Shared Magic


     I have a friend who is a full-time magician.  As he tours around he will often come for a visit.  He appears at my door along with the tools of his trade - rabbits and doves in a carrying crate.  He sets the crate down in a corner of the room and then we talk.  Little cooing sounds accompany the conversation. 

     When my friend appears it is always a magical event.  But it's not because rabbits jump out of hats or doves fly during the conversation.  Nor is the magic created because of his impressive ability to walk on his hands or to walk on stilts.  

     It's his awareness - I would say - an awareness of the 'inside of things' that has kept the friendship fresh and alive for thirty years.  Not long do we friends dwell on the 'surface of things' - talking 'about' this or that.  We shift instead to the inner realm of the imagination.  I believe we have a shared sense that to imagine is to be.  

     Owen Barfield addresses the power of the imagination in his novella Eager Spring.  Virginia, a young academic, has had her imagination illuminated by her study of Medieval Literature.  Her husband, Leonard, "sees nothing of what Vi sees."  His tendency is to see only 'the outside of things.'  

     As the story unfolds, we hear the news that Virginia has a sickness that could be fatal.  Her response is to write a story and then to read it to her husband.

     The effect of exercising the imagination in this way released Virginia from depression.  She experienced a 'felt shift of consciousness' through her 'active thinking', which was to give expression to her creative faculty.  She understood that the depression left her because of what had 'come out of her.'      

      That gets, I think, to the heart of the struggle that any of us could have in response to bad news of some kind.  

      We live in a culture with a non-magical, materialistic orientation.  And the fear may lurk in us that this non-spiritual perspective is true - that there is no inner being of things, no spiritual reality, and no deep magic.  As someone said to me:  "I wake up every day with the question - is this all there is?"  Her fear is that there may be nothing more. 

      Recently someone shared with me her sense of a magical 'something more' that was the pivotal experience of her life.  As a young musician, more than twenty years ago, she heard the news that she was going deaf. 

      But that news was not to be the end of the story for her.  Someone suggested that she attend an event at the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver.  

      Trustingly she showed up, having no idea what she was in for.  It happened that the meditation master, Gurumayi, was visiting Vancouver at that time.  My friend was taken to meet her.  

      How possibly can I convey what it was like to hear my dear friend say that when she met Gurumayi the experience was so powerful that her immediate conviction was that it was suddenly irrelevant whether she could physically hear or not.   

     On that day my friend entered the terrain of a deep magical transformation.   She knew then that she would remain on this particular spiritual path the rest of her life.  She wept tears of joy. 

     This friend of mine entered the realm of magic and continues in it to this day.  Recently she wrote a chant dedicating it to Gurumayi.  I was there when her creation was recorded.  It was an afternoon of deep magic. 

     I am unable to live without this felt sense of magic.  To share in that with another is an incomparable gift.  

     (Dedicated to a magician and a musician, with great joy, Al)