Howard Thurman says “there’s magic all around us”. It’s strange to hear a theologian give credence to magic. A lot of religious Christians keep magic at the end of a 10 foot pole. But, Thurman doesn’t fear the word or concept. He seems to liken it to a level of awareness that makes one see meaning in commonplace things.
Commonplace things that take on uncommon meaning or poignancy for me are the small stones with a handwritten word on each which I received in the opening circle of a perennial retreat. The stones lie around my place rather haphazard and I come upon them from time to time. They arrest me for a moment as I recall the message they whispered to me from their silent earthy form.
Another commonplace thing that captures my attention are the small birds that visit the feeder I’ve
placed just outside my window. It was meant to be some entertainment for my poor cat, cooped up all day inside. But, I find myself watching them flit and maneuver onto the feeder and the window sill waiting in queue. I especially enjoy the tufted titmouse and the chickadee who bring a me a smile, especially when the chickadee sings “chickadee-dee-dee” to the world. They way they all suddenly flock away with a noisy whirrrr, together-on cue- and going in the same direction. How does that happen? It’s like the hocus pocus of magic, isn’t it? Inexplicable and fascinating at the same time.
Noticing the meaning of the commonplace at new levels of awareness. That’s how Thurman seems to define magic. It’s also the purpose of meditation – seeking new levels of awareness of common things. hmmmmm?