One error that creeps into the minds of many spiritual students is “magical thinking.” Magical thinking is believing that spiritual practice protects us and makes us happy by correcting the things in the world that we think need correcting. This error is fairly common and is fiercely protected by the ego, so it isn’t always easily let go.
Why is this error protected by the ego? Lesson 50 answers that question. “All these things are cherished to ensure a body identification.” Valuing magical ideas is the same as valuing pills, money, etc, because the emphasis is on valuing form.
Everything that is born will die. Each one of us does well to accept this fact. When we accept that the body-personalities that we perceive ourselves to be are temporary and can end at anytime, we are ready to seek for our eternal Self. Our eternal Self is beyond everything temporary and is affected by none of it. The realization of our eternal Self as our truth is ‘salvation’, ‘awakening’, and ‘eternal life’.
“Only the Love of God will protect you in all circumstances. It will lift you out of every trial, and raise you high above all perceived dangers of this world into a climate of perfect peace and safety.” This refers to truth realization. When you know what you are, you are not affected by the ups and downs of this world because you know yourself as beyond it.
A perfect illustration of this is the story of Ramana Maharshi’s death. When his body was dying of sarcoma, his devotees were in great sorrow. They thought they were losing their master. But Ramana responded to them by saying, “Where can I go? I shall always be here.” He knew himself AS eternal life. He identified with eternal life, not the temporary body.
Contemplate Lesson 50 carefully today, and watch your mind for every scrap of magical thinking. “Put not your faith in illusions. They will fail you. Put all your faith in the Love of God within you; eternal, changeless and forever unfailing.”
Here is a link to a song that may help you in this contemplation:
p.s. Because magical thinking is such a strong ego defense (to keep us identified with the body), people often ask me questions like, “Should I take medication?” I resonate with Byron Katie’s response. She says that the body is the doctor’s business, not hers.
Let the doctor play games with the body. If the doctor says to take a medication or go through a certain procedure, go ahead, but watch your mind for the idea that this will save you. Identification with the body is an error. You are not the body.
Ramana Maharshi allowed his devotees to call a doctor, and he submitted to the doctor’s operations. His attitude seemed to be the same as Byron Katie’s. His body was not his concern or his business. He let those who saw the body as important make decisions about the body.