What Is Magic?

what is magic?

Unlocking the secrets to becoming more magical.

In this Reader Q&A we’ll look at: 

    • What is magic and how does it fit structurally into reality? 
    • What are miracles and why are they so rare?
    • How does the mind perceive reality? 
    • What role does the initiated mind play in becoming more magical? 

The reader starts us off with an intriguing question:

But what really is a miracle?

“The mind hears the word and contracts: I want to fly. I want to walk on water. I can’t will myself to do these things or even intend for them to happen, so I think I’m not magical.”

Magic is happening all the time.

Reality is composed of streams and within each stream, there are layers. Those of us who are naturally sensitive can feel these layers and sense ourselves moving through them.

You do this every day as your awareness shifts through various layers of your reality. 

Your mind loves to hang out in the superficial layers. The deep layers are incomprehensible to the mind, and contain a powerful, wild form of reality, which is not interpreted. 

That is the magical layer of reality. As you move up the layers, each layer of superficial reality ads its own level of interpretation. It translates the magical layer into the superficial layers. 

The mind can’t interact with magic directly, so the magic is translated into the superficial layers of reality, where the mind can then interact with magic that has been highly mediated by structure, symbol, story, chronology, meaning, cause and effect. 

So, the mind gravitates toward the superficial layers, where it feels comfortable. In these layers, the mind feels in control, it can understand what’s happening, reality seems more or less predictable and comprehensible. 

People are convinced they are their minds. They identify with their minds and spend pretty much every second of every day of their lives using their minds as their primary, if not exclusive, interface with reality.

Even people who are following a spiritual or magical path do this. Even people who have profound spiritual realizations. Even people who know better…still do this. It’s not impossible to break this habit, but it’s very hard to do. 

There is a deep, fundamental fear of chaos. And that’s how the mind perceives the layer of reality we call magic, because the mind can’t operate there.

Of course, the mind isn’t the only way you can interface with reality, but as I noted, we are so identified with the mind that we cannot put it down for more than a minute or two at a time before plugging right back into it. 

You don’t want to lose your mind.

Interacting with magic directly requires you to lose your mind. I don’t mean that you just quieten your mind for a while, like you do in some forms of meditation. 

As much as you think you’d like to have magic, you really, truly don’t want to lose your mind. You don’t want to be crazy. You instinctively know how brittle and limited the mind is, and you don’t want to break it. 

Your mind needs to be able to explain things to remain ordered. The mind requires its stories and translations. If you force it into a reality it can’t understand, can’t explain and can’t predict, you risk losing your mind.

It’s okay to create a small pocket world called Magic and Miracles. It’s a novelty, and the mind finds it fascinating, as long as it’s strictly contained. It needs to remain under quarantine, lest it escape into the wild to contaminate the order of your mind’s highly interpreted reality.

If magic is happening all the time, why can’t I see it? 

Let’s back up and look at how you “see” or perceive anything, miraculous or mundane.

Your brain’s basic operating system is Pattern. The only way it can perceive and recognize anything at all is through pattern. 

Light and sound form waves that create a pattern. You see pieces of wood stuck together and you call it a chair. You hear sounds and you call them music. Your brain speaks in the language of patterns. 

And this isn’t just applied to the physical world of things. It’s also applied to our inner lives, our feelings, our relationships, our concepts. They are patterns strung together to make stories. 

Our brains recognize a range of physical, emotional and conceptual patterns. It projects these patterns onto base reality. But your brain is only capable of perceiving a limited range of patterns. 

Our brains only have access to a limited range of colors and sounds. Other animals can perceive infrared radiation and magnetic fields. We may marvel at how big and smart our brains have become, but we are still designed to only perceive a small sliver of reality. 

In addition to our sensory limitations, we are limited dimensionally. Just as a two dimensional being couldn’t fathom what the 3rd dimension is like, we are limited to our 3D patterns. We can’t directly visualize 4D patterns. The best we can do is use math to conceptualize them. 

Yet, all the dimensions interpenetrate, so we are living in and among all these 4D patterns, and higher. They are all around and within you right now. Yet you only see what intersects with the 3D world, and not even all of that. 

So what is magic? What are miracles? Your mind labels all “pattern interruptions” as miraculous, or maybe you call them something more acceptable, like synchronicity. 

And this is happening all the time. Your mind has a habit of smoothing out pattern interruptions, though. It blurs the edges and then tells a plausible story in order to fit them back into the overall pattern. 

You only recognize miracles when you are forced to, when your mind has come to the end of its story-making capability. When the mind is stunned into accepting that something seemingly impossible happened. And even then, one might resort to proclaiming it an act of God. 

Your mind tunes in, but it also tunes out.

The brain tunes out most of reality.

The brain can’t perceive but a slice of reality, and even within that slice, the brain is very selective about what it recognizes and records. 

You walk down the street and there are a million patterns your brain is capable of perceiving, but it tunes out almost all of it and directs your attention to just a few things. 

Your brain filters out almost everything. It’s really quite stunning when you let that fully sink in. Your brain picks out certain patterns, just a few, and focuses on those. 

