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Get Real Magic!

Saturday, December 8th, 2007

The difference in View between my students here in the U.S. and those Living Tantra readers who write from India is dramatic.

Folks who write from India often assume that I have powers such as clairvoyance and the ability to predict the future. Some have it in mind that I am a particular favored goddess. I have been asked for mantras to manifest deities and kill annoying neighbors.

If right at this moment you are chuckling and appreciating your own greater sophistication, read on!

Here in the U.S., I have to stuff skeptical students full of stories about the magic of the world. I tell them about accomplished human beings who walk through walls, become invisible, receive transmissions of complex practices out of “thin air,” and who actually do see far off people, places and things as if they were in the same room.

I try to impress upon them that the sounds of kundalini running in the channels of a human body are more captivating than any rock concert; that the lights of the five elements are more entertaining than the latest science fiction blockbuster movie; and that just being in the world in a relaxed and natural way is a higher high than that offered by any drug.

I watch their faces and often see a mixture of uncertainty, cool cynicism, and longing.

Despite all of our whiz bang technology, here in the U.S., we live in a culture that is almost devoid of any comprehension of Real Magic.

What do I mean by Real Magic? I mean the fullness of Reality.

Our parents, by and large, have not brought us up with tales of human beings who embody more of Reality than we can readily imagine.

When we meet a human who has realized a fuller humanity, we label that person a God, or a saint, or crazy. We rarely allow ourselves to admit the possibility that a spiritually accomplished person is an ordinary human being who has demonstrated constancy and capacity in regular, old spiritual practice.

Most people in the U.S. do not actually know a single person of spiritual accomplishment. If we did, we might have more confidence in the process.

Sometimes when we do meet a Guru, or even just a yoga teacher, we can be ridiculously over-earnest and exaggerated in our displays of devotion. We don’t know how to relate, so we fake it by over-dramatizing, even fooling ourselves much of the time.

These displays are a result of our longing for it all to be real, and our inability to relax and let Reality show us the way. Our underlying lack of confidence in the process and promise of Self-realization gets in the way even as we are prostrating earnestly to our chosen One.

Or we keep trying to think our way through every encounter with spiritual teachings and teachers, starving ourselves of real spiritual nourishment.

The fact is that most of what we relegate to the category of wacky stories about spiritual adepts–those stories we suspect are just myths or cute cultural decorations–are actually more real than all of the crap we believe.

Like that the world is solid, made up of distinct objects, explainable by scientific methods, and fixable by the right combination of life coaching, psychotherapy, designer pharmaceuticals and cosmetic surgery.

Recently, I met an older yogini from Tibet. She told me that, in Tibet, she never revealed to students what practices she had completed, nor did she make a display of her experiences or accomplishments. Here, she says, she is more likely to do these things because students need it. She is acting out of compassion, not egoism.

In the U.S., and I am sure this is true elsewhere, teachers sometimes advertise their credentials and experiences in order to prove that they are special beings, worthy of a following. This is a two-way street. Students also demand a teacher they deem to be “extraordinary.” Yet finding the person they rationalistically think fits the bill, they cannot relax, receive transmission and take the time to let that develop. They don’t have any confidence in Real Magic. This is a place of starvation amid plenty.

I always hope students will see me as an ordinary person who has practiced for twenty years and has realized some of the fruits of that practice. First of all, this is the truth. Second of all, I want students to feel greater confidence in the process of life and the teachings of the tradition. If I tell them about some events in my life, it is not to appear special, but precisely because I am not special. If I can benefit from the practice, so can they.

When you let yourself have confidence in either the teacher, the teachings, Reality, or yourself, you can relax and let yourself be carried along. You can be more open and exploratory. This is the attitude that’s needed. Then you can discover Real Magic for yourself.

In Ma’s love,
Shambhavi

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