“Do you Believe in Magic?”

These days, I find myself wrapped round story, magic, being—in any and every order—an entangled trio so reminiscent of a quantum entanglement known as “spooky action at a distance.”

It seems entanglement is the heart of this blog.

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WANA Commons

The story I pursue is layered in the oneness of the 10,000 things of “the Way” (the Tao) that connects the consciousness of all always and simultaneously. That is the story of the human plane, I believe.

It is a story I want to know.

I have enrolled in a sixteen month course that offers a synthesis of the ancient traditions of the last 25 centuries including Buddhism, Taoism, and Christianity in its “original state,” meaning not according to St. Augustine of Hippo, a prospect much more exciting than it may seem. I may write a post on that but we are not there yet.

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WANA Commons

Perhaps a more practical way to consider the course is this: the predominant Western belief of “you are your rational mind” is lacking in magic and story, at the very least, and at its very worst, it is unsustainable dogma.

That is how I see the course, and while it is early in my study, I am impressed with its evidence-based emphasis, specifically that hypothesis is not fact.

The irony of my beginning this study as my lupus moves into its own story is not lost on me; I suspect irony is frequent when one leads with the heart and not with the head. Yet, to live with an open heart and to discover what that truly means–for there is not agreement upon it or about it—is to dive deep into the head-heart connection.

Mark Nepo writes that “with your head beneath your heart, you must stop doing….Time and time again, the head must be brought beneath the heart or the ego swells” (The Book of Awakening).

Consider the entanglement of placing the head under the heart, thereby creating the “voice” of the gut. Nepo calls it, “a truth of being for a truth of being.” The resonance of the gut is like a messenger rushing through every system of our being proclaiming a resilient, “I get it!”

And resilience is rather magical but it is not magical thinking. To me, resilience lies in remembering the distinction between believing and knowing. While believing is akin to knowing, what we believe often lies in faith but not always in fact. For fact, experience provides us evidence of all we come to know.

“By opening fully to our own experience, we can feel and see the resilience of life around us” (Nepo).

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WANA Commons

Being completely within the experience of our life–being fully present—we experience what every other life form knows: living fully means denying nothing. Being present in every moment is to experience all the moment offers, a pure opportunity to be.

Being is the magical story that the natural world celebrates completely and constantly every moment. It is a story that plays out moment by moment, a real page turner.

For those of you who want to follow my ROW80 progress, you may view it here.

32 thoughts on ““Do you Believe in Magic?”

  1. Another Julia. (Hello above responder) Karen, lucky you to be studying a compendium of philosophical, mystical and spiritual traditions. Wonderful things will come of this. Your “head below the heart” resonated with me, since I teach yoga and try to get everyone to get their heart over their head at least once a day. I also love that your first response was from someone named Eden.

    The word magic is weighted and diluted these days and hard to sit with, since it doesn’t sit well. It’s a restless word. It’s a perfect vehicle though to try to express what you are trying to express, which really is beyond words. Have you ever experienced seeing a plant, and even though you remember things about it (your grandmother had it in her garden, it is not edible, it only blooms in spring), you can’t for the life of it remember its name? Your quest to understand life’s essence, to find life’s magic, and to put it into words, to name it, is a little like that. Part of our brains will totally get it. Part of our brains will go huh? Such is the irony — your lovely word — of Us. Looking forward to more of your work.

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    1. Yes, indeed, another Julia (the other Julia’s very fine blog is at http://juliaindigo.wordpress.com) and welcome to you!

      Magic as restless, oh, I like that. My study is just as you say, restless and a constant consciousness about all that is beyond words or the local versus nonlocal, the name that is nameless. Truly, I feel like I was born to it as I suspect we all are. Once, I saw the song of a tree, each limb’s branches singing their parts of the one tree’s song.

      The heart is louder every day.

      Karen

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  2. I’m not sure how I got here, Karen, but I absolutely loved this blogpost (and the comments!)
    I would love to hear more about your course, too. It sounds really interesting!

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    1. Hi, Julia!

      This post is proving to be one of my most popular, and frankly, it is a personal favorite. Most of my blog posts are now revolving around my study, which is ever expanding, so I hope you’ll stop by frequently.

