Being happy is bad for magick

Well, this is a depressing idea, isn't it?  Being sad is certainly bad for magick, but, after all, surely one of the great quests in life is to be fulfilled and happy.  One of the main reasons people practice magick and spirituality is to be happier.  And yet success in being happy is bad for magick?

It kind of is… but, like most of these problems, if you are aware of the issue you can something about it.

The reason I say being happy is bad for magick is simply that when we are happy – when life is really pleasant and we're enjoying ourselves – it's very easy to forget all about spiritual practices.  It's like when you are at the beginning of a new relationship – it's exciting, inspiring, energising… and it's hard to think about anything else.  Other activities, other relationships, other commitments tend to go out of the window for a while as we just enjoy how good it feels to be falling in love.  But that can mean that long term commitments – to daily practice for instance – can get swept away.

So I suppose this post could be 'falling in love is bad for magick' but that would be a bit too miserable, even for me.

Being happy is bad for magick in that it can make us think very short term.  We are enjoying the moment and taking pleasure in where we are.  Therefore we may not be thinking very much about the rather long term rewards that come from a regular practice.  We may not need to view the world from a magickal perspective because, really, what needs changing when we're happy?  We may not shift into a more spiritual perspective of the narrative of our life because we don't want to step away when we're right in the middle of a good bit!

Of course the world may very well seem to be full of magick when we are happy – but we may not be engaging with it in the same way.  We are likely to drift, flow this way and that, ride the wave of our own emotion… which is fine and splendid in its own way.  But it isn't very good for magickal progress.

Sometimes I find myself wondering why so many of life's lessons come to us through a (metaphorical or literal) smack around the head.  Bad things happen, we stop, hurt, consider, learn and heal, then move on.  We have learned something but at the expense of a testing experience.  Why do initiations have to hurt so?  Why do insights come wrapped around bricks?

Well, perhaps its because when something delightful happens our reaction is to be happy, enjoy it, be happy some more, then feel disappointed when the happy goes away.  We don't do an awful lot of stopping to consider, we don't try to integrate the lesson that may have come our way.  We just experience it and move on.

I have always hated that these regular, testing, experiences seems to be the price of being on the journey.  However, I'm tentatively coming to the conclusion that regular practice may actually be a way to change the pattern.  Regular practice makes those moments of stopping, considering and integrating, a part of every-day life.  No matter whether you are happy or sad a regular practice means you have a daily space to shift perspective, push more deeply into events and away from the 'stimulus/response' reactions of unconscious living.  As a result it would seem life doesn't have to bop you on the head quite so hard to get your attention – you're paying attention more of the time anyway.  And so things get a little easier.

But still… a really good day, a really happy patch of life… it can make it really tempting to skip daily practice for a while.  To just, you know, live and enjoy and not worry about it for a while.  Because, really, who wants to work when the sun is shining?  Who wants to consider the reasons for happiness rather than just being happy?

As a result, happiness really can be bad for magick.

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