As you might or might not know, I am an accomplished magician. Every year since 1979, I’ve gone to Tannen’s Magic Camp– first as a camper, then as a counselor, and now as a member of the senior staff.
The best magicians will always let you know before you are fooled how you are about to be fooled. They might say “Wouldn’t it be amazing if…” and give you a sense of where the magic is going to happen. They hint at it. The general rule is that you don’t want your magic to be anything completely unexpected.
Surprises undo us. Most of us dislike being completely fooled. We don’t mind if a spoon bends, and we don’t mind if the signed card is now in a wallet — as long as we were somewhat expecting that to happen. We are comfortable with our expectations being messed with as long as we are expecting our expectations to be messed with. We do not like when things happen far outside our expectations.
The recent election of Donald Trump was outside of the expectations of a majority of Americans and many people throughout the world. (I'm still quite baffled by it.)
We don’t like to be fooled.
We don’t like the world to be other than how we want or expect it.
We dislike it a lot. We really don’t like the world not to conform to what we expect.
We ask the doctor, “Will this hurt?” We ask people who have been down the road before us, “What’s it like?” We seek all types of counsel to help us control, predict, and prepare for the future.
That’s what this newsletter is about. With regard to some of the spiritual-religious aspects of your life, I help you make some better sense of this world. And, I push you, gently and with love, towards making it a better place.
You might remember an article I wrote about how observation biasmight be keeping God out of your life – no matter your understanding of the word gee-oh-dee. Observation bias underscores this notion that we tend to see the world as we think we will see the world . For example, if you are a teacher and you think a student in your classroom is “trouble,” you will see countless examples of that child misbehaving. If you think a friend is rude and interrupts the flow of conversation, you will see that happen.
You should be astounded, literally, to realize that what you expect to see is almost synonymous with what you see. - rB
Maybe the world is only how we see it because that keeps us comfortable?
I awoke the other day with a quote by Martha Beck in my mind: “The repercussions of one person living in stubborn gladness are incalculable.” I was struck by the word “stubborn” and decided to spend the day in stubborn gladness – and while it took work, I managed to do it.
If you want to see more love in the world, start looking for more love in the world, and you’ll see more love in the world. If you expect to encounter wondrous things, there’s a much greater chance you are going to see wondrous things. If you are expecting to see a beautiful world, a beautiful world can be seen. (If you want help in this spiritual paradigm shift, please ask. I would love to help.)
Perhaps the universe doesn’t want to fool you too hard by making the universe anything other than what you expect. That’s how good magic tricks work anyway.
Rabbi Brian Mayer has a great blog on Monday mornings. You can sign up for it here: Sign up for free! rotb.org/archives -