Forced, used in the context of magic, is the energy that allows us to manifest what we want and desire. Throughout our daily lives, we constantly gather and expend force by the things we do, the way we feel, the thoughts we think, the things we say, and the choices we make. We have a "bank account" of force, and the more force we have in any given moment, the bigger and faster our manifestations occur for us.
There are seven major areas in life in which most of us experience major losses of force. These are:
- Lying to ourselves or others
- Seeking external validation
- Talking or thinking negatively or excessively
- Tolerating people, things, or situations
- Having expectations
- Taking life too seriously
- Participating in cause and effect chains
A brief description of each of these is given below.
Lying to ourselves or others
How many lies, big or small, do we tell ourselves and others during the course of a single day? While the word "lying" may seem rather harsh, and most of us consider ourselves to be honest people, we may well want to first consider the many forms of lying before we conclude that we are completely honest. Here are some of the ways that we can lie to ourselves and others:
- Exaggerating events in the retelling
- Downplaying events in the retelling
- Switching the sequence of events or omitting certain events in the retelling
- Having reasons or excuses for our actions and behaviors rather than simply accepting them
- Self-justification to ourselves or others
- Telling a "white lie" for ourselves or for others
- Arranging ourselves or our talents in the "best light" even if untrue
Please note that there is nothing "wrong" with lying. In other words, other people may judge us for lying, and we may judge ourselves for lying, but life will not judge our lies. We only look at the various ways in which we lie to understand how we might lose force. There is another factor to consider here the shamans perspective. In tribal times, if a person came to a shaman and asked for help or information, the shaman was in no way obligated to give any help or information, even if she or he had it. Nor was the shaman obligated to tell the "truth." Instead, it was understood that the shaman would use his or her own discretion to make choices, depending on a number of factors, such as whether the person was really asking for help, whether the person could truly benefit from the information requested, and the persons true motives. From a shamans perspective, what we call lying today is not in any way wrong or bad. But we also have to realize that the shaman is operating from a completely different set of morals and ethics than the ones that are propagated in todays society.
How you can determine whether you are losing force by lying to yourself or others? You know by the way your feel. However, before you can even examine the way you feel, you have to catch yourself lying. Most of are so accustomed to telling many of the lies listed above that we scarcely know we are doing it. Our bodies and our spirits, however, do know and do record our reactions to our lying. The first step is to watch yourself carefully during your day and make a mental note of any forms of lying. Next, notice how you feel deep inside during or after the fact. Do you feel guilt, resistance, or fear that you will be caught? Do you compound the lie by justifying to yourself the reasons for lying? Or do you feel calm, centered, and knowing that all is well? If you feel the latter, then that particular instance of lying brings no loss of force. Any negative feelings indicate a loss of force. In the beginning, you may notice very little reaction, but as you continue to observe the validity of your own talking and thinking, you will experience stronger and stronger reactions to the many forms of lying.
Seeking External Validation
Seeking external validation comes in many forms:
- seeking approval from others
- asking permission from others
- doing or saying something based on the opinions of others
- not doing or saying something based on the opinions of others
- needing to be right
- doing anything for others in contrary to own beliefs or thoughts
- giving out a compliment to get one back
- needing anything from anyone
We lose force whenever we seek external validation from others because we give control over our lives, our thoughts, our emotions, and our choices to others. Magically, this is a loss of personal power, which is defined as our knowledge plus our control plus our responsibility.
The act of receiving external validation does not, in itself, necessarily cause us to lose force. In fact, encouragement from others can often increase or amplify our force but only temporarily. For example, have you ever noticed that a compliment from another person, while pleasing and temporarily energizing, often leads to second-guessing about the persons motives? Or perhaps you might feel momentarily flushed with the energy of the compliment, then feel let down over the next several days if you dont receive another compliment? In other words, external validation can give add to your force, but because it doesnt come from your own knowing and your own experiences it will soon fade. You cant "own" the force from a compliment.
