Posted by: terrapraeta | December 18, 2009

Magic


I get so nervois when the spirits hide
I can’t wait until that bright light shines, yeah
Never did run, never did hide,
Waitin’ to see your bright light shine.
We’ll wait ‘til the mornin’ comes,
We’ll laugh as the sun.
Bright and loud, ha, ha, ha!

Rusted Root, Laugh as the Sun

I had an interesting conversation with a friend last night. We were talking about magic. He was telling me how he believes that there was magic in the world, but it was taken from us because of our behavior, hubris, something.

I told him that I didn’t think it was taken from us, but rather that we let it go. We stopped using it, believing in it, understanding its part in our lives.

He tells me that I believes and he has done things… yet never anything that could not be explained another way. Nothing conclusive. And so he thinks that it has never honestly worked because he does not believe enough.

I told him of the shamans ability to hold two completely opposite ideas in his mind at once, without conflict. Just because science explains something, does not mean that magic was not involved. Perhaps science is “true” and magic is “true” also. And yet, belief, faith is not the requisite component. Rather, it is attention. The shaman does not “believe”, he knows. And he knows because he pays attention.

My friend tells me that I would be surprised at how much attention he pays.

I told him about an experience I had last summer: while reading Abrams Spell of the Sensuous in the park, one day, I set the book down and opened my senses to everything goin on around me. The sense of connection I experienced was awe inspiring. Everything was so incredibly alive. So vital. The next morning, I was still feeling the sensation, though a bit muted. I was walking down a bike path, with a cow pasture along a half mile stretch. As I walked, I was paying attention to everything around me – apparently far moreso than I ever had before, for as I walked, I realized the cows were looking up, following my movement, approaching me. Not just a few, not just those a stones throw away. But animals grazing five hundred yards out, were turning to pay attention to me.

It was absolutely amazing and an experience I have not repeated since. But I hope to do so. I don’t recall where I read it, but I saw something recently suggesting that once you get to the point that you can walk out your door in the morning to great the robin inevitably sitting in a tree nearby and find that he does not fly away as you pass, that is when you know you have achieved a connection. I am working toward that day.

Soon after, I suggested that sitting in the bar listening to Alvin and the Chipmunks (no…. really, it was a weird moment in time) was perhaps not the best place for such a heavy discussion. So we dropped it and chatted about inanities. Unfortunately, part of me worries that he thought I was mocking him in some way. He kept saying “you probably think I’m insane…” and such self-dismissive comments. I hope not. Because mocking him was the furthest thing from my mind. I guess that just means that I will have to make certain the topic comes around again, at a more appropriate time and place, so that we can discuss it in depth. Should be interesting when we get around to it.

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Responses

  1. Interesting, I had that cow thing once, was pretty cool.

    Your friend’s experiences resonate with me too, I’ve had some pretty amazing flow-like experiences where it seemed I had quite uncanny influence. Again, nothing that couldn’t be (almost) explained another way in hindsight, but irrefutably real.

    Because it’s so ‘different’, I tend to get either secretive/dismissive about my experiences, or evangelical. Less so as I’m becoming aware of how relatively common (yet still uniquely special, precious and valuable) it is – I just hope your friend knows he’s not alone.

    And then, on the other side, after a season of this, life is back to ordinary – a bummer at first…but then there’s the acceptance, that my time for that has passed for now, for this time. Ordinary is good.

    You talk about working toward these states – I think it’s important to point out that the wisdom from several spiritual paths is that
    *these states are not the goal* of a spiritual path, in fact going after the repeat hit can be a distraction, a temptation even.

    And I’m a little wary of your friend saying he’s “done things”, of your saying you want to “repeat” your experience…possibly just a language issue, but it seems an important part of not succumbing to “magical thinking” is realising that these experiences are *not about you*, or they are somehow about you and Other than you at the same time.

    There’s a saying someone gave me last time I got myself into a mental hospital:
    “Compassion tells me I am everything.
    Wisdom tells me I am nothing.
    In between my life flows.”

    John

  2. Could you rephrase that? 😉

  3. Hey!

    What the f***? It WAS there and now its gone 🙂

    Roughly, here’s what I had to say…

    I understand what you are saying, but I do not see myself following a “spiritual path”. Rather, I am working hard to re-connect with the total life experience available to the human species. I really feel that touching the sacred is not “special” (unique, or unexpected) but rather very much a part of everyday life… that being a part of the community IS something to be sought out and brought into our every interaction.

    I think I said it much better, the first time, but what can you do?

    tp

  4. Said well enough! 🙂

    John


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