Part of the reason Anna and I started this podcast together is because we have two different perspectives on all things yoga. Yeah, we agree about a lot of things, but where she dives right into the spiritual aspects, I sit back and get my skeptical face on.
I picked up Emma Mildon’s The Soul Searcher’s Handbook over a year ago and inhaled it. I love the à la carte spirituality it offers, letting me choose to keep the items lower on the “woo woo scale” and experiment with the ones higher up just for fun.
As an avid reader of fantasy novels, I’ve always been fascinated by magic and the unexplained, but I still keep my feet on the ground. I’ve watched a looooooot of Ghost Hunters episodes, but I wouldn’t say I believe in ghosts. I get really excited when they catch a crunching sound on their little Walkman and interpret a half-second blip as something like, “Well hello intruders. I am most definitely a ghost, and my name is Sir Benedict Templeton the Third, and I was killed in my own home and my soul is stuck because of unfinished business and please get out of my house or I will kill you too and you will spend eternity with me.”
But then I laugh at how big a stretch that interpretation is.
I LOVE the idea of magic, but I just can’t get my mind to believe it. Wouldn’t a pet unicorn be AMAZING? Yeah, but they don’t exist. Telekinesis would solve ALL my I-want-food-but-don’t-want-to-get-off-the-couch problems. Too bad it’s not real. Crystals are so freaking gorgeous and magical! Yeah, but I’m holding onto like 10 of them, and I’m still not levitating.
So yeah, I’m a skeptic through and through. Anna throws open the closet door and launches across the threshold like the proud little magic pixie she is, but I’m just gonna crack the door and peek out through last season’s sweaters for now. My relationship with all things spiritual is that of a creepily rapt voyeur.
All the same, I do realize there’s a lot of shit going on in this universe that we can’t explain. Is that magic? Maybe. But there are many things that I believe have a scientific explanation -- we just haven’t figured it out just yet. And maybe we don’t need to. Maybe magic isn’t the existence of unexplained phenomena. Maybe magic is the state of mind when we accept what we can’t yet explain.
And I can start to get on board with that kind of magic.
Like Reiki. I took a Reiki workshop and got attuned last year. For those of you who don’t know, once you’re attuned, you can channel the Universe’s energy through your body to heal disease, gain psychic abilities, open your third eye, relive past lives, and see ghosts.
I think you can guess my mental state going in.
But I’m a good sport about things like this. Even if I don’t 100% (or 10%) buy into it, I still want to see what it’s all about, so hell yeah I bought a ticket to that show.
After our attunement, we each lined up to do Reiki one at a time on our teacher. The room was quiet, the concentration written on each person’s face. When my turn came, I placed my hands over my teacher’s head and felt nothing. I expected to feel her body heat (and figured that’s what everyone felt and misinterpreted as Reiki), but I didn’t even feel that. Until my hands drifted above her heart. My skeptical little paws felt like they were being pushed upward, and my fingers started tingling intensely. As I hovered my hands over the rest of her body, the sensations subsided, and I stepped out of line when I was done. Playing it cool. Naturally.
Once everybody had gone and we were standing silent and solemn, the instructor asked how it went, and I exploded: “Holy crap, I wasn’t expecting to feel anything BUT I DID!”
Sure, you could say it was the power of suggestion, but you have to be a willing rube for that, and I really wasn’t.
So here I am. With the closet door cracked. I’m still sitting on a pile of smelly shoes, and shirt buttons are getting tangled in my hair, but I’m closer to the door than ever, and the fresh air coming in feels pretty nice.