tulpas for dummies
Teryakywind’s “Tulpas for Dummies”
Introduction to Tulpas
So, chances are, if you’re here, you’re making a tulpa, or you are considering it. For the sake of clarification, and partly so you know what you’re getting into, I believe it to be important to start off by defining what a tulpa is and where the concept comes from. Taken from the preface for /r/tulpas’ community AMA:
A tulpa is believed to be an autonomous consciousness, existing within their creator’s mind, often with a form of their creator’s initial choice and design.
A tulpa is entirely sentient and in control of their opinions, feelings, form and movement.
They are willingly created by people via a number of techniques to act as companions, muses, and advisers.
The original Western concept of a tulpa began its life with Western studies of Tibetan Buddhism (where it was referred to as निर्माण [nirmāṇa] or “to construct”). The idea was most likely brought to the attention of the Western world via Alexandra David-Néel’s 1929 book, Magic and Mystery in Tibet, in which she describes making a tulpa in the form of a jolly, fat monk, which she later dissipated. While the history of the Western concept of a tulpa between the early 1900s to today remains unclear, we do know positively that the idea seemed to be very involved with mysticism and occult practices, evidenced by its reemergence on the modern occult scene in 4chan.org’s /x/ (paranormal) board. After being flamed out of /x/ by trolls, the “tulpa general” thread found its new home in the /mlp/ (My Little Pony) board, where it still lives on to this day. The 4chan threads have birthed a number of sites devoted to tulpas, their creation, and related concepts, including the Reddit page /r/tulpas, tulpa.info, tagged on tumblr, and even communities on the Steam gaming platform and Bungie.net. The idea has even permeated far enough into mainstream culture that there was a small movie made about it in 2012, titled Tulpa. While the movie was made for the horror/thriller genre, and thus is woefully misrepresentative of what modern tulpa creators actually do, it shows that the idea of tulpas aren’t necessarily relegated to the dark corners of occultism and esoteria anymore, and is being brought into the light of a more mainstream audience.
最初，西方对于Tulpa的概念有所认识是在西方开始研究藏传佛教的时候开始的（在那里它们被称作“构建”）。这个点子会引起西方的注意，最有可能是因为Alexandra David-Néel’s在1929年出版的书《西藏的神通和秘密》（Magic and Mystery in Tibet），在书中，她描述了自己创造了一个滑稽的，胖胖的和尚的形象的tulpa，但是她后来令其消散了。虽然西方对于Tulpa这一概念在1900年早期到今天为止的历史仍然显得模糊不清，但是我们能够很清楚地明白这个点子看起来包含了神秘主义以及神秘的实践，这点被它在4chan论坛上的现代神秘学板块再次出现所证明。在因为某些群嘲的行为之下而停止了讨论之后，Tulpa总览的帖子在（我的小马驹）版块中找到了它的新家，它们至今仍旧在那里。4chan上的帖子催生了一堆关于tulpa本身，tulpa的创造以及相关概念的网站，包括红笛网上，tulpa.info，在汤不热上的标签，甚至是Steam的社区以及Bungie.bet。这个东西已经在一定程度上渗透到了主流文化之中，以至于在2012年出现了一部名为Tulpa的小电影。然而这部电影是恐怖片，也因此它严重扭曲了现代tulpa创造者的真实行为。但这部电影的出现表明了tulpa这一概念已经不再被归于神秘主义的黑暗角落，出现在了主流观众的目光之下。
Keep in mind that what is written here is a GUIDE; most of the steps don’t have to be done in any particular order, and you’re actually encouraged to improvise and come up with new methods of doing things that may work better for you. The steps and processes from here on is merely my recommendation based on my creation experiences. Creating a tulpa is a highly individual process, especially in regards to speed of progress and final results; your mileage will probably vary.
The Basics of Tulpa Creation
Okay so, all the history and stuff out of the way, it’s time to get down to the meat of this issue: just how does one make a tulpa? Basically, it can be narrowed down into four steps:
Create a form.
Create a personality.
Develop sentience and communication.
Alongside developing your tulpa’s abilities, most tulpa creators additionally have to improve their own mental skills, such as increasing the clarity of their mind’s eye, and the creation of a wonderland, aka dreamscape or mindscape (which is actually entirely optional). All of this can be done while creating your tulpa, but if you are considering making one, practicing visualizing with your mind’s eye will save you time later down the road should you make the decision to begin creation.
