Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Reflections on “Magic”
Reflections on “Magic”
This is offered to you in the spirit of reflection and inquiry, not dogma or truth. What follows is a lot of generalizations and therefore partial truths of the moment--offered here by our church to encourage you to reflect, agree, or disagree. That way you can discover more of what is true for you around all this.
There are a lot of different meanings for “magic” and here are some important ones. What they all seem to have in common is that they are in some way about “cause and effect.”
Magic as the Unexplainable
One meaning is captured by
We take that to mean that if you can’t explain what caused the effect you see, you call the way the effect happened as “magic.” In other words, the cause is a mystery and can’t even be explained--which is true, it can't be explained within the consciousness of the “you” observing it.
Magic as occult rituals and practices
Another meaning is “occult rituals and practices” that are used to cause an effect. These seem to be an exercise of power and will, ultimately. Specifically, one is “willing” some result or effect, but feels insufficient personal power to make it happen. So the rituals and practices are ways of tapping into and manipulating or using “other powers” greater than human, “supernatural,” invoking and asking them to bring about the desired result. These are almost universally, in our view, 4th dimensional energies/beings/identities.
In this area of meaning, there is White Magic, which has a benevolent motive, a beneficial desired result, and Black Magic, which has a harmful desired result. All I say here applies to both.
There are some “magic rituals” that are more like affirmations or celebrations or expressions of gratitude. In fact, “affirmations” as used in Positive Thinking can be seen as a magic practice, in some ways. You are declaring the result, and invoking greater powers to bring it about.
Downsides of using magical practices
The challenge in using 4th dimensional power to achieve one’s desired outcome is that many of the invoked 4-D identities/beings/forces whose power you are using end up using you for their purposes. Their purposes are often not beneficial or benevolent for you or other humans.
Their use of you is hard to detect, however, because they have the power to fool you into experiencing their will as your own, so you’re more willing to carry it out. (This happens on the microbial level also, as viruses etc. can engage in practices that fool the immune system into not seeing them as “other.”)
Another downside of this kind of “magic” is the reason that many spiritual teachers tell their students “Don’t focus on the siddhis.” Those beyond-ordinary, seemingly “supernatural” powers sought through magical rituals and practices are normal side effects of being a spiritually advanced person. They are then natural, not supernatural. Causing effects that seem “magical” is effortless, and is not from personal will or separate sense of self.
So “magic” here is like training wheels on a bicycle, and just like training wheels, the spiritual teachers are saying, one can stop there and not mature/develop further.
In a similar sense, and another reason teachers warn about using magic rituals and practices for more power to cause effects, is that for nearly everyone, it’s like children playing with fire. There can be unintended harmful consequences one was not mature enough to predict or anticipate or prevent.
Supernatural vs natural magical power
So that kind of “magic” is used by an immature ego to achieve things the ego wills but doesn’t have the natural power to bring about. “Magic” evolves with maturity, into spiritual development. “I dwell in therealm of miracles.” (Adapted from Emily Dickinson)
Synchronicities and what are normally regarded as “miracles” show up. Miracles is another word for “magically caused” but in a spiritually advanced person, their origin is in a larger, higher-dimension, more mature will, not an immature ego’s will.) Achieving what one wills is less effortful, more natural, more from “allowing after intending” than from effort.
And any higher-dimensional beings one asks for assistance from, are either 5th-dimensional or benevolent, and one has the maturity to make sure that is so.
Common magical thinking
A similar meaning to “magic” is captured by superstitions, that are magic rituals which are far more common than we realize. A lot of things we take for granted in our ordinary lives seem to have their origin in magical thinking (about causes producing effects.)
Don’t most people have some tiny practice or belief that they give causal power to, that’s actually not realistic or sensible? How about “Just wear this perfume and men will fall at your feet.” Or “just buy this car and the women will all be yours to command.” Many ads invoke magical thinking, but it can be as small as doing something in a certain way, believing it is causing some result, when in fact it is not the real cause.
“Magical thinking” is a phrase often used, paradoxically, in psychology, to refer to the opposite of using some other power beyond one’s own. Not feeling inadequate power but feeling more power than one actually has.
This is common in immature egos and shows up all too often, and sadly so, when children blame themselves for bad things that happen to their loved ones. The children believe they caused it by their thoughts or feelings, or they make up that possibility even if they didn’t have thoughts or feelings about the happening. It often doesn’t matter how remote the connection would seem to an adult mind, about such cause and such effect.
Even more broadly a lot of neuroses or harmful psychological patterns involve unwarranted, unrealistic self-blame or blame of others, which involves such “magical thinking:” mistaken beliefs about what was caused by what.
Origins of magical practices
Magical practices seem to have originated in humanity with the ability to form concepts and abstractions beyond what the earliest humans could form. Think about aborigines, or ancient indigenous peoples, or even before homo sapiens sapiens.
What happened in their experience was beneficial or harmful to them/their tribe. But they had no clue about the kinds of “natural causes” of these events that we know about today. So they naturally assumed everything they could sense was alive and conscious just like them.
Thus, for example, to keep women fertile and food available, they felt they had to “give” to “the gods” offerings of what they themselves would find beneficial, such as food. That would make the gods as happy as food made them, and the gods would use their larger powers to bring what the people willed/wanted/needed. Such ancient magical rituals could be very elaborate.
Since, in our view, the consciousness of many ancient peoples (most notably perhaps the Neanderthals) were indeed merged with the consciousness of their food “devas” and animal spirits, the rituals were probably often successful, because a singular collective will was created. (The reported energies emanating even today from ancient cave paintings is one basis for my saying the energies/consciousness were probably merged.)
Magic as wonder
Another meaning of “magic” is not referring to occult rituals or practices, but more to a sense of wonder and delight or awe. “Have a magical day.” “It was like magic.” “What a magical experience.” That meaning is using the word “magic” to refer to a cause that produces effects beyond those one would normally expect to be able to be produced by oneself or others, by one’s own power.
That’s a flyover of various possible perspectives on “magic.” What insights, questions, reflections, or comments did it evoke in you? Share below!
by Rev. Alia Aurami, Ph.D., Head Minister, Amplifying Divine Light in All Church
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