Magic tricks

Just about anything can be used as an analogy for the process of waking and growing up. It is, after all, as rich as life itself.

So how can magic tricks work as an analogy for waking up?

I can find a few different things….

Misdirection. One of the main tools in the magician’s toolbox is misdirection. He or she brings the attention of the audience to something, while something else is happening somewhere else, and it is done in a very convincing way.

Illusions. Something appears as what it is not. There is the appearance of something that is not there.

And when the tricks are revealed, we cannot be fooled by the same trick again. We may still be impressed and amazed by it, but not fooled.

And the same happens in the dynamics of waking up.

There is misdirection. Attention is absorbed into stories because they are taken as true, and this in turn fuels the appearance of truth in them. All the while, what we are is right there in plain sight but it is not noticed since attention is occupied elsewhere.

There are illusions. Mainly, the illusion of certain stories as true, which in turn brings identification within content of experience and an appearance of a separate I. It is only a play, but it can appear very real and our human lives can be lived as if it is real.

And when the trick is revealed, even once, we cannot completely be fooled by it again. Sometimes, we may still feel caught up in the illusion, but even here there is the knowing that it is an illusion. And other times, the illusion is liberated more thoroughly.

(Of course, the trick has to be revealed through a direct insight, not within stories, and it may have to be revealed over and over until there is more familiarity with it, more trust in it, and it is lived more thoroughly in our human life.)

The first video is of David Copperfield apparently walking through the Great Wall of China. It looks convincing and impossible, doesn’t it? And below is one way to do the same trick. After knowing how it can be done, it is different to watch the first video. We can be impressed by the skill with which it is done, we can be amazed by the appearance of him walking through the wall, but we cannot be fooled anymore.

When the trick is revealed, some of the initial enjoyment goes out of it. We are not entertained in the same way anymore. (This is where nostalgia for samsara comes in.) But it is still as or more entertaining, just in a different way.

So if you don’t want to lose the initial form of entertainment, don’t watch the video below. But if you are interested in the form of entertainment that is on the other side of the illusion, go ahead 🙂


Initial outline…

  • misdirection (distraction, don’t notice what is more true for us + what we are)
  • illusions (something appearing as what it is not, appearance of something not really there)
  • when revealed, cannot be tricked again (can be impressed, amazed etc. but not tricked)

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