There is this person (I’m not naming names) whom I have known for 32 years. She always gets the best parking space. It is as though every store and shopping mall in the country has a sign with her name on it right next to the blue one, about six paces from the front door. It doesn’t matter if it’s the opening night for Lord of the Rings or Christmas Eve at Toys R Us — her spot is always there. And if it’s not, within 30 seconds someone will pull out, just as she drives up. And it’s not as if this happened a few times, and everyone said, “Wow!” No, it happens so consistently that her friends call her the Parking Queen. She always gets a good parking space.

I, on the other hand, do not. I blame it on my early years in Catholic school where the nuns taught us not to demand too much for ourselves, to be polite, and to do good things for others. This reached such a pinnacle in me that as a teenager doing my own grocery shopping, I would purposely pick out the overripe and bruised bananas so that others wouldn’t get stuck with them. Not surprisingly then, I would also pick the farthest parking space, so I wouldn’t deprive some elderly person the convenience of a short walk .

Today, as a result of this early training, I couldn’t find a good parking space if I tried. The patterns deep within my psyche simply will not allow it. I might as well wear a sign that says, “No, please, you first!” You can take the boy out of Catholic school, but you can’t take the Catholic school out of the boy.

So often in our attempts to make things happen we ignore those deep and hidden factors within us. They are like the part of the iceberg that determines which way the tip goes. The wind may change direction, but it’s the ocean current that moves the ice. How many times have we huffed and puffed on the visible circumstances of our lives by repeating affirmations, praying on our knees, or invoking the magical powers of the forces of nature, with absolutely no effect, or, if there was an effect, it was negative? Like Paul Simon, in one of his songs, says, “Believing I had supernatural powers, I slammed into a brick wall.” Ouch.

If we tell ourselves that we are always going to get a good parking space, like my friend, but inside we have these beliefs that say we won’t (or shouldn’t), then no amount of repetitious affirmation or prayer is going to override that. Unless we get inside, where those beliefs are manufactured, and alter them so that our inner voice matches our outer voice, we will be doomed to driving around and around the parking lot, at least until the law of averages kicks in and rescues us.

Can we make things happen, or do things happen to us automatically? We have been asking this question for thousands of years. Is there a God who answers our prayers, or does the universe simply respond to what we put out? Is there a difference? Is it merely a matter of technique, or do we have to know someone? This is a hotly debated issue. Moses said that if we screw up, we have to pay. Jesus gave us a blank check called love. Catholics say that the check is no good unless they co-sign it. Then, A Course in Miracles comes along and says there is no check. What are we to do?

If our lives really are like the iceberg, driven by larger, unseen forces, it might behoove us to get on the side of those forces. Real magicians know this. They can sense the hidden currents, and they know when and where they change direction. In Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, the hero pretends to cause a solar eclipse in order to avoid execution. He knew the date, and just happened to know about the eclipse. The locals thought it was magic. This does not mean, however, that magic is merely going with the flow or just happening to be at the right place at the right time. If so, it would not be magic.

Here’s why: The laws of magic closely mirror those of physics. Objects in motion tend to remain in motion. Objects at rest tend to remain at rest. It’s easier to change the direction of an object if it is already moving, as long as it’s not moving too fast. It’s harder to turn a car’s steering wheel when it’s parked than when it starts moving, and tricky if it’s going 100 mph.

The same is true about the conditions of our lives. Circumstances are never static. They are either stuck where they are, meandering in an “up for grabs” transitional phase, or heading full bore toward their ultimate conclusion. A good magician learns to identify these stages. If conditions are stuck, he or she leaves them alone, or finds a way to get them moving. If they are going full bore, he either finds a way to bleed off some of the energy, or jumps off. The most beneficial time is the transitional phase, which is always worth waiting for, because it is changeable. The most powerful tool in the magician’s handbag, therefore, is good timing.

Studies have shown that it is easier to quit smoking if you simultaneously change some other major part of your life, such as beginning an exercise routine. In terms of magic, this is bleeding off some of the energy, diverting it to another task. If you are unable to find good parking, perhaps working on your timing is what is needed. If you are psychically tuned in to everyone else who believes that good parking is hard to find, you will all arrive when the parking lot is most crowded. The “hard-to-find” vibration is what you are programming into your psyche, not “good parking.” Unless you address the timing issue first, no amount of mind energy is going to clear a space for you.

Just because Science has yet to identify the invisible forces of mind or mapped out its public domain doesn’t mean that these things don’t exist. And having experienced them for ourselves does not mean that we’re crazy. It simply means that we are experiencing God’s creation in its entirety, at least as far as we’re concerned.

Knowing how the larger spectrum of our life works and applying the principles as we understand them is simply good living. There is nothing wrong with making things happen, as long as we do not prevent others from doing the same. This is part of the joy of life, as well as its adventure. Remember the old adage: There is more to the unseen than there is to the seen.

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Michael Maciel
Michael Maciel is the author of the website The Mystical Christ (mysticalchrist.org) and two books on contemporary Christian mysticism--The Five Vows and World Priest. Michael lives and writes in Redwood City, California. Contact Michael at michaelmaciel@me.com.

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