shots to make the basket but one went out of bounds your score would be five. On this particular basket you have to throw a disc over a forty foot tree and have it sail another 20 feet before you pass the out of bounds marker and land in a parking lot. The next time I play that hole I will have to add a little altitude to the same throw. The additional height will drop the air speed a little sooner and the disc will fade (descend while turning left) and drop before flying out of bounds. Because I have played much shorter holes before that I can over throw I know how to deal with this problem. The rest will be practicing that shot.

Playing disc golf takes social courage for some people. As you are learning you look a bit silly out there. Some people cannot face their best throw landing at seventy-five feet only to see some eighteen year old sending one soaring 400 feet down range. That said, it is not a particularly intimidating prospect for most people.

Magick is intimidating for many people. To do it you have to be able to set aside some of the ‘science only’ mindset of the prevailing Western culture. More importantly you have to accept a new form of reality that simply does not conform to anything you’ve been taught unless you were raised in unique social circumstances. New people in particular can been afraid of doing it wrong.   Intangible spirits can be scary. The greatest fear is the one that hides the deepest. Many people do not realize the true nature of this fear, which is that magick eventually requires you to discard your entire world view over and over again. In magick there are many events, tasks, and realizations that trigger fears. Almost everyone has to face some fear early on in their magickal career. Human fears run so deeply that this is a continual process of reinvention for many if not all practitioners.

Unlike disc golf there is no way to practice before taking a shot at magick. You can only do magick by living a magickal life. You can pull off some unplanned spontaneous workings or fire some one-off spells from time to time but magick takes time, effort, and awareness to master. During that process you have to read enough, watch enough, and do enough to find your magickal equivalent to my tight shoulders. With practice you will overcome blockages that you might identify with other things but which are ultimately rooted in fear. You will relax and your skills will increase exponentially.  When they do you will be able to fall back on your experience to make the proper adjustments. Just like you can throw a disc so far it goes out of bounds, you can also use more magickal power than you need. You will never find the sweet spot between skill and power in a book or on a blog. You have to gain experience playing the game. Once you find that critical balance a few times your abilities will grow exponentially.

The only way to gain experience with magick is by doing magick. While I do not advocate you do magick for every little thing or as a recreational activity I do believe that most people who new to magick don't  do enough of it. Everyone has their own reasons for shying away from magick. It is important to assess those reasons carefully. Our fears easily become excuses which masquerade as solid reasons.

If you do not have the necessary skills practice to obtain them. If you do not have the knowledge read a book.  If you have the skills and the knowledge make an artificial elemental. Command it to bring you more knowledge or skills in any area that you like.   If you can do that conjure spirits and ask them how you can improve your life or obtain a greater tie to the land. If you are delaying learning the skills or reading a book you just may be afraid. Have courage! You will inevitably make mistakes. You will also have mind blowing experiences. Live a little!

Three months ago I could only dream about throwing a disc 350 feet on a regular basis. I can do it now because I kept on playing the game. Take that same leap with magick. Do something to improve your skill levels. Do not be satisfied staying where you are. Once you take that leap you magickal life will open doors you only dream about now.

As a personal example, my family is going through a very difficult time right now. That said, I am handling things in such a calm way that most people would never guess how challenging it is. This is not the result of suppression. My being understands the universe with enough depth that life’s difficulties are not mentally or emotionally disruptive. Instead they are merely time consuming and inconvenient. Instead of being anguished and stressed I feel love and sympathy. This understanding comes from opening doors that can only be managed by doing magick.

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