Recently I decided I want to read the Bible. I started with the book of Luke and was nearing the end of Isaiah when I got distracted by another book about Mary Magdalene and have set the Bible aside for the moment. I want to get back to it at some point, but if I never pick it up again I feel I have gained a tremendous gift in the understanding of the meaning of faith.
In the book of Luke I was struck by the account of a woman who had been suffering bleeding for twelve years. Jesus was traveling through the city where she lived and a large crowd had amassed. The woman had heard of his coming and went to see. She approached him in the crowd and touched his cloak. She thought if she could just touch him she would be healed (by then word of his miracle healings had travelled far and wide.) Jesus realized the power had gone out from him (Wow! This statement deserves an entire post to itself.) He turned and asked, “Who touched my robe?” The woman fell at his feet, trembling with fear, and told him it was her. Jesus said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
I recall learning about Jesus’s ability to heal when I was a child and still going with my family to a Baptist church on Sundays. I was very intrigued that the Sun of God had this ability. But we never got into it as a discussion so it was always left in my mind that it was Jesus himself doing the healing. I thought that he was the one with some special power that allowed him to heal who HE chose. It never occurred to me as a little kid that Jesus was just the trigger.
So here I am at age forty. I’m pretty confident that I understand the concept of faith but when I read that story a few weeks ago, I felt like I was deciphering a code. I was downloading a stream of connected teachings and my understanding of faith expanded. Jesus didn’t heal the woman. Her faith did. Her knowing that she could heal did. This is basically the entirety of magic summed up in one parable.
I know a lot of you are not impressed by this particular epiphany of mine but for those of you who are cruising along at the same speed, stick with it for a few more paragraphs.
Have you ever looked down at your arm to discover a small cut that had dried up and was on its way to healing; only to think “Huh. When the heck did that happen?” You got a small cut, it bled a bit and started healing up and you never even noticed. But other times the injury is far too intense for it to go unnoticed. Say you wreck your bicycle and scrape your knees, bruise a hip; but after gathering yourself you notice you’ve also scraped your elbow open. Now, until your eyes see your wounded elbow you hadn’t felt it, but the second your brain registers the injury Boom! now you can feel that pain and you run for the bottle of ibuprofen. This illustrates the power of the mind and also shows us one meaning of the saying, “See it to believe it.” Sometimes you get a cut and it goes unnoticed, other times it doesn’t become real until we see it. Seeing is believing. Faith on the other hand requires our belief without visual proof.
The placebo effect is an easy way to demonstrate the power of faith. You’ve been told your whole life that the ibuprofen will make the bruise quit hurting. But if mother were to give you a sugar pill instead, likely your pain would still diminish because of your faith/knowing that it would. The mind is the master but it must be mastered! Magic works in the same way. Jesus, an old pagan God, a certain mix of herbs, the right color candles lit at the perfect planetary alignment…those things won’t bring you the outcome you desire. Those are just assists. Tools to help calm your monkey mind so you can execute focus. It isn’t anything outside of us that can produce results, miracles or manifestation. It IS us. It’s our unwavering faith and knowing. Jesus is the spell for his believers. The woman knew if she could just touch him that she would be healed. And she was. Because she believed she was. Not because of anything that Jesus did, other than giving her the opportunity to manifest through faith. I think it’s important to note here that action is always required when we practice magic. If the woman had just sat at home praying to Jesus for healing would anything have changed for her? No, she had to get up and go to see him. She had to push her way through the crowd to touch him. Her action was the catalyst for her faith that in turn informed her brain (without doubt) that she was healed!
Spells (and prayers and mantras and affirmations) are powerful because everything we think, say and do is instructing our mind about what our personal reality is. What you think, you become. If you don’t believe this, I’m sorry to say that you’re not going to have much success with magic. But if you can get clear about what it is you want, and focus on it with unwavering faith, you can shape your life into what it is you desire.
Ah, desire. Maybe I’ll write about that next time.