DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC?
As I pondered what to do as a theme for this month, a statement the Master Teacher Jesus made over 2,000 years ago popped into my head. I needed to pay attention to it because that's fairly unusual - statements he made don't just pop into my head - usually. It is the statement: "I have come so that you might have life, and have it more abundantly."a
OK, God -- that's our theme for the month. What does this promise mean?
Before we can explore what Jesus meant, perhaps first we ought to define abundance. What does it mean to live an abundant life, anyway? How would you describe it?
So what did Jesus mean by that statement? I believe he was telling anyone who would listen - I have come to show you how to create this for yourself. I will give you a teaching and practices that will allow you to live an abundant life. Not just for some, but for everyone!
If you are sitting out there right now thinking, this may be well and good, but you don't know my circumstances. You don't know the depths of my despair, my pain, my debt, my illness, my sadness, etc.
Well, yes, I do -- maybe not yours specifically, but maybe. Enough of you talk to me that I do know. And I also know that when we are immersed in the middle of our pain, our debt, our despair, things can look pretty desperate; like there is no way out. And you probably think this promise that Jesus made doesn't apply to you.
But IT DOES! Say aloud with me with hand at chest: Jesus promised ME an abundant life.
And knowing that Jesus also said: It is done unto you as you believe . . .
We will kick off our monthly theme this morning with question: DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC!
OK, baby boomers, what group sang a song of that name? [Lovin' Spoonful] Who here is too young to know that?
What is Magic? I am not talking about the Magic we see on the physical plane where the sleight-of-hand is used to trick us like the magician on a cruise ship who performed mainly sleight of hand tricks. He had a regular spot on the ship's cabaret evening entertainment. He was actually quite a good magician, but he had one big problem.
His routines were regularly ruined by the onboard parrot who would fly around squawking and giving away his secrets, saying things like:
"IT'S UP HIS SLEEVE, IT'S UP HIS SLEEVE!" or
"IT'S IN HIS POCKET, IT'S IN HIS POCKET!" or
"IT'S IN HIS MOUTH, IT'S IN HIS MOUTH!"
The magician was getting pretty sick of this and threatened to do physical harm to the parrot if it ruined his act one more time. Then one evening right just as the magician was about to disappear in a puff of smoke for his grand final, the ship hit an iceberg and sank in seconds.
Amazingly, the magician and the parrot were the only two survivors. The magician was lying on a piece of driftwood in a daze. As he opened his eyes, he could see the parrot staring at him out of its beady little eye.
The parrot sat there for what seemed like an eternity just staring at him, the wheels of his little brain turning and turning. Eventually, he said, "OK, I give up, what did you do with the ship?"
No, I'm not talking about that kind of magic -- nor am I talking about the magic of, say, throwing this flame ...no, I'm not talking about "hocus-pocus."
The magic I speak of is the Magic of Spirit -- the power of Spirit to take what appears to be nothing and create something out of it.
I am talking this morning about the power of God, through us, to make a way where there appears to be no way.
Say with me: God makes a way where there appears to be no way.
That's the Magic of Spirit I want to talk about this morning. We might even call it spiritual alchemy -- life evolving into its potential. Your life, my life, evolving into its HIGHEST POTENTIAL. Expressing our greatest yet to be. Having an abundant and a more abundant and even a more abundant life.
I want to help you BELIEVE IN MAGIC this morning, by giving you some images to help symbolize the magic in life. The trappings of a magician or wizard of olden times are what?
The Wizard's Robe;
A conical hat; and a
How about using each of these items as symbols of Spiritual Alchemy?!
1. THE WIZARD'S ROBE
1. The Wizard's Robe What are characteristics of the robe? Symbolizes being "in the flow," being embraced by Spirit. As the robe enfolds the wizard, so it could remind us to enfold ourselves in the wholeness of Life; in the realization that it's all God - the up and the down; the ebb and the flow; the ins and the outs -- it's all God!
Because leading a magical life - embracing Jesus' promise of an abundant life - does not necessarily mean we no longer have challenges in our lives-it is how we look at those challenges.
Often times we can experience magic in a greater way when we are in a time of great sorrow or loss or fear. Why? Because our hearts break open and crack our old paradigms of understanding, shattering our limitations and out-moded beliefs.
People often ask why disasters, deep pain, loss, extreme circumstances occur. Perhaps the questions that would serve us better are:
What is there for me to know from this?
How must I grow?
How does this challenge open me to greater spiritual understanding and a closer walk with God?
New Thought author Eric Butterworth once wrote: "If you are faced with a challenge, refuse to be panic-stricken. Life has not ended for you. Life flows on. Declare for yourself: "I accept the reality of this situation but not its permanence." Certainly there is no point in hiding your head in the sand. The experience is there to be met. Determine that you will meet it, but on your terms. Do not let the outer happening squeeze you into its box, but open your mind to the flow of wisdom, love, and good judgment by which you can deal masterfully with it. When we are met with challenges, the original blessing of these situations may not be apparently clear. But we can assure ourselves that as in the oyster shell, the pearl lies within our challenge."b
The problem is that when we fail to remember the Presence we can really get into what might be called the "dark night of the soul." All of the darkness is because we have tried to bend principle to fit the problem. Start today working with principle to eliminate the darkness.