It is the act of seeking validation, however, which causes us to lose the most force. Have you ever held your breath while waiting for someone, perhaps an authority figure, to review your work or offer his or her opinion? Can you recall the feeling in your body? Its that adrenaline-pumping, skin-tingling mode of suspension in which all your force seems to rush to the surface in anticipation. Then what happens? No matter whether the response is positive or negative, all the force that has rushed to the surface is instantly expended it is lost to you forever. If the response is positive, you may receive a temporary boost of force that makes you feel as high as a kite, but again, that energy doesnt last. And if the response is negative, out goes the force without even the consolation of a compliment or bit of encouragement. There is, in fact, no long-term gain of force anytime we seek external validation over time it is always a losing proposition. In essence, every time we seek external validation, we offer a sacrifice of our force to the person or people from whom we seek the validation.
Talking or Thinking Negatively or Excessively
How often do we feel the need to rush in and fill the "pregnant pause" in conversation with a lot of chatter? Or how often have we sat in a beautiful park at an outdoor concert and thought about all the things we have to do at the office, rather than letting the waves of good time music wash over us and soothe us? Sometimes it feels like our mouths and our minds are out of control. A good friend of mine referred to excess talking as "verbal diahrrea," a description that aptly describes the way we feel after its over, even if we hardly notice the loss of force.
Excessive talking or thinking is one of the ways that most of us lose force. Most of us have learned to use verbal or mental chatter to make ourselves comfortable, or at least insulate ourselves from those things that make us uncomfortable. Unfortunately, when we talk or think unnecessarily, we lose force.
Even worse is negative talking or thinking, including heavy criticism, gossip, and verbal or mental abuse. By Law of Attraction, the worse it gets the worse it gets. So when we speak or think negatively, we are in a downhill spiral to losing more and more force.
Unfortunately, the mind and the mouth are some of the hardest parts of us to quiet we are a very mental society accustomed to thinking. In fact, its no coincidence that the occurrence of Alzheimers and similar diseases is on the rise. Did you know that your mind is like a piece of machinery if you overuse it early in your life, youll wear it out and not have it available to use later in life. There are, however, ways to begin cultivating inner and outer quiet. Each day, begin to focus on speaking as succinctly as possible say things in as few words as you can. To quiet the mind, spend 3 minutes each day sitting quietly and breathing. No thinking. If thoughts occur, let them go and focus on breathing. In addition, begin to focus on non-verbal ways of communicating, such as smiling, nodding, and touching. Youll being to notice a slowing of mind and mouth, and an increase in force as a result.
Tolerating People, Things, or Situations
How often have we played the martyr in our own lives, tolerating people, situations or things? People often compliment our martrydom by saying, "What a saint you must be!" though if we understood how much force we lose in martyrdom we would be less willing to accept such compliments. We might tolerate situations to avoid conflict or avoid hurting other peoples feelings. There are many reasons we might tolerate aspects of our lives that are less than pleasing, but no matter the reason, we must understand the heavy price we pay for toleration.
Unlike the feeling of allowing, in which we might not agree with something we see and yet feel no particular negative emotion about it, the feeling of toleration is always associated with some form of negative emotion. Its a feeling of perhaps gritting our teeth on the inside while smiling on the outside. It is also a great loss of force. Lets be clear about this. There is nothing in our lives that is worth tolerating. Whatever confrontation or situation we are avoiding by tolerating the current situation is usually a momentary explosion, in which the loss of force may be great for a short period of time, but nothing compared to the slow, steady bleeding of force that comes from toleration.
