One of the salient differences between the inner and outer worlds is that in our mind’s eye we can fabricate objects, like a car for example, without any effort, while in the outer world it takes much work and energy to do that. Also, in our imagination we can make things disappear, cause people to behave in any way we like, create all sorts of fantastical objects, change the past and construct a definite future.
From this observation we can deduce that magic can be seen as a way of trying to make the external world and the people, objects and events in it act the way they act within the internal world. In more general terms, magic can be interpreted to be a technique that attempts to transfer the properties of the inner reality onto the outer reality.
We are led to the question of whether the concept of magic might have first occurred to man wondering why he cannot create, control, and manipulate the outer world’s objects, people, and events, as easily as the inner world’s objects, people and events.
Perhaps mankind’s age-old fascination with magic could at least be partly attributed to the desire to impart some order onto, and exert, some control over the chaotic, unpredictable and intractable, external world through the power of the mind.
We can also ask which human activity best fits the description of attempting to transfer the characteristics of the outer reality onto the inner reality? We find that the practice of yoga best fits this description, (The term “yoga” here refers to the intellectual and spiritual philosophy rather than to the discipline of physical exercises).
Consider the features of that quintessential example of the external world—the sky and in particular, the night sky. It is forever unchanging, utterly unaffected by any action of man or nature, overwhelming and all-encompassing in its serenity.
Might the concept of yoga have first occurred to man staring at the night sky and wondering whether his inner world could acquire the same constancy, the same serenity, inflexibility and absolute resistance to any external or internal force?
From these considerations, we can conclude that magic and yoga are mirror image processes of each other, both having the same aim—to interchange the properties of the inner and outer realities.
Imagine how liberating, easy and contented, our lives would be if the characteristics of the internal and external realities were switched around, so that we would have magical powers over the outer world and absolute yogic control over our inner world.
Instead, we are left struggling all our lives, endeavouring to swap the attributes of the two worlds, trying to make our internal world stable and serene and attempting to have at least some influence on and control over the external world.
Is it possible that Whoever created this Universe intentionally reversed the inner and outer realities’ features, thereby making our lives that much more harder and complicated, in order to either punish us for some original sin or to set a deliberate challenge that would test our perseverance and our ingenuity to cope? Or is it just a cruel joke played on us all by the Cosmic Trickster?
(Note that if the above definitions of magic and yoga seem to be a little too simplistic, superficial and obvious, it is only because we are so used to the way we experience the universe that we just automatically take it for granted that that’s how the internal and external worlds are structured and behave. We don’t give a second thought to the fact that we can manipulate the inner objects and events very easily, and we just as readily accept that we do not have the same powers of control over the outer objects and events. But this is an area which clearly needs to be investigated and explained, rather than just be unquestioningly accepted as a fact.)
About the Author
BORIS GLIKMAN is a writer, poet and philosopher from Melbourne, Australia. He says: “Writing for me is a spiritual activity of the highest degree. Writing gives me the conduit to a world that is unreachable by any other means, a world that is populated by Eternal Truths, Ineffable Questions and Infinite Beauty. It is my hope that these stories of mine will allow the reader to also catch a glimpse of this universe.”
More by Boris Glikman…