This post is coming out late because I was in Las Vegas giving workshops over the weekend.
Sometimes, in the most unlikely of places, I get an epiphany. In this instance my received information occurred in a most unlikely place: Caesar’s Palace…or rather, next to it.
Photo by Pedro Szekely under Creative Commons license
This giant, indoor mall currently has over 160 high-end shops and 11 gourmet restaurants. It brings in more money than any other mall in America—including Minnesota’s Mall of America, the largest mall in the country. It is said to have higher sales per square foot than the famous stores for the uber-rich in Beverly Hills on Rodeo Drive.
There are several reasons it brings in so much money. The first, of course, is the famous “location, location, location.” People come from all over the world to see this mall and spend money in its expensive stores. The mall is a hot spot for seeing celebrities as it attracts famous movie and music stars (I didn’t see any). There’s even valet parking for shoppers. Another reason is the ersatz beauty, allowing you to enter another world.
Interior view of Forum Shops showing how it eternally appears to be a shopping center at sunset.
Photo by Jean-Christophe Benoist under Creative Commons license
Even if you don’t intend to buy anything there—and I quickly obtained exactly what I needed and then, due to time constraints, I left—it is a unique experience. I saw many people having their pictures taken to show their family and neighbors that they really had been there. With scenes like this:
it’s really easy to understand why this place is popular.
And that’s when a guy walked right into me.
I’m sure you’ve seen this same thing dozens of times. Someone is walking down the street, staring at his or her phone, totally oblivious to the world around them, and they walk into something…or someone. After being bumped into by a phone-staring tourist, I noticed there were several people who were totally ignoring the sights of the mall. As I drove away I noticed more people walking down the street, totally drawn away from reality into the false reality of their phones.
I remember when cell phones first hit the market. They were supposed to free you up and give you more time. Now, they’re so “smart,” they take away time, allowing addicts to stare at their messages and email in the desperate hope that something important will flash on its screen. I realized that I’d been to festivals and conventions where people had their heads buried in their phones. You could be talking with them while they look and then say, “One second; I just have to answer this message…”
If you’re a doctor, that conceivably could be true. Otherwise, you do not own that smart phone…it owns you.
Consider this: if your battery had run down, or if the phone hadn’t signaled you with a sound or vibration, and the result was that you didn’t answer that message or email RIGHT NOW, how would your life or the life of the person sending you that note, be different? What if the message to you were delayed by 15 minutes? What about a half hour? Instead, people walk down the street, staring at their phones, missing the world around them; missing out on the world around them.
In a previous post I wrote about what I call “Environmental Awareness,” by which I mean “being aware of things immediately in your surrounding area.” It’s also described as “being here now,” and focusing on what you are doing. This “living in the present, in my opinion, is an important part of magick. In my experience, people without environmental awareness tend not to be good magicians.”
I have nothing against smart phones or tablets. Before bringing them out to use them, however, at least take a moment to look around you. When you’re walking, put them away. This is far more the path of a magician that that of being controlled by a piece of plastic, metal, silicon, and glass. Curiously, even people I know who claim to be spiritual become oblivious to reality and ignore the world as they bury their faces in their phones. The next time you go into a restaurant, you’ll probably see two people at the same table, perhaps out on a date, looking at their phones rather than actually communicating with each other.
Magickal Freedom: The Weaning
Returning to observing the real world, the people in it, and improving your environmental awareness can be painful, but you can wean yourself from the hypnotic phone. This is not an original idea. I first came upon it (in relation to newspapers and TV news) in a small book called SSOTBME by Ramsey Dukes (pen name of Lionel Snell). Originally published in 1975 and one of, if not the first modern book to republish the art of A.O. Spare, it makes the suggestion that you try not listening to the news and always read newspapers one day later than when they are printed. You’ll notice the in spite of your not reading, listening to or watching the news, the world is in no worse and no better condition than they were the day before.
In my opinion, the world has speeded up since SSOTBME was first published 38 years ago. So I’m not suggesting you should ignore your messages for a day. What I am suggesting is that great magicians tend to live in the present moment. When doing magick, they do magick. When walking, they walk. When reading, they read. When cooking, they cook. When making love, they make love. By being focused on the present moment and living their lives to the fullest, powerful magicians are able to focus their energies, their interests, and their passions into achieving their desires.
So if your magick isn’t as successful as you would like, or if you would like to experience even more powerful magick, the method may be as simple as putting down the phone, becoming more aware of your environment, and living in the present.
Live Interview with me on “Pagan Propensities”
Tomorrow: Thursday, November 21, 2013
9:00 p.m. Eastern——6:00 p.m. Pacific
Tune in and listen: http://paraencountersnetwork.com
If you miss it at the time of the show it will be uploaded to YouTube by the next morning.