Yesterday, Sunday, June 2, I gave my first worldwide webinar.
The subject was Magickal Self-Defense. We had people participating from all over the world. This included students from the U.S. and Canada as well as from Germany, England, Israel, South Africa, and even the United Arab Emirates.
I would like to thank everyone who attended. It meant a lot to me and I hope you enjoyed the presentation and the material.
I have been giving workshops for many years. I’ve given them for as few as two people and for as many as 600. Every one has been unique and fun. This webinar, however, was different:
Although there were breaks during the live webinar for questions and audience interaction,
there was no way for me to receive feedback during the presentation.
What Presenters Do
When you attend a presentation, of course the person leading the class/workshop/training is going to share information. That means he or she has to present the information in a clear way that involves the audience. The best presenters, in my opinion, do more than just read a prepared speech. They also observe the audience, getting “feedback” from them. Some of this feedback can be obvious: several people walking out is not a good sign; people nodding their heads and leaning forward is a good sign. Some of the feedback can be subtle. If people look puzzled, bored, or are shifting uncomfortably in their seats, something is not going right. A good presenter needs to change his or her approach depending upon the feedback he or she is receiving. That’s what I try to do.
Giving a good presentation is not simply someone standing at a podium reading something. It’s an actual relationship between the audience and the speaker. The warmer the relationship, the more people will think the presenter did a good job. Sure, the audience receives information, but the speaker learns about his or her speaking skills and presentation skills with every workshop. The more attuned to the audience a speaker is, the better his or her presentations will become. That’s why good presenters improve over time.
The Webinar Challenge
With a webinar, however, the game changes. First, because there is no way I, the presenter, can know about the quality of the computers and internet connections of so many people, I had to eliminate a lot of the animations on the slides I used in the presentation. Then, due to the technology available, I could not see or hear any of the people attending. I had to stare at my presentation screen, talking to an audience and unable to tell whether or not people understood, were “getting it,” and weren’t bored. For me, it was quite a challenge. I think I did okay, and I learned a lot. Next time will be even better.
Five hours after the webinar I realized I was exhausted. I had given my energy to the presentation, but because of the technology I was not able to receive any back from the audience. It’s difficult and a challenge, but for me it was a challenge in a good way. I was outside of my comfort zone. And that made me have a realization.
The “Mad” Armenian
and the Crazy Lords
In giving presentations I had been in a bit of a rut. As I gave the webinar I realized I had additional things to add that I had omitted from my notes. Luckily, I was able to include my realizations and insights during the webinar. Going outside of my comfort zone had been a good experience. Sometimes we get so used to being in our zones, we cannot advance. We don’t need to advance and improve because we are succeeding in our comfort areas, even though we could be doing so much more.
This reminded me of the “mad” Armenian, George Gurdjieff (1866â€“1949). Gurdjieff became a mystical teacher with a simple idea: most people live a life in which they are basically asleep. Sure, they go through the day, going to school or work, come home, do basic human stuff, but it is all superficial, as if they are in a type of trance. He came up with a set of techniques known as “the work” or “the method” or “the fourth way” which would help people wake from their sleep and “transcend to a higher state of consciousness and achieve full human potential” (Wikipedia).
I have trained for many years as a Tantric. Most people think of Tantra as “that sex stuff.” In actuality, Tantra is a complete ancient Pagan spiritual system. Most mystical, magickal, and even many religious concepts that come from “The East” began with the Tantrics. What sort of things? Yoga. Chakras and Kundalini. Acupuncture. Feng Shui. Martial Arts. Hinduism. Buddhism. Reincarnation. Astrology. All of these things and more began with the ancient Tantrics. That’s not to say that other people did not modify and advance them, or even come up with many of the ideas independently. But much of what we think of as the occult or spiritual mysteries of the East began with the ancient Tantrics.
Because Tantra is many thousands of years old, there have been many divisions and traditions within Tantra. Tantra doesn’t “say” anything. Nobody speaks for all of Tantra. If someone writes, “Tantra saysâ€¦” they are wrong. They may be speaking for their particular tradition of Tantra, but they don’t speak for all of Tantra any more than a Southern Baptist speaks for all sects of Christianity.
One of the sects of Tantra is that of the Pagal Naths. The Sanskrit words mean “Crazy Lords.” They’re called that because people think they do crazy things. For example, if you’re walking down the street, briefcase in hand, ready to go to work, a Pagan Nath might block your path, take off his clothes, and climb a tree. The goal, like that of Gurdjieff, is to get you out of your ordinary thinking, to wake the sleeper, to help you remember that the universe is greater than the small zone in which you live; to help you stretch your boundaries. “Stretch,” by the way, is one meaning of the word “Tantra.”
Giving the webinar certainly took me out of my comfort zone and caused me to stretch my reality. It was a sharp kick in the pants that, sometimes, we each need.
Asleep or Awake?
What about you? Are you asleep or awake? Right now, most of us are sleepers. That’s not meant as an insult any more than saying most of us will have a meal today. That trance-like daily sleep is a natural state. It’s a safe, easy way to be, and slipping into that state can be effortless. It’s a state where we don’t have to take risks or go outside of our comfort zones.
But just think of how we might be different if we became awake to a great reality. Imagine if, on occasion, we could break free of the trance and “transcend to a higher state of consciousness and achieve full human potential.” One way to do this is to do something that is seen as totally crazy and outside our comfort zone. I’m not suggesting any of us should do anything dangerous, just that we should try something different.
Break free of the trance and transcend to a world where your magick is powerful and you can achieve your goals.
What will you do that’s crazy today?
How will you help other sleepers awake?
Again, thanks to all the people who attended my webinar
and made it a huge success.
Keep reading my blog and I’ll let you know
when I’ll have my next webinar.
Message to My
Friends in Minnesota:
In just two days, on Wednesday, June 5, I’ll be at Eye of Horus Books in Minneapolis for a free book signing and a Workshop on The Secrets of Magickal Evocation. For details, see this LINK. Space for the workshop is limited. I hope to see you there!