EXPLORING ENLIGHTENED LIVING
FALCON BOOKS INTERVIEWS
EXPLORING ENLIGHTENED LIVING
THROUGH HERMETIC MEDITATION
With Martin Faulks
Falcon Books is presenting a series of interviews with seasoned Hermetic practitioners and those who follow a spiritual discipline. The aim being to share the wisdom, knowledge and understanding of these practitioners with those just beginning the path and as an inspiration to us all. The focus of these discussions are guided towards the spiritual seeker.
Presenting today an interview with Martin Faulks who is a Franz Bardon practitioner, teacher at Seshen School of Hermetic Meditation and author at Falcon Books. He also has a successful YouTube channel which offers information ranging from self-development to demonstrations of meditation under adverse conditions. You can also visit his website.
A cordial welcome Martin. Thank you for sharing with us your time and wisdom along this journey.
by Martin Faulks (July 2016)
When I was young I felt drawn to meditation. Every day I used to sit and practice the ideal state of mind. Then I would try to bring that awareness, good will and inner tranquillity into my daily life.
Later on, I found myself drawn to meditate in different places,
In the noise of the city,
In the calm of the woods,
Next to the sea,
Or in sacred spots.
As time passed I found myself practicing my art in places which made it harder to keep a calm focus. I found myself searching places and situations of adversity and distraction.
In the desert I faced heat,
On the top of mountains I faced fear,
I learned to hold my breath
And meditate under the water.
To sit for days in the darkest of caves and graveyards.
After many years I found myself able to keep awareness in any situation and my practice settled back to normal.
But as my ability deepened another change occurred,
I became transported in my mind’s eye,
As if I was entering a realm of pure consciousness
Or going into some dream.
With daily practice I found I could rise
Through various areas of this world,
Each more beautiful and subtle than the next.
Through star like realms
And areas of pure beautiful light I rose.
Whenever I found myself unable to go further
I sat patiently in calmness
And found with daily persistence,
My heart was purified,
And I would ascend higher.
Now I sit at the gates of the place we go to when we finally wake up and our body is no more. Perhaps one day the doors will open and I can sit in gentle contemplation within.
1. Falcon Books: I wonder if you could expand on this and share a little more of your journey with us, from growing up with this ideal to manifesting it.
Martin Faulks: “Thank you very much for including my poem in the interview. Creative writing and allegorical tales have always been an important part of human nature, a way of expressing ideas and concepts, in a way that is easy to understand and approachable.
Growing up stories were very important to me. As a child, I had no concept of a Hermetic Adept or Bodhisattva, but I felt a calling and searched my environment to find something which it matched to. I found myself fascinated by mythological tales and heroic figures. For me the idea that some special event, discovery or process could suddenly reveal our inner potential, or bestow us with special abilities, was fascinating.
I spent a lot of time reading comics and watching films and always felt that the radioactive spider, magic potion, or special discovery was just around the corner. As time progressed and I grew older, I started to look at practical ways to improve myself and to move towards the goal. I dedicated my time to the practice of martial arts and spent as much of my waking life practicing as possible. My best friend and I attended three martial art classes a day, five days a week. We truly believed in our teacher and the art we were practicing. So much so, we often took things on face value even when they didn’t work.
I remember when we were given a book that claimed to have methods of performing a special form of meditation that would lead to us gaining the power of seven men. We sat in the positions it described and followed the breathing exercises exactly. We were very disappointed when we didn’t see any significant change to our physical strength. Likewise, when we were taught pressure points that were supposed to immobilise or knock an opponent unconscious, we were disappointed when practicing with one another that they didn’t seem to do anything other than cause pain, no matter how hard we hit. Our instructor informed us that they were very, very specific points and had to be hit very accurately. So we paid an acupuncturist to mark on our bodies the exact locations and struck them with a hammer, only to find that once again they were ineffective.