Really try to grasp the implications of what we’ve covered: 

  • your brain can only see certain patterns, and anything that isn’t in that range of patterns is completely non-existent to you, even if it’s right in front of you
  • your mind edits and deletes events, in order to keep the story of your surface reality ordered
  • your mind excludes from your conscious awareness most of what it perceives, forcing you to focus on just a few details

Your mind is basically designed to keep magic out of your awareness.

To the unprepared mind, the pattern of Magic is unintelligible.

When the Europeans colonized Indonesia, they were entirely unable to recognize Indonesian music as music. They heard the best gamelan musicians play beautiful, haunting gamelan and they couldn’t even fathom that it was music. To them it was noise.

This goes beyond musical preference and taste. I’m not saying they thought it was bad music, they really couldn’t hear it as music at all, they could discern no melody. It was noise. 

Likewise, they played the most elevating classical music for the Indonesians, who also thought it was just random sounds. Not music, but chaotic noise. 

Magic does have a pattern, but our minds can’t recognize the pattern. We perceive it as random noise. 

It takes a lot to prepare your mind to allow you to recognize magic. Not discrete magical “events” — but the flow of magic, which is all around and within you, always. 

When we think of magic, we focus exclusively on the effects of magic: teleporting, walking on water, making a pile of money appear. We don’t focus on being able to feel and perceive the flow of magic. 

The prepared mind, the initiated mind, isn’t what you might assume. It’s not a mind that’s been trained to do magic. It’s a mind that is prepared to step back and allow you to interface with reality without the mind’s interference. 

This post is part of a Reader Q&A

Here’s the reader’s original comment:

“This aura boost, the other audio spells, your blog entries for dream exploration, and the material we learned in the Hooks & Cords class are all so complimentary!

“The aura boost is indeed an intense experience! It has taught me a method:

“First, I breathe and relax. Symbolic processing and the synthetic self enter a ‘low power’ mode and get out of the way. I’m pretty good with this part.

“Next, I feel that buoyancy, openness, and flow of a dream state you mention in your dream blog. I know exactly what you’re talking about but I need more practice with it. The part of the brain that demands continuity of space and time and (more importantly) control begins to power down. The primary effects:

1. All friction vanishes.
2. The ‘volume’ of the Future Self increases dramatically.

“This frictionless state is very new to me. I need not be meditating to access it. It is delicious, intoxicating, warm, light, absolutely wild, and overwhelming. So much information floods my senses. I will certainly be practicing that biosphere breathing technique because I don’t always have the luxury of just lying down on the floor and waiting for it to pass.

“But what really is a miracle?

“The mind hears the word and contracts: I want to fly. I want to walk on water. I can’t will myself to do these things or even intend for them to happen, so I think I’m not magical.

“But I notice something subtle here. I should have missed a flight in the airport but I didn’t. I should have lost my passport at the security station but I didn’t. Somebody at work should have been able to overcome my energetic boundaries but couldn’t. What compelled me to pick up that one random library book that just happened to have all the answers I was looking for at the time?

“In the frictionless moment, it’s just very simple, ordinary actions. Whatever needs doing is done. There is no story, rationalization, need for continuity, or actor. Egregores are used lightly and wisely. Only in retrospect do things appear odd or wildly improbable.

“The apparently external phenomenal reality is non-symbolic. My internal reality is also non-symbolic. I’m familiar with all that. However, the aura boost is asking me to ponder a different question:

What happens if there is no longer any symbolic mediation between the apparently external reality and my own internal reality?

“Oh! Now that’s different!”

Are miracles always good? Is there such a thing as a bad miracle?

Continuing on your question: what is a miracle? 

A miracle is a phenomenon we can’t explain. That is to say, our mind can’t produce a framework in which any known cause could possibly lead to the result. 

But it’s interesting that we generally only regard positive or perhaps neutral outcomes as miracles. 

Walking on water or flying, as in your examples, are certainly considered miraculous, but neither good nor bad. But when something inexplicable happens, and it’s terrible — what do we call that, a freak occurrence? Why don’t we classify it as a miracle, too? 

It’s interesting that really horrible, disastrous things happen all the time, but we never call them miracles and we assume there is a mundane cause, even if we don’t know what it is. I think this bias indicates some editing by the mind, to airbrush something about our reality that it prefers we overlook.

How to perform miracles.

Can you walk on water, or fly?

You say you want to, but…do you, really? Are you truly possessed of a strong desire to do these things? 

You say you can’t intend or will these things to happen.

There is an underlying assumption that miracles are produced by one or some combination of:

  • desire
  • intention
  • will

Do you see how the mind is trying to apply the standard model of cause-effect to the production of miracles? Desire, intention and will are part of the basic machinery of our quotidian activities.

I desire an outcome, I intend to have it, I will myself to set in motion the means by which I can achieve the outcome. This is our basic manual for making things happen, and we unthinkingly copy-paste this onto our concept of miracles.

