Fascination with the unpleasant

A quick look at the entertainment world – books, movies, songs, fairy tales, mythology – tells us that we are fascinated with the unpleasant.

Why is that? I can find several reasons for why I am drawn to it….

The most obvious is that these things (death, pain, cruelty etc.) are part of human life, and this is a way for me to get familiar with it in a safe way. I get to explore it without putting myself at risk. And I get to prepare for it should it happen to me or someone close to me. If or when something like it happens in real life, I am somewhat prepared.

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I enjoy watching the Winter Olympics, especially sitting in my little log cabin with thick snow-drifts outside, a warm wood stove, and hot cocoa. It is entertaining, with all the drama, joy, disappointment, mishaps, unfair conditions, generosity, and suspicions of doping. It all belongs to the Olympics, and it is the reason why we (some of us) find it so entertaining.

It is also a great opportunity to notice a few things about myself.

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Teachings as entertainment

Some ways to take spiritual teachings…

They can be taken as entertainment in a conventional sense. As fun ideas to play with, whether we take them on as true or not. 

They can be taken as questions and pointers for own exploration. 

And they can be taken as entertainment in the lila sense. The teachings and our own explorations are the play of God, of what we are. 

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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.

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