Listen to the magic of FLOW and EMBRACING the fullness of God in Rumi's (13th Century Persian mystical poet) famous poem, The Guest House:
"This being human in a guest house. Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness. Some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
Who violently sweep your house . . . empty of its furniture,
Still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out
For some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
Meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
Because each has been sent
As a guide from beyond."c
This morning, let us use the wizard's robe to symbolize being "in the flow" and embracing the fullness of life. As the robe enfolds the wizard, so it could remind us to enfold ourselves in the wholeness of Life; in the realization that it's all God - the up and the down; the ebb and the flow; the ins and the outs -- it's all God!
2. THE CONICAL HAT
2. The Conical Hat What better way to symbolize our Connection to Spirit than with a tall pointed hat. The Alchemy of Spirit (MAGIC!) happens when we shift out of error thinking-that this physical world is our source-into the realm of infinite possibilities when we consciously connect with God, our Source -- our Source of Love, Peace, Harmony, Health, Prosperity, etc, etc.
Ernest Holmes says in the Science Of Mind: "The Substance of the Spirit is My Daily Supply."d
In our world of form, I know it doesn't appear that God is the essence, the source of all our good. It appears that people, places, things, circumstances, conditions are. The channel through which the Universe supplies our good appears to us to be the source of our good.
So our jobs, our investments, our pensions, our mates (present or past), etc. appear to be the source of our good. But they are not the source -- they are only channels. All of those things are avenues through which God works, but God works through many, many avenues.
In order to be truly abundant, we absolutely must have a shift in consciousness to realize that there is only one source of our supply and that source is God.
The conical hat symbolizes the magic that happens in our lives when we stop looking outward, which can well come up lacking, and look upward/Godward where infinite possibilities reside!
A wonderful story illustrates this idea . . .
A young man was exploring a cave near his home when the beam from his flashlight ignited a faint sparkle on the ground. He walked over to the spot and picked up a fairly ordinary looking rock. As he bushed it off and studied it more closely, he realized it was a raw diamond that had to be 5 or 6 carats large. He was not an expert, but knew it could be worth a handsome price.
He put it in his pocket and explored the floor for more jewels. He found no more, so he left the cave and reached in to his pocket to find it was empty. It was as if the diamond burned right through the material. He immediately went back into the cave and retraced his steps to no avail. He went back the next day and the next and the next and the next.
Soon he lost his job as a job as a carpenter because he failed to show up for work as a result of searching for the diamond he knew would land him a fortune. He eventually lost his home as he ran out of money to pay his rent. He set up a tent near the cave so that he could search everyday. He became a hermit, giving up all his relationships and hobbies to focus on his obsessive quest.
Twenty years passed in the blink of an eye. He finally realized he had wasted more than a quarter of his life searching for something that might not have been as valuable as he had imagined. He decided that he would spend one more day searching, and if he did not find the diamond, he would give up and start life anew.
He searched and searched on his hands and knees until he was stained with sooty blood. He worked for eighteen hours, knowing this would be his last chance. Now he wanted to find the diamond as much to appease his guilt over wasting his life as to enjoy the illusive fortune he had originally sought.
Exhausted beyond measure he fell onto his back in despair. It hit him how ridiculous he must have looked lying there on the floor, dirty, exhausted, and completely without a life. He began to laugh and his mind flooded with all the precious things he realized he missed.
As he released his obsession for finding the diamond, he began to look forward to contributing to the world again through his craft, to the joy of relationships, to the love of friends. In that moment he found a more precious jewel. The jewel he found was the jewel of understanding. Of understanding the sweetness of what is here and now and real vs. the search to find what isn't. He felt grateful for his lesson and vowed to enjoy life for each moment from that day on.
That could well have been a very happy ending to the story, but there is a P.S.: As he lay on his back laughing, he finally shone his flashlight on the ceiling of the cave which revealed a ceiling dripping with raw diamonds. He sold the diamond mine, gave most of the money to charity, married and had a family, went back to carpentry and lived a comfortable and simple life until he died. He occasionally taught seminars on the how to appreciate "The Magic of Every Moment".
What is surrounding you that you are missing because you're paying attention to the limitations that you have learned to accept as real? Use the wizard's CONICAL HAT as a symbol to turn away from the limitation, from the idea of what's missing and to CONNECT WITH THE SOURCE, THE INFINITE SOURCE OF ALL ABUNDANCE!
3. MAGIC WAND
3. Magic Wand Finally, Our Magic Wand symbolizes the transformative power of living from Spiritual Truths. Why? Because living from Spiritual Truths is like waiving a Magic Wand over a situation -- it gives us an ability to magically transform any situation.