      BTW, I am going to e-mail you regarding traditional Chinese medicine. Again, thanks for offering.

      Karen

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  3. I do believe in magic! One part of magic is your ability to take a subject and turn it into a beautiful story! You graphics always fit right in with the subject and are stunning! Thank you for taking the time to write and share with the world! You make my heart sing with your words!!!

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    1. Thank you, Ann, for the book recommendation; I am picking it up from the library today. As Diana indicated (http://dianajhale.wordpress.com), the magic comes from the life-affirming novel, The Night Circus. For me, it lead into story and being but thanks to you and Diana, I now know about re-enchantment. Am anxious to read Moore’s book.

      As always, thank you for your thoughtful comments.
      Karen

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  4. Hi Karen
    I can see how this follows on from your reading/review of The Night Circus! You certainly seem to have stirred some discussion. I think people do have a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to the word ‘magic’ both for or against. I have come across a term recently which seems a good alternative to me for the kind of magic you are talking about and that is ‘re-enchantment’. I can’t say I have adefinition at the moment but I will do some work on.it. There was a project in the UK over the past few years called ‘The Re-Enchantment’, a national arts project exploring our relationships to place, which is why I came across it! Re-enchantment can be personal or collective, cultural, ecological or spiritual and I think it could apply more broadly than just to our responses to place. Thought provoking discussion – thanks!

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    1. Hello, Diana!

      First, I apologize for being so tardy in responding to your comment; however, it was your mention of re-enchantment that sent me in search of and then, I forgot to respond, not unlike me. Also, please note poet Ann E. Michael’s comment (http://annemichael.wordpress.com) regarding Thomas Moore’s book, which I am borrowing from the library. There is probably a re-enchantment post in my future….

      Hasn’t the discussion been delightful? Admittedly, my post seemed a rather broad stroke but I needed to see it in the ether; the thoughtful comments that followed have been such a boon to me. And now, re-enchantment thanks to you and Ann. Much appreciated.

      Karen

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  5. What a beautiful post and comments! I’ve moved through different stages in my life, searching for the truth…religion, science, mysticism, paranormal…and they all try to give us answers but I’ve found that answers are so personal. They can only speak to us from a place of our own experience and they are not the same for everyone. As I get older, I’m learning to try and understand less and experience more, be open to more experiences. Just be. Enjoy. Savor.

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    1. Thank you, Shannon, for you kind words regarding my post as well as the thoughtful words about your own search. Like you, I find myself savoring the experience moment by moment. I apologize for my tardiness in responding to your mindful comment.
      Karen

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  6. I believe in magic. Not the hocus pocus stuff of charlatans; but the magic of ourselves, of humanity. The magic of being able to enjoy a wonderful sunset. The magic of all that is good in the world. The magic of understanding. The magic we make ourselves by being able to perceive all these things. There is no contradiction for me between this and the rational science I was brought up with; and I think Einstein – who was greater than we know – understood that too. The issue is not the reality of the universe; it is how we frame, see and understand it. And western rational thought, for all that it has unlocked so many of those secrets, is also a prison that blinds us to the magic of what is around us.

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us; and like Piper, I wish you all the very best.

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  7. Biologist Anne Rudloe just died of cancer. In her final blog post she expressed gratitude for the experience her cancer had given her, just as she was grateful that her life included views of the bay and a chair beneath an oak. She understood that to have anything she needed to embrace her life in total. She seemed completely unafraid of death. No matter what comes next she had arrived.

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    1. Piper, you as the president! What an exciting thought!

      I’ve pulled away from social networking, at first to finish my manuscript rewrite, and then on to experience a health adventure of my own. (I am not suffering, so no worries.) I’ve missed your blog, and will return to it as soon as I can. And I’ve missed the social networking … as connecting is folks is something I truly love to do!

      The nine weeks of my current journey have taught me to trust my instincts … as they battle with my logical mind … that sometimes argues with me.

      For me, I think that everyone’s quest for growth, coping, spiritual awareness, religion, atheism, magic, or whatever involves their attention at the moment, is part of their own perfect path. There are those who truly believe they have a responsibility to share their current dedications, but a kind and gentle reminder that I am not interested is usually enough to make “them” stop. I’ve come to believe that the individual evolution of the life force within is as unique in spirit as is the DNA of our flesh. In that way, we can’t copy another person’s path, but eventually reach a place of trusting our own journey.