As we progressed through our teenage years our explorations went further afield and we discovered Buddhism and yoga, a discipline my friend dedicated his whole life to. I was searching for something more, to me, the yogic texts were not open about the purpose of their exercises and I felt that many of the practices were confused and incomplete. I researched into the Western traditions and found ritual magic, but to me, the long drawn out words and readings, the figures drawn up in the air and memorised routines were a barrier to interacting with these spiritual forces, not an aid. I wanted to go directly to the source in order to control, see and interact with the magical force itself.
I started designing my own system based on the elements. I sat in contemplation as to how to directly contact and make a connection with the hidden forces. I called this path ‘Elementalism’ and truly felt I was creating something new. About that time, as fate often does, a gift appeared in the form of a book called Modern Magic by Donald Michael Craig. Amongst the exercises, there were some that rang true for exactly what I was attempting to do. I asked at Atlantis Books (a shop in London) about the sources and this is when I discovered Initiation into Hermetics. The moment I opened up the book I knew it was something special. The very system I was attempting to recreate from some distant memory lead it to my hands.
I was just 16 years old and it took me a year to establish a solid routine, starting and stopping and often becoming discouraged, but after my 17th Birthday, I managed to remain stable. Since then I have practiced for 2 hours every day, missing only one session in the years that followed. At the age of 39, I can honestly say this has been the most rewarding practice of my life, something that I view as the greatest blessing and the most wonderful honour.”
2. Falcon Books: I wonder if you could please elaborate a bit on when you spoke about creating an ‘ideal state of mind’ in this discourse. What methods did you use to aid you in developing and maintaining this?
Martin Faulks: “I have always practiced the magical training regime outlined in Franz Bardon’s system and I believe this to be the most effective, balanced and safe regime of Hermetic training available. Whenever I have found it hard to make progress, to master an exercise or to develop an ability, I have looked around the world and searched for someone or a tradition who have specialised in that area. I would find a way to spend time learning from them, training and just being around people who are better at what I am trying to do.
To begin with, my training was all about mastery of the exercises laid out within Bardon’s books. My focus was on developing these abilities and improving my mastery of the spiritual powers. Little did I know, by neglecting everyday matters in favour of a complete emotional and intellectual focus on the Hermetic path, I was missing out on one of the most important aspects. In truth, our training is to change our everyday waking consciousness. This is an insight that not many when they first start the path, are ready or able to see. As I travelled from teacher to teacher and from tradition to tradition, I started to gain more of an insight into this mystery. And in this sense, the most sublime teachings can be found in the most mundane.
Through our spiritual exercises, we improve all of our mental faculties – our memory, our imagination, the clarity of thought, emotional integration and balance, awareness, the ability to stay on target, our concentration, our good will, compassion and virtue. All of this training creates ripples which transfer into daily life. However, if you make your exercises your focus of your daily existence, you can actually sometimes forget to fully employ and transfer the abilities you have gained through your training into every waking moment. For this reason, it is important to make life the focus, not the exercises.
In a sense we need to live a magical life, to use our spiritual abilities in every moment. This I believe is one of the most powerful methods of training, to make sure that Hermetic skills are a part of your normal, everyday skill set. So when you talk to others, you practice your clairvoyance, by sensing the energies surrounding the situation, emotions and true goals the person has inside of them. When washing, you rid yourself of negativity. When you dress, each item of clothing has significance and power. When you lock your front door, you send a wave of protection around your house. When you kiss a loved one goodnight, you pass a blessing to them. You put your intention in your letters and emails. You send a healing force to those you meet who are ill. In this way, you use the abilities you have gained through your Hermetic training in every waking moment. This has turned out to be the most powerful lesson in training for me.”
3. Falcon Books: Could you please explain the turning point in your life where you felt a shift in consciousness and a coming out of duality into oneness. Was there a distinct moment that you became aware of this, or was it more of a gradual unfolding and how did this affect your life?
