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Thelema: the Other 90%

“About 90% of Thelema, at a guess, is nothing but self-discipline.” —666

When discussing Thelema and O.T.O. some of the frequent topics that people like to cover are their occult shenanigans, what they talked about over breakfast with their Holy Guardian Angel, “wine and strange drugs,” and sex. These are all fine, exciting, sometime titillating topics for conversation and fulfillment. But this is really just a small part of Thelema. If we take the prophet’s glib comment above at face value, it’s somewhere south of 10%. The other 90%? Making unwilled actions not happen.

One of the key values we see espoused throughout the Thelemic corpus is the emphasis of self-discipline and mastery. This is the first in a series of posts that explores modern tools and techniques for self-discipline and how they intersect with the lives of Thelemites and in particular those who serve O.T.O.

Lest we fall into the trap of confusing self-discipline for “Harder! Faster! Louder!” we’ll start off with a valuable reminder about the importance of rest and idleness.

According to much research, some of which is covered in this Nautilus article, we have on average about 4-5 hours a day tops that can be applied willfully to difficult, creative tasks requiring concentration. One key we see to self-discipline is using that time purposefully, structuring the use of that time so that it is constrained toward a specific end, and then making sure you get plenty of slack time and rest outside of those periods. Also, naps:

“The top performers actually slept about an hour a day more than the average performers. They didn’t sleep late. They got more sleep because they napped during the day.”