Showing posts from February, 2018

Thank You Magic

I'm in Los Angeles, again, after having spent about two years in Philadelphia. Los Angeles has been a background thought since the first time I moved out here in my early twenties. There's something about the air that tugs at a specific part of me which is otherwise tucked away.

It isn't simply being away from the small town I grew up in. Time has been spent in Colorado, the Bay Area and across the country a few times. Nothing compares to the stale ripeness of L.A. It's a funky town.

There's an energy that swells up and creates a certain kind of perspective which I honestly can't explain. It just feels good, but in an innocent kind of way. Sort of like a child might look at the world with untamed curiosity and openness.

Much of this is owed to simply relaxing and allowing the moment to be whatever it is. Everything settles into a deeper love which is the simple attentive openness that underpins every experience. The moment is sweetly alive.

Part of what points to this is synchronistic events. The idea of synchronicity floats around spiritual conversation and is often brushed off, rightly so. Firstly, no one really knows what it is. The suggestion is that there is some meaning to coincidences. Like the Law of Attraction though, when this is discussed only as a concept, it gets distorted.

The experience of synchronicity is akin to a close friend peaking from behind a tree, as if to say, "Peek-a-boo!" It's a game of hide and seek. The fun part is that there is only one person playing at a time, and that's you, with yourself. So it's more like playing peek-a-boo with yourself in the mirror.

When that's laid over the concept of every coincidence having meaning, the concept buckles. How surprising is it to notice yourself in the mirror? There are moments however when you're walking through the mall or a row of storefronts and suddenly catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror. It's unexpected. That's synchronicity.

In a moment, you recognize that everything is in order. It's perfect. You're confronted with that as a fact through direct experience.

Speaking of storefronts, there was one earlier with a sign in that said something like, "You'll never see the magic if you don't look for it."

How do you look for magic?

In every story that has a magic worker, what's obvious is that in order for the magic to work, there needs to be some kind of ritual. There must be a practice of arranging myself or the environment in a way to evoke the mojo. Right along with that is the idea that those who practice must actually practice, building up some kind of stamina to be involved with The Work. (I'm totally stealing The Work from actor jargon, because I'm in L.A., so of course.)

Noticing the magic comes from practicing. One kind of practice is appreciation, which is adding value to something. Ram Dass, one of my favorite spiritual entertainers, says something like, "When you see a tree out in the forest, you don't judge it by saying it's too fat or ugly. You simply look at it and admire it for what it is. So I practice turning people into trees." What would it be like to add value to everything and every experience? That's the practice.

Going back to Law of Attraction for a moment, the way it's described is that the more open you are to a certain kind of experience, the more the Universe provides that to you. If you want to be angry or depressed all the time, you'll always be presented with reasons to be depressed and angry. If you want to be happy and blissed out all the time, you'll always be presented with reasons to be that way.

It's another way of saying that the way you think about the world is how the world appears. The confusion of Law of Attraction as a concept is that the bait is that you can get anything you want. You can't. You can certainly have any feeling you want though. The car, money and job are ways to get the body-mind system into feeling whatever it is those things would provide. The more attention there is on the feeling, the more there is.

Still using appreciation as an example, it's possible to feel appreciative of what there is and as a result, grow deeper in appreciation. Simply saying, "Thank you" to whatever happens is a ritual. Someone cuts you off in traffic? Thank you. The little old lady is taking her time putting her groceries on the belt? Thank you. Someone close to me disappointed me, again? Thank you.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Those are the magic words.

Going with the silence

Guilleromo Del Toro's Pacific Rim is a fantastic action film that has many underlying characteristics of a spiritual narrative. One is the concept of The Drift.

The Drift is the space between personal thoughts, thoughts shared with a copilot and the computer system for a giant mech warrior. The Drift is silence, they say. That seems to be analogous with the Flow or even the Force, to stay with the film theme. It is a space where thinking is left to the side and the entire experience becomes a harmonious flow of events. In the case of Pacific Rim, that translates into a mech warrior fighting giant monsters called Kaiju.

How does that translate into daily life?

The key point about The Drift is silence. Attention shifts away from constant focus on the chatter to the availability of the moment. Open world games are a cool way to demonstrate this.

In a game like Grand Theft Auto, there are certain objects in the environment which are simply available for you to use or interact with. Of course there are cars, but there are also weapons or even trash cans that can tip over if you kick them. The object of the game isn't to steal every car, use every weapon or kick over every trashcan, but all of that is simply available. The moment is available in the same way. Everything is simply here.

Opening up to the availability of the moment is simply noticing the silence behind everything that's happening. This is where tools like meditation come in handy.

In meditation, you're training attention to come back to the silence and to notice it more frequently. The more the habit builds, the more it becomes a way of experiencing reality. Attention begins to rest more and more in silence. Going with the Flow then becomes going with the silence.

This reduces the mystery around going with the flow. It doesn't need to be a mystical experience that's out of touch with ordinary life, but can be met right here. It's impossible to live and experience reality without doing so in the flow.