Creating a Form
While it may not seem so at a first glance, creating a form for your tulpa is highly important, even if it is (as a technicality) entirely optional. It gives you something to look at, talk to, and reinforces the concept that you are making another consciousness alongside your own.
My recommendation is to start off with a placeholder form (a form that isn’t intended to be permanent that the tulpa can chose to change once they start exhibiting signs of sentience). Placeholder forms are often extremely simple; I used a floating ball of light with my first tulpa, but it can be anything as long as it’s easy for you to visualize. This cuts down on a lot of the extra work involved in making a form, which, depending on how much work you put into it, can prove to be a lengthy task. Making the form yourself, however, can also help with making a wonderland simply because you’ve had the practice with visualization. If you chose to make the form yourself, look up references for bone structure, muscle structure, etc. for whatever human/animal form you want your tulpa to have (this advice obviously does not apply to creators whose tulpa’s form does not fit any known creatures on this planet). This helps you better understand how bodies fit together and assists you in knowing how to change the form in ways that are realistic so you don’t end up accidentally spacing their eyes too wide and other such stuff.
Creating Their Personality
Personality and sentience (whether perceived or actual) are what define tulpas; those are the defining characteristics that separate them from other thoughtforms. So, this is the step that I recommend that you start with after making your tulpa’s form (or placeholder form if you chose to do so). It is, in my opinion, the single most important aspect of creating a tulpa. By my definition, a personality trait is any characteristic or preference that distinguishes people from one another. So, a love for spaghetti could be a personality trait, along with stock things such as “kind” or “greedy”.
Some people say personality forcing isn’t something you need to do during the creation process, and that you can skip over it entirely. But when you think about it, whenever you force, you’re focusing on your tulpa. Even when you’re just narrating, you’re reinforcing your perceptions of their personality, i.e. you are personality forcing. No matter whether you chose to do this step or decide to skip it, you’re still going to force their personality in one way or another.
Rule number one of personality forming (and tulpaforcing in general) is this: Force TO your tulpa, not AT them. The distinction is subtle, but makes all the difference. Forcing to your tulpa means that you are holding the idea of your tulpa at the forefront of your mind while inserting personality traits. The key element here is that the tulpa is viewed as more than an audience and the purpose of speaking is more than reading traits off of a list or venting your thoughts without listening for a response. You are actively trying to engage your tulpa.
As the opposite of that, forcing at your tulpa means that you are not fully focused on your tulpa, becoming distracted by stray thoughts or things going on around you in the physical world. Forcing at means you’re treating your tulpa like an audience; you’re not necessarily listening for a response or engaging them, you’re simply saying your piece and then going about your business.
*Thanks to Mayeel for helping me to voice my thoughts on this little section; probably never would have done it properly without your input 🙂 *
Although tulpas are not immediately sentient when you begin to create them, they can still take a hand in the formation of their own personality. As you, the creator, add more and more to their personality, they become better able to voice opinions, likes, dislikes, and so on. So at any point when creating a new tulpa, he or she could change their own personality if they so desired. This is an important thing to keep in mind as you, the host, should try to be sensitive to these changes and not hinder or counteract them in any way.
Options in Personality Forcing
There are three routes you can take here: A) begin with a loosely-defined personality and let them further develop it on their own, B) stringently define their personality from the get-go, or C)parrot responses until they learn to do it on their own. Each route has its pros and cons. Tulpas with a more loosely-defined personality have more freedom in guiding their own development in early stages, but may take longer to become fully sentient. Tulpas with strictly-defined personalities have less freedom in guiding their own development at early stages, but may take less time to become fully sentient. The parroting method will often result in much quicker results, but the host may have trouble with doubts down the road, dismissing actual responses as the host accidentally parroting a response (which is silly, but more on that down in the First Contact section).
Symbolic and Narrative Personality Development
The act of personality forcing can be done in any number of ways (starting to recognize a pattern here?), each of which can fit into one of two categories: symbolism and narrative. My recommendation is to use symbolism, but if narrative works better for you, then go for it!
Symbolism involves using (you guessed it) symbols to “implant” a trait into your tulpa’s personality. This could include imagining a trait as energy that you shoot into them, condensing the idea of a trait into food that you feed them, or any way that you can possibly imagine to convey the idea of putting X trait into Y tulpa. What is especially important about this particular route, and what makes this option my favorite, is that involving as many of your senses as possible seems to reinforce that you are creating a second consciousness alongside your own in your mind, which helps with making the rest of the process easier.