Martin Faulks: “The Hermetic path is truly beautiful, in that it is ongoing and unfolds in many subtle and interconnected ways. Sometimes you will find that your progress comes with big breakthroughs or epiphanies that dramatically change your perception of the world. Often it is a gradual and an almost imperceivable process in which your understanding, and indeed your capacity for understanding, are growing within each waking moment. Anyone who trains in this path for a significant length of time will discover that the ability to perceive and understand is connected with their development and capacity on other levels, this brings around great improvements in life on all levels.”
4. Falcon Books: For those who are starting out what encouragement would you offer to them?
Martin Faulks: “The best advice I can give to anyone just starting their training, is to make sure their focus is completely clear and undivided. Your mission is to set up a constant training routine which you fully understand and fully engage with.
This may sound obvious, but, because to progress we must change and improve ourselves, we will come up against our own shortcomings. This makes us uncomfortable and so of course, when we are uncomfortable we try to return to our previous state, the status quo. We often find all sorts of interesting barriers appear to diffuse, divide, distract or discourage us from continuing. This doesn’t always appear in an overtly negative fashion. Sometimes this can come in the form of too much excitement, which leads to us attempting to follow multiple traditions and teachers and thus more than one very intense course of instruction at the same time. Often a student will find that when they start to practice, they find themselves drawn to switch to something different just at the point where they are about to make progress. This is understandable because it is natural to look for an easier way of doing things. To find a different approach rather than transforming ourselves to meet that challenge. Sometimes we will even tell ourselves that the exercise we are doing is too easy, but yet we are failing to meet the criteria that is set forth before us.
Whatever form of distraction or barrier that appears, it is important to look at it so we can utilise this energy. Many people waste their energy on over thinking or talking about the path rather than practicing it. Reading many different books has the same effect of diffusing their energy in many different directions. Make sure your focus is developing your own ability, not on self-expression, not on comparative religion, or the exploring of different cultures. Of course, we need to understand the underlying mechanism of what we are trying to do, and study is a very positive thing, but let’s not let any other pursuit take up the energy that we really need to put into fully engaging into the challenges the path puts before us. Stick to the instructions given to you by the letter and make sure your sights are always set on the next achievement that you need to overcome to progress.”
5. Falcon Books: For those who are seeking magical abilities what advice would you offer to them?
Martin Faulks: “The abilities are natural side effects of your own evolution, they are very important and your desire for them is something you can use for great benefit and to keep yourself motivated. Developing these abilities gives you a means to help those around you and to benefit the world. It is however, important to remember that to grow good fruit the focus needs to be on the tree itself, making sure that you water its roots, not the branches from which the fruits appear. The same is true on our path, focus on improving your own abilities through exercises and these powers will come as nature takes its course and your path unfolds.”
6. Falcon Books: What did you find was the most effective way in dealing with the soul mirrors?
Martin Faulks: “To truly transform as a person you need to engage with the areas which you find hard in life. This often means moving outside our comfort zone and doing things you have never done before. When we find an area of life challenging often we build barriers that protect ourselves from facing those challenges. Often we will devalue that skill or area of functioning and create elaborate reasons why we do not wish to improve ourselves in this area. For this reason, it’s important to be very honest, to look at your life objectively and open yourself up to what people around you are saying and what changes life is asking for you to make.”
Our Hermetic exercises, of course, can very much help us as these involve improving all areas of our mental functioning. The key to success is to bring the skills and abilities you learn in your training into your normal functioning consciousness. Your magical training exercises are just that, they are training, which is to be used in every moment. In this way we move gradually to magical life. The more we develop the more fully we engage with each task. With time the practitioner will find themselves drawn to practice the things they find hardest in life, this is a sign that the soul mirrors are becoming balanced.”
7. Falcon Books: What would you say for you was the most challenging aspect of this path for you and how did you conquer that challenge?
Martin Faulks: “Aristotle was once asked “What is the hardest thing for a human to master?” His answer was silence. From the Hermetic point of view, silence is a very important skill. It is for this reason, Franz Bardon notes repeatedly that a magician should not talk about his own personal practice or progress unless to his teacher. The mastery of inner silence is directly linked to our ability to master the control of our words. A magician therefore, should train both in tandem in order to gain self-mastery.”
