Unlocking Real Magic: Navigating the World Beyond Magical Thinking

In this conversation, we unravel the age-old question: What sets apart genuine magic from mere wishful thinking? Join us as we explore the intersections of consciousness, transhumanism, and the mystical, providing insights that go beyond the surface and learning to distinguish true magic from the illusions of the mind. Uncover the wisdom of ancient practices like mantra meditation and discover the practical insights that can shape our reality and allow us to live a magical life.


HARI-KIRTANA DAS: Welcome everyone and thank you so much for being here for our community conversation for this January of the New Year 2024. Today we are going to talk about real magic versus magical thinking. 

The reason that I thought this would be a good topic to speak about this month is because January is, of course when we make our New Year's resolutions. And I don't know about you, but I've got plenty of emails about setting, not just setting intentions, but emails about how you're going to manifest whatever it is you want in your life to happen. And I've also been reading some things from some books and essays about what the future might look like. And I've wondered how much of that kind of futurism or that futuristic thinking sounded to me like magical thinking. And I'm interested to hear your take on it. 

So that's why I thought this might be a good time to speak about this particular topic. And I'm very anxious to hear your thoughts on these. So thank you very much and welcome all of you who are just now coming in. I'm very honored to have you here and very pleased to be able to spend this time with you. So here are some of the questions or issues that I'd like to explore, and that I hope will be jumping off points for discussion today.

First I thought it would make sense for us to talk about what it is we really mean when we say magic. And from there, I think we'll be better able to differentiate between magical thinking versus actual magic. 

Now, just so you know where I'm coming from, I believe in magic. I think there's a thing called magic and it's real. And I also think that there is such a thing as magical thinking, which is not really magic. And so distinguishing between these two things, real magic and magical thinking, I think that's valuable and important. 

I mentioned earlier how I was getting a lot of emails about workshops for manifesting and such like that. Some of them were pretty good, and I attended or dropped in on a couple of workshops to see where people were coming from. And one in particular struck me as a very useful from the standpoint of demystifying what manifesting is or how we think about manifesting. And so I wanted to talk about this idea of manifesting as becoming versus manifesting, as attracting. 

Then also science, consciousness and transhumanism. I will be curious to know your thoughts on this idea of the future of human evolution or post-human evolution.  It's kind of a hot topic especially amongst the tech cognoscenti.

Then finally, mantra meditation and creative visualization. Getting back to elements of a spiritual yoga practice and how magical is it, really? So anyway, those are my ideas of what we can talk about. And of course, I would like very much for you to suggest other aspects of this particular topic or these particular ideas to see what comes up for you when we talk about magic and magical thinking. 

All right. So for starters, just so we know that we're talking about the same thing, what do we mean by magic. What do you think? Please feel free to just pipe up and volunteer a definition of magic, or what your conception or experience of magic might be. You can also pop it in the chat if you prefer to do it there. Tell me what you think. You're allowed to use the dictionary, by the way, if you want to just look it up. 

R.M.: So, I mean, I think of magic really simply - and I'm not looking at a dictionary, so I'm sure there's a very specific definition - but anything unexplainable or even synchronicities, something that just kind of is unexplainable. 

I think sometimes there are moments in my life where something occurs that just seems out of the blue or that seems serendipitous. And even those things to me are magic. So it's not only - if you tap into the woo of it all - it's not only the things that are spells and, casting and things like that. I think it's also just the moments in life that come up that give you a sense of wonder. That's how I would define magic.

HARI-KIRTANA DAS: All right. That's wonderful. Michelle, thank you so much. 

Yeah. For some people there are no coincidences. Things happen for a reason. And sometimes it seems reasonable to take that as magical. 

Other thoughts? There's a couple of comments in the chat I will share those with you. A miraculous outcome from Paula. Thank you. Yeah. Miracles. Kind of associated with magic from Jennifer. Influence through non-causal means. Hmm. So, in effect, without a Jennifer, I'm going to want to dig a little deeper into this idea of an effect that does not have a cause or at least a discernible cause. I want to come back to you on that one. 

Belief in possibilities. Yeah. Melanie. Thank you. Now that gets into how we think. And I also want to make a distinction between magical thinking and thinking magically, because I also think that there's an important, subtle difference there. 

And then from Ron, outside the natural world and beyond. Natural cause, reason and explanation. Supernatural. Yeah. That's another cool way to think about magic. 

Lulu. Go ahead.

