IKIGAI • Mitch Horowitz • Occult Historian, Author of The Miracle Club

when we are doing the will of her true self we are inevitably doing the will of the universe in magic these are seen as indistinguishable but every human soul is in fact one human soul it is to solve the universe itself and as long as you are doing the will of the universe then it is impossible to do anything Slithe they're here they're weirdos in witches my name is Keats Ross and you're listening to Prag magic [Applause] as I camped in the Oregon wilderness preparing to perform a magnanimous magical ritual during the totality of the 2017 solar eclipse I've been intellectually snacking forgive the term on mich Horowitz's a cult America and under that 2017 eclipse I would go on to perform a ritual that would prove to be my personal metaphysical resurgence from teetering woowoo chrysalis to full-blown weirdo midwifing my current metaphysical trajectory that led to this very podcast I had chosen to identify as Revell Ross a pseudonym meant to conjure confidence in sharing my metaphysical musings it's only fitting then that under this recent total lunar eclipse under a super wolfblood moon all but two years later I retired that pseudonym of Revell Ross I've accepted to tether all my art and creativity under my name of Keats Ross now unafraid about the professionalism of my woowoo Wiles and the person that helps solidify this decision was none other than Mitch Horowitz himself via this following discussion about his most recent book the miracle club and the importance of transparency within the spiritual arena I've written extensively about the miracle Club which you can read in the show notes below and it's because of this analysis and Mitch's subsequent retweets of this analysis I was able to find the gusto to ask Mitch to be the 17th guest on this nascent seeker sought seeking podcast pragmatic eternal return synchronous reaching probably but it means a lot that he would devote his time to discussing his definite chief aim of chronicling metaphysical experiences a life focus that relates to mine and the basis of this very podcast also I get to introduce Mitch to the jack venes term iki guy which roughly translates to reason for being so slither here they're weirdos and witches here's Mitch Horowitz I am uh I might be a little too excitable so I'll try to be as linear as possible no such thing is too excitable in my world that's all good well good yeah and this is such an intellectual and I guess metaphysical come up for me because we share a similar definite chief aim oh cool yours is you've said is to chronicle metaphysical experiences yes yes yes yeah mine is similar in that but to enhance and inspire the creative process as an art wonderful and wonderful when did that definite chief aim reveal itself to you was probably in the year 2013 I had been reading the book thinking grew rich casually for years kind of picking through it and it dawned on me that year that I was doing this the wrong way that I had to kind of throw out everything that had come before I had to rid myself of all these notions that because I was supposedly some sort of an experienced reader in the genre of self-development that there was exercises or other things that I had already done or that I could skip that I could overlook and I just made this decision to make a completely fresh reading of the book with so-called beginner's mind and I did every exercise I I read every passage I covered every step even if it was something that I was certain that I had done before in some other context or in some other way and that year the end of that year is when things really began to change for me and I came to a crystal sharp perspective not only on my definite aim but to be frank I was no longer afraid to attach things to that aim including money and writing down sums of money which were steps that I had previously resisted because I regarded them as somehow contrary to my spiritual principles and you know it gave me a whole new perspective on my search a whole new perspective and so I think getting rid of notions that a person is somehow an accomplished seeker it can be so helpful in coming to a definite aim and not putting any boundaries on that aim it challenged everything for me it's really helpful so that in a sense reiated this trajectory that you're on now exactly exactly and it also challenged my own sense of the search because I think probably up until that time and I write about this in the Miracle Club I like many other seekers were fixated on these very secondhand ideas of non-attachment or non identification and right I came to question those ideas I really came to question the workability of those ideas where they come from whether and to what extent they suit the needs of the contemporary seeker it gave me a it revolutionized my idea of the search honestly yeah and did your job as publisher at penguin for New Age books and and whatnot was that an answer or a symptom of this definite aim or was that helping to create it I think it was helping to create it I was in that job for many many years and that job was good to me but I was always dissatisfied I always felt Restless I was earning a good living it gave me a lot of stability it taught me a lot of things it put me in touch with people who proved hugely influential on my life but the greatest thing that I got from it was rediscovering myself as a writer I think in working with those ideas I started to rediscover my own voice and purpose and direction as a writer going back to oboy maybe summer fall of 2003 and I got the first inkling at that time that documenting that a physical experience in both history and practice including my own prac this was at the heart of what I wanted to do and so the greatest thing the publishing gave me ultimately was the rediscovery of myself as a writer it's very cool yeah I mean the ethos that you exude with being this believing historian I think is so potent especially for people that are interested in the metaphysical communities to see a structure to see a viable kind of success story in a way of merging otherwise disparate ideas of material wealth and of success with you know seeking and I really appreciated that as the crux of the miracle Club I appreciate that given you know it was we all got to survive we all gotta you know create yeah and secure a world around us and as much as we'd like to be these non attachment based vagabonds in a way it's it's just it's impossible to do that yes yeah it was wondering oh go ahead you know there's so much you know I wanted to pick up on two things that you said and I really appreciate your referencing the believing historian phrase because that's that's been true of me since the beginning and I you know the truth is most historians of religious experience are believing historians they don't make that declaration yeah because they fear that that declaration or being too explicit about it will compromise them or will marginalize them or will detract from the perception of their seriousness but I think that's the wrong approach and I think it also keeps people from exploring some of the most important artistic work and and and keeps and perhaps even stymies