Towards Freedom – Materialism and Possession

I think it fair to comment that a swathe of humanity is somewhat obsessed with material things; houses, ‘phones, cars and maybe even yachts. There is a desire for the less concrete material things, the man-made things, like position, status and kudos. These are the markers, the accoutrements of the show-and-tell story of success, material success. People attach a lot to objects and stuff. Some houses are brimming. There is a like of the shiny, the medals, the trophies of societal conformity. One can even have a trophy wife and post-nominal letters. These things can be taken away, an event which causes distress and suffering because of the attachment, thereto. People have possessions and are possessed by them. That which they are attached to has power over them. In the hunger for acquisition rarely does it occur that people are giving their power over to their possessions.

If you are to be free then the equation of freedom is that the fewer things that have material power over you there are, the freer you become. In the limit of no possessions, one might wander the streets penniless dependent upon the hand-outs of others. This, depending upon mind-state, is a state of powerlessness. This can also not be free, because of the dependency. Is there perhaps a happy medium? Well in a world where relative might operate, there is. One can have only those belongings which one actually needs and that suffices. Many acquire way more than this, perhaps in a vain attempt to satiate some hunger, some hole in being. Their “happiness” is correlated somehow, to number count of material accoutrement. It is straightforward to see that, in such cases, the thinking behind is faulty.

Even then it is likely that some degree of clinging to accoutrement occurs. This clinging is needy and not free. If one uses, with respect the needed things, knowing that their use is a temporary gift of the universe and without a sense of entitlement, there is less attachment. Non-attachment without respect is wasteful and profligate, it engenders a throw-away society. Non-attachment with respect is perhaps a hallmark of a free being. In this one has no belief that the universe owes us a living or anything much at all. Thereby one is grateful for the loan of the material things offered, yet not attached to having them.

Materialism implies a lack of spirituality, which comes in many flavours and degrees. Despite all the reason, logic and justification, many find that some sense of spirit is the icing on the cake of life. Without it life is incomplete, unfinished. In our times spirit seems to be dying in favour of material, it may be that this underlies the tremendous levels of world angst and anger. This is an opinion for you to consider.

There are many wise quotes that suggest materialism is a hollow path, that whilst shiny and bauble laden, offers no lasting happiness or peace. This gnawing materialism is insatiable; at the end of its rainbow is the pot of enough, which cannot be found because for those so oriented it simply does not exist. This elusive enough, often sought, can cause suffering. It is sought with the wrong mind-set and motive and ergo, is elusive.  There is a Buddhist expression which I am fond of; hungry ghosts. A ghost then is a being divested of spirit seeking always to quench a thirst and silence a hunger pain, in the netherworld of materialism. If you don’t believe in “actual” ghosts, perhaps you can see the manifest hungry ghosts walking alongside you on our streets? They are quite common, and they do come out during the day.

In order to walk towards freedom, it is necessary to reorient in respect of the material so that it all but ceases to have power over you.  Despite the prevalence of totems, relics and the like, they have no inherent power. The power is only in the mind of the reverential and acquisitional. This power is a mental construct attached by the being who holds it. These attachments can bind and hold.

Objects can be the talismans of memories, markers of stories and anchors of such. They evoke baggage and strengthen its hold. To be free of the past is to reconcile and dissolve it. To evoke and bolster it is unwise. In this respect sentimentality is a burden.

A major part of the obsession with materialism is, as I have hinted, this show-and-tell competitive social behaviours based in comparison mind and exploited by the advertiser. This fear of missing out on the latest grooviest thing is the marketer’s dream and a fundamental weakness in the herd of consumers. So many buy stuff they do not need so as to partake of a show-and-tell life. This to the extent of living beyond means in many cases. A trophy cabinet is of little solace when the creditors foreclose. You could say that this attraction to shiny baubles is a little primitive and yet pervasive.

If one looks ever outward to the material world for “happiness”, reward and acknowledgment, the inner world becomes barren and untended. There is no balance, no centre. It is difficult to be free when near perpetually off balance.  In this respect simplicity is a counterpoint to acquisition, where need as opposed to want or desire, is the basis of interaction with the material world. Not everyone can tolerate the idea of monastic sparseness, yet relative comfort without excess is liveable for most. And in not feeling owed, or attached, knowing that your tenure of goods is transitory not guaranteed, equanimity can be found. The concept of ownership and permanent ownership at that, is a human invention. Nature can at any time challenge human perceived ownership of goods and irrevocably so. This construct of ownership and possession is of human origin and thereby a part of the illusion of the common dream, the prevailing world version.  The mantram of “must have” is chanted daily by millions and it is not a mantram of peace or fulfilment. It is mantram of hunger. “Must have” is not free.