Living from Spiritual Truths changes our world by changing us.
Every circumstance or condition in your life that has been created by a false belief can be healed and transformed by an awareness of Truth!
New Thought minister Rev. David Owen Ritz in his Keys to the Kingdom course material states: "A greater idea will always heal a lesser one."e
I want to give you three greater ideas -- three Abundance Truths from the Keys to the Kingdom materials -- that, if lived from, will be like a magic wand in your hand:
ABUNDANCE TRUTH 1
Abundance Truth 1. Abundance is a here and now reality.
We live in an abundant universe. Surrounded by lavish abundance. Can you count the grains of sand on a beach, the stars in the heavens, or the different shades of green in your backyard. Probably not. Everywhere you look, God as nature is expressing Itself in endless variations and with unlimited beauty.
The abundance of life is often overlooked because we easily confuse the Truth of abundance with the temporary facts of life. The fact may be that you are temporarily experiencing lack or limitation. The facts change. Truth does not.
The relationship between the Truth of universal abundance and the facts of our sometimes limited experience is much like the relationship between light and darkness. Light is a universal reality. Yet you can experience darkness by blocking out the light. You can create a temporary condition that seemingly defies the greater Truth.
But light is real and darkness is not. You can measure the speed of light. You can quantify its physical presence as waves or photons of light. You can turn on a light bulb.
But can you measure the speed of darkness? Can you quantify its physical presence? Can you turn on a darkness bulb? Of course not, because darkness has no physical reality. It is merely the absence of a very real energy called light.
So it is with lack and abundance. Abundance is a tangible spiritual reality. It is the energy of God in action. We can and certainly do block it out of our experience sometimes. But it never ceases to be.
ABUNDANCE TRUTH 2
Abundance Truth 2. Just like light, abundance is inexhaustible.
We have a false belief that there is only so much to go around, but the Truth is that creation is an ongoing activity of Spirit. God is continually expressing itself by making things out of Itself.
Results that are observable through nature are: Flower seeds germinate, grow, bloom, seed themselves, die, and the process starts again, again, again, and again. Stars and galaxies do the same thing. Everything, everything, is part of an ongoing creative process.
Abundance is inexhaustible because the flow of Spirit is ceaseless. Whatever you may spend, lose, or give away today can be replaced tomorrow - perhaps with something greater! Definitely with something greater if we have had an expansion of consciousness!
ABUNDANCE TRUTH 3
Abundance Truth 3. Everyone deserves abundance.
I like this one! We live in a universe of infinite possibility and there is more than enough for all. You deserve abundance. It is the Father's good pleasure to give it to you. You were made in the image and likeness of God, who are you to say you don't deserve it!
You're abundance does not have to wait for humanity to erase poverty from its collective consciousness. You can help the planetary process along right now by healing your own consciousness of all belief in lack and limitation. By doing so you become part of the solution rather than part of the problem.
Every mind that lifts itself up to perceive the infinite abundance of life adds a greater energy to the planet and makes abundance for all a bit more possible.
Ernest Holmes in the Science Of Mind: "Thoughts of failure, limitation or poverty . . .must be counted out of your lives for all time. God has given us a Power and we must use It. We can do more toward saving the world by proving this law than all that charity has ever given to it."f
Let the Magic Wand symbolize for you the transformative power of living from these three Spiritual Truths!
"I have come so that you might have life and have it more abundantly."g It might seem like referring to Jesus as a magician would seem sacrilegious or irreverent, but Jesus was a SPIRITUAL ALCHEMIST -- he came to show us how to evolve into our highest potential -- how to express our greatest yet to be!
Earlier I told you that I wanted to help you SEE the magic available to you by giving you some images to help symbolize the magic in life, and I used the trappings of a magician or wizard of old as our symbols.
Well, I really want you to see and remember -- so, as I put on each piece**, I invite you to BELIEVE IN MAGIC by remembering:
The Wizard's Robe - symbolizes being "in the flow" and embracing the fullness of life. As the robe enfolds me, so it reminds us to enfold ourselves in the wholeness of life - the up and the down; the ebb and the flow; the in and the out, knowing that the Alchemy of Spirit is always present no matter what! Speak aloud with me:
*Today I create magic as I live in the Flow and
embrace the fullness of life.
The Conical Hat - a symbol to turn away from the limitation, from the idea of what's missing, and to CONNECT WITH OUR HIGHER SOURCE, THE INFINITE SOURCE OF ALL ABUNDANCE! Speak aloud with me:
*Today I create magic as I connect with God as my
Finally, The Magic Wand - a symbol of the transformative power of living from Spiritual Truths! So say with me, please:
*Today I create magic as I practice Spiritual Truths.
And simply one more time . . .*Today I create magic in my life -- Thank you, God!
And so it is!
cRumi The Guest House
dErnest Holmes the Science Of Mind, pg. 535
eRev. David Owen Ritz Keys to the Kingdom
fErnest Holmes the Science Of Mind, p. 301