their search I was just thinking about this yesterday I know a man who is well into his 70s this point who is a I would say highly regarded essayist critic writer historian of religion and years ago he disclosed to me that he was very very interested in the teachings of a fairly contemporary Chandler and he shared with me this person's teachings and they were indeed very substantial very very substantial but at the end of our conversation he said to me very pointedly that he wanted me to keep this private he did not want this side of him known to the world yeah and of course I respect people's privacy and it was a private conversation and I agreed and I'll always respect his privacy but I thought to myself at the same time my god like what you know what are you waiting for what are you waiting for I mean we're not all sticking around you know yeah into the medium-term future so why not challenge preconceptions how powerful it would be if somebody with a significant critical mind would stand up and say you know this channeled material is of extraordinary consequence and and gravity yeah and let the naysayers complain you know let them complain it could be the most important step in his career and in his personal search you know I mean it could be the thing that that suddenly distinguishes him and yet because he's fearful of the consequences because he wants to preserve respectability she keeps this intensively private and my feeling is oh I just don't understand that you know I just don't understand that you know what if Mohammed said well everyone's gonna think I'm a nut so you know I'll I'll keep these you know keep it to yourself I trained it's private yeah we're allowed to said you know I don't want to seem like an idiot so I'm not gonna write any of the stuff down yeah yeah I'll just an expense yeah and so I think that I think people should be brave about declaring what they believe and defending it and it might open up doors to them that they could have never imagined that's so synchronous to something that I've decided this week I to was separating my metaphysical musings and what not under a pseudonym or a pen name and it was a means to kind of keep my professional legal name out of that realm and yeah I did a horrible job with it I can't help but just tie everything back together so I finally just deconstructed that and was like you know what going by Keith Ross everything is me enough of this pen name enough of this separation because it's a bit dishonest in a way yes and it takes a toll it takes an unseen toll I think the individual will feel a lot more relaxed you'll feel a lot more confident creativity flows better when you lead one whole life and you know try to slice and dice your identities and it brings surprises you know bring surprises I mean people say to me for example gee you must hear from a lot of nuts on the internet very very few very very few and I make myself hugely available my personal email is on my website anybody can contact me all my social media posts are completely public I don't block anybody and it's amazing the incredibly incredibly small amount of hate or trolling that I get and that that may have something to do with the fact that I make myself completely available yeah and it runs contrary to what people think because people think well gee if I put my email up online you know I'll get flooded with crap and I really don't you know 99% of the emails I get from people are from earnest seekers who really have something to say who have a sincere question or who maybe share a piece of news with me that's very interesting and you know we don't test these preconceptions and likewise everything I've ever written including on controversial topics like Satanism I put my own byline to people know who I am they know what I'm about once in a while I'll get misunderstood but even the misunderstandings are educative I mean I've had I've got I've had the most remarkable experiences with people who may misunderstand me and then you know I learned something about them or I learned something about a side of myself that I never would have expected so anyway you know I would recommend to anybody just just throw open the doors you know be transparent that because it could bring you things that you wouldn't expect that's so funny I had written down to to ask you how important transparency is as someone that's you know voicing or or rating these ideas I I think it's very important because when I'm speaking to people particularly about the material in the Miracle Club for example in that book I'm representing benefits that have accrued to me and that have accrued to other people from using these metaphysical methods that's pre a knife it's personal and I would be the height of hypocrisy for me to not be blunt with people including to not be blunt about my failures you know III want people to know that I've had great successes I've had failures and I've I've let people down in my life you know I I don't ever want to paint a picture that distances mean from you know whoever happens to be reading my book at a given moment because he and I are leading the same life and and if I can be explicit with that person it could give him succor and hope and ideas and practical things to try that I'm offering to him in a spirit of transparency so I I am I do write fairly intimately with people in the new book I read about my hospitalization at age 12 for anxiety for example I I never knew years ago whether I would find the gumption to write about that but I feel it's very important to share that with people because I want them to know that I'm dealing with and I'm offering them as best as I possibly can real world ideas and if I if I play some game of theatricality with people then I'm not really representing to them I'm not really being frank and blunt direct with them and I feel that's owed to the reader yeah I mean my own story my own narrative is a bit of a redemption arc I utilize magical means and metaphysical methods to take myself out of adorable trajectory that I was immersed in for a while and yet I find that's probably the most relatable anchor to tell people hey this is why I'm into this this is why I put so much thought and power into this but it's still like a cumbersome idea to kind of regale the trauma or the the troubles that came before it you know yes yes I also feel and I read about this in the book and I feel very strongly it that metaphysical writers because they're addressing intimate issues of daily life because they're suggesting to people alternative paths to take paths that can be very impactful on one's relationships and career and so on they have a special obligation to be accurate as best as possible they have a special obligation to be transparent and I have seen cases in New Age publishing where people tell stories and you know they claim to be changing names or locales to protect the privacy of the subjects it involved but very often they're doing those things to cover their own tracks to make themselves less subject to fact-checking frankly and I've seen cases where I've been terribly disappointed where a metaphysical writers have either created composite characters combining the circumstances