We can plainly see this legacy code has automatically migrated into our concept of miracles. Remove it and consider the whole idea fresh, without the assumption that desire, intention and will are the cause of miracles.

What does it look like without this tether?


Miracles, magic and synchronicity.

What is the difference between miracles, magic and synchronicity?

I’ve experienced all three, and this is how I understand them:

Miracles happen to and through you

When the impossible happens, and it’s positive, it’s a miracle.

Miracles happen to people, they don’t will them into being. It isn’t that you didn’t desire the outcome. If you’re dying of cancer, you have certainly desired to be cured, and perhaps also intended and willed that you should be cured.

But the miracle wasn’t effected through your desire, will or intention. Nevertheless, you received a miracle. And there are two miracles involved: that you were able to receive the miracle and the miraculous outcome, itself.

Another way that miracles can happen is through you. There are people that act as conduits for miracles. They don’t make the miracles happen, but miracles seem to flow through them and affect people and the world around them.

When we find ourselves in the presence of a miracle, whether we’re the recipient or just a witness, it changes us profoundly. For a period of time our frameworks and understanding of reality abandon us, and in that space, in that release, we are able to reconfigure ourselves in some way.

Synchronicity is an explainable version of miracles

When the highly unlikely happens, and it’s positive, it’s synchronicity.

Like miracles, synchronicity happens to you or through you. Everything I said about miracles applies here, the only difference is that what we receive through synchronicity isn’t considered impossible.

If something falls somewhere between very unlikely to almost impossible, it’s a synchronicity. You might call this the “common” miracle. To me, this is just as miraculous, but since there is some possible, if vanishingly thin explanation that fits, however marginally, into our existing framework of reality, this is placed in a different category.

When synchronicity happens, it can feel quite eerie, like our reality is alive and communicating with us. This is especially true if you happen to enter a stream of synchronicity, rather than a one off.

For most people, this causes some rethink of their reality framework, but not enough to allow them to abandon it and reconfigure a significantly new and updated one. But the option is always there, if you let it really sink in — that these are miracles and they are showing you the limitations of your existing understanding of reality.

Magic is something you do

There are different levels of magic, different kinds of magic, but all of them have an element of doing. Magic requires a positive act. Magic is changing reality with your desire, intention, will and ability. If you have no ability, your desire, intention and will are not enough to produce magic.

You can purify and potentize your desire, intention and will. You can expand and refine your ability.

For some people, magic is one of many tools they use to make things happen. They simply add an addendum to their framework of reality that allows this category of exception.

For others, magic is a solvent — just as powerful as a miracle. You can use it to dissolve your current framework, and reconfigure yourself in the resulting liminal space. You become magical. Your being and reality is infused with magic. It’s not tacked onto your existing reality, it rewrites it.

As you continue in this stream of becoming magical, you frequently find yourself at that liminal space, the crossroads, invited to dissolve and reconfigure your reality.

You do magic, and you also are magic. You, and the magic, are one movement.

Bad, bad luck

I supposed I should mention the unfortunate twins of miracles and synchronicity — where something impossible or extremely unlikely happens, but it’s bad. We’re not covering that here, but it’s important to note that these categories absolutely exist, but we think of them very differently.

I suppose we call them exceptionally bad luck or (oddly) an act of God or a freak accident.

Are you willing to trade your sanity for miracles?

It’s one thing to be the passive recipient of miracles, especially since it seems we define miracles as positive.

When they’re positive, they’re seen as an incredible blessing. You are suddenly cured of your terminal cancer. The doctors have no explanation. The cancer had metastasized into nearly all of your organs and you had a few weeks to live — and suddenly, it’s all gone. A miracle.

But what happens to your reality when miracles, and whatever we call the unfortunate twin of miracles, start to happen more frequently?

What happens when synchronicity, and its negative twin becomes part of your daily experience?

What happens when you become magical?

The ego-level self thinks this is great! I can have anything I desire and imagine.

The reality is, it would break your sanity. Unless you’re able to quickly adjust and develop a more robust form of sanity, what I call Ultra Sanity, you’ll end up somewhere between a somewhat functional whack job and legitimate madness.

It’s great to be sane in consensus reality — within that framework there is a kind of sanity that works really well. Most people aren’t even able to achieve that.

Once you reside outside of consensus reality, that version of sanity just breaks down. It’s really no surprise that your mind works overtime to prevent you from realizing the ever present flow of miracles and magic.

These aren’t answers, they are the seeds of deeper questions.

Keep looking, keep wondering.

Even as I sit here typing, I’m wondering. Every day I wonder about reality, miracles and magic.

I look around at my apartment, everything looks ordinary. It’s lunchtime, and I’m wondering if I should go eat or skip lunch and work some more. I hear people cooking next door and the sound of my air conditioner. Everything is ordinary.

But is it? If I shift, and breathe, and open. If I turn my “head” inside out, if I let the solid surfaces wobble, if I consent to merge with my Future Self, my Dark Twin, and allow the grid of the known to recede — right here, in this unremarkable moment…then what? Can I handle it?

Am I Ultra Sane enough?

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