LULU:  This tickled me as like a journal prompt. So I wrote down what I think is like three small bullet points: magicians playing tricks with their tools, wizards teaching spells, and mystical tickles from the universe.

HARI-KIRTANA DAS: Mystical tickles from the universe. That's a book title. I hope you'll write that book. That's awesome. All right. Thank you so much. 

Any other. Any other thoughts on what magic means. What are we talking about when we're talking about magic? I'll share some ideas with you, but they're not mine. From Arthur C Clarke: any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. 

And this gets back to Jennifer's comment influence through non-causal means, because I'm really curious about that. Because when I think of magic, I think of something that happens that has a cause, but we don't understand it. Like, we either don't understand where it came from, we don't know where it came from, or we don't understand the relationship between the effect and the cause. So, Jennifer, if you if you want to elaborate on your comment in the chat, then I would welcome that. 

There's also a connection between this idea of magic being a word we use for a technology we don't understand, and yoga. We can think of yoga as a practical technology that we can use to test the theories of knowledge that we read about in yoga wisdom texts in order to take them for a test drive, see if they actually work, see if they can be verified by our experience, by direct perception. So that's another way that that's a way at least that I think about magic or a way that resonates with me when I think about magic, whether it's yoga or spells, sound vibration, that has an effect that we don't understand how that could really happen. 

Anyway let me go back to the chat for a second. From Jane. Energies between people and in the natural world that can manifest or elicit something or an outcome that's bigger than the sum of the parts, or not necessarily linear or logical. That's a really cool definition of magic.  Where the end product is greater than the sum of the parts. And you kind of wonder, like, how did that happen? This happens in music. That's the first example I always think of, when musicians get together and they're a group of really good musicians, but somehow the interaction between them… there's some alchemy that happens that that when they get together and combine their talents, music happens at a level that is logically beyond just the addition of this musician, plus this musician, plus this musician. Yeah. Thank you for that. 

Jennifer comes back: one example is the practice of gratitude and how that draws more things to be grateful for. Yes, I agree there is magic in expressing gratitude. In particular, the expression of gratitude is one of the four basic elements of prayer. I have had the experience myself. And I'm betting many of you have also had that experience, that the expression of gratitude seems to amplify feelings of gratitude or expand our awareness of all there is to be grateful for. So, yeah. Thank you very much for that elaboration. 

Lulu: also thinking about how it is like to be a novice at something you like, everything is exciting and new, and you're trying to make associations. For example, you're learning carpentry and just got. I just got my first drill and impact driver and it's magical to me. Yeah, there's a magical technology like, oh, I can just drill holes and hang up stuff on my own now. You know, that's such a simple example and a straightforward example. Of how we translate technology into tools that have a magical effect. 

All right. I think we've got a sense of what we're talking about collectively now. When we use the terms magic, we've got a lot of different angles of vision on the idea of magic, and I very much appreciate all of your contributions to our collective definition and understanding of magic and what we're talking about when we talk about magic. So let's talk about magical thinking for a second. Now, I didn't really create any slides for magical thinking, but I do have some thoughts on what I think magical thinking is. I would like to hear your thoughts on what's the difference between thinking magically. As in acknowledging, recognizing, or invoking real magic as opposed to magical thinking. When you hear the phrase magical thinking, what comes up for you? Any thoughts on this?

STANLEY: When I hear magical thinking, I think wishful thinking but thinking magically means to me being open to different possibilities and open to the idea that. Things can be beyond our control and that things happen out there.

HARI-KIRTANA DAS: Thank you. Stanley. Joanna in the chat: Magical thinking. Expect the unexpected. Think outside the box. 

In the context of our discussion, I would put think that expecting the unexpected or thinking outside the box as thinking magically rather than magical thinking. For me at least, magical thinking has the implication of being unrealistic, whereas thinking magically would be more like what you're speaking about, being receptive to the unexpected or thinking outside the box. 

Paula: the belief you are the cause of an outcome. 

Well, now, that's really interesting. There is a verse in the Bhagavad Gita that corresponds to what you've said here. That under the influence of false ego, someone may think I am the doer of activities. I am making things happen when in fact, what's really happening is the interactions of the qualities of material nature are making things happen. So from a standpoint of spiritual knowledge, a really interesting way to think about magical thinking, or that the whole idea that we are making things happen is magical thinking. Thank you so much for that. 

From Jane: I think the same about magical thinking, wishful thinking, and I feel like it's usually used derogatorily. 