from different people's lives dramatically into one character and they'll claim that they're doing it for reasons of ease of storytelling but the truth is what they're really doing is they're creating a fictional device because if you if you take the traits of two different people and you combine them into one character your faults are hopefully creating a sense of heightened drama and it's it's misleading you know to the reader I also have worked with writers who have altered timelines so that their Redemption story seems more has a more dramatic pitch a more dramatic arc you know for example if they're writing about addiction they omit episodes of recidivism yeah and the truth is everybody who struggled with an addiction knows everybody knows that you suffer periods of recidivism I mean there's hardly an exception to that so it's not right about that gives the idea that oh I saw the burning bush and then everything was just fine and it's like well everything's NOT fine after you see the printing pause she might see the burning bush go through periods of great recidivism and by the way after Moses saw the burning bush it's not like his life was one clear beeline of immense right suffered he argued with God he went through terrible suffering he struggled with anger so I feel it's it deeply important when you're writing about intimate material that you're asking people to experiment with in their own lives that you'd be very blunt and very clear about the consequences of this material in your life good and bad yeah I'd love to get into the miracle Club for a bit it really resonated with me as someone who kind of grew up within the new thought or the beginning of the New Age movement I should say with Marilyn Ferguson and yes yes that's the you know where the name of this podcast actually comes from is from her brain mind bulletins I didn't know that wonderful wonderful so it's always resonated it's always been deeply ingrained in me and it had largely been a sore subject I think yes for the past a decade or so because and I think specifically of the book the secret and its lair see and I was wondering if you could maybe explain where new thought was before you've decided to reform it in a way well that's a fascinating question you know it's funny before the secret in a way things were very sleepy and new thought you know the the major books had been written the methods of new thought had been thoroughly incorporated into the mainstream one didn't hear the term very much and when Rhonda Byrne and published the secret and released the movie I remember at first and this is funny but it's typical of human nature there was resentment within New Thought circles at the sudden success that Rhonda was experiencing because people tended to roll their eyes and say how is this the secret it's been around for a hundred and fifty years or somewhat some odd number and people first wanted to kind of almost roll their eyes at it within the subcode you're an act like this was just some sort of a knockoff of what we have already known about but Rhonda's great gift and I think something for people to be very mindful of is that she didn't live in LA or New York City or San Francisco where she had a bunch of people whispering in her ear gee you know this is already old hat this isn't the secret this has been out there for decades yeah more than decadence and instead you know she lived in Australia and maybe didn't have that kind of bicoastal chatterbox running in her head and as it turned out and this was so remarkable for most people in the Western world this was still a secret in the sense that they hadn't heard of it this was completely new to them it's a large world we live in yeah and sometimes we think you know something is out there something is obvious but it's not obvious to the great majority of people it's a very big world and the book answered a call the movie answer to call and answer a need and I've written critically of Rhonda because I have deep differences with her personally right my philosophy differs from her philosophy I don't believe as she does in one overarching Law of Attraction or mental super law I think that's a mistake we live under many many laws and forces and I have deep differences with Rhonda which I've written about in my book one simple idea which is a history of the positive mind movement right at the same time I've come to admire her and her accomplishments more and more over the years because she did open millions of people up to the idea that you can use your mind in a different way it is possible to use your mind in a different way and I think that she gave a tremendous gift to people in opening them up to that possibility I've also and I've written about this recently I've grown very weary of the backlash against the secret I get tired of people using it as a punching bag because first of all most of the people who criticize it haven't seen or read it and I could tell immediately I mean the same way that a seventh grade English teacher could tell we kid hasn't read Lord of the Flies I can always instantly tell who hasn't read or watched the secret who hasn't read thinking Grow Rich you know I could tell in an instant yeah and of course the vast majority of people who talk it down have never approached it and I decided a couple years ago to rewatch the movie with one of my kids and I discovered that I liked the values in it and and it doesn't make some of the extremist claims that some of the critics claim that it does and they make these claims again just because of an experience they haven't seen it and I think it was a positive phenomenon on the scene I really really do and I think it opened people to a whole range of possibilities it also provided a very convenient punching bag for critics he thought that punching bag is always available you know before the secret there was Norman Benson peels the power of positive thinking and suddenly you know before that there was thinking Grow Rich so there's always going to be some there's always gonna be some sensationally titled book that or movie that that people focus in on to complain about the excesses of the New Age culture I mean this isn't literally been going on since HL Mencken literally and it follows a certain template and that's one of the things I try to address in my book you know the the the critics are not well rounded in most cases some of them are some of them are and but very very few very very few they're just not well-rounded they're functioning you know they're arguing with their objection to an idea rather than addressing the specifics of a given work right and I think that's that's the beauty that you've expressed in the Miracle Club that there is essentially a good essence to most kind of spirituality or most you know methods of spiritual expression but this also seems a bit part and parcel to the academic occult reception of the Cabal Eon which you've yes kind of flipped recently to read that you had felt the same disinterest in it until recent yes and then it flips so what flipped for with the Cabal IAM for you oh I appreciate you bring that up it was so interesting for years and years and years I had regarded the Cabal Eon as this novelty of