In order to be free, one must at least lessen the power which things and awards have over one. There needs to be a responsible lessening of attachment, perhaps in a stepwise manner. Slowly the umbilical to the world of materialism needs severed. To be possessed by possessions is to be hooked to them and their purveyors. And short of a full-blown exorcism it is best to wean yourself towards autonomous living and thinking. This addiction to materialism is powerful and it holds power over most.

Do You Believe in Exorcism?

The Catholic church, if I am correct, still has some exorcists. I seem to remember some mention of Islamic exorcists. There will probably be a Jewish equivalent. Then we have the shamanic ridders of evil spirits.

If you are sat in a nice well-lit apartment with all your electronic gizmos, the notion of exorcism might seem far-fetched. You may turn on Netflix and watch a scary film on the subject. For a moment you may feel a well scripted fear. On the way to bed the floorboards might creak, just a little.

If you and I were around a fire in the middle of a forest, surrounded by the sounds of the night, your certainty may waiver. Should I then start the mantra of exorcism what would you do, what would you think? If something, in you, started to react badly to my words would you believe in possession then?

If you need an exorcist, where would you find one, what qualifications might they have?

What traits make for a good exorcist?

Do they do personal development planning and accreditation?

In this 21st century of ours is it primitive to imagine that we can be targeted by evil, possessed by an entity? Do we really know for sure?

If I chant the charm of making, what if anything, might transpire?

Anál nathrach,

orth’ bháis’s bethad,

do chél dénmha

Causes of Obsession.

October 9, 1919

One of the activities ahead of the occult student is the study and the scientific observation of this matter. We have been told in various occult books that obsession and insanity are very closely allied. Insanity may exist in all three bodies, the least harmful being that of the physical body, whilst the most enduring and the hardest to cure is that of the mental body. Insanity in the mental body is the heavy fate that descends upon those who for many incarnations have followed the path of selfish cruelty, using the intelligence as a means to serve selfish ends and using it wilfully, knowing it to be wrong. But insanity of this type is a means whereby the Ego sometimes arrests the progress of a man towards the left-hand path. In this sense it is a disguised blessing. Let us deal first with the causes of obsession, leaving the subject of insanity for another day. These causes are four in number and each responds to a different treatment:

  1. One cause is a definite weakness of the etheric double, in the separating web, which like a piece of relaxed elastic permits entry of an extraneous entity from the emotional plane. The door of entrance which is formed by this web is not closed tight, and entrance can be effected from without. This is a physical plane cause and is the result of the maladjustment of physical plane matter. It is the result of karma, and is prenatal, existing from the earliest moment. Usually the sufferer is physically weak, intellectually feeble, but possessed of a powerful emotional body which suffers and fights and struggles to prevent entrance. The attacks are intermittent, and more frequently attack women than men.
  2. Another cause is due to emotional reasons. A lack of coordination exists between the emotional and the physical and when the man functions in the emotional body (as at night) the moment of re-entry is attended with difficulty, and opportunity exists for other beings to enter the physical vehicle, and prevent its occupation by the real Ego. This is the most common form of obsession, and affects those with powerful physical bodies and strong astral vibrations, but with weak mental bodies. It leads, in the ensuing struggle, to the violent scenes of screaming lunatics and to the paroxysms of the epileptic. Men are more subject to this than women, as women are usually more definitely polarized in the emotional body.
  3. A rarer kind of obsession is the mental. In coming days as the mental body develops, one may expect perhaps to see more of it. Mental obsession involves the displacement taking place on the mental levels – hence its rarity. The physical body and the emotional body remain as a unit, but the Thinker is left in his mental body, whilst the obsessing entity (clothed in mental matter) enters the two lower vehicles. In the case of emotional obsession the Thinker is left with his emotional body and his mental body but with no physical. In this latter case he is left with neither emotional nor physical. The cause lies in the fact of the over-development of the mental, and of the relative weakness of the emotional and physical bodies. The Thinker is too powerful for his other bodies and disdains their use; he is too interested in work on mental levels, and thus gives opportunity to obsessing entities to assume control. This, as I said before, is rare and is the result of lop-sided development. It attacks women and men equally; it principally shows itself in childhood and is difficult to cure.
  4. A still rarer cause of obsession is definitely the work of the dark Brothers. It takes the form of snapping the magnetic link that attaches the Ego to the lower physical body, leaving him in his emotional and mental bodies. This would normally result in the death of the physical body, but in cases such as these the dark Brother, who is to use the physical body, enters it and makes connection with his own cord. These cases are not common. They involve only two classes of people:

Those who are highly evolved and on the Path, but who through some wilful shortcoming fail for some one incarnation and so lay themselves open to the evil force. Sin (as you call it) in the Personality of a disciple leads to a weakness in some one spot, and this is taken advantage of. This type of obsession shows itself in the transformation that is sometimes seen when a great soul suddenly plunges on an apparent downward path, when he changes the whole trend of his existence and besmirches a fair character with mud. It carries with it its own punishment, for on the inner planes the disciple looks on, and in agony of mind sees his lower vehicle dishonoring the fair name of its real owner and causing evil to be said of a loved cause.

The little evolved, weakly organized, and so unable to resist.

The Kinds of Obsessing Entities

These are too numerous to mention in detail, but I might enumerate a few.

  • Discarnate entities of a low order awaiting incarnation, and who see, in cases one and two, their wanted opportunity.
  • Suicides, anxious to undo the deed and to again get into contact with earth.
  • Earth-bound spirits, good and bad, who from anxiety over loved ones, over their business affairs, or eager to do some wrong or to undo some evil act, rush in and take possession of cases one and two.
  • Dark Brothers as aforesaid, who avail themselves principally of the third and fourth cases already cited. They require highly developed bodies, having no use for weak or unrefined bodies. In case three the weakness is entirely relative, due to over-accentuation of the mental vehicle.
  • Elementals and subhuman entities of a malicious nature who rush in on the slightest opportunity and where kindred vibration may be felt.
  • Some of the lower devas, harmless but mischievous who, from sheer freakishness and fun, enter another body in much the same way that a child loves to dress up.
  • Occasional visitors from other planets who enter certain highly evolved bodies for purposes of their own. This is very, very rare…

Let me now give you some of the methods that eventually will be the first attempts at cure.

  • In the first type of cases, those due to physical plane weakness, the stress of the cure will be laid first on building up a strong physical body in both its departments, though especially the etheric body. This will be done in future years with the direct aid of the devas of the shadows (the violet devas or devas of the ethers). The strengthening of the etheric web will be aided by means of the violet light, with its corresponding sound, administered in quiet sanitariums. Coincident with this treatment will be the attempt to strengthen the mental body. With the strengthening of the physical body will come longer and longer periods of freedom from attack. Eventually the attacks will cease altogether.
  • When the cause is lack of coordination between the physical and the emotional vehicles the first methods of cure will be definite exorcism by the aid of mantrams and ceremonial (such as religious ritual). Qualified persons will use these mantrams at night when the obsessing entity may be supposed to be absent during the hours of sleep. These mantrams will call the real owner back, will build a protective wall after his re-entry and will seek to force the obsessing one to stay absent. When the real owner has returned, the work then will be to keep him there. Educative work during the day and protective measures at night for longer or shorter periods will gradually eliminate the evil occupant, or unwanted tenant, and in the course of time the sufferer will continue to procure immunity. More anent this can later be given.
  • Where mental obsession is involved the matter is more difficult. Most of the first cures achieved in the future will center around the first two groups. Mental obsession must await greater knowledge, though experimentation from the very first should be undertaken. The work will have to be done mostly from the mental plane by those who can function there freely and so contact the Thinker in his mental body. The cooperation of the Thinker must then be procured and a definite attack conjointly made on the obsessed physical and emotional bodies. During the night much of the work in the first two cases of cures will be done, but in the latter case the Thinker has to win back his physical and his emotional bodies as well, hence the exceeding difficulty. Death often eventuates in these cases.
  • In the severing of the magnetic cord naught can be done as yet.

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Excerpted from:

Letters on Occult Meditation – Letter V – Dangers to be avoided in Meditation.

By Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul