The most profound benefits I’ve experienced I won’t speak of, not because they’re secrets, but because it would sound like I was just writing a poem. Suffice to say that some cognitive states that I’ve accessed through psychological alchemy are hard to describe, but transformative. I won’t bore anyone with the details; it’s as dull as someone recounting a dream they had. It is of primary interest to the teller as an experience saturated with obscure meaning to be unfolded, and only of interest to the hearer as a novelty.
The other benefits are more tangible.
Close to mind, for instance, and given the season, is the means I have discovered to communicate with the dead. This is a phrasing that I understand sounds very cavalier, if not disrespectful. But over the past decade, several people I know have died. Some I was close to, some I only knew a little. But it was the beginning of my own process of figuring out how to cope with death. Out of a feeling of being literally haunted by my own sadness over losing them, and a feeling of powerlessness, I began a process of attempting to reestablish a sort of contact with what I understood to be my own internal complexes of those people, and I mean functional conversant simulacra in the Dialogical Self. I have learned a great deal about what I believe to be the difference between a living human and a dead one. My own conclusions may run at odds with, or even be offensive to some, but it has brought me a feeling of peace with regards to the relationships that I once thought ended when one person died.
I have built up, over time, a relatively complex tool of self-analysis. Perhaps its components are arbitrary, but the structure of a machine determines the work it can do, and I have been served well by a tool as complex and amorphous as the esoteric roadmap. If nothing else, it’s full of enough inconsistencies, contradictions, and paradoxes to approximate my understanding of “Reality” [sic].
On perhaps the most mundane level, I really feel like there have been situations wherein the performance of a magical action was the deciding factor in an unpredictable scenario, such as when getting a job I was interviewing for depended on my ability to pull a ‘sleight-of-mind’ trick by boosting my confidence and feeling of self-efficacy by invoking a spirit on the preceding Thursday to “guarantee” that I would get the job, and carrying a talisman made during the course of that invocation as a warrant that I didn’t need to worry about whether I would get it or not. This is the level on which it doesn’t even matter whether magic is real or not; it simply works, even if it’s only in small ways.
In a similar vein, I know a pile of NLP tricks that look an awful lot like mindcontrol when used right, but these techniques are simply the product of an understanding of human behavior that most people don’t access. Hardly magic in the purest sense, but a benefit of the study of the mind and the strange things it can do. And you asked me about the benefits.
These are just examples.
Are you a wizard? Will you be at Dragon*Con? HOLLA