Narrative is exactly what it sounds like: you’re listing off traits that you want your tulpa to have, one at a time, possibly repeating them several times to reinforce that trait, or defining each trait as you list it. With this method, it is best to also describe how each trait affects the others and how it might affect their decision making process. By way of example, say you want your tulpa to have the traits “likes animals” and “charitable”; this might result in your tulpa wanting to adopt a puppy someday!
And, moving right along with our guide, we arrive at the third step.
I absolutely recommend establishing some method of communication directly after coming up with a personality, even in the midst of it, as everything else you will do with your tulpa stems from being able to communicate with them. Communication can be through a variety of methods, be it in the form of imagery, feelings, head pressures (a perennial favorite of new tulpa creators), even gestures and body language.
A host can talk to their tulpa either aloud or using their own mindvoice. There are no advantages or disadvantages here, other than privacy issues; talking to your tulpa out loud in public is probably going to get you some stares from other people. In the past, it was theorized that talking to your tulpa aloud was better as it assisted the development of their own voice, but this remains unproven.
Sensing a reaction from your tulpa for the first time is incredibly exciting; all the hard work you’ve put in bringing them into existence finally pays off! A lot of people seem to struggle with establishing this first contact, sometimes being unable to talk with their tulpa for weeks and even months at a time. This section is going to be entirely devoted to helping you to set aside some worries and correct some common misconceptions that may hinder your progress.
Doubt is entirely normal, and in this case, completely understandable. I had quite a few doubts about tulpas myself when I first started out. What if the whole thing was one giant troll attempt? What if my tulpa turned out to be malicious? And the list went on, one worry after another. Getting rid of your doubts can be hard to do, but will pay off. If you have something that’s worrying you, reason through it. Take a step back and examine the situation, and think about the reasons that something may or may not happen.
Worried your tulpa will be malicious? Tulpas aren’t some alien creatures that follow nonsensical thought processes; they think and react like humans. So unless you’re creating your tulpa with the sole purpose of using it as a mental punching bag and generally treating them like shit, you’re going to have a tulpa who cares for you in a positive and loving way.
Assume that your tulpa can hear and understand you from the first day of their creation. (This is changing up the wording of tulpa.info’s “assume sentience from day one” teaching, because it caused some confusion among new creators about how the process actually works and ended up with a very large number of people believing tulpas were sentient from the moment of their conception, which is NOT how this works.)
You can completely ignore any worries or warnings about accidental parroting or puppeting; it is entirely impossible to accidentally parrot or puppet your tulpa. As long as you are not actively trying to make them do or say something, it’s fine. Really. STOP WORRYING.
How Do I Communicate with My Tulpa?
Hosts are more limited in the methods we can use to talk to our tulpas. As stated before, we can use either our own internal mindvoice or our external speaking voice. Either way, your primary focus should be to establish a reliable method of communication with your tulpa. Oftentimes at first, your tulpa will speak to you but it may sound like a garbled mess of random sounds, or they may not speak at all, instead preferring to use raw thoughts and emotions, which I refer to as tulpish.
Getting your tulpa to be vocal can be a long and arduous process, depending on how well they take to it. Some tulpas pick it up quickly, some don’t; as stated in the disclaimer, your mileage will vary, so don’t get discouraged if you feel your progress is slow.
Most of the time, your first contact with your tulpa will be in tulpish. You’ll be either actively or passively forcing them and you feel a faint response almost like the voice in the back of your head. Sometimes first contact can be an almost violent affair, where your tulpa suddenly bombards you with a rush of emotion and it’s quite clear it didn’t come from you. Recognizing these responses and encouraging them is your first step to making your tulpa vocal.
Sometimes recognizing a response is as simple as asking “Was that you?” But for the rest of it, here’s a few tips and tricks you can use to tell whether your tulpa is talking to you (hint: they are!), and to encourage them to communicate better:
Learn to quiet your own mental chatter. This will help your tulpa to speak over the “static” of random thoughts and things flying around your mind at any given point in time. Practicing meditation is quite useful for this.
Visualizing your tulpa and watching what they do can be a great indicator of early sentience and developing personality.
