Magic

 

My partner and I went to see David Copperfield last night. He is a great performer, and it was very entertaining. And part of the entertainment is of course to try to figure out how it is done.

Here are some ways it could be done…

Transporting to Perth

What we see: We are shown live footage from a beach near Perth, and DC promises to bring someone with him there and back during the course of the evening. The woman is pre-selected, and we watch a brief video explaining that her estranged father wants to re-establish connection. A randomly selected audience member chooses two letters, and DC writes them on his forearm. He also takes a polariod photo of a group of audience members holding a postcard written by a couple of them. DC and the young woman is hidden behind curtains, then vanishes, and a little later shows up on the live footage from the beach near Perth. The woman runs into the water, and DC shows the letters on his arm and the polaroid photo they brought with them.

How it can be done: The woman and DC have doubles on the beach in Perth. Before the transportation, DC’s double writes the two letters on his arm, learning which two letters to write via a communication link from back-stage, and the polariod is digitally transfered and printed on the beach.

Guessing numbers in advance

What we see: DC tells us has audience members select random numbers and answer a personal question, which he writes on a large screen on stage. Then, he opens a well sealed box, takes out a large piece of paper and an audio cassette, walks over to the edge of the stage (with his back touching the black curtains there), unfolds the piece of paper, and puts the cassette into a tape player. Amazingly, on the piece of paper is written the numbers and information given by the audience members, and the audio tape has him saying the numbers out loud. He also shows two license plates with the numbers on them.

How it can be done: Someone back-stage writes the numbers on a piece of paper and a voice-double reads them in on a tape. When DC walks up the black curtain, he is given the paper and tape and switches them with the ones he pulled out from the box, distracting the audience and using sleight-of-hand. A machine back-stage puts the numbers on blank license plates.

Vanishing audience members

What we see: A group of randomly selected audience members sit on a platform on stage, curtains are drawn around them, and they shine of the curtain with flashlights. When the curtains are raised, they are gone.

How it can be done: The group is led out through the black back curtains as soon as the curtains are lowered around them. The flashlights are simulated by a simple mechanical and electronic device behind the curtains, creating the appearance of the volunteers still being there. (The only question is, what do you do if a stubborn volunteer refuses to go…?)

None of this takes anything away from the performance or the entertainment, if anything, trying to figure it out only adds to it. Especially since none of us knows how he really does it.

Insatiable as who and what I am

 

Both as what (Spirit) and who (individual soul/human) we are, we seem to be insatiable…

I notice this most recently in exploring music (through Last.fm, online radio, and other sources).

There is a deep and quiet exitment and satisfaction in exploring all this music from all over the world, having it at my fingertips, in my living room, being able to share it with others who have similar taste (or not.)

As who I am

As who I am, part of the satisfaction is to explore different parts of myself through this music, especially that of other cultures. I experience myself differently through this music, as I experience myself differently through the larger world in general… any situation, any relationship, any interaction, any engagement, any music, literature, theater, movie… all of these allows me to experience myself and the world differently… bringing new aspects and qualities out.

As what I am

And as what I am, it is the same. The infinite variety of the world of form allows me, as awake emptiness and form, to experience myself in, through and as this infinite variety. Why would awake emptiness arise as form, if not to experience itself as form…?

Awakening to what I am, while embracing who I am

By the way, this is where many approaches to spirituality seem to be a little one-sided. It is true that to awaken as what we (already) are, we need to disidentify with all our (fixed, limited) identities, to die to what we have taken ourselves as, to let go of beliefs in thoughts and ideas.

But this does not exclude living a full life. On the contrary, it allows us to live a far more full life, as who and what we are, in and through this human life. It is fully possible to disidentify from fixed identities, and let go of beliefs, in the midst of a full life.

Awakening to what I am, and experiencing without holding on

What they got right is that to explore life only as who we are does not give any lasting or complete satisfaction. Something will always seem to be missing, and that is awakening to what we are. And in awakening to what we are, we allow anything… There is an absence of holding on, no pushing away, of anything in the world of form.

We can be insatiable, just allowing what arises to arise, without holding on, without pushing away. Just experiencing (and enjoying) our form aspect, as this individual and the wider world, independent of its particulars.

Insatiable?

The word insatiable has connotations of craving, desiring, clinging. When these are blind, it means that we have not yet awakened to what we are.

Here, I am using insatiable in a more free and loose sense, to include Spirit arising as, and experiencing and exploring itself as form. Spirit is “insatiable” only in that it arises as and in innumerable forms, always as new. But since there is no Other here, there is also no clinging.

Cycling through 2nd, 3rd and 1st person

 

In the shifts into endarkenment and then the alive luminosity, I notice what seems to be a natural cycling through 2nd, 3rd and 1st person relationships with it.

I initially explored the fertile darkness through a 2nd person relationship, as a You, then a 3rd person relationship, as an it, exploring and mapping it through images and words, then a 1st person relationship, as part of the field absent of I, then back to a 3rd person relationship, and so on. Naturally cycling through the three ways of exploring it. And the same seems to happen with the alive luminosity.

The second person relationship takes the form of seeing, feeling and loving it as You, and also prayer and intention. The first person relationship is not a relationship, but the field awake to itself – including the fertile darkness and alive luminosity – as absent of I. And the third person relationship is one of mental exploration, of mapping, writing, reading and talking about it.