Yes, I tend to agree that that phrase magical thinking versus thinking magically is tends to have a derogatory aspect. 

From Danielle… Danielle, thanks for being here… Magical thinking. Divinely connected. 

Again, thinking about our connection to divinity or how things are divinely connected in the world, I might phrase that as thinking magically: acknowledging magic in the world as opposed to wishful thinking or magical thinking if we were to make those synonyms. 

Another from the chat: is this a play on words? Magical thinking. Sounds like manifestation, like expanding one's awareness. It’s an exploration of a subtlety. A nuance in phraseology. You may argue that I am splitting hairs here a little bit. But because the phrase magical thinking, as someone else pointed out, is usually, used in a way of your thinking unrealistically. That's the distinction I'm making between magical thinking being unrealistic and thinking magically seeing magic in the world or being receptive to magic. 

So thinking magically would be my idea of, expanding one's awareness. Being open to an awareness of how magic manifests in the world and in our lives. 

Krista: the Cambridge dictionary says the use of special powers to make things happen that would usually be impossible. 

I think of magic as something an unexplainable, essentially magical thinking could be more ritualistic. Like if I wear my lucky socks, my hockey team will win, for example. Yeah. I don't know how much how prevalent it is in hockey, but in baseball, oh my goodness. There's like a zillion superstitions that baseball players have, you know, about, what they have to do when they come to the plate or what they do when they're if they're the pitcher.  Sporting events are famous for, uh, all, all manner of what I would call magical thinking. 

I want to recognize two more messages in the chat from Celeste. I always think of the book the year, if magically thinking the idea that we wish for something different and we keep rewinding it in our mind. If only this or that. 

And Jennifer: for me, magical thinking symbolizes passive wishing where thinking magically implies action-oriented thoughts. Yeah. And Celeste agrees and someone else has a thumbs up. That's a great way, I think, to distinguish between magical thinking and thinking magically. Because thinking magically implies that not only receptivity, but also taking action. Yeah. Thank you so much for that. 

Okay, Annie. Go ahead.

ANNIE:  My thoughts and some of this based on experiential work and women's spirituality. We've talked about it in terms of intentional raising and focusing of energy. 

HARI-KIRTANA DAS: Yeah, that's a good point. You know, when we speak about energy, we're talking about something metaphysical, something that you can't measure in any kind of naturalistic way. And when we engage in spiritual practices or even just metaphysical practices involving the movement of energy, we have that experience. That's really pretty undeniable. 

So anything that involves the technology of metaphysics, of moving something that cannot be measured within the five general physical elements of solids, liquids, radiance, gases and space. Certainly the natural sciences might consider that magic. This is one of the reasons why modern psychology works very hard to create creations to biology, chemistry and sociology because as a standalone metaphysical phenomenon, psychology doesn't even really count as a real science in the court of Scientific Judgment. Yeah. Thank you very much for that. 

Lulu. Go ahead.

LULU: I'm actually going to echo on that and what Jennifer said, because the difference between thinking and then the thing that you're thinking about is that there's cognition involved. So then that cognition is helping you either have a behavior or make a decision or do something. So I like to think of it as like the magician card from the tarot. Um, it like symbolizes having like all the tools that you need and then like picking the tool that's going to be appropriate for the given situation. So that's that was my thought.

HARI-KIRTANA DAS: That's a cool thought. And I think an accurate one, a nice analysis, because if we accept the idea of magic in the world and magic in our lives then it implies - and especially if we're thinking in terms of technology of one kind or another, physical or metaphysical - then we have the opportunity, the option to be proactive in using magical tools to bring about magical results. Or we are receptive to responding, taking action reactively to the experience of magic. 

But yeah, the idea that the acknowledgment of the existence of magic gives us that opportunity to be proactive about it and learn about it. That's a really good point, which brings us back to upsides of thinking magically. 

The first upside is the for me, based on what I'm hearing from you is the opportunity to practice magic or engage magical tools for a constructive magical purpose. Whereas the downside of magical thinking - as we've defined it as wishful thinking or passive thinking or wearing your lucky charm when you root for your team, that sort of thing - is you set yourself up for some pretty big disappointment when it when it doesn't happen. 

And worse, I have seen, at least in some instances, purveyors of magical thinking create a kind of mental environments where if we fail, then it's our fault. We're not thinking magically enough. We are not somehow or other doing the thing that should invoke the magical result. And so there's, uh, the risk of disappointment.

