For my birthday, my partner Kat got me this game called Attika. It's a game where you try to build a city from one temple to another temple or just try to build the entire city. You also have "neighbors" trying to build their cities. And what's most interesting is that to get extra turns you have to build the city in the right order. For that matter to get free buildings, building in order is encouraged. It's a fun and challenging game, because it involves looking at the environment you are building in, and recognizing the patterns, spatially, and resource wise that will allow you to successfully build a city. When I think about it, this game describes a lot of how I approach magic now. To me, successful magic is a process, and a form of pattern recognition. Where, why, when, how, what I will do the magic for all fits into the larger pattern of living my life. Just doing magic to get someone or get money or solve some temporary problem is thinking small, too small really, if you can't recognize where that activity fits into the larger pattern of your life, and into the habits you exhibit and/or want to change. What does it mean to put magic into getting a job in the greater pattern of your life. Don't get me wrong, getting a job can be important for survival needs, but when we do a magical act, if we focus only on the short term or basic needs, what else are we missing out on in the pattern of our lives?
When I talk about magic as a process, I'm also talking about how magic takes one's internal reality and translates into the external reality. But along with magic there is also all the demons and dysfunctions as well as virtues that a person has, which is also brought into external reality, and if we ignore all of that, we may find that our magical work proves less effective because we our working against ourselves and against the patterns of our lives. When, instead, we look at the patterns in our lives, and examine where magic can be applied to change those patterns proactively or help us achieve our overall goals, life becomes easier to live. Instead of getting that crappy job that covers the basics, but leaves us miserable and wanting to leave, we find that job that meets our higher needs as well as our basic needs and brings us fulfillment.
While life isn't quite like the board game I mentioned, recognizing the patterns of identity and how we express them and consequently how we manifest our choices is essential to knowing how and where to apply magic in a useful and truly meaningful manner. Instead of reacting, let's look at our environment, both internal and external, and consider carefully what we will do that will meaningfully improve our lives, instead of just going through the motions.