How NOT to be a Muggle

Patronus Charm

The whole problem with Muggles, looking from the outside in, is that they don’t have magic. They’re stuck in a world without brushes that automatically wash pots, cars that fly, and the ability to petrify our friends in duels.

In anticipation of the latest release, I’ve been watching the Harry Potter movies again. In the third movie, as the wizard’s Knight Bus careens through the streets, Harry wonders how they possibly wouldn’t be seen by every car, pedestrian and passenger along the way. The conductor replies, “Them! Don’ listen properly, do they? Don’ look properly either. Never notice nuffink, they don’“.

Indeed, it seems inordinately hard for Muggles to see the magical world unfolding around them. It takes some dastardly devastation by evil wizards or a Ford Anglia taking off from a busy downtown street to even get a small response (and who would believe the tale anyway?!). Of course, the wizarding world does some quick memory wipes to keep them from being discovered, but how does everyone in the train station miss people haphazardly running through the wall to get to Platform 9 ¾?

They just aren’t looking.

We just aren’t looking.

Open your Eyes

Magic is everywhere. It permeates the fabric of our existence. Miraculous mysteries grow and move and sing and dance beneath our feet every second. The funny thing about magic brushes that wash our pots? We could call that an automatic dishwasher. Technology is amazing, but that is not the only magic we have. (Check out this video again – I still think about it all the time – only a few minutes, then back here. Chop chop.)

Look around! And yes, this is the proverbial stop and smell the roses. But really, stop and smell the roses. Notice the light on that puddle from last night’s thunderstorm. The feel of the breeze, the temperature of summer. That dog over there and those geese honking at each other from the pond.

And how amazing is it that we humans can notice those things at all? That we can move about, let the world in with all its colors and smells and tastes and textures. Those are just the senses! The vastness of this human experience, filled with emotion and meaning and interpretation and connection with other people, is truly astounding. We get to experience the divine, fall in love, fall out of love, create stuff, get angry, mourn, feel joy…how amazing is that? All of those things are sensory too – and really, we still aren’t paying attention – it just happens and we let it slip by unappreciated.

Here’s some serious magic: The world moves when you pay attention. When you decide on courses of action. Manifestation is more than just an idea – as you become more committed to something, everything shifts. Opportunities follow your thoughts, and if your thoughts are scattered, so are you. I often wonder if real wizardry is a result of intense focus – ever noticed that the more difficult spells seem to require more time and attention? You can’t make PolyJuice in a single day.

From Muggle to Magic

So, what makes us Muggles? Is it the fact that we are more consumed by the mundane necessities of our survival – jobs, getting places, getting things done? Is it that we are so continuously distracted by these things that we simply can’t focus long enough to make things happen? Are we so undecided about our dreams, or insecure about our abilities that we just can’t conjure the power to make something happen?

What would happen if we paid more attention to this moment? What would happen if we made some decisions, and then fueled them with a little courage and a little action? I think worlds would move. Life would change. Every second would be a wonderland. Sounds like being ecstatically, creatively alive. Sounds like magic.

Want to try it? Today?

Here are a few  ways to start:

Hogwarts School

  1. Witnessing. I learned this practice from a crazy desert Indian. (Ask him, he’ll tell you he’s crazy and an Indian.) He encouraged me to spend a whole day doing it – I’ve only done it for a couple hours at a time.  Basically, all you do is watch the world happen. I find it most intriguing in public places, where people fight, play, run this way, run that way. All you do is observe, without giving any input. Even in conversation, you stay aloof. If someone says hi, you say hi back, but the questions that follow, like “how are you?”…well, don’t do that. That’s input, and you are playing the part of the observer. (A side note: I think a little craziness really helps your magical abilities)
  2. Take a moment and write down a few things that you’ve wanted to accomplish. Choose some that you’ve been putting off for awhile – you know, those dreams you want to do, plan to get around to, and never do. Pick one of them, and set a course to explore it more fully. Start with a small piece. For example, if you want to write a novel, resolve to write the scene that sparked the idea. The whole book is too big – and thinking you have to do it all now may be one of the reasons you haven’t started. Just put a little color on the canvas, and see what color wants to come next.
  3. Go to a magically inspiring movie. Harry Potter is a good one, especially today. I love Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (the critics didn’t, but I did) and the surprisingly delightful Stardust with Clair Danes and Robert Dinero. The recent Alice in Wonderland with Johnny Depp also left me inspired. If you have a favorite movie that evokes the magic in you, let us know in the comments. I’d love to see it.

Expecto Patronum!

 

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4 Responses to “How NOT to be a Muggle”

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  1. Shreyas Sarasan says:

    Hey there! I jus read through a few of your articles and found them quite resonating with the lifestyle I’ve… I wanna do so many things! The idea of not doing them scares me and trying to start tires me…. anyway, this post is just to let you know that you’ve been a great help! :). Much indebted. 🙂

    • ephraim says:

      Sheyras…
      Thank you! I so understand. You CAN do it. And go easy on yourself! Sometimes, relaxing on those tired days gives you the fuel you need to do something amazing the next. Start! The smallest of things can give you the momentum to take them further.

  2. annie says:

    good thoughts. i do let magic in and am happier for it. just need to remember to let it happen more often and get out the ruts…there are so many. sigh…

    • ephraim says:

      Annie!

      There is magic in those ruts too! Don’t wait to get out to see and feel and be alive. And when the ruts get too deep, watch Harry Potter again – or my two favorite magical movies this year: Moonrise Kingdom and Rise of the Guardians.