Any other thoughts about downsides of magical thinking versus upsides of thinking magically before we move on. 

Gem in the chat: the Sanskrit meaning of magic means Indra's net fraud, deception, illusion, conjuring, juggling, sorcery. The Latin Magnus root word indicates the media tribe of time who follows Zoroastrianism. 

Interesting history. Now I'm curious to know which exact Sanskrit word you are talking about here. Because magic can be thought of as magic tricks like illusion, the magician on the stage who uses trickery and misdirection. That's not really magic. That's deception as opposed to magic. So I'd be curious to know, like, what's the actual word in the Sanskrit that you're looking, uh, at? 

Diane. Go ahead.

DIANE: Magical thinking, I think it's very narrow and you're going down a very single, solitary path. But when I think of magical thinking, I think of things just opening up, and you have lots and lots of opportunities and lots and lots of ways to move and to think. And they're like, the antithesis of is that the right word of each other? So that's it.

HARI-KIRTANA DAS: That's a really interesting way to visualize it. The narrowing of options versus the expansion of options, the broadening of the bandwidth of possibilities versus thinning out possible possibilities. That's a cool way of thinking of that the advantage of thinking magically is that there's an expansion of possibility, whereas magical thinking narrows possibility. Cool. Thank you very much for that. 

Let me share my screen again and talk about let's talk about the next topic that we thought that I'd like to bring up today: manifesting as becoming versus manifesting as attracting. Now. When I usually hear about manifesting it has to do a lot with, like the Law of Attraction and, uh, getting the things you want or making things happen externally to yourself in order for the universe to move into alignment with your desires. 

And one of the manifesting workshops that I dropped in on around New Year's time was a workshop hosted by a guy named Justin Michael Williams. He's the author of a book called Stay Woke, a meditation guide for the rest of us. And he's also a musician as well as an author. And he does a lot of connecting spirituality to social justice and that sort of thing. And right away, the first thing he did was break out the dictionary and say, you know, manifesting doesn't mean making things happen outside of yourself. It means revelation. It means becoming. Who you can be: living up to your own potential and your own possibilities. 

So rather than it being defined as manipulating things or, or adapting a state of mind that has some kind of magnetic attraction effect, it had more to do in his definition with an internal adjustment of becoming the person that has the capability to do the kind of things in the world that you would like to do. 

And I thought that was an important distinction, that if we think of manifesting as just if I think wishfully enough, then things will happen the way I want, as opposed to thinking about what is my idea of my optimum ideal self. And then how can I start acting like that person that I aspire to become? Let's let me hear your thoughts on this. 

Celeste, please go ahead.

CELESTE: Hi. I just wanted to go back a moment to the idea of, um, magical or wishful thinking and that it definitely has many downsides, but one of the upsides is of it is that when something happens that we can't accept or process or takes us a little bit of time to adjust to, magical thinking is kind of a way of giving ourselves that time to have that breather, that we can't accept it and we say, well, what if… if only this, if only that it hadn't happened. If the first responders had gotten there in time, I wouldn't have lost my leg or I wouldn't my husband wouldn't have died or some kind of terrible thing, or maybe not so terrible. 

And when it takes us time psychologically to adjust that period of six months, when we think about it, when we indulge in magical thinking and it is kind of an indulgence that if only this had happened, the outcome would have been different. It allows us time to process things. So in that side, in that sense, there is a slight upside to it.

HARI-KIRTANA DAS: Yeah, I see what you're saying. And that's a really good point. You know, nothing is ever just black and white. There's a gray area, and the gray area here is that magical thinking can have a therapeutic effect, especially if we go through something traumatic. And like a like you said, it's an indulgence, but it can be a necessary or even healthy indulgence as part of a process of healing or reconciling ourselves to an outcome that may not have been the one we wanted. That's a really good point, Celeste. Thank you very much. 

And there's a kind of a subtle additional point here. I am susceptible to somewhat black and white thinking. So just because I make something look black and white doesn't mean that's the way it is. And so I encourage you to all of you to follow in Celeste's footsteps by making sure that the subtleties and nuances that I might miss when I'm blabbering on and on about what I think are not are not missed. 

So that is part of the value of your participation in these conversations. So, Celeste, thank you again. 

In the chat from Michelle: I love this so much because it makes manifesting action based, which is a part that I think we can forget. Becoming takes action. Purposeful action. 