early 20th century occultism right I regard it as new thought sort of dressed up in cleopatra garb I didn't take it all that seriously and you know was interesting another religious scholar another mainstream guy who wouldn't want his name associated with such tawdry material was speaking with me once about the Cavalli on and with a little gleam in his eye he said to me you know there are some very interesting ideas in that little book and that among other things got me thinking anew about the Kabbalah on and in the summer of 2017 I returned to it and I read it five times consecutively and what I discovered was that in fact not only are there some good ideas in that little book but there are some epic ideas some truly epic ideas that comport well with classical Hermeticism and I came into a whole newfound respect for the book and it's funny I gave an address last spring at Rice University where I spoke about the Kabbalah on among other things and I'm I have a paper coming out from the academic publisher brill where I talk about the authentic hermetic retentions albeit in direct retention right that appear in the work of Edgar Cayce neville goddard and the kabbalah yong-seok it might be the first time or one of the first times that the Kabbalah and is written about in a mainstream scholarly context and that gives me a lot of joy because I think that that book has never received its complete do it certainly was an underground sensation for many many many decades but I was wrong you know in my view of the Kabbalah and I I underestimated it and I I was filled with this feeling of joy in the summer of 2017 that I came to this new view on it that helped me see the books worth more but it also helped me use the book more fully I just gave a talk the other night on Hermeticism in the Cabal you know at Masonic Hall here in New York City and I was very touched by how many people in the crowd responded to ideas in the book had their own particular take on ideas in the book and I felt like we were all kind of functioning as a group rediscovering this book together yeah and the power of the group is so important and so necessary today and that was my rediscovery of it and I'm now making a documentary film about the Kabbalah on who's gonna which is directed yeah my friend Ronnie Thomas was a brilliant director is directing it and and and and writing it with me and it's gonna be extraordinary he and I are going to Egypt on January 30th to do research and we're gonna be there for about a week and it's gonna be very exciting and Ronnie's visuals are just extraordinary he's a true auteur and he's going to bring a whole new standard I think yeah filmmaking an artistry to an occult subject in the contemporary era so I'm very excited about it that's cool yeah I mean I it had always been in my periphery but because of I don't know maybe like academic occult not elitism but kind of you know stoicism in a way yes yes yes you know it kind of kept me from from reading it when I finally read it I was like what's the big what's the big deal you know what's right right also open the arms and my good academic friends or academic occultist friends I think are just more peeved and this is similar to the secret that it's packaged in a way that may come off as disingenuous or you know the origins of it aren't rightly giving reference to the corpus Hermeticum or or whatever yeah it may be and does it matter if there's an original source and its references as the is the original source better that's a wonderful question and there's a couple of things to unpack there you know a friend of mine Richard Smalley pointed out that it's funny it's ironic that people get put off by the drama that surrounds the Cabal yawn and by the the the drama of the byline three initiatives you know the anonymity and the kind of a cult pageantry and theater that's brought to the book but he points out correctly the the original hermetic literature was signed by Hermes Trismegistus you know who was not a guy hanging around Alexandria you know in the decades following Christ you know people there was always a pageantry – said to be throw her medicine sagen it's said to be Thoth or you know right exactly exactly so there's always been a pageantry of a sort around the hermetic literature so in that sense the Cabal you notice is is walking in imperfect step with Hermetic tradition what could be more hermetic than a mysterious by line yes so in that sense it's it's it's a perfect reflection of classical Hermeticism and how important is it to harken back to the source I always believe that the seeker should know his or her roots it enriches experience and in that sense I think the Kabbalist should have some sort of a working knowledge of Hebrew the astrologer shouldn't have some working knowledge of the astronomical phenomena behind that which he or she is is reading the tower of readers should know something about the gestation and the history of the real history of tarot cards which certain very good historians including robert place have written about and i I do believe that you could read the Cabal Yana you can profit from it in and of itself but I encourage it as a gateway to reading good translations of the hermetic literature as well because you'll see connections you might see things that the author left out you might see things that enrich your search I think being well rounded is very important and it will enrich your experience of the Kabbalah and yeah that that totally makes sense and that kind of brings me to I was gonna ask about new thought in general and that was you had mentioned that new thought values and methods should shine away from or shine the way for each seeker whatever his values or circumstances to shape his life in the world in accordance to his higher self and yes was wondering if because you talked a little bit about it but the kind of dark side of that or maybe this harkens back to what we were talking about the lineage of how the secret was perceived the material yes but I can kind of see you know this run amok within Trump you know or yes yes yes that yes so how how important is it that there be a kind of moral structure when it comes to this yeah that's a wonderful question there's so much to unpack there we can't hide from the dark side you know I mean we can't say well gee look all of this results in Trump and isn't that terrible no because everything everything that's available to us in life presents us with the do our a multiplicity of paths you know people always feel that magic or new thought or mind metaphysics opens the door on some dark possibilities but isn't that true of everything you know I mean that's true of recreational drugs that's true you know you might have one guy who's capable of smoking cannabis and for him it's just a relaxant and it's good for another guy it becomes an addiction you know and this is true of so much you know I mean some people come into money and they they use it to be providing some productive and intelligent and other people just blow it on nonsense you know and then they're more unhappy than they were before you know so everything every means that life presents us everything has a multiplicity of paths now Trump is