Magic is Kinda Boring (Holiday Survival Tip #3)
By Kristine Kaoverii Weber | December 31, 2021
Something that annoys me (and frankly I find quite toxic) about certain strains of New Agey/yoga world thinking is the idea that I manifest my own reality. Recently I saw a meme that said something like, “When you put out a strong intention, the universe has no choice but to obey you.”
Wait a minute – I’m supposed to be able to control the universe?!!😱
The Bhagavad Gita explains, “You have a right to your actions, but you are not entitled to the fruits of them. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your actions, and don’t be attached to inaction either.” (2.47)
The universe is far too vast, and life is far too complicated for me to be in charge of the whole shebang.
I have no idea what my karmic residue is. I have very little control over many social and environmental forces that influence my life. Sure I have some measure of control over many things, but this idea that the universe must obey me if I do my intention setting right is toxic. What if I can’t control everything? What if my intentions do not manifest? Does that mean I’m a total loser?
I kinda suck at making things magically appear or getting people to be who I want them to be or do what I want them to do.
If I don’t set intentions, I can succumb to the despair that arises from a fatalistic outlook – I control nothing. I am powerless.
But that’s not true either.
There’s a balance here – between creating good intentions, and finding a way to be okay when things don’t go my way or I don’t get what I want.
“I just want to get through the holidays” is a perfectly reasonable intention.
“I would like to use the holiday experience as a chance to grow and learn something about myself and my relationships” is also reasonable, and hopeful.
“I want my family to love me unconditionally. Oh, and I want to manifest Tesla,” may not be.
If, when I approach the holidays, I don’t have an intention in mind, I can easily default back to previous ways of being and interacting which may have caused me or others harm, stress, anger, or sorrow.
But if I have an intention, I can hold it mindfully.
I may choose to write it on a sticky note, for example, and put it on my fridge, Or find other ways of reminding myself of my intention.
The main thing is to find a way to keep coming back (via the centering and balance I get from my practice) to my intention and to keep it at the forefront of my mind as I navigate through whatever the season brings my way. Here are a few of the questions I’m asking myself right now:
- What is my intention for the holiday season?
- What is my intention for next year?
- How is this intention different than previous years?
- How have my intentions changed?
- How have I grown?
Putting intentions into practice takes time and practice. It also requires a healthy dose of compassion.
How can I be okay when things don’t work out the way I thought they would or I don’t get the Tesla? It’s important to cultivate compassion for myself and for people in my life who are struggling, even if they are projecting their own pain onto me.
If you do not have to deal with difficult relationships dynamics during the holidays – congratulations! I salute you.
However if you have challenging relationships to navigate, or if grief or loneliness are issues for you, compassion is essential. Addictive tendencies also like to rear their ugly heads at this time of year. Again, compassion is essential (and really good support and/or professional help as well).
A Metta meditation of sending loving kindness to all the people in my life, and to myself, is a powerful holiday practice. Simple acts of kindness also support me during the season – like taking a little longer time to practice in the morning, or bringing cookies to a neighbor, calling old friends, and/or washing more than my share of the dishes.
These are gifts, because kind acts create lingering feelings of santosa (peace and contentment).
And…when my intentions don’t manifest and when I fail to be compassionate, or to stay centered, or to defend my boundaries, or fall back into old patterns of dysfunction, then the questions become, “How can I fail forward instead of beating myself up just for being human? How can I find solace in the knowledge that I’ve learned something, that life always presents opportunities for growth?”
The way I can tell if they universe is “obeying” me is that I am able to make meaning out of disappointing or painful experiences, that they wake me up just a little bit more, that I’m okay when my intentions don’t manifest, that I’m okay when my intentions change, and that I realize new ways of being are always possible.
Compared to this kind of personal growth, making stuff magically happen is kinda boring.