Latest posts by Aldous Slack (see all)
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“Everything I say here is a lie – bullshit, in other words – because anything that you put in words is not experience, is not the experiment. It’s a representation – a misrepresentation.”
― John C. Lilly
For those who are unfamiliar with the concept of a tulpa, according to www.tulpa.info, “A tulpa is an entity created in the mind, acting independently of, and parallel to your own consciousness. They are able to think, and have their own free will, emotions, and memories. In short, a tulpa is like a sentient person living in your head, separate from you. You’ll create a tulpa by imagining a person in your head, and treating them as a person. The exact mechanism is unknown, but as you give a tulpa attention, and believe it can be a sentient person, it will grow into one, and act independently of you. At first, you will be narrating to your tulpa—speaking to it, and visualizing it in your mind—and with time, you’ll be able to communicate through various methods.” This is the most popular modern definition of a tulpa though it is an old concept and there are others.
That being said, this is probably the best spot for a disclaimer. According to many psychological models this is a form of deliberate dissociative identity disorder, also known as multiple personality disorder. This is a state where a person’s identity is fragmented into two or more distinct personalities… you know tulpas. Granted this is from a materialistic word view that would also be liable to label the perception of synchronicity as delusions of reference (an idea wikipedia defines as the phenomenon of an individual’s experiencing innocuous events or mere coincidences and believing they have strong personal significance) but there is potential for psychic distress here so I urge anyone interested to proceed with care, doubt, and a light hearted spirit. But as far out and possibly dangerous as this idea may sound, it’s actually a fairly common experience for fiction writers, where after spending time creating a character the character then seems to react to situations on their own. In other words its as natural to people as story telling, though not always consciously.
Oddly enough, recently tulpas have become popular with fans of My Little Pony, manga, and fantasy in general but tulpa’s roots actually seem to lie in Tibetan occultism. According to an article from Vice, “”The My Little Pony fandom was one of the first online communities to really grab hold of the tulpa phenomenon,” said Ele Cambria, a tulpamancer from Warrensburg, Missouri. “Bronies are very accepting of weirdness; they have that mindset of, ‘Wow, that’s not normal; that’s cool.” But “Tibetan mystics have long practiced a method to create sentient beings from the power of concentrated thought. Explorer Alexandra David-Neel was the first Westerner to discover the practice. “Besides having had few opportunities of seeing [tulpas], my habitual incredulity led me to make experiments for myself,” she wrote in her 1929 book Magic and Mystery in Tibet. “My efforts were attended with some success.””
As novel as the all the tulpa brony stuff is I’m far more interested in the occult roots, specifically in the possible overlap between a tulpa and the idea of the conversation with the Holy Guardian Angel or highest self. I wonder is it possible, or helpful, to use tulpa-forming as a means to contact a higher intelligence, an alien mind, or one’s own highest self? Can one induce in one’s self a positive feedback loop of intelligence and love? I’m inclined to think so, specifically because of my experiences with a particular exercise from Robert Anton Wilson’s book Prometheus Rising. Around page 221 he says:
“Project yourself, in imagination, into this Magic Room and visualize vividly the Omniscient Computer, using the details you need to make such a super-information-processor real to your fantasy. You do not need any knowledge of programming to handle this astral computer. It exists early in the next century; you are getting to use it by a species of time-travel, if that metaphor is amusing and helpful to you. It is so built that it responds immediately to human brain-waves, “reading” them and decoding their meaning. (Crude prototypes of such computers already exist.) So, when you are in this magic room, you can ask this Computer anything, just by thinking of what you want to know. It will read your thought, and project into your brain, by a laser ray, the correct answer. There is one slight problem. The computer is very sensitive to all brain-waves. If you have any doubts, it registers them as negative commands, meaning “Do not answer my question.” So, the way to use it is to start simply, with “easy” questions. Ask it to dig out of the archives the name of your second-grade teacher. (Almost everybody remembers the name of their first grade teacher—imprint vulnerability again—but that of the second grade teacher tends to get lost.) When the computer has dug out the name of your second grade teacher, try it on a harder question, but not one that is too hard. It is very easy to sabotage this machine, but you don’t want to sabotage it during these experiments. You want to see how well it can be made to perform. It is wise to ask only one question at a time, since it requires concentration to keep this magic computer real on the field of your perception. Do not exhaust your capacities for imagination and visualization on your first trial runs. After a few trivial experiments of the second-grade-teacher variety, you can try more interesting programs.”
With this exercise in mind I’ve been working out the idea of a tulpa as an all knowing personal guru or something like a Holy Guardian Angel. Using this all-knowing computer model for your tulpa becomes a way to extend the exercise into your day to day existence. It’s also easy to imagine a guru who picks up on your doubts and negative emotions and doesn’t respond as a means of teaching. The tupla can be made as an all knowing computer, an alien intelligence, a CIA operative from the future, really whatever form would be best suited for you to imagine it as the great teacher you need. When I first attempted to invoke my own great teacher I had a odd feeling that it was creating itself, and my mind was only an illusory form necessary for it to become realized in. Something like a highest self realizing it’s own existence through all the lower reflections of itself. Some pretty self involved convoluted ridiculousness, but an interesting experience none-the-less. Right after that I had a flood of creativity in music and art like i hadn’t experienced in a while.
Many great minds of the past century have had experiences with a foreign intelligence: Philip K. Dick, Bill Hicks, Robert Anton Wilson, Aleister Crowley, Grant Morrison, Terrance McKenna. Is this another method for making contact with such intelligence? If done thoroughly and with intention I’m inclined to think so. It’s really not different from the Tibetan occult method of creating the great guru, just adapted a bit to modern sensibilities. My own experiences so far have both made me weary of the psychic pitfalls that can come with this path, and also surprised by the power of the mind to create new mediums through which it can enrich itself.
Whether this is a habitual device for deep self reflection or a means to invoke communication with an alien intelligence or divine guru may be irrelevant. Any results will speak for themselves, and the only way for anyone to know if such a method is useful for them will be to try it themselves. After I began doing these exercises I noticed a new feeling of peace, and I coincidentally got a better job and found a better place to live within a week of experiencing my tulpa creating itself. These are only anecdotal coincidences but my inclination towards delusions of reference makes me infer this may all just be connected. I wouldn’t say I’m having what Crowley called the conversation with The Holy Guardian Angel yet, but the experiment continues. I think my next big step is to attempt to merge my own tulpa with what McKenna called the alien intelligence or divine logos that resides in the consciousness of the magic mushrooms. These are just my own delusional workings, but they have kept me happy and creatively inspired. What more could I need. Happy head space friends.