The Three Magic Powers You May Never Possess
Author: R.D. Robbins
Magical powers exist in the world of the imagination. Of course, some magical powers spill over into the real world, but you probably don’t have enough imagination to use them. Sorry.
It’s time to face facts: There are mysteries in this world that are beyond understanding, but some mysteries are just beyond your understanding. Now, don’t start crying like I broke your favorite holly and dragon heart string wand. I’m not saying you are a muggle, exactly, or a squib; but frankly, if you aren’t regularly using the powers of transfiguration, Time Turning and charms then you may be a little lacking in the imagination department. Now, to be fair, I come from a sort of wizarding family so this stuff is easier for me. Maybe you just don’t know the magic words yet, but I’ve got to tell you, when you can learn to harness and use these three powers, they will transform your life!
“Shape Shifting” has been a mythological staple in cultures all over the world: An Indian medicine man “becomes” a bison to find the heard; Zeus becomes a beggar to test the hospitality of a mortal king. I have yet to see a real person who could physically change their shape and become an animal, or another human being. However, it can be a profoundly moving experience to use your imagination to project yourself inside the mind of someone else, to see an issue from their perspective, to get inside their skin and ask what motivates them.
In real life, detectives and criminal profilers try to get inside the minds of serial killers and arsonists as a tool to understand what drives the criminal’s emotional states, what mistakes they are apt to make and where to find them. The rest of us can use our transfiguration skills to help us understand a teenager’s dark mood, a spouse’s secret Yule time wishes, and how we look in our boss’s eyes. The magic words here are, “I wonder how they feel,” and “I wonder what they think.”
Is this kind of imaginary-mind-reading? Yup. Is it apt to be wrong? Yup. Is it useful anyway? Sure! When our own suffering and pain or joy and happiness allows us to look into the eyes of another person and make a connection, we are using transfiguration to become one with them, to gain compassion for them and for us; and to know better how to care for each other.
Of course, if you don’t have the imaginative chops or skills to project yourself into someone else’s life, well, I’m sorry. Maybe you can learn to be happy dressing up as a Witch or Wizard. Buying some midnight blue robes with little stars and moons inside will probably help.
H. G. Wells wrote about time travel in “The Time Machine.” Hermione Granger used a Time Turner pendent in J. K. Rowling’s wonderful novel, “The Prisoner of Azakaban.” Physicist Albert Einstein claimed time travel was theoretically possible. I have yet to meet a single person who can physically travel backward through time, although I have met lots and lots of people who spend almost every moment of their here-and-now time mentally projected into the past or future. I know from personal experience that almost all that time is a desperate waste of imagination!
The question isn’t, “Can you use your imagination to travel through time?” We can all remember favorite childhood friends, horrible job interviews and almost forgotten smells. We can all imagine future conversations, plan vacations and just about taste an ice cream brownie Sunday as they make it. We can all do it. The question is, “Can you stop?” and “Can you do anything useful with your time travels?”
Before you can tell if your mind is in the here and now, you will need some awareness of what’s happening inside your head. For the gifted few, a moment of quiet reflection will immediately reveal your mental state. It’s not like we can get away from our thoughts, but we hear this mental chatter so much that we tune it almost completely out of our awareness. If you try to breath and count mentally from one to ten and keep “waking up” on the number 15, 32 or 63 (!), that is a clear indication that you weren’t mentally present during the counting. You were thinking of something else while you are supposed to be counting. Keep trying. You’ll get it. If you find you can’t count at all because of the constant mental chatter, start naming the thoughts: “Arguing with my mom,” or “Asking for a raise–again.” This is sometimes called Demon Taming because those pesky little thoughts can cause so much trouble in our heads.
When your mind is calm, you can begin to use your imagination to intentionally project into the future and examine the potential consequences of your actions, or reach into the past and hold onto your life with more love and compassion than you were able to muster the first time through.
Unless, of course, counting to ten is just too tough for you! Yeah, it probably is. You are probably afraid that if you stop dwelling on the past or focusing on the future, your whole world will fall apart–talk about superstitious! I’ll bet you don’t even have what it takes to sit quietly in the moment for, oh, say, one minute every day for a week! Best you just get used to drifting aimlessly through the jumbled moments of your life and leave Time Turning to the real Witches and Wizards!
If you still have any sense of humor left, it’ll probably be gone after we talk about charms. By charms I don’t mean pretty jewelry reported to possess a bit of magical power, like pentacles, rune stones or a rabbit’s foot. I mean charms more like enchantments: Those little things we say or do that make other people more inclined to do our bidding. What’s that? You are a “Good Witch” and would never do a spell to make someone “do your bidding?” Ha. Double ha-ha! Let’s see, guy buys girl flowers because he wants…what? Girl bakes cake for guy because she wants…what? Salesman offers basketball tickets to potential clients because he wants…what? Something! We all want something!
The problem is, we often are not willing to take the smallest step toward getting what we want. We want friends, but we never buy anyone at work a soda or cup of joe. We want good marital relations, but we refuse to bring home flowers. We want a new car loan, but we are too good to dress nicely when we go to the bank, to proud to make small talk and to shy to complement the loan officer. There are such things as magic words folks. Here are a few that work like a charm: please, thank you, I love you, well done, I’m sorry, can we try again, just called so you wouldn’t worry, that was the greatest, and let’s do that again tomorrow night!
There is magic in being charming. I would think that if goblin bankers could do it, you could too, but I’m probably wrong.
I want to thank you for reading this far, but there is just not much hope for some of you poor squibs, er, readers. You’ll never have enough imagination to get inside anyone else’s head and begin to feel the power of compassion or sympathetic joy. You probably can’t count to ten without moving your lips, so you are doomed to sail aimlessly through time instead of harnessing your imagination as a tool for inner peace and self discovery. As for charms, well, a good charm starts with toothpaste and deodorant and I can smell a few of you from here, so there is little chance you will ever build a loving team of companions to help you through life. On the other hand, maybe you are one of the Chosen Ones, a magical thinker, a Modern Magi or a Techno Druid. Maybe all you needed today was a light hearted reminder of the magic power of your imagination. I hope you found what you needed, dear reader.