The East Indian magicians insist that foremost in importance is the well-being and self-development of the individual practicing magic. The Yogis teach of this in their practice of Yama, which translated means "self-control." Such a definition does not begin to adequately express the full field of mental discipline and psychic power covered by the teaching and practice of Yama. To the magician, Yama is the magic which he turns inward upon himself for personal development.
The full teaching of Yama is the molding of the character of the individual by means of mental power; one practicing Yama may actually "make himself over" in character, personality, aptitudes, talents, and mental attainments. The magician especially employs Yama in the mental realm to develop the powers of mind deemed desirable, and to inhibit those which he may deem undesirable.
The basic secret for the performance of Yama is to apply "the threefold formula of the Yogi"—visualizing yourself as you wish to be or to do.
In your heart, you know full well that you are not completely all that you would like to be; you know your own shortcomings, and are aware of the qualities, characteristics, and capabilities which are lacking in your mental make-up. You know that you are "long" on certain undesirable qualities, and that you are "short" on certain desirable ones. Possibly you have thought that being as you are is the way you must remain, but the Yogis say this is not so—they affirm that you can be "as you wish to be." In the Yama teaching they point out the way by means of which you may attain this desirable objective.
Sadhu Parimal Bandhu, in his always penetrating comments on these subjects, said, "Success is due to certain qualities of mind, character, and temperament. Those who have the given qualities of the proper kind manifest the given result; those lacking in these qualities fail to manifest the result. All persons possess some of the qualities and lack others. Some are strong in certain of these qualities and weak in certain others. And every man instinctively knows in just what respect he falls short. He may not admit it to others; sometimes not even to himself; but deep down in his inner consciousness lurks the knowledge of the truth. If he could acquire the missing qualities by mere wish, he would know for just what to wish. There is no doubt about that. But he lacks the confidence and perseverence necessary for the acquirement of that which he knows he needs. Or it might be said, he is not willing to pay the price for attainment.
"Let us imagine that one of your great western scientists would announce to the world that he had discovered some remarkable chemical that would develop the shrunken and atrophied faculties of the mind, and which would render a man strong in the qualities wherein before he had been weak, what a rush there would be for the new 'miracle drug.' Millions would want it, and every man (and woman) would be able to tell for just what it was needed. He would need no diagnosis or prescription for that. Every person would know exactly his own needs, and his requirements for the drug to round out his character and command success. Unfortunately, there is no such 'miracle drug' that will produce this result; and there never will be. But the desired result can be obtained by the operation of what I call, 'the law of mental control.' "
This "law of mental control," cited by the Sadhu, is none other than the Yogi principles of self-developing—the Yama.
As I have mentioned, the practice of Yama is based on the universal Yogi threefold method of visualization, projection, and affirmation. However there is a variation from the usual form of projection.
In the performance of Yama, your first step should be to list your mental qualities, both positive and negative, and then check those which you think should be developed and strengthened, and also those which should be inhibited and restrained.
Every mental characteristic which makes up a particular individual manifests in either a positive or a negative manner. Sometimes a "positive" carried too far and unbalanced by another "positive" becomes a "negative" in effect. As for example, courage is a positive characteristic, the negative of which is cowardice. But courage, unbalanced by prudence becomes recklessness and foolhardiness, both of which are negative characteristics.
Here is the Yama rule: a "positive" characteristic is one that tends to make you stronger and more efficient; it is a success-propelling quality. A "negative" characteristic is one that tends to make you weaker and less efficient; it is a success-repelling quality. The general practice of self-development by mental power is to develop the positives, and restrain the negatives. Negatives are restrained by developing their corresponding positives. The last part of this rule is especially important; instead of trying to remove a negative quality directly, you will find it far easier to restrain it by cultivating its positive opposite. Fix this in your mind, it is an important element in the practice of Yama.
The following general list of personality characteristics will be helpful to you in charting your personal qualities for the purpose of self-development. Go carefully over this list, and check off each item according to your honest appraisal of yourself, viz.: if you are just right on a given quality, mark it with a check (/); if you are deficient in that quality, mark it with a minus sign (—); if you are excessive in that quality, mark it with a plus sign (+):
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Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.