When we find ourselves tolerating, we are faced with a choice: we can either change the situation so that we no longer have to tolerate it, or we can change our feeling about the person, situation or thing. Since we are all quite adept at manipulating our physical reality through direct physical action, that choice doesnt require a lot of discussion. However, if we want to change our feeling about the situation, we should examine the Law of Attraction, which plays a great role in this. Law of Attraction says that whatever we focus on in any situation is what will manifest. For instance, if we are in a relationship with another person and all we can see is that persons faults, then our experiences with that person will consist mainly of his or her faults. If, on the other hand, we can begin a little at a time to find pleasant aspects of that person to experience, then the way we feel about the person will begin to change. Or, if that person has no pleasant aspects, he or she will leave our life. Bottom line: nothing is worth tolerating.
Another wonderful tool we can employ to change the way we feel is a classic Gurdjieff work exercise, which says that we are to deliberately observe the things which we dislike and tolerate, and make ourselves passive to them for short periods of time. For instance, if I cant stand the way that my good friend Joe smells but I like everything else about him (and I know that I dont want to mention it to him), I will practice being passive to his smell for a while. What does being passive mean? It means quieting the inner sensation of dislike that wells up. It doesnt mean stuffing the sensation, but allowing it to move through us without attachment. Its an inner sense of detachment, as if we were watching someone elses dislike instead of our own. This exercise is to be practiced in short segments no more than 2 to 3 minutes at a time, lest we lose force during the exercise! As with everything, learning not to tolerate anything takes time, and must be practiced one small step at a time.
In many 12-step programs, there is the saying, "Expectations are pre-meditated resentments." In other words, when we have expectations, we are setting ourselves up for failure and disappointment and loss of force. Expectations, which are different from visions, are fixed ideas about how certain situations or outcomes will come about. While a vision may be flexible, expandable, compressible, or changeable, expectations are hard and unyielding. Since the Universe rarely delivers miracles in the ways we might expect (otherwise we would be in charge of miracles, and not the Universe), holding expectations prevents us from receiving the miracle. Hence, we lose force.
People often ask, "How can hold a vision of what I want as a point of attraction, and not slide into expectation?" The answer is simple. Expectations have to do with HOW an outcome will manifest, while visions just have to do with the fact that the outcome will manifest. Visions are not concerned with the mechanics of how. In fact, holding a vision is like looking at a distant scene through binoculars depending on the weather, the distance from you, and the state of your eyes, you will need to keep adjusting the binoculars to achieve clarity. Visions are adjustable while expectations are not.
When we have expectations, we lose force when we are disappointed in the outcome, and we also lose force because we expend a lot of force constantly looking for signs that our expectations are being met. For instance, if I have an expectation about how something is going to happen, I will keep looking at possible signs, and asking myself, "Does this mean its happening or not happening the way I want it to?" or "What if this doesnt happen or what if that does happen?" Expectations, because they are specific, are accompanied by a lot of worry, doubt, and anxiety in other words, we NEED it to come about a specific way and so we are forced to be much more alert. And, if we feel for some reason that the manifestation isnt happening in the way we expect, we often have to leap into action to MAKE it happen. All in all, holding an expectation is a great loss of force.
It is much better to simply hold a vision of the outcome and wait with bated breath and wondrous delight to see how the Universe will deliver it to us. It will always be different and better than what we expect.
Taking Life Too Seriously
Imagine these two scenarios and see if you can feel the difference between the two. In the first scenario, the executive prepares for a big meeting. He is anxious to get all the details he is presenting just right, and feels a little bit as if he is going before executioners because the people in the meeting have the power to grant his request or consign him to failure. They are his last chance. In the second scenario, another executive prepares for a similar big meeting. She is thrilled because for her its a game. The bigger the stakes and the higher the risks, the better she likes it. The thrill of the chase far outweighs the outcome of the meeting. She has been studying the process of manifestation, and is eager to test the effectiveness of her latest experiments. Both scenarios are filled with adrenaline the first with nervous adrenaline, and the second with excited adrenaline. As with riding a roller coaster, the line between nervousness and excitement is very fine indeed, and on which side of the line we stand makes all the difference in the world.