somebody who has dedicated his entire life to the amoral pursuit of power he's a hugely negative person a hugely unhappy person because happy people are not up at 7:00 in the like insulting people on Twitter and you know here's this wretchedly unhappy guy an inveterate liar and and yet he does use these methods effectively he has this incredible capacity to create his own weather system so to speak yeah he's also an incredible communicator I mean people underestimate the depth of his capacity to steer a conversation I saw him being interviewed by the journalist Lesley Stahl several weeks ago in 60 minutes and she was capable of responding to her questions very effectively without it turning into this brawl you know and he he reads people very quickly he's a brilliant man in in some regards I think he's a horrible and insipidly foolish man in other regards but yeah anybody who has their doubts about whether the power of positive thinking is actually workable need only look at him you know he grew up with that look it may be the only book he's ever read you know he's the only time I've ever heard him speak pensively about anything has been his childhood memories of sitting listening to the sermons of the Reverend Norman Vincent Peale the wrote power of positive thinking it's the only sign of Trump that I find remotely relatable and and so when you combine this absolute lack of ethics of empathy of personal grounding of dedication to any higher I deal with my metaphysics you get Donald Trump when you combine it with a wish I think to be expressive and creative and providing you get something else yeah but this is true of every area of life I mean you know you can you can provide a person with a scalpel and that scalpel can become an instrument of healing or it can become a weapon depending on the individual or to become any number of things in between so there's no unique burden on new thought in this regard this is just one of the situation's of life but Trump is certainly the poster boy for how powerful this stuff can be and he has unfortunately run amuck with it so now the question to the individual is well what are you gonna do about it know my friend Miguel Connor has a wonderful expression which is magic works whether you believe it or not so you don't have to believe it but you better figure out whether you want to use all the tools in your tool chest see I was a practicing chaos magician for a long time and and so lamb to a degree yeah even though I believe it should be a non dogmatic thing so describing it I agree it's not it's not conducive to what I think it should be but one of the things I belief as a tool and there's it just marries a lot with new thought and yes I was wondering one of the phrases a lot of like chaos magicians will well throw out there is fake it till you make it and yeah I wonder how potent are powerful you find that phrase I am working with it I am working with it you know that that phrase actually has its earliest roots in the recovery movement it was probably in alcoholics Anonymous that that phrase was first used and I am working with it I am interested in that idea yeah and I I know there's truth to it I I know there's truth to it and I appreciate what you said about the importance of dispensing with any kind of dogma and chaos magic because what could be more ironic than this anarchistic form of man we suddenly start drawing up rules around you know it's absurd yeah and you know it's it's important to retain that sense of irony and sense of humor about all this you know the the brilliant thinker Michael Aquino who has – written brilliantly on the Satanic he made the observation that organizations organized around Satanism are usually very small or usually wither away and that's a sign of success because as soon as you're getting places in your search on the left-hand path everybody wants to be in charge and where everybody wants to be their own person everybody's an anarchist keep it zeal no one wants to be in some organization setting up chairs you know they want to be out there in the world then they want to be the one charged in OSA of course the organisation has to wither away nobody so long you know everybody has his own way of doing things so I agree with fake it till you make it and I I but I can't say anything conclusive about it because I'm experimenting with it but you know one of the wonderful things about these experiments is you can issue a challenge to your listeners that that that goes as follows you know and this is just one of many different variations fake it to make it for a single hour you know yeah I don't have to embrace this as a life philosophy at 3:00 p.m. today wherever you find yourself at work or having lunch or shopping or whatever dedicate 60 minutes of your life to living from the end to living from as much as you possibly can from the feeling state and with the physical comportment that you've attained exactly what you want in I see what happens something out of the ordinary may occur give it one hour of your life and just see what occurs that's the kind of challenge I like because there's a possibility that somebody will actually do it yeah absolutely I mean I'm definitely gonna say that right now whoever's listening please attempt this and write me that's all one hours give us one hour and have you have you ever heard of the if this reminded me of the icky guy the Japanese phrase no I haven't it's a Japanese phrase it's kind of making the rounds in corporate America because they're so evaded their sense of business and iki guy means reason for being and it's a confluence of what you're good at what you're passionate about what you can get paid for and what the world needs that's fascinating yeah a wonderful and I was wondering and erful if you had ever had heard that phrase because I think for someone like me that has a barrage of different passions that stems from that definite chief aim such as yourself you know how does one discern which avenue to take that yeah that's not too elusive no not at all I appreciate hearing that Japanese term I mean the term that I often hear is Dharma of course from the Vedic tradition and that seems to have something to do with Dharma but but there's a shade of difference in that you're asking specifically what's the world need that's not necessarily absent from Dharma but that's a very interesting emphasis and you know I asked that question once of David Lynch and he said to me look you know you start seeing where you're getting the green lights you know where the green lights coming from because he started out with the intention of being a painter and he saw film as a kind of visual painting and so he pursued film in that regard as a student and he found that it was successful for him he was he was getting ideas across he was enjoying what he was doing he was reaching people so I there's a kind of trial and error you know quality to all this where you're trying to express your Dharma you're trying to live out your passions you're trying to get across what you wish for in the world and where the green lights you know where resources coming from where where are you receiving joy from where are you finding a constituency I think