We all know what magical thinking is. I mean we should know what magical thinking means because we do it all the time. Let us say that we are in a situation that is uncomfortable and not to our liking. For example, we’re in a relationship with a man or a woman that isn’t working well, but we really want it to work out but it isn’t working out and so we pretend it is working out. Voila! Magical thinking. And it never really works out because there is no truth to our magical thinking. It’s all made up.
Or we have a situation where someone opens a door for you; for example, an opportunity to put everything you have worked so hard for into a position that reflects all your skills and talents and your mind races to a future in which you have the job of your dreams. And just when you shake hands and your magical thinking comes on because you believe what you want to believe, the phone rings and the position has vanished. Because there is no truth to magical thinking.
I’m not sure we realize how much of our time is spent in magical thinking. Do we even realize it when we do it? Probably not because we really do spend masses of time lying to ourselves about what is the truth. It’s right in front of us but we don’t even see it because we want to restructure what we don’t particularly like. And this can go on for years in our life, decades even until one day the bubble pops and real life explodes in front of our eyes. It might not be so pretty a picture.
Our magical thinking can cause us a whole lot of pain, heartbreak, lost dreams and lost time. It takes courage to live the truth every moment of the day. Magical thinking is the easy way out because we’ve made it all up and our pictures are pretty and life is wonderful. Maybe not as wonderful as the truth appears to be but the truth is beautiful, too, because it is real.
Oh, you say, but sometimes reality is very difficult to deal with and , indeed, it is because it can feel as if it shouldn’t be what it is – it should be they way you think it should be. The other options are discomforting.
Discomfort and pain and heartbreak are part of life. The practice of the Tao consists in daily losing. The Tao is our path of truth, and to keep true to ourselves, it is important that we stay present and bear witness to our values.
If we stay mindful and present, if we give gratitude for our gifts and if we try to see our lives in the moment as being what it is and not what you think it should be, magical thinking will be kept at bay and saved for times of creativity and innovation.