8. Falcon Books: When one speaks about being ‘Enlightened’, what in your opinion constitutes this state?
Martin Faulks: “From the Hermetic point of view Enlightenment is a state of being in total harmony with all things.”
9. Falcon Books: Could you please share with us what for you has been the most rewarding aspect along this journey?
Martin Faulks: “It seems to me that all of us have our dreams and aspirations on life. For some this is material, they wish to live in beautiful surroundings, have positive people around them and do something to help the material world. Others seek intellectual knowledge like the historian who wishes to travel into the past or the scientist who wishes a clear vision of the underlying mechanisms of the universe. There are some like Enoch who longed to walk with the angels or Agrippa who wish to cultivate spiritual abilities to help his fellow man. I can honestly say that my training in the Franz Bardon system has brought all I have ever dreamed of and more. It has been the greatest blessing and most wonderful honour to practice.”
10. Falcon Books: Many people are working on steps 1-8 and look towards steps 9 and 10. Steps 1-8 appear to be focused on developing a skill set whereas steps 9 and 10 appear to be more focused on developing a relationship with a person God. Could you offer your opinion on this and how the training changes beyond step eight?
Martin Faulks: “The Perfect Discourse of Hermes Trismegistus states that either all things are of God or all things are from God. In Hermetic training all things are interconnected. Often you will find that an ability leads to a new understanding and vice versa. This can be seen in the Corpus Hermeticum where it is said that “just as the body once it has gained perfection in the womb goes out, likewise the soul, once it has gained perfection, goes out of the body…the perfection of the soul is the knowledge of what is.” To start with the normal individual needs to develop himself and fully balance and integrate the elements within himself, only then are the later steps within his capability.”
11. Falcon Books: As an instructor what areas have you identified the main difficulties that you find students face and why do you think this so?
Martin Faulks: “The beginning stages are usually the hardest. The first challenge is learning to maintain a constant training routine and for many, this is the greatest challenge they will face, as their internal barriers beset them from the outset. Within us all there are aspects of ourselves that are not fully directed towards our path. These can mean areas that have not yet developed the ability needed to engage with the training, or it can be aspects of the self that are injured and need to heal or recover. Sometimes emergency strategies or outmoded ways of doing things are hardest to break. Especially if the student has relied on a certain approach to life, so finds it hard to learn a new way of doing things. Have you ever known someone who won’t do the one thing that will solve their problems? Often in life the ill mistake the medicine that will bring around their cure for poison. The same is true of our internal aspects. These internal forces find various expressions to try to avoid the exercises which cause them discomfort, causing the student to become distracted, divided, redirected or disheartened. This leads to the student wanting to change the exercise, or give in and start something else, they would rather focus on anything other than the job in hand.
It’s the teachers role to find a way to navigate this situation and to help each student recruit, redirect and reintegrate any internal objections so as to be able to fuel their further progress.”
12. Falcon Books: Could you please tell us more about your investigation into ancient Western Meditation research and how to become a patron.
Martin Faulks: “In the modern day we live in a kind of spiritual dark ages as far as our native western spiritual tradition is concerned. The man on the street is far more likely to know the sayings of Buddha than the teachings of Plato or Imhotep!
In ancient times we had a complete system of teachings with a wide range of methods of advancement. The temples would teach sacred gymnastics to balance and heal the body, and they handed down techniques of healing to correct the mind when things went wrong. We used to have our own traditions of breath control, lucid dreaming, of opening the energy points on the spine and of many more practices we no longer have access to. These traditions were recorded in ancient documents, but due to historical events the modern practitioners have had to fill in gaps with oriental disciplines and traditions which have been more widely promoted. However, I believe that much of it is being rediscovered.
