Assumptions, Desire and Doubt in in Magical Practice

Lately I’ve had a few other magicians express doubts about their magical work and when they tell me they feel doubt they feel as if expressing that doubt is somehow bad and makes them less of a magician. I actually find it to be refreshing and see it as a good thing to express and feel. Having some doubt is healthy and is what keeps us grounded when it comes to magic and life. The danger of not entertaining some doubts is that you can make assumptions about your magical work that you aren’t verifying. Doubt is what helps us do our due diligence and check against what we’re doing and how its aligning with the experiences we’re having.

I find that where a magician can start making assumptions is when they don’t entertain any doubt. Certainly I have sometimes made assumptions instead of critically questioning what I was experiencing. A good example of this would be when a situation seems to resolve in your favor, with everything lining up the way you would expect it to when you’ve done a magical working…but you haven’t done a magical working.

Doubt and its role in your magical work

magicball Jason recently posted a fantastic post about doubt and why it is useful for your magical work. I agree with his perspective that doubt is useful and that we shouldn't automatically accept that just because we've gotten a result that it is the actual result we wanted. I think magicians are afraid to admit to doubt, or to be critical of their magical work. After all, admitting that you're magic didn't quite work out can make you wonder if it's in your head, or if you really know what you are doing. But that's a negative perspective about doubt. Admitting doubt can also help you recognize where you can improve your magical work, can help you be critical of your process, and can help you recognize when the magic hasn't worked the way you wanted it to.

One element of doubt he didn't touch on, which is just as important as acknowledging the doubt you feel about your magical work, or acknowledging when your magic hasn't stacked up the way you like, is the crisis of faith that inevitably comes along. You know, when you doubt that magic even exists, or you doubt whether or not you really feel the connection to what you're working with. And just as I agree with Jason that not enough people post about their failures, I also think not enough people really post about their crisis of faith or how they work through it.

One of the reasons I write in this blog is to actually share my on-going work, and that includes the moments I feel doubt, or an experiment doesn't work out, or to just show my very fallible nature. I do this for a couple reasons. One I do it to keep myself humble and to recognize that regardless of what anyone else may think of me, I am not always successful with magic or life. No one is, but I do like to think I learn as much, if not more from my failures, as my successes...and that leads to the second reason. I have always wanted to provide people with examples of both success and lack thereof in my work. I want my readers to recognize that there is a magical process and that part of that process involves finding what isn't working and acknowledging it and working on it. I don't just do this with my blog, but also my books, because I don't think it's authentic to just present your successes to other people. Not only does it set an unrealistic standard, but it encourages a mentality of one-upmanship instead of genuine collaboration and improvement.

There have been times I've struggled with my beliefs around magic. There have been times I felt disconnected and wondered if what was I doing was really making a difference. And I'm glad I've had those moments, because they present an alternative perspective, but also when the magic works out, it really allows me to see that it's not all in my head, that there is something going on, and that what I need to do is not give up. I need to improve what I'm doing, and use the doubt I feel to give me some perspective, so I can ask hard questions. I agree with Jason that more people should share what isn't working, and what doubts they feel. Yes it can make you feel vulnerable, but it can also be liberating, and help others see that they aren't alone and that magic isn't always a success. But doubt can also help us become better magicians if we are willing to use it as an opportunity.

Doubt and magical workings

Mike has posted some interesting thoughts about doubt in magical works. You can find them here and here. When I think about doubt and magical workings, I think that if doubt is entering into the picture, it's better to not do the magical working and instead really examine your doubts and why they are coming up. When I do a practical magic working I don't want doubt to be in the picture, and for me it isn't. I know what I want, I understand the consequences around getting it and I'm ready to handle the reality of achieving it. Doubt is a sabotager...its that little voice that says, "You don't deserve this." And if you hear that voice, then you haven't done your due diligence.

What is due diligence? It's doing the internal work necessary to ensure that the desired result (or manifestation) is something you truly want with all of your being. It's addressing the doubts and resolving them before you even do your magical work.

It doesn't surprise me that some magicians experience doubt and have it sabotage their workings. I think this is due to the fact that they haven't done that necessary level of internal work that's needed to make sure everything is in alignment with the desired outcome. Without a process for doing dedicated internal work to address doubt and other sabotage emotions, those emotions will present themselves in your working and undermine your results. But with a dedicated process for internal work, its easy to deal directly with any doubts or other emotions and resolve them in your favor. Then do the magical working and you'll get consistent results.

This actually applies to decisions you make in general. For example, when I decided to rebrand my one business, I had already gone in and done the internal work to deal with any doubt or fear I may have felt. Once that was cleared out of the way, I started my rebranding and pursued it wholeheartedly. I didn't leave myself room for doubt, because it would've slowed me down. I knew what I wanted and I knew I could do it. The business is rebranded in terms of content and message (The visual design is still being reworked) and the previous services have been let go of.

If we look at this from a process approach what we get is assess the change you want to make. Determine if there is internal resistance (i.e. doubt). Resolve the internal resistance or make a different choice (sometimes there are good reasons not to do a magical working or life change). Do the magical working and any other actions needed to manifest the desired result. Simple, effective...and the doubt is dealt without having to continue entertaining it. There should be no room for doubt if you really want to manifest a desired result.