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I'm sure that I fully believed I could do magic, but when I tried, nothing happened. What could I have been doing wrong?

When Magic Doesn't Work

I was a teenager sitting at the kitchen table alone one day when I discovered I could do telekinesis. I could point at an object on the table -- such as a glass or salt shaker -- and think of it moving. It would then slide a short distance across the table!

I sat there a while experimenting with this, doing it over and over until my cousin Lewis walked in. Naturally, I wanted to show him what I could do, excitedly explaining the process to him and asking him to watch. He stood across the table from me, eyes on the glass, but try as I might, I could not move anything at all. Lewis gave me a rather scornful look of disbelief, then left the room as he muttered, "Of course it didn't work, because magic isn't real."

That was my first time to witness how magic fails to work as expected if the very act of it doing so would go against the beliefs of someone participating. Yet actually, magic is working all the time, even when we don't recognize it. Magic is all around each one of us, always operating according to our deepest beliefs. We usually don't recognize the results as being "magical," however, because what we see is what we already believe to be natural and able to happen. Likewise, for those who truly don't believe in magic, it will do whatever is needed to prove to them, over and over again, that, indeed, there is no such thing as magic.

In a situation where two people are sharing the same experience but have different beliefs about what is possible, the resulting magic will fall to the lowest common denominator of what both are willing to believe. In the case of me and my cousin Lewis, we both believed there was a glass on the table, and we both believed it could just sit there without moving, so that was the reality we both experienced together.

Interestingly, after Lewis walked out of the room, I was still unable to move the glass even though he was no longer around to observe it. This was because I had established a spiritual connection between Lewis, myself, and the glass on the table (in physics, refered to as "quantum entanglement"). This allowed his beliefs to have lingering power over the reality before me. In addition, my experience of not being able to move the glass was fresh on my mind, making my failure to move it a part of my own beliefs about what was possible.

My favorite example of this phenomenon, of disbelievers being able to interfere with magic performed by believers, is something that happened in the 1960s. While my friend Fred and his family were living in India, an advanced guru had been able to walk across a small lake in front of his admiring students. Because of the large number of believers who had seen him do this -- too many for it to simply be dismissed as a hoax or a prank -- they were able to convince the one and only TV station in India (which broadcast to the whole nation via satellite) to allow everyone to see him walk on water live via television.

Fred told me that he and his family were eagerly watching their TV as the guru walked over to the swimming pool's edge, looking so proud as he was about to show the world what he could do. But to the dismay of so many, he only took one step onto the water before he sank beneath the surface with a big "Kirsploop!" How very disappointing for everyone.

So, why was he now unable to walk across the swimming pool when he had previously been able to walk across a whole lake so easily before his admiring students? There is one simple reason: At the swimming pool, instead of having everyone's belief in magic supporting his ability, he was being watched by countless viewers all across India. Many of those viewers were convinced the act had to be a trick, a joke, some kind of fakery -- clearly something he could not do. So, magic did its work, as it always does, by giving those viewers the experience their beliefs demanded, reducing the reality to the lowest common denominator for everyone. That common denominator was the principle that when something heavy is dropped onto water, it sinks. No one could disagree with that, so that was the experience everyone was given, including the poor drenched guru himself.

There are two important lessons to be gleaned from this experience: (1) Perform your magic privately, without the knowledge of those who would disbelieve or have damaging thoughts/feelings against it. (This is why Native Americans often place armed guards at the entrances to land where traditional magic is to be performed.) (2) It is very helpful to be around others who know magic is real the same as you do, as the power of their understanding will join with yours, giving additional magical energy toward the scene in your mind's eye becoming reality, both physically and experientially.

I began this paper by telling of a time when somone interfered with my magic. So I'll end it with the other side of the coin, a time when others were a great help!

Alone in the woods, I had many times tried to hear the distinct sounds of the different chakras along my spine during yogi meditation, without success. Then, one day, I was in an apartment with about seven friends who shared the same beliefs as I, and we decided to do yogi meditation together. As I sat there in silence with other meditators around me, all seven of the chakra sounds suddenly began playing at full volume in my head! They weren't simply imagined -- it was as though I could feel them physically present within me. Totally delighted, I continued my meditation "with a little help from my friends," just as The Beatles' song so correctly states.