Thursday, September 24, 2009

On the Magic of the "In-Betweens"

Magic lives in the "in-between" moments of our world. Think about it. Do you ever wonder why children can see fairies and angels, but adults usually can't? It's because as adults we have learned to see the concrete fixed objects in our world, not the shadows between the objects. We've learned to focus our attention on the tasks of our day, not the moments between tasks. In other words, we've lost the magic of the "in betweens" in our lives.

Why Magic Happens "In-Between"
If you read a lot of different esoteric authors, you'll find that most of them tell the same message, which is that magic tends to appear in-between things rather than directly. For instance, Carlos Castaneda writes about how Don Juan taught him to view the world in terms of the shadows that were present, instead of seeing the world of light. Other writers talk about the real essence of music is the space between the notes, rather than the notes themselves. Meditation masters strive to lengthen the gap between thoughts, so the magic can slip in and miracles can happen.

So why does magic happen "in-between"? Because by its definition magic is, well, magical. It surprises and astonishes us. It seems miraculous, impossible, and amazing. By definition, none of the things we can see, touch, and move directly in this world meet those criteria. It's not magic if we take a lot of action and achieve something. It is magic if we wish for something but take no action, and our wish becomes manifest.

How to Expand Your "In-Between" for More Magic
There are lots of magical ways to create and expand the "in-between" moments in your life, so magic can sneak up on you and surprise you. Flipping your world on its head is one fun way to do this. How do you flip your world upside down? Easy. Here are three ways to get you started:

1. See the World in Terms of Shadow
This is the exercise Don Juan gave to Carlos Castaneda. With this exercise when you look at a scene, try to see only the shadows, not the objects in the light.

2. Listen for Silence
We are constantly drowning in sound, even though we may not notice it. During the day, see if you can hear the silence instead of any concrete sound. What is the sound of silence? Many people hear it as a low ringing or buzzing in their ears, and some magical practitioners actually use this sound as a magical power source for spell work and other energy work.

3. Create Pauses Between Action and Reaction
Most of the time, we cruise around the world mechanically, and react automatically to any stimulus that hits our senses. When someone says, "Hi!" we automatically respond with a "Hi, how are ya?" We may not even really notice the interaction, or remember it later. To create more in-between times in your day, create a pause between the time a stimulus hits your senses and the time you respond. For instance, when someone says, "Hey, how are ya?" instead of sending back an automatic reply, take a moment to pause, stop, look the person in the eyes, and then reply. This pause can take all of one second, but the deliberate insertion of a pause between input and output creates an "in-between" moment. You can do the same thing when the phone rings. Stop a moment before your reach out to answer the phone ... wait for a couple of rings ... and then answer.

What kinds of magic will creep into these deliberately created moments between things? Only you will know. Magic can be very personal at the level of these exercises, so how it manifests in your life will also be personal. Be on the lookout for the magic, though, because the more "in-betweens" you create, the more magic will show up in your life!

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Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pinksherbet/ / CC BY 2.0

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