One of the topics that comes up frequently when I talk with other magicians is the challenges they have around doing a consistent practice of magic. They want a consistent practice of magic, they start to do it, but then the consistent practice falls away. They may have done the practice for multiple weeks in a row, but suddenly they stop.
It’s a frustrating experience when you are trying to develop a consistent practice and you’re doing well with it and then suddenly you aren’t. You can feel like a failure, like you aren’t really a magician, because you can’t seem to stick with a practice. And when you feel that way it can discourage you from even trying to practice magic.
However I think its possible to maintain a consistent practice and I want to share with you some suggestions that can help you develop and maintain a consistent magical practice, as well as get around any difficulties you might experience in doing the practice.
1. Recognize why you are doing this magical practice. Sometimes what stops a person from doing a consistent magical practice is they aren’t really clear on why they are doing it. They’re doing the practice because its the latest thing they’ve read about in a magical book, or because someone recommended it to them, but they haven’t gotten clear on the internal motivation for doing it.
When you don’t have clarity about why you’re doing a magical practice it is hard to sustain it because its the latest shiny thing that’s come into your path and once another new shiny thing comes along, it’ll distract you from what you’re doing. But when you know why you’re doing a magical practice you’ll be more likely to stick to it. For instance, one of the magical workings I’m doing is the Sphere of Art. I’m doing that working to connect with a specific tradition and the inner contacts of that tradition and as a result I’m able to take my magical studies further in context to that specific tradition. If I didn’t have that clarity about why I’m doing the practice, it would just be a passing interest, but having that clarity about why I’m doing it motivates me to continue doing it.
2. You will have off days in your magical practice, but you need to power through them. There will be days where you aren’t terribly motivated to do your magical practice. Maybe you’re tired, maybe you got some bad news, maybe you’re just feeling lazy. It happens to all of us, including me. In fact, the day I’m writing this article I had an off day in my magical practice because I got some bad news, but I still powered through and did the practice.
In my experience you need to do the magical practice more when its an off day because it indicates several things to you: How important that magical practice is and how that magical practice can help you on an off day. So when you feel like you don’t want to do it, do it anyway. It may not be your most moving experience (it likely won’t be) but be open and receptive and let the experience speak through you.
That said one thing I do for days where I’m feeling really off is come up with a short form of the practice. Maybe that short form is all I can do, but if I do it that’s what will keep me doing it in the long run.
3. Be curious and keep learning. Doing a consistent magical practice doesn’t mean you just do just one magical practice and never anything else. You’ll find that you do a magical practice for a while and then switch to another and that’s okay because sometimes that’s what you need to do. When I first started practicing magic, my magical practice was combination of sonic chants and meditation, then it shifted to Taoist and Dzogchen meditation and of late its the sphere of art and Taoist meditation. At some point that’ll shift too.
Changes in your magical practice are normal and its part of how you keep your magical practice relevant. By being curious and open to learning you will discover the right time to shift your practice and then you’ll do it and let that new practice carry you forward to the lessons and experiences you need to have.
4. Be open to the experience instead of getting caught up in the result. Another thing that stops people from maintaining a consistent practice is they get fixated on results. While results are a good indicator of what is or isn’t working in your magical practice, when you get fixated on the results it stops you from being present with the experience. And the experience is what really sustains your practice.
When you do your magical practice, be present with the experience. Let it reveal the subtleties of the work you’re doing. When you open yourself to the experiences you are having you’ll learn a lot and it may help you understand the results you get. By letting yourself truly experience what you are doing, you begin to experience on all levels of your life.
Your turn: What tips do you have to help someone maintain a consistent magical practice?