Do some “call and response” practice. This helps your tulpa learn how to organize thoughts and sound out their words so you can better understand them, as well as teaching them to project their own thoughts over your mental chatter. Sit down with your tulpa, and either:
Say a sentence and have them repeat it
Say a part of a sentence and have them complete it (slightly more advanced)
Do you suspect a thought was your tulpa’s? Ask them to repeat it.
Mental communication provides a greater depth than speech can, and so gives us a couple more tools to work with. One method I’ve utilized in the past was assigning a unique feeling to each of my tulpas so that I could better differentiate their thoughts from my own. To do this:
imagine the feeling of a scene or an idea. A spring day, for example, might bring with it the idea of buttercups and sunshine and fresh grass.
assign that feeling or idea to your tulpa.
ask them to “broadcast” that feeling along with any communications they try to send you.
How Will My Tulpa Communicate With Me?
Tulpas have a variety of tools at their disposal to talk with their hosts, some of which were mentioned briefly earlier in this guide, but which shall be examined in greater detail here.
Vocality. This is the one we’re all aiming for when we create a tulpa. A tulpa being vocal means that that tulpa communicates with their host using clear language that the host can understand. It can be either an auditory hallucination (although that usually won’t happen until you’ve been working on imposition for a while or something weird happens), or simply in mindvoice.
To better develop your tulpa’s vocality, when first creating them, give them a voice, imagine them using that voice to say different things, and so on.
“Tulpish.” Some tulpas chose to communicate in what has come to be known as tulpish. It is a mixture of imagery, feelings, and ideas that mesh together to form a cohesive thought.
Head Pressures. When we refer to head pressures, we are referring to the sensation of pressure in a certain spot or area on your body. A binary communication system seems to be common for many beginning creators and their tulpas, i.e. pressure on the left side of your head for yes, the right side for no. In this manner, the host can ask their tulpa questions and get answers.
Body Language and Gestures. Not as widely known as other methods, it’s still possible for tulpas to communicate with their creators through nonverbal communication in this manner. This method requires the host to have a well-developed mind’s eye; you have to be able to see what your tulpa is doing.
The best way to encourage your tulpa to become vocal is to do two things: practice communicating, and giving them the knowledge to be able to do so. Practicing communicating is just as straightforward as it sounds; just keep talking to your tulpa. From my experience, involving people other than yourself in this communication, i.e. taking them into one of the tulpa IRC chat rooms and letting people talk to them can help with encouraging them to speak, although the fast pace and the crowd of people may be daunting to some young tulpas.
When I refer to “giving your tulpa the knowledge to communicate”, I mean that you, as the host, passively force them throughout your day and describe things to them. Tell them what a rock is, or what a butterfly is, and so on. It might seem incredibly silly to you, but keep in mind that this is your tulpa’s first few months in this big, wide world; they aren’t going to, and should not be expected to, know everything. As they learn more and more, they’ll be able to more adequately communicate to you, the host, their feelings and thoughts in words.
By this point, your tulpa should be talking with you regularly, but will still need to be interacted with regularly to keep them around and may not talk unless you’re actively thinking about them. From now on, your goal should be to help them in their personal growth and development. We do this with a variety of mental exercises meant to encourage your tulpa to think independently of you. Some hosts chose to make their tulpas number-crunch, others give them logic puzzles to do, and others just talk and let them develop at their own pace. The key to anything you do is that you as the host should avoid giving them a solution to it by solving it yourself. Past simple mental exercises, you should be talking and interacting with your tulpa as much as possible. Any number of tests and activities will work, as long as it requires conscious and active thought. Hosts who want to or whose tulpas feel ready for it can begin work on possession or any other number of techniques that require you to have a fully sentient tulpa to succeed at.
Eventually your tulpa will get to the point where they can live almost entirely on their own with no or limited attention from their host. Tulpas, if you’ve gotten to this point, congratulations, you’re fully sentient!
A Message to the Hosts
Treat your tulpa like you would any other person. They’ll have their heartbreaks and moments of joy, as will you. Your job as a host, and your tulpa’s job as your tulpa, is to be there for each other. Creators and tulpas have a unique bond that no human could possibly share with another human being. We can share our emotions, we spend literally every moment of our lives inside of each other’s head. The biggest part of what makes creating a tulpa worth it is having somebody who understands you to your core, a person you can’t hide anything from and wouldn’t want to in the first place. If you’re not ready for that kind of bond, then this probably isn’t for you.
That’s it for the guide. Happy forcing!