How can magic and psychology (an admittedly "soft" science) merge - and make sense?
(Image source geralt on Pixabay)
Many "non-believers" exclaim how magic is all in the mind, to drive home how it isn't real and is merely the product of an overactive imagination. While science itself seems to be stretching into these unknown dimensions through quantum theory (double slit theory, quantum leaps, and the entanglement phenomenon), in the mind isn't a bad place to start. The mind is, after all, a formidable jungle of perceptual chaos.
But First...What Is Magic?
From the eyes of an energy worker, magic is an unseen force of change in the world. Most in the magical communities can agree on that definition at least - even if religious dogma and new age spirituality cite different causes. On a fundamental level, anything that has no visible mechanism that causes a visible effect can be labeled as "magic."
Long ago, things like electricity, mirrors, and magnetism were considered magic. Personally, I still see those things as magic, though once science can explain something it becomes a bit demystified to the masses. What makes these things less magical just because they can be explained?
Dangers Of Superstitions
If magic were only the unexplained forces, mysticism would be forced into delusion. As science explains the mysteries of the Universe, that which is "allowed" to be magical decreases; leaving only the most ridiculous ideas behind. Most of these ideas (which are, sometimes, very ridiculous) have been disproven by science, only to be resurrected by faulty "logic" to keep the mystery alive.
I call this the "Fluffy Bunny View," as such wishful thinking and rigid adherence to superstitions causes a profound disconnect from the very reality magic is supposed to effect. Overactive imagination indeed.
Pure faith is a justifiable path, and I'm not knocking those that attach themselves to the un-testable concepts. Things that are impossible to prove are equally impossible to disprove, and are understandable sources of belief. Those mysteries are likely never to be solved (that won't stop us from trying!). But many old superstitions have been tested. Disconnecting from reality to invest in those concepts defeats the purpose of magic; change you can observe is not equal to "change" imagined for the sake of supporting a dying illusion.
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Cue Psychology To The Fray
The mind is a powerful tool. While it can create illusions of change from the imagination to support any belief, it can also create perceptions that effect real change that is observable. This doesn't mean just by the practitioner, but the effects the mind are capable of are visible to all. That is the difference between illusion and truth, one of the main tenants of science: is the result measurable by the unaware, independent of belief?
Honestly, I'm surprised there isn't a religion built around psychology or the brain in general by now. It has just as much potential to mystify as the sun, and is a reliably measurable source of energy. But I digress.
As an empath (not an empathetic, but empathic), it has become increasingly clear to me that psychic, spiritual, emotional and even life-force energy are all entwined. They may even overlap; psychic and emotional energies are often the same thing. Because of this, I've spent a lot of time researching psychological truths to better observe and work with the energy in my life.
See It For Yourself
A simple exercise can help you utilize the power of the mind to effect change in your life. Sit down for your Monday meditation, and focus on visualizing your paradise or the height of your personal success. Imagine what your home looks like, how you act, who you're with, etc. Inspire your mind to open fully to your wildest dreams, and don't worry about going too big. It's all in your mind, remember? Anything goes there.
As you do this, pay close attention to how you feel. Is there a certain color, smell, or object in your paradise that triggers this feeling? Maybe it's an indoor pool you imagine swimming laps in every morning, or the scent of roses wafting from the garden you cultivated yourself. Whatever it is, when you find it then consider the easiest way to bring it to reality.
Maybe that means putting a picture of the indoor pool you imagined on your phone, and taking a shower (or going to a local indoor pool) every morning. Perhaps that means lighting a rose scented aromatherapy candle. Whatever it is, do that. But make it the easiest possible action for the intended result.
What's the intended result? That feeling. Consistently creating that feeling outside of that visualization is the magic, the unseen force. Using that feeling, your mind will begin looking for ways to create other changes in your reality to match that of your imagination - and mostly without your conscious effort. All you have to do is keep connecting to that paradise (by visualizing it in great detail and bringing the feeling back through the easiest means possible).
Is That Magic?
Many books have been written and sold based on this general concept, touted as religious to self-help techniques. Perhaps it doesn't feel like magic, because you put effort into bringing that feeling into reality?
Ok, let's look at that as a traditional spell or ritual. The visualization is energy raising and focusing, isn't it? Your imagination generates an energy from within you, attuned to that paradise fantasy. The energy created is mostly observable as a feeling, or emotional energy, charged with the intended result of bringing it into reality. Then you have the picture, scent, or simple action to bridge the gap from fantasy to your everyday life. This would be similar to the tools one would use at an altar, using scents, objects and gestures to magically effect change from the aether.
So is it magic? I believe it is. There are unseen forces of psychology at work (not counting the potential quantum energy effects the change in your energy will have on the threads surrounding you), affecting change in the real world. Yes, you are using your imagination. Yes, you are consciously changing your routines to connect with that fantasy. And yes, doing those things (and not just thinking about doing it) causes a noticeable force one can easily call magic.
Isn't It Just Wishful Thinking?
There is a fundamental difference between hoping something happens without any realistic action toward it, and preparing yourself or environment to accommodate something you want. Wishful thinking would be visualizing every day and passing up opportunities in real life that would bring it to reality - believing you shouldn't need to put forth that effort.
This exercise works because it begins with that effort. The smallest possible action you can do right now is what gets the process started. When an opportunity (or idea) comes along to do a little more, you're already primed to take it. Because it will increase that feeling discussed earlier, and help manifest bit by bit what you imagine.
It's totally valid to feel like this process is common sense, or not mystical at all. It's just as valid to see it as a spiritual practice. Those are just two perspectives of many you can choose, courtesy of the amazing wonder called your mind. Yet another magical tool of psychology at your disposal.