Yeah, that was kind of the point that was being made with this redefinition of manifesting as “becoming”. Because becoming requires you not just to think about yourself in a certain way, but to act in that way. 

There's an interesting book I came across. It's called “The Alter Ego Effect”. And it's about how people who are top performers in business or sports or such like that have alter egos. Musicians also have this where they become the superhero version of themselves when they perform, when they when they do the thing they're famous for doing that they've been really successful at, they have a sense of it's almost like a character they play. And the person they are off stage is different from the person they are on stage. The person they are on the field is different from the person they are off the field. 

And I have found this to be very useful in my own spiritual life. I imagine, who is the superhero version of like the person I would be if I was like the ultimately spiritual person I aspire to be.  And now, can I act like that person? 

And one of the things in this book is that Superman is not Clark Kent's alter ego. Superman is who he really is. Clark Kent is Superman's alter ego. And in this way, he was making the point that the superhero version of ourselves is who we really are. And so it's not some false identity that we take on. It's the manifesting of our true selves, expressed as the ultimate potential of who we can become. 

And I thought, okay, that's cool, I can take that for a test drive. So like when I, think when I do my mantra meditation practice, sometimes I will remember this and I'll think, okay, what is the state of mind of the person who is super absorbed in this mantra. Well, what? What would they do as opposed to what would I do? 

What I would do is I would chant on my beads with one hand and scroll on my phone with the other and just like, put my mouth on autopilot. That's not really going to do me much good. But someone who's completely absorbed in every single syllable and contemplating the meaning. And I'll get to this a little bit more when I talk about mantra meditation. That's the superhero version of myself. So I have to kind of step into that alter ego, uh, in order to really maximize the effect of my own spiritual practice.

Any other thoughts on manifesting as becoming versus manifesting as attracting? Anyone have anything else? 

From Jane: I teach yoga and in I used the past week connected used considering intentions about how you want to be and feel versus certain achievement of getting something and goals. I had seen this shift from a few other yogis messaging seems to me to connect with some of the ideas about becoming and manifesting. 

Yeah, I think that it does. You know, the topic du jour at this time of year or the time of the year around the new year? And I think that that. Reframing of intentions to be and feel versus get is something really valuable. Yeah, that's really nice. 

From Gem: a trend I see in media is the magical powers TV series and films. I wonder that young people think this stuff is real, and they may feel inadequate because they don't have magic powers. Staying in present time doing tasks that steadily approach our goals we set up this magic. Many live in the past or in the future. 

Yeah. Yoga wisdom texts talk about how, um, elevating our consciousness beyond the level of, um, hankering and lamenting: hankering for that which we do not have, lamenting for that which we have lost, uh, or for what we don't have… yeah, that that's that's a higher level of consciousness. 

I don't really know what's going on on tv, but that could be one of many reasons why people of a younger generation have of issues of one kind or another. 

From Lulu: I have to bow out. Okay. To guide meditation. Lulu, if you're already gone. It was nice having you here. And yes, it looks like you've checked out. Okay, well, thank you for being here. 

Alright.  So two things in the time we have left. And let's see how much this is an issue for you as it is for me. All right: science, consciousness and transhumanism. 

Transhumanism, as I understand it, is the idea that the future of humanity lies in a technology yet to be developed that will allow us to upload our minds to robots, basically to androids. With the idea that if the mind and everything associated with the mind is hackable and uploadable to a device and that device behaves, looks and behaves exactly like the person whose mind was uploaded, then they are in fact that person and that person - if we can create a robot body that is indestructible - we'll live forever. 

And of course, the big question is does uploading your mind to a device on the assumption that that's even ever going to be possible, mean that the device has the experience of self-awareness. What's the distinction between consciousness, the experience of being and the contents of the mind? 

There's a really interesting book on this that's more like a meditation of the intersection of transhumanism and the philosophy behind it, and religion. It's called God Human Animal Machine by Meghan O'Gieblyn.  I don't really know how to pronounce her last name, but it's a really interesting read. She's a great writer. And she's approaching it from the standpoint of a person who grew up in a very extreme religious setting and left the religion that she was brought up in. A lot of the magical thinking thoughts that are associated with religion came from reading her essays, so I recommend it. 

What do you think about this idea of transhumanism and uploading the mind and the relationship between the mind and consciousness? Do you think they're one in the same? Do you think this is possible? Anyone have any ideas about this? 