there's a kind of necessary trial and error in all that talking about new thought and finding this you know passion I think passion can be a loaded word to that might there needs to be something more specific because I think yes I was consumed by passions when I was in my you desert days as I call them and it was almost antithetical to what they should elicit you know because you can be like eaten by them if on Fister yeah mainly it just goes back to this interpersonal ethics – yes about it yes yes I mean passion needs to have a practical outlet and it also needs to conform in some way or another to one's capacities in the world you know otherwise it just becomes an idle daydream of sorts you know there when you feel a passion there must be something actionable about it there there must be some step you can take however small in the direction of your wish or in the direction of what you want to be doing if that's absent if that small concrete step is absent then you have to ask yourself whether this is just self entertainment because we can get very caught up with dramas in our head you know and even if they're ultimately unsatisfying they can be satisfying on a certain level because they're kind of an internal piece of theatre and they can feel very exciting and they can feel very temporarily satisfying in the moment such as thinking about having a love affair that may never be possible but if it's never possible then you know it really just becomes it can become almost an addiction like a psychological addiction really totally and you're getting a rush from it but it's not proceeding anywhere and and it's a compulsion rather than a satisfaction so I think one has to look at that very carefully patients have to be more to some step that one can take in the actual yeah I mean yeah that was that perfectly encapsulates I think what my resolve was at the end of all that that madness you know but I was wondering as someone who you know you had mentioned in the Miracle Club too that like your the passion or the definite chief aim or I forget the the term you you called it but the focus you know it needs to be it can't be antithetic call to your other things in life like say yes you know me you know I my my focus is to be this traveling musician you know this kind of vagabond person that also wants to start a family and that won't it's like inherently antithetical yes yes so I was just wondering you as a father as an orator as a writer as you know a publisher how what is the formula that you kind of created for yourself I think you had said once that life gives you a formula yes what does give you a formula and it's a it's a tough formula but it can be potentially hugely rewarding and it is that we usually receive or receive something very close to one thing that we want with our absolute heart one thing that we're willing to sacrifice everything for one thing that is as important to us as physical sustenance itself and once you arrive at that one thing whatever it may be you've discovered something profoundly important and you mustn't make compromises that contradict your one thing that doesn't mean that you don't have obligations to other people doesn't mean you don't have obligations to your health to your family and so on and so forth but usually most of the figures you admire in life whoever they may be whether they're activists or entrepreneurs or artists or generals usually they have one absolute thing that they lived for and that was as important to them as drawing breath and it's a tough tough bargain that life strikes with us but I do believe that's the closest thing to a kind of magic formula that we're given yeah and it behooves the individual to sit down and ask him or herself what is this one thing I want with everything in me with everything in me and it could be tough because we don't like to see ourselves as selfish we don't like to see ourselves a single-minded we don't like to see ourselves as pursuant of something may be contrary to other goals that we may have but I do believe that it's it's an extraordinary act of focus and a summoning of everything within and without us that can come to our aid to have that one absolute focus it shouldn't be trifled with it should not be trifled with its enormous ly powerful No do you think sacrifice is kind of part and parcel to from attaining this in life you know like in magic whether it's literal or ethereal or metaphorical there's something that you kind of give up to get in a way yes yes I do I mean once once you've decided for example that I you know what people have such diffuse and different aims but once you've decided that something is your absolute aim it it commands your time it commands your relationships it commands your resources and there are naturally gonna be other things that fall away and that become distantly secondary which is also why it's important to have a name that covers a lot of different bases right I mean you might have a name that takes you out of your home a lot for example but at the same time maybe that name will be very remunerative and you'll be able to provide resources in ways that don't necessarily compensate for your being away from home but that are at least a complement to to that you know you can be providing to other people so you you know you're not just operating from this go it alone perspective it's important I believe to have a name if possible but that covers a lot of different bases in life since naturally we're all compelled to wear different hats but one must be brutally honest with oneself if you're choosing to be a stand-up comic you know just to choose a random example you're gonna be working five nights a week you know ideally yeah and you know you're gonna you're gonna miss holidays and you're gonna miss dinners and you're gonna you may miss a birthday here and there you know you're not going to be the ideal domestic organizer because you're gonna be away you know don't try to hide from that don't try to hide from that but the question is you know hand-in-glove with that does that mean you have other things you know that you can provide that enrich the lives of people around you right but don't don't don't kid yourself I mean haven't heaven forbid you should kid yourself because once you choose a definite chief aim and you really feel it with an absolute passionate dedication and obsession things will happen and and and your time and resources and relationships will also be directed in the toward the flow of that ain't you had mentioned in the Miracle Club and this is good for anyone listening who's kind of a nascent seeker of any story and I think that you wrote an article too on a medium about what gurus to look out for yes and sketchy gurus yeah catchy gurus I love that if there was a limit of Wu and all of your experience that resoundingly says that this method or this idea is not honest or a false yeah well be very suspicious of people who present themselves as the man with the plan because there's a kind of theater that gurus and ministers and psychologists and others get into where you know inevitably you go to see them at some fixed time at some fixed appointment right and you know you sit down in an office or