What foolishness is this? Everyone knows that there’s no such thing as magic. You believe there’s no such thing, don’t you?
Are you sure?
What if I were to tell you that yes indeed there is such a thing as magic? I can’t teach it to you because it’s not mine to teach. I can, however, show you the door, that door into that part of your mystical self that holds the power of the universe…
Chapter I : A New Beginning
While sitting before the fire one cold and blustery evening I heard a gentle rapping, a hesitant tapping at my livingroom door. “What now?” I thought as I put down my pipe and rose to answer. “It’s been some time since someone came to visit.” I mused. Upon opening the door the visitor stood up straight and without any greeting or explanation blurted out…
“Can you teach me magic?” said a curious young man standing before me and looking at me hopefully.
Inwardly I moaned but outwardly exclaimed, “No!” I said rather brusquely, and ready to close the door in his face. But I hesitated not really expecting this to end his quest. I was really more interested in his resolve, because it was this resolve that would speak to his level of intention and commitment. If he wavered now, then he wouldn’t be able to make magic anyway, but if he persisted, well then, maybe. But so many had quit before the real training had even begun. It was no use wasting precious time on yet another wannabe.
“But I want to know. You see, I’ve forgotten how.” He said with a far off look in his eye.
Now this was a hopeful sign! I thought to myself.
“To say you’ve forgotten how presupposes that you once knew. What say you about that?” I cocked my head to one side and gestured with my palms outward so as to elicit a response.
“I know that I knew at one time, sometime before this.” Again said with that wistful air.
“Have you been here before?”
“My dreams say I have.” He looked up at me hopefully, sensing that I was showing interest.
“Do they now?” I said with much disdain. “What do they tell you about magic?”
“That I need to learn again how to do it.” He said haltingly.
“Well they’re wrong! Magic can’t be learned!” I said with emphasis on the last word and then shoving my fists onto both sides of my waist as a gesture of defiance. Abruptly I turned as though to leave.
“Please?” Said the young man practically getting down on his knees to beg.
In turning back, I invited him to exit the cold and enter. Closing the door gently behind him I asked, “Do you even know what magic is?”
He paused for a moment in thought, then said, “I know that it’s everywhere.”
Hmm, this boy has potential. I thought.
“Okay we’ll work on it.” I said and placed my hand on his shoulder indicating that I wished him to sit. I then pulled up a chair from the side of the desk and sat down facing him. His dark brown eyes widened in anticipation of what may be the most transformative moment of his life.
“First of all, magic cannot be taught, you cannot learn it, it is not a rational thing that can be understood in the conventional way things can be understood, for you see it is not a thing. It can be understood, but only in an incomprehensible way. Do you understand?”
He looked crestfallen– almost in shock. “N, no” stammered the young man looking much confused.
“Good, that’s a start! You will have to learn to let go of your rational mind, that which thinks things through, for you will not find magic through thinking. The rational man doesn’t need magic, therefore he can never hope to wield it.”
“That sounds crazy!” Said the boy disgustedly.
“Precisely! We humans spend so much time thinking about things through the rational brain, that we have lost the ability to be magic. Now I’m not referring to the kind of magic practiced by some religious ritualistic nutcase who believes that their rituals and thoughts can bring about real-world effects, where ideal causes are mistaken for real ones. Nor am I talking about the pointing of some stick and chanting a series of words so as to manipulate another person or object. That’s just sloppy thinking. That’s just “more thinking” and therefore comes through that place in the mind that filters all material on a self-interest level. Magic does not come through the “thinking” mind. “Do you get that?” I said while punching the air in his direction with my index finger for emphasis.
“Most of the time we avoid the place of real magic as though it were a contagion that if confronted would throw us into utter confusion and chaos.”
“Well I’m confused!” He said accusingly.
“That’s good! See if you can just sit with your confusion for a while longer without trying to figure out the meaning of what I say, or reject what is being said either. Can you do that?”
“I, I’ll try.”
“Good! You have now opened just a crack in the door into your deeper self, the place where chaos and confusion lives. It is in there that magic also lives. I cannot teach you the way of magic, but I can introduce you to where it lives and let you discover it yourself. Magic can never be summoned, it arises at its own will, not yours. But you can learn to open to it. It comes from disarray.”
Seeing no light in his eyes as yet I asked that he think about who is responsible for what he does or does not do. “Who is responsible for running your life?”
“Well, uh, I am!” He said as though it were obvious.
“But what if you were to find out that this has never been true?”
“Really?” He squeaked.
“Well the ‘you’ that you identify as being you, never was in control, it isn’t now! The chaos and confusion that you shut off into your unconscious runs you more than that little bit of territory you call consciousness. You spend so much time trying to be what you’re not, that you’ve hidden what you are. The magic you seek is all around and within. You are the magic!”
For one brief moment the light in his eyes shined through the darkness, very brief, and then was gone. “What was that?” I asked to get him to focus.
“What was what?”
“The look on your face. What just passed through your mind?”
“I, I don’t know.” He said looking even more confused.
“Straighten up and sit there for a moment. Quiet your thoughts and listen to the voice deep within you that is whispering, ‘There is something more, all of your thoughts about life so far aren’t quite right no matter what anyone says’” I said in a muted stage whisper. “Do it now and we will talk again later”. He sat for a moment then suddenly opened his eyes and exclaimed in the same hushed whisper, “I heard it!”
“The journey has begun.” I said and brought the conversation to a close by getting up and walking to the door and motioning for him to leave. “See you tomorrow, same time.” He fairly skipped from the room, opened the door and strode out into the night.