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  8. I grew up with a psychic Ozark granny. Magic is rational to me.

    When we open ourselves to our own experience without needing to rationalize it or twist it into a pre-existing paradigm, we genuinely begin “to be.” We erase the boundaries between ourselves and the life around us.

    Thank you for your beautiful post, and all the best to you in your journey. 🙂

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    1. “Erasing the boundaries” is so critical and so obvious–perhaps it is the greatest magic we have–and the way to being, I think.

      I am most honored by having a 2012 U.S. presidential candidate read and comment on my blog. For some time, I have been one of your readers and admirers. Best to you in this surreal year of “politics.” For those interested in a diverse and thoughtful blog, Piper’s blog is at http://piperbayard.wordpress.com.

      Karen

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      1. Lol. Thank you, Karen. I appreciate your support. Perhaps if I can get society to remove some of its boundaries, I will win. And I agree with you that erasing the boundaries is the greatest magic we have. Who knows? Maybe I really will be president some day. 🙂

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  9. I have to wonder about the claim that the “rational Western mind” is lacking in magic and story… Much of what we do and have is because some people of rational mind chose to not accept the answers of magical thinking (ie. “It is the will of the gods” or “you have been cursed by a witch”, etc.). Rational thought I would not call the problem. I would call incurious thought and thoughtlessness as the problems.

    But then, I also do understand some of this from the other side… The truth is that as my home became less “magical” (I stopped doing my tarot readings, stopped having my small altar up for connection with my ancestors and the muses, I did feel their presence less. As the day to day life became less dedicated to the greater mysteries and more dedicated to research and facts, it is harder to connect with my characters and stories. The more my husband talks about people who listen to imaginary friends (ie. the religious), the harder it is for my imaginary friends to feel welcome in our home.

    So, yes… I understand it. But I’m not sure that it’s “rational thought” and more a different kind of closed thought, because magical thought can be very closed as well (witness the most recent news from the Catholic Church).

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    1. Eden, you hit the target. Any dogma, religious, scientific or otherwise, that preaches “This is truth, the only truth, and we believers resolutely refuse to listen to another word,” with no room for an expansion of awareness, claims allegiance to a hollow reality. I hope you will keep your connection to the mystery alive, no matter what. The older I get, the more obvious it becomes that “rational” thought goes hand and hand with the “magical.” Rather than being enemies, they are like us, physical and spiritual, two halves of the same self. It’s not a war, it’s a party! 🙂

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      1. It’s not a war, it’s a party! I love that! And it’s so true. So many people try to pick “sides” as if this is an all or nothing affair…. It’s so clearly not. Even life. Even the most “rational” perspective on life–the one that says you live, you die, you are done–confesses that it doesn’t know for sure AND that something of you not goes on, but has been going on for centuries before you (namely the atoms and molecules inside you).

        It’s a continuum and at certain points in our lives we find ourselves at different points along the way. And that’s fine. We do need to accept that we can’t know the beginnings or the ends; that we must simply try to see what directions they might be in.

        Again, that’s my opinion, which you are welcome to take with decent size salt-lick if you so choose.

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      2. I’m right there with you, Deb; what a wonderful sentiment, “it’s not a war, it’s a party.” Now that is one for my pearl book or these days, a permanent status update on FB. Like you, I believe in the magic, which seems only to enhance the rational perhaps as it always has. Thanks for such a cogent comment.
        Karen

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    2. For me, there is a considerable gap between magic and magical thinking. For me, Western thought has revealed much of our physical world but lost its luster as I believe we are more than our rational mind but it is a part of our oneness, of the 10,000 things, as you later indicate in your continuum.

      As always, a thoughtful comment, Eden.
      Karen

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      1. I would like to make a more in depth reply to this later, Karen, because I do agree with you on many levels. (Something I read yesterday as I was finishing One Hundred Names For Love rings very true here about “left brain education”. Interestingly, it’s actually in the “East” [China, Japan, Vietnam, Korea, etc.] where this is becoming so prevalent that it is interfering with creative thinking and the ability to innovate and dream. My husband was reading some scientific papers on this the other day… 😦 Very depressing,)

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