in a room or in a study or a restaurant or something and they're supposed to be the ones who are disclosing the truth to you or helping to guide you and either implicitly or explicitly they are aware of their role and they sort of maintain that role almost as a as an actor plays a part and they enjoy that role they enjoy the idea that you as the seeker or the patient or the client have to come and see them and they enjoy either implicitly or explicitly possessing a certain mantle of authority and in the vast majority of cases they are every bit as uncertain and unsteady if not more so than the person seated across the table from them and I know this for a fact because I've been in that situation where I'm supposed to be the man with the plan and somebody comes to me and you know they're looking to me earnestly as if I have some answers and shame on me if I play that make-believe role of guru or something yeah most people don't deserve that title I don't like words like guru I don't like where it's like enlightened that I don't like any of those terms because I've seen behind the curtain and and in innumerable cases the person who presents him or herself as the authority whether in a religious setting or therapeutic setting very frequently falls apart at the first instance of stress in his or her life and has no greater resources internally than the person coming to see them and so I'm very suspicious of any kind of relationship where somebody presents him or herself as the authority figure uh-huh and I think it was Ralph Waldo Emerson pointed out somewhere and this kind of validated a belief I had already come to myself that if you were to take the most brilliant people on earth inventors diplomats scientists you name it you'd probably find that they're right only maybe one out of every five times and nobody ever talks about their failures nobody ever talks about their lack of insight nobody ever talks about right just influences where they got it wrong I always used to warn people in publishing brilliant people are very often wrong brilliant people are very often wrong and that was the same basic point that Emerson was making so how much more so one has to be guided by that principle when you're approaching some so-called guru or something especially in a top-down organization and I'm not saying don't get involved with a guru I'm not saying don't get involved with the teacher of you may and may provide you with some of the most wonderful experiences of your life and I'll be the first one in line to shake your hand and say that's great you know but just be very very careful about the theatricality that's present when somebody presents him or herself as a girl same is true of secret societies I mean it's nonsense in the vast majority of cases as soon as somebody asks me like what order do I belong to or what secret society do I belong to the answer first of all is none and right and yet you know immediately my interest in talking to that person precipitously declines because that's just a kind of seeking a badge or seeking a flag to stand under I'm much more interested for example and what you were saying about this principle and chaos magic of a fake it till you make it I mean this is something we can all do yeah for an hour and you know see what happens and then we'll compare notes and you know it creates an authentic exchange you know rather than some guru giving directions and I'm not saying I'm opposed to the Guru model but I'm saying these are areas where a person just has to approach warily with the miracle club I feel and I've written about this too that I largely feel it's a reboot almost or a revamp of new thought and it covers things that deeply resonated with me especially the mental health and the tragedy aspects things that were yes were unanswered and weren't really developed at all from prior texts now with yes answering those things to a great degree I must admit to as as nebulous as those ideas can be I think you tackled them like beautifully I wonder you what your idea of the trajectory of new thought or this mind metaphysics is looking like now I appreciate that question you know it's interesting I kind of come to a point of view on that over the past several days the methods that exist in new thought are sound the developments that are occurring in science recibo studies psychical research quantum theory they are they are confirming certain instincts that the new thought pioneers had and this is all good the new direction that I believe new thought needs is just to have a culture of greater intellectual seriousness we need to be more mature it's only through maturity that will expand the conversation with one another that we'll be able to adequately explore the contradictions and the problems that exist within mossad you know the typical example is you know in some cases something some set of steps seem to work beautifully and were delivered to exactly what we want mm-hm and then we repeat the very same set of steps nothing happens and and it leaves the the seeker with a terrible and urgent question and without a mature intellectual culture with the new thought it's impossible to explore that question we can only deepen our search through I think having a more grown-up approach I mean new thought like every other movement is plagued by dogma and catechism and suicide comes along who starts questioning the articles of faith out comes the fundamentalism and believe me I don't need to tell you it is as common and new thought as it is anywhere else it's it's a problem of human nature yeah that as soon as you say something that challenges some opinion or point of view or experience upon which somebody has settled they're hostile they're hostile and that's a symptom of a lack of I think intellectual development dedication to the search and the harboring of a question when you're not able to harbor a question everything becomes fundamentalism in a certain sense including our various new-age in Eastern or magical philosophies so I don't think new thought as a culture has been sufficiently capable of harboring the question I think that by and large it speakers its churches its congregations its magazines often have a kind of childish tone and and that's a shame because the ideas are sound and the ideas are magical and the ideas are epic but we won't get as far as we could get if we don't have a greater culture of questioning you know and I I I want that to be very expansive and I want to know why does something work one time and then not work another and and I'm not interested in an answer based on catechism I'm not interested in somebody telling me well the individual did it wrong well what if the individual didn't do it wrong maybe our whole philosophy is wrong you know baby maybe we're the ones were wrong you know it's like we can't be afraid to go anywhere and and that spirit of experimentation is I think the future of new thought that's that's where we need to be how important is it to you to hit this new new thought I'm not sure what to call it in regards to that is what to call it either to reach across the aisle because one of the greatest things about I think new thought or one of the things that it did really