“He must be sure success is not of him, but will be given him at any time, in any place and circumstance he calls for it. There are times his certainty will waver, and the instant this occurs he will return to earlier attempts to place reliance on himself alone. Forget not this is magic, and magic is a sorry substitute for true assistance. It is not good enough for God’s teacher, because it is not enough for God’s Son. (M-16.8)”
Affirmation: “reliance on self alone is magic”
1 – Relying on the Ego
Reliance on self alone is reliance on the ego that is a part of the personal self. The teacher/student of God does not make this mistake if he wishes to have a good life, the kind of good life that God wishes for him/her. We are used to placing reliance on ourselves alone. The world teaches toward this, believing that good judgment is an asset to be favored and developed.
2 – Judgment Faulty
Yet we cannot have good judgment, because we cannot know all the facts surrounding any issue. Our judgment, our personal judgment, of the same issue may seem right at one point, wrong at another. We do not know. Only the Holy Spirit knows all facts surrounding every issue, along with how our thoughts and actions will affect others beyond ourselves (in addition to ourselves). So we give up judgment, and in so doing, we are blessed. The burden is gone. And it was all a fantasy, a false idea that we ought to develop our judgment to its heights. (These ideas are paraphrases from the Manual.)
3 – This Definition of “Magic”
The word “magic” in this context is not a good thing. It is akin to the secular psychological idea of “magical thoughts,” which suggest mental illness. We do not always use the term “magic” as a negative, but Jesus here uses it in this way. There are many different definitions of the same word in the English language, and this is one of them.
4 – Students/Teachers of God
Remember that only time (which does not really exist) separates the teacher of God from the student of God. We are actually all both teacher and student (paraphrase from the Manual). We do not always realize when we are teaching, but when we are teaching (which goes on all the time), we are drilling in to our own psyche the very things that we are trying to convey to our brothers and sisters. We have often recognized that the teacher in a secular classroom learns best the lesson that he/she is teaching, and learns it better than the students who sit in the classroom. This is akin to the passage selected for today.
I would recognize guidance and follow it as much as I can possibly bring myself to do. If I hesitate, I will stop a moment and ask, “Why?” I will not barrel ahead to a dubious conclusion. My ego’s judgment is always faulty, and the personal self frequently is trapped in egoic thinking.
May I know that relying on the personal self is not the best that I can do. I need Your help, and I know that there is no shame in acknowledging this need for You. You are always there for me, and I would thank You for this commitment from You. I am a part of You, but I do not see the whole picture that You see. Help me to see more and more of the picture, though, as I turn to You ever more frequently.
Be with all of us as we seek You today. And may today be a glorious day, even as the rainy weather cures the parched soil that I see outside my window.