While leading two workshops on Spiritual Bypassing this past week I realized that I needed a more clear way of conveying the concept of Magical Thinking (**defined below) and how to practice more discernment around it. First off, there is nothing wrong with magical thinking. As Robert Augustus Masters says, “[Magical Thinking] can be a reality-reordering playfulness of mind, a life affirming poetic license that takes its rightful place in our psyche, coloring, but not animating our perspective.” At the same time, it can lead us astray in trying to find meaning in everything. For those wondering about synchronicity, it is different than magical thinking. Synchronicity involves the meaningful connection of two casually unrelated events. We can recognize it intuitively rather than coming to an analytical conclusion that it has happened.
So, just HOW can we best discern when we are employing the Bader-Meinhof Phenomenon (**defined below) and making unrealistic assumptions about our omnipotence for creating our reality, or authentically experiencing synchronicity or a genuine reflection of ourselves?
Well, I thought about this question and I devised a simple saying that would also provide the answer: “There is no reflection without projection.” In other words, we are the ones that apply meaning to things. We project on to people, situations and things in our environment with labels, judgments and internal resistance to what is in the form of emotions. With true presence and stillness, we are neither separate from, nor identified with what arises in ourselves, or our environment. When we are present we are not attaching labels, judgments, seeking meaning or resisting. When you have an emotional response or reaction to a person, situation or object, then it is reflecting, because something from your outside environment stirred something within you, hence there was a thought or perception about it. Emotion is a reflection of mind in the body.
Here are some questions I came up with to help bring more clarity to your discernment and within your own motivations and desires:
- Can you allow things to just Be, without resistance, labeling, judging, or seeking meaning?
- If you are looking for evidence of what you are intending or working to manifest, what is in your desire or wanting of that evidence?
- What is the void, value, or fear that is trying to be quelled or fulfilled?
- Does the desire for meaning, proof and evidence arise from wanting to feel more in-control, safe, or “special” in some way?
- Is there fear around it not meaning anything?
When we are present, there is no ego in what we are doing. There is no, “I manifested this”, or “this happened for ME”. Presence is devoid of that sense of “I”. When we are calm, present, and centered in our heart we are connected to all that is without attachment or separation. There is a time for Being and a time for Doing, make sure to make time for the inquiry and time for Being present with what is.
**Magical Thinking – a kind of pre-rational cognition. It is a mix of superstition, perception of illusory connections, and conflation of correlation with causation, attributing to our wishing, wanting and imagining an inordinate power of manifestation.
**Bader-Meinhof Phenomenon – (AKA-Frequency Illusion) When a concept or thing you just found out about suddenly seems to crop up everywhere. It is caused by two psychological processes: Selective Attention and Confirmation Bias. Selective Attention kicks in when you’re struck by a new word, thing, or idea. After that, you unconsciously keep an eye out for it and find it surprisingly often. Confirmation Bias reassures you that each sighting is further proof of your impression that the thing has gained overnight omnipresence.