Magic: what should I do first?

“Alpha waves are one type of brain waves detected either by electroencephalography (EEG) or magnetoencephalography(MEG) and predominantly originate from the occipital lobe during wakeful relaxation with closed eyes. Alpha waves are reduced with open eyes, drowsiness and sleep. Historically, they were thought to represent the activity of the visual cortex in an idle state. More recent papers have argued that they inhibit areas of the cortex not in use, or alternatively that they play an active role in network coordination and communication.[2] Occipital alpha waves during periods of eyes closed are the strongest EEG brain signals.” – Wikipedia

I have included a quotation here about alpha waves because they represent the level of relaxed brain activity used for intuition. As the Silva Method teaches, your intuition works best at the alpha level–as opposed to the beta level of our usual waking world functioning. I can’t reproduce their technique here other than to say that when you count down from ten to one (or something similar) and visualize yourself becoming more and more relaxed, you will tend to be producing alpha waves.

So, in many ways, what one does first is enter into a state of relaxation conducive to visualization and intuition. That’s a given. Many people have found that recorded guided visualizations help them reach an alpha level.

Assuming you can relax, take a step away from your worries and goals, and silence the ever-chattering voice inside your head, the first step is belief.

Some people see belief as a catch-22 trick foisted on the rest of us by those who write books about magic. The so-called “trick” is, if you don’t believe, the magic won’t work, though until you’ve seen evidence of it working, you have no basis for belief. I suggest approaching this issue in a spirit of play. Pretend you’re playing with the techniques rather than trying to prove anything one way or another the first time out. In time, you’ll begin to think, “hmm, this seems to be working.”

Some people, especially those whose focus is ancient ritual magic, say will power comes first. This is not altogether wrong, though I shy away from saying that because in today’s world, I think will power suggests a brute-force, logical approach. I’d rather use the term “intention.” For magic–however you define it–to work, your intention cannot be scattered with distracting thoughts about daily concerns. Your intention should also be highly focused, that is, on a specific result rather than a vague, open-ended result.

Those of us who believe in magic also believe that belief and intention play a large role in the reality we experience, and that includes the results that we see from our goals, hopes, and dreams. That is, your are already using intention and belief subconsciously, so why not use it “properly” for better results.

A generic approach to self improvement

“Properly” means not only using relaxation techniques and focusing your process, but avoiding second-guessing it later. A lot of people “undo” their best of intentions by thinking negative thoughts about them the rest of the day. Stop doing that.

Magic also works better when you can imagine the end result. All of us can see things in our mind’s eye. That’s what we do when we remember people we’ve known and places we used to live. We can see all that quite clearly. In the same way, we can imagine what things will be like when our goals–and our magic–come to pass. If you have visualized yourself moving into a better home, think of that place in your idle time: imagine the yard, the gardens, the front door, the entry hall, and the other rooms. Pretend you are there fixing a meal or watching television. What is is like?

Workable magic is usually very dependent on a relaxed level of mind, a belief in what you’re doing, a well-focused intention, and on the ability to imagine what you are creating.




Promises to keep

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

–Robert Frost in “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening.”

Cattle behind the house watching me watching them

As snow fell across central and north Georgia on Christmas Day, weathermen told us this was Atlanta’s first white Christmas in over a century. In contrast with northern states where snow, salted roads and blizzards occur multiple times during the winter, Georgia snow is a big deal. Our one-to-six-inch snowfall (depending on where you were) caught the attention of local TV stations and the Weather Channel for many hours.

My wife and I were spending Christmas with her father on his farm in NW Georgia. The quiet of an evening of wood smoke and moonlight carried a hint of magic, a reminder, perhaps, of the way we felt during the best of our Christmas eves and Christmas mornings as children.

In the cycle of changing seasons, we often say that the period between the Winter Solstice and Ground Hog Day is not only the best time for planting trees, but the best time for planting figurative seeds. Our plans, goals and intentions germinate in the safe darkness of the soil beneath a fine winter snow, awaiting the sunny days when first shoots will appear, followed by leaves. The enchantment of a cold winter night in a snowy field or along the fence line margin where the world of cows ends and the dark of the woods begins, it’s easier to see one’s hopes for the future more clearly. The smoke from the chimney carries them into the heavens like prayers.

While New Year’s resolutions, at whatever level of seriousness we make them, present our public face, promises made in the quiet of the woods on a snowy evening represent our most sacred intentions. These are the promises that matter. They define who we are, why we are here, and the very best of our goals for the future.

Made in secret, they are the easiest promises to break for we suffer no public shame in failing to accomplish what nobody knew we planned to accomplish.

Made in secret, these promises are the best ones to keep. They are promises to ourselves that touch the soul. Yes, “the woods are lovely, dark and deep,” but there is work to be done, the most sacred of all work.

For now, the woods must wait.


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