In the first scenario, the executive loses force before the presentation through excess worry, then either gains or loses force according to the whims of the participants in the big meeting. In the second scenario, the executive gains force no matter the outcome because the force comes from the love of the game, not the outcome of the meeting.
Without becoming aware of it, most of us begin falling into life, taking the events with life and death seriousness, and allowing our carefully acquired force to leak out. We are forgetting that we came to this planet to play the game, to gather new experiences, and because we thought it would be fun. So how can we maintain that perspective in the midst of lifes many struggles, trials and tribulations? A great way to stay centered and focused is to play a different "game" each day. Here are a few of them:
- You will live to be 500 years old. How much does it matter what you accomplish today? Who will remember your failures 500 years from now? Do you really need to worry if your career is on track right now?
- You have 24 hours remaining to live in this physical body and experience physical sensations. What will you do with your time? Dont the experiences of eating, talking, touching, feeling, moving your physical body, or making love take on a different light?
- You are an alien here to study Earth and the human race for 24 hours. Arent these humans really strange? Why do they
- Youre only job is to spend a certain amount of time on this planet how you spend it is up to you. You are not required to accomplish or do anything, but you are also allowed to accomplish or do anything.
If you can play one of these games for a few minutes whenever you feel life closing in on you, youll find yourself laughing with life rather than bemoaning your fate. More importantly, youll develop a galloping thirst for the chase and gather a lot of force while youre at it.
Participating in Cause and Effect Chains
Have you noticed how society has a few pre-determined cause and effect chains for almost every situation? They can be found in the idioms we use, such as "No pain, no gain" or "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise" or "Nose to the grindstone." These idioms teach us to follow certain cause and effect chains. For instance, we are taught that if we get good grades in school we can get into college, and if we get good grades in college we can get a good job. The latter part of this chain says that if we get a good job, well have a secure income, and hence be able to attract a mate, and live happily ever after.
This example is a bit of an exaggeration, of course, and yet the chains that weve been taught are quite blatant. Generally, we are taught that if we work hard on the physical plane, well reap the rewards in physical wealth and manifestation. Yet, have you noticed how much effort (translation = loss of force) is involved in these kinds of chains? Words like "sacrifice" and "delayed gratification" and "struggle" are heavily used in this cause and effect equations.
Those of us who have played with manifestation have come to realize that, in truth, what we do on the world plane has very little to do with what we get, and any gain through struggle is a modest gain at best. If we participate in the cause and effect chains that society offers, we are apt to lose more force than we gain through the struggle. These cause and effect chains are reasonable, logical, and definitely linear. They preclude the miracles, and the hope, that comes from living outside those chains.
There isnt anything wrong with participating in those chains if you dont mind losing force. But if you want the miracles to happen in your life (which only happens when you gain force), you have to step outside those chains. You have to do what people call "impossible" or "hopeless" and, in addition to the footwork, you have to include things like hope and wonder and delight in the equation. Bottom line: our current society isnt in touch with miracles, so if you want to manifest your desires its better to gain force by not participating in societys cause and effect chains.
The seven ways of losing force described above seem to be the most prominent, but we are all different people with different modes of living. The bottom line is, if you are aware of yourself and the way you feel, you will be able to determine the ways and times in which you gain and lose force. Each of us is a perfect being, a perfect machine, with all the monitors and gauges that tells us when we are on track and when we arent. If things are going better and better for you, you know you are gaining force and your bank account is growing. If youre sliding down the slippery slope and things are getting worse, maybe its time to take a look at the list above and see if youre losing force in a few major areas. You will know because you are a spirit having a physical experience, and your spirit abilities are more than adequate measures for this entire process. Have fun with this, play with this, and get your nose off that grindstone!
Stephanie Yeh is a coach and teacher of magical and shamanic practices. Her aim is to teach practical, hands-on magical procedures that can be easily applied in daily life. She works with anyone who is interested in studying the art of manifesting desires.