Magic, Kindness, Practice, Life

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Lately, I’ve been counting my blessings. Walking kitchen scraps out to the compost, I thank the Gods and spirits who bless the garden that grows our food and offers shelter to many birds. I thank the sun and water. I count as blessings my health,  partners and friends, drive, creativity, birds, music, movement, students, clients, and the great return to silence.

Two things increase my sense of happiness: many years of meditation, contemplation, and prayer, plus the knowledge that I do not live in a vacuum, but am co-creating a world with other people and beings on this planet. Scattered attention and constriction breed unhappiness and impede success. Meditation helps us focus attention – noticing and adjusting our patterns – and generosity brings a sense of connection and expansion.  Remembering these things helps us to guide our magic.

Yesterday, I set it as my task to be kind to everyone I encountered. As a consequence, some pretty amazing and rich interactions with a variety of random people occurred . Here are a few:

I overheard the owner of a local shop talking about a free clinic the shop helps to support. We had a lively conversation about volunteering, low overhead, the need communities have to take care of each other, and about changing the way we eat, and think, and move, and interact. We talked about educating one another, and how children can help parents to learn. The conversation ending with us blessing one another, but not before we exchanged cards with the possibility of my going to the clinic to offer meditation as stress reduction classes in a neighborhood often beset by violence and poverty.

Arriving at the BART station, I was able to help a woman extricate her bicycle from between the entry gates where it had become stuck. She thanked me, saying she’d had a terrible day. I wished her a better one, and then made my train.

Last in line at the post office, picking up mail for Solar Cross Temple,  I ended up in another long chat, this one about U.S. Government, the economy, civil liberties, women’s health rights, prisons, and again, our need to care for one another.

People smiled all day. People were pleasant, even when speaking of unpleasant things. Together, we were creating a world in which people smiled and were pleasant. We were creating a world of explicit mutual connection. This increased my sense of happiness.

All of this was magic. The day began in contemplation, in caring for body and soul, and in gathering and focusing energy. Then, in giving myself a task, I set an intention to direct the flow of my will. Because of the stillness cultivated in the morning, I was able to stay with this intention all day, strengthening will.  As each small action was successful, my sense of happiness deepened. Magic works. Magic is simple. Simplicity, of course, takes effort. The good thing about it, however, is that – being simple – we can always try again. And again. And again. Will is developed. Magic is made. Connection is strengthened. Our lives are changed.

What magic will you attempt today? What intention will you set, and what is the base for this intention? My base is always the stillness cultivated inside.

Let us take a breath now, and drop into the stillness at our core. Then let us choose how we wish to direct this day.

2 Responses to “Magic, Kindness, Practice, Life”

  1. Rootrealm

    One of my most basic intentions is to use my experience of my body’s physical sensations through the day, and my eye’s reception of the beautiful world, to support my gratitude and joy. THis has been I guess sort of an unarticulated intention. I perceive these physical senations, particularly when my body is in good health, as almost innately containing joy and gratitude. I want these to always be linked. I use visualizing processes and imaginative processes to help create links between what I experience physically, and my attitude of gratitude and joy, delight, awe.

    For several years, I was a student in the Diamond Heart School, which teaches students to go through the day always sensing their arms and legs. This is thought to help build presence. I never did care for the Buddhist focus on breath, but I do use the base of body sensations as a way to center myself and feel gratitude.

    With regard to other people, one of my current intentions is to be able to create more space for myself when I am with other people, so that I can stay “large” with others, and not have to find that I’m shrinking myself down in an unconscious effort to make others comfortable by being less present myself.

    I’d like to offer something I recently read in Carl Jung’s “Psychology and Alchemy”: “there is absolutely no truth that does not spell salvation to one person and damnation to another…in the long run the right deed in the hands of the wrong man will have a disastrous effect…hence the psychotherapist must fix his eye not on what is done but how it is done.”

    I like this, because there are many valuable spiritual teachings I’ve met with in life, but no matter how worthy and true they are, they may not be true for me right NOW, or applicable now. I need good discernment to know what is the wisdom or guidance for me right now. And this wisdom and guidance can best be found within. FOr me, stillness is connected to tenderness. I can feel more presence and stillness when I connect to tenderness.

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  2. Thorn

    I also connect with body sensations a lot, and general body awareness helps keep me present.

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