Living In Two Worlds

Recently I spent some time with a friend from 'way back when' - the 'when' being when we were both adolescents. We were best friends then and have kept in touch over the years. We spent a couple of days together, and I was astonished at how divergent our worlds are, especially considering that we live on the same planet. She described her world as a Better Homes and Gardens one. I don't usually try to describe mine, but if I did I might call mine the magical one and her world the mundane one.
Talking with my friend, I realized that her world is a very different from mine. Several times I had to ask her just what she meant by a particular word or phrase. It was a weird feeling, like talking to an alien wearing a friend's skin - not a bad or hostile alien, just someone from another world. And she must have felt the same.
The mundane and magical worlds both are states of consciousness, in a sense they are both illusions, but at the same time they are both real. We have a choice about which one we want to spend our time in. The choice we make strongly affects everything in our lives, acting through our perceptions of reality. Mostly we perceive the world as being the way we expect it to be, and this in turn heavily influences the way we respond to it - a continuing spiral of self-reinforcement. The more we live in the mundane world, the harder and sharper its edges and boundaries become; the more we live in the magical world, the more magical our lives become.
Most of the people I know reasonably well nowadays, including myself, live astraddle the two. We see people around us living in the mundane, believing that it and only it is 'real', and we have glimpses of the magical, spending moments, hours, even whole days there, sharing it with some people, unable to share it with others. Some of us are trying to move wholly into the magic, while others consciously try to live two lives. This two-life business is hard.
Occasionally I meet someone who is being a totally mundane business/professional person days and being something else the rest of the time. They have decided that the mundane world paradigm is necessary for social or economic reasons, but their hearts are in the magical world. This makes for a pretty schitzy experience of life. The real problem is in trying to think one way part of the time and think the other the rest of the time, effectively splitting themselves in two. This is always a hazardous and stressful process.
Life works better when we live in our own centers, in what is real for us, instead of trying to live in a set vision of the world. This is especially true when these visions are defined by others, self-proclaimed authorities on reality. Usually people like that have problems about issues of control and a fear of psychological open spaces. We need, instead, to make a continuing conscious effort to see what really does happen, how things really works. Instead of writing off our own experiences with words like 'coincidence' and 'spontaneous remission', we can just experience what happens without making judgements about reality. Then we can grow naturally into the magic.
There are many differences between the magical and mundane worlds, identifying tags as it were. Here are a few of them:

Mundane World

    There isn't enough of anything for everyone - I have to fight for my share.
    Competition is the key to survival.
    Magic is all trickery and a fake.
    Miracles don't happen.
    The universe has neither meaning nor purpose.
    The world is a scary place.
    Life is a hard struggle and full of disasters; hard times just happen.
    Protecting yourself, looking after number one is what matters.
    Most of the universe is dead; life is like a scum on the surface.
    Bad things happen to good people; life just isn't fair.
    I am alone and separate from all others.
    Disease just happens to you, and there is little you can do about it except to depend on medical professionals.
    We live and then we die.
    There is no god, or if there is, he has set things up so that I'll go to hell if I enjoy life.

Magical World

    There is plenty of everything if we use it well - I have to share.
    Cooperation is the key to survival.
    Magic is a natural part of life.
    Miracles happen every once in a while.
    The universe and everything in it has meaning and purpose.
    The world is full of wonders.
    Life is joyful and full of opportunities; hard times are one form of opportunity.
    Being loving and giving is what matters.
    The universe is alive and rejoicing; everything in it lives.
    We get what we need; we need what we get; the universe is helpful.
    I am an integral part of the One.
    Disease tells us that we have in some way, perhaps very complex or obscure, gone astray and may need to make changes in our attitudes, beliefs, and/or behaviors.
    We live and grow and change.
    God/dess is (or even the god/desses are) a personal friend, wants me to have a fulfilling life, and will help me achieve this if I ask - although god/dess may have its own ideas about how best to do this.

Each of us gets to make our own choice between these worlds. It's simple really.

Copyright © 1995 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved.
This originally appeared in Otherworld Arts, 1995
Your comments will be read with interest.

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