well was that it gave big ideas to middle America or to yes no smaller lower classes and I think that is definitely missing these days from all the highfalutin kind of stoic academic occultists and and those ideally so I wonder migrates it agrees and an intention of the miracle Club yes definitely a spiritual or ethical philosophy has to be demonstrated in results it has to demonstrate some improvement in the conduct and life of the individual and I think that our spiritual culture has been in in certain quarters has been plagued by this kind of air SATs seriousness I know of new age centers that don't want to host Chandler's or astrologers or tower readers because they regard that materialist go sure and seriousness right or unserious nothing could be more foolish nothing could be more foolish because they're closing the door on the possibility that the freshest most important voice could come from any number of those reaches but they have this blanket policy that suggests that well those are poisoned waters nothing good can come from from that and it's the it's the epitome of generalized thinking it will get you nowhere there are likewise certain journals that don't want to participate in topics that reek of occultism which is a huge mistake because again we have all kinds of doorways and to ideas and the the job of the seeker the job of the publisher or the job of the gatekeeper or the job of the curator is not to decide which ideas are valid or not but to decide which people which artists which writers have fresh and compelling voices and then you let those people wander into whatever forests and meadows they want to wander into I mean imagine telling Carl Jung or D H Lawrence or Henry Miller that you shouldn't be dabbling in astrology that's nice here it's you know I mean you you you find the artist you find the seeker and then you let him or her go into whatever dark and wood they want that's that's funny you mentioned Henry Miller because in your book you talk about you know choosing one book and living that that book and it's philosophies for like a month and my yeah my first one was stand still like the hummingbird from Henry Miller oh how interesting yeah it's just that's funny you brought that up so we and we'll wrap up I know you're got to be a busy man but I want to thank you so much for spending this time I just have buzzer two quick questions what both kind of selfish the first one is what is the deal with rock and roll and the in cult the second one is what would be your advice for someone that shares a similar definite chief aim that really helped progress your definite chief aim absolutely well the rock and roll question is a huge question I mean boy that is a really epic question I shouldn't say analyst okay no it's okay your listeners are up to give me four you know I can only give sort of one one or two tantalizing suggestions it seems to me rock and roll is so deeply deeply rooted in the african-american experience including in the experience of people who were brought here in a horrific system of slavery that lasted for centuries yeah and and i think that in seeking to find expressions that were affirming of life enslaved people arrived at musical ideas at ideas of emancipation at a spiritual ideas some of which I think probably were authentic retentions of certain traditional religious ideas from West and Central Africa and which we would call a cult since they were transplanted to a system here in America that made no space for them they were implicitly they were intrinsically they were necessarily outsider ideas right is from ancient Africa some of the musical styles that were developed to try to affirm life in horrible conditions I think there's DNA strands within rock and roll of all that so rock and what we would call the occult which is to say outsider religious ideas were infused from the very beginning and spring from the the African Diaspora experience I think that's one reason why they have cult and rock and roll have always had something to do with one another and this goes right up to Johnny Rotten singing I am the antique rats you know yeah this is powerful stuff you know and I think that you could find the DNA for that within the Africans they asked for experience and the second question as far as any counsel I could give somebody who has a similar definite chief Amos my own I would say start start writing start speaking it's very important that an idea have a constituency it's very important that you place yourself in front of an audience no matter how small at first the thing I always used to look for when people sent me a book proposal was whether they had wrote tested their ideas out in front of some kind of an audience including just writing for their local you know new-age newsletter or a free giveaway magazine or something you know but any any kind of demonstration that somebody hasn't just been a solitary thinker just you know kind of sitting in their apartment but has been out there in the world testing their ideas in front of some kind of audience of whatever size that's golden that is absolute golden so artists require constituencies so go out there and find your constituency start begin that's absolutely reaffirming thank you so much absolutely a pleasure is there anything you want to mention before you leave sure I have all kinds of speaking gigs coming up the easiest way to keep track is to follow me on Twitter or Facebook I'm on Twitter at muara what's my website is matoro it's calm and there's all kinds of links to different goodies and things there I've done a lot of recent writing for The Washington Post and in medium if people want to kind of keep track of what I – at this given moment they could visit those places and people can always write to me through my website I try to respond to everyone so uh and I appreciate this interview I thought your questions were just great they they brought a lot out of me thank you you are literally a gentleman and a scholar I really appreciate your time I sure hope this is this the first of many for sure I'd be delighted to come back thanks Mitch I appreciate it all right now take care an intellectual and metaphysical come up indeed how awesome how brutally synchronous is it that I get to sandwich or a book and this transformative metaphysical ritual I did under that 2017 eclipse while I was reading Mitch to talk with him under this new one as I finalize and I guess progress this beautiful quote-unquote definite chief aim this key guy if you will if you'd like to support the show please consider either donating through PayPal which is listed in the show notes below or becoming a patron to our metaphysical art collective we the hallowed at patreon.com slash we the hallowed and for a dollar a month you can get extras such as full unedited episodes like our conversation with Elizabeth Kenna mer she was in episode 13 and she'll be the guest at this weekend's first with a hallowed salon where she'll be sharing some initiatory meditation practices from her cult therapy so that's really exciting anyways as always much love so much gratitude I couldn't be happier love you all hunt on you you

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