Posted on February 13, 2013
Filed Under Magic |
One of the books I’m reading, Hide a Dagger Behind a Smile, explores how Chinese War strategies can be applied to business practices. The author even includes case studies that show how contemporary businesses have applied these practices to deal with competition and customers. It’s an intriguing read, and one that got me to think about the element of change and magic, when the author noted that how Western and Eastern cultures approach change is different.
The author argues that Western culture takes a linear approach to change and considers it to be something that occurs between periods of rest. In other words, change occurs as a specific result/reaction and when change isn’t needed, everything comes to rest. This is a very linear model and approach to change. Eastern culture, the author argues, takes a non-linear cyclical approach to change, with the recognition that change is always occurring and the idea being that the business ideally has plans in place not merely for the immediate future, but also down the line, with a proactive projection of trends.
Whether the author’s claims are true or not (I’m inclined to agree with his assessment of how Eastern and Western cultures approach change) what I found important is that an effective approach to change recognizes that change is always occurring. In the Process of Magic course I actually include change as an element of the process and argue that we need to recognize change as a factor in its own right…not merely the change we want to make happen, but also changes that are occurring outside of our control and as a consequence of doing magic.
Change does occur all the time and the change can include things we for granted. Digestion of food is a change that we might not consider (unless we have an upset stomach or are on a diet). Change only becomes relevant when it effects us, unless we actually choose to proactively make change relevant. I prefer to make change relevant in my businesses and my life, because its something that is there. We change from moment to moment, even if most of the changes are subtle.
When I think about magic and change, what stands out to me is that Western Practical Magic does seem to mostly be done as a reaction to change. A problem crops up in your life and magic is done to manage or solve the problem. A change is caused to manage or solve the change that has occurred. Certainly when I look at my past work, before exposure to internal work, I see practical magic used to handle a problem and get back to a particular desired state of existence. I also recognize with hindsight that such an approach has limited effectiveness because it doesn’t factor change in adequately enough to be truly effective.
However the integration of Eastern Meditation practices and magical work has “changed” my approach to magical work, and to change in general. I have slowly but surely become more proactive in how I approach change, and how I plan my life and business. Instead of trying to back to a desired state of status quo, I embrace change as a constant and accept that planning for it is essential in order to leverage practical magic as a meaningful asset for creating the kind of change I want to bring into my life and the world in general.
Looking for change and actively incorporating it into magic, while accepting that there will always be change that I’m not aware of or can’t control, has been useful in developing a proactive to handle the latter forms of change (which at least can be anticipated), while also making the former forms of change into a useful tool that aids the magical work I do. Change is a reality of life…one of the few constants that will always be there. I think that factoring it into the magical work you do, and proactively accounting for it is important in order for magic, as a discipline, to evolve.