I propose that western civilisation will only regain its self-awareness when its spirit returns. When we once again restore and indeed live by the traditions our culture was built upon.
If you would like to see the techniques come back to life please visit my Patreon page to see the full schedule and to find out how you can get involved and lend your support.”
13. What do you feel ancient Western Meditation can offer?
a. What do you feel is missing from modern day practices?
Martin Faulks: “Our ancient tradition had a very specific focus, to step beyond yourself and to become a living god. It was a beautifully joyful and expansive practice, which allowed you to step beyond yourself and grasp your higher nature.
In those days there was a dynamic and exciting Hermetic community working together to be in tune with everything good in the universe and to manifest this goodness on earth. This community had great value and protected practitioners from adversity, giving them a positive place and environment to grow in. The whole feel of the practice at that time was uplifting and evolutionary.”
b. How do you feel we can benefit from these teachings?
Martin Faulks: “Our modern practice lacks understanding. We know what, but few of us know why. The ancient teachings cover far more in respect to how a path of development works, why we would be called to such a practice, what the purpose of life is and what role a magician takes in the great harmony of the universe.”
c. How do these practices compare to Bardon’s teachings?
Martin Faulks:” Franz Bardon was a dedicated student of the Ancient Hermetic Teachings, something that becomes apparent to anyone who reads the Hermetica. Franz Bardon’s works are the greatest technical guide to practical magical practice and leaves the philosophical outlook down to the individual. Those who feel a connection with the pure current of Hermeticism will find that ancient teachings compliment Bardon’s path perfectly and bring an increased sense of celebration and inner harmony to their practice.”
14. Falcon Books: Could you please explain to us more about the ancient origins of Hermetics from your research?
Martin Faulks: “When Alexander the Great liberated Egypt from its Persian captors, two cultures with great wisdom and insight combined. The Magickal traditions of Ancient Egypt met with the philosophical traditions of Greece. The Greeks identified the Egyptian god of magic Thoth with their own messenger god called Hermes. History shows that the Egyptian priests allowed people of both genders and from all cultures and traditions to join what we now know as the Hermetic Order. In fact, it appears that although native Egyptian priests made up the majority of the order, they also had many Pythagoreans, Jews and Christians in their ranks.
Wanting to keep the hieroglyphs secret, they worked with Greek members of the order to translate the teachings into Greek texts, using the (then) modern philosophical style. A process you can see is happening again as many ancient teachings start to be described in psychological language, which is more acceptable in our day. During this process, something beautiful happened. The Egyptians knew the magical practices from both tradition and direct experiences, but the Greeks asked the questions and possessed the clarity to bring the underlying mechanisms of the path of spiritual evolution into focus. The alchemy between the two cultures have left us with great gifts, which are the texts we now possess.”
15. Falcon Books: I was wondering if you could tell us a bit your future title Enlightened Living. What inspired you to write it and how do you feel it can benefit others?
Martin Faulks: “During this interview, a few themes have appeared. The first being that the original focus of Hermetic practice was to become at one with the great good. To be in tune with and to express the underlying force of truth, light and goodness in the world.
The second being that Hermetic exercises do not a magician make. To truly take that role you need to take those skills and that mindset into every moment of your life, you need to live a magical life.
When you read Enlightened Living you will learn a set of very powerful methods, insights and observations that will allow you to bring these ancient Hermetic principles into your life. It will show you how to apply your magical powers to your daily life, so as to be able to fully express the principle ‘as above so below’ and to make your life part of your magical training. In this way, it will aid you in overcoming plateaus in training and help you move forwards in your path.”
Martin Faulks is a pioneer in Ancient Hermetic philosophy, not only through his own practice as a Franz Bardon Practitioner but also in the field of research.
To find out more about Martin Faulks Please follow the links below:
The Power of meditation – Where Martin demonstrates his abilities under extreme conditions.
He currently has a number of publications out please view below to purchase:
Future Title – Enlightened Living by Martin Faulks – To find out more about this book please view Our Author Page.