Jill, have you ever come across… I'll ask you specifically and then Annie I'll get to you… have you ever come across this kind of thinking relative to techno spiritualism in your search for speakers to participate in your events?

JILL: I have not. I've just been, um, trying to find someone into sacred geometry. That's about as much as I could look into. 

It's interesting, though. I mean, when you like in the Gita, when you talk about demoniac nature versus divine.

HARI-KIRTANA DAS: The 16th chapter. Yes.

JILL: I think there's something to be to be said in maybe what I can understand a little bit more as the evolution of magical thinking in manifesting change in the self. That's kind of how I see coming out of one nature into the other. But bringing in robots and technology are far over my head because I can't hardly work my iPhone.

HARI-KIRTANA DAS: Well, you're in good company. All right. Thank you. Annie. Go ahead.

ANNIE: If you talk about technology and uploading our minds and that's how we're going to perpetuate humanity, you'd have to believe that we are our minds. Just like you would have to believe that we are our bodies. And we're not either. We're not our bodies. We're not our minds, our intelligence. You know, we're spirit souls. We were atman. Our bodies, our minds are things we have. They're not who we are. You can't. You're not transferring the humanity if you do that.

HARI-KIRTANA DAS: Yeah. You know as I understand it transhumanism is based on precisely the opposite thinking, the idea that we are the body, that the body produces consciousness or that consciousness is a product of chemical, electrical, electrical, impulses and that sort of thing. And therefore there's no real difference between the self and, and the body, and therefore the self goes out of existence when the body goes out of existence. 

So the latest attempt to achieve immortality is the idea of transferring the mind into an artificial body. And yeah, the question that can't be answered because it's just subjective experience is does that actually achieve the transferral of consciousness? 

If you believe that there is no difference between the mind and the self, then then the answer, at least theoretically, would be yes. But from the standpoint of spiritual wisdom that makes a clear distinction between the spiritual conscious self and the mind body complex. And the answer is no. That's ridiculous. That's not going to happen.

For myself when I see someone, write “I'm going to transfer my mind into a robot”... well, if it's you're speaking about your mind in the possessive, then who is the possessor of the mind that you are transferring? And why do you think you will go with your mind? When you make that transfer to me, it's frankly quite clearly in the court of magical thinking, yet another post-dated cheque in a long line of promises from the world of naturalistic technology promises something they can't deliver. At least that's my not very high opinion of the whole idea.

From the chat. Danielle: perhaps it's a ritual of recognizing our abilities to transcend through our manmade cells. I feel it's a shortcut way of dismisses what's already within us. Still processing this. 

All right. Thank you very much. Uh. Yeah, it strikes me as, as a ] workaround. From Leslie: at first, the idea of uploading to a machine makes me have a bad reaction, but it also reminds me of reports of communication with plants. As an example, which sounds like a more pleasant, connected idea. 

You know, in yoga philosophy, plants are people, too. And that is also sometimes hard for us to wrap our heads around. But this is something I hope to talk about in a future community conversation. The disenchantment of the world by virtue of elements of modern culture, that is to say, the depersonalization of nature and ultimately of us because we are a part of nature. So stay tuned for a conversation about that coming up in the future.

Tiffany, hang on for just a second. Also from the chat, Jim: In AI there have been works done to read the thoughts in another country. They have used AI technology to speculate, the person is thinking ABC, etc.. 

All right. Well, uh. Sounds like magic tricks to me. Jane: it does seem to get back to the eternal seeming questions of what are we? And do we have some existence in some form beyond the embodied experience? 

Yeah, it does. You know, the yoga wisdom text explained this as transmigration of the self from one body to another. So transhumanism is a kind of technological attempt or proposes the possibility of techno technological transmigration rather than it being a natural occurrence of, you know, how things are, just how reality works. 

And from Krista: I would think that uploading the mind would only involve the annamaya kosha, there would be a lot missing. 

Well, yeah. From the standpoint of yoga philosophy, correct. Yeah. You're uploading… if it were possible you'd be uploading one sheath and missing the whole rest of the container to say nothing of the consciousness beyond the koshas. So, yeah, this is one reason why I'm not buying this. 

Okay. Tiffany. Go ahead. 

TIFFANY: Yeah. I just find it striking that we're in a point just evolutionary with the technological developments, with AI and everything, that this is part of our conversation. And there's a lot of interest and innovation and concern as far as AI is concerned. 

And at the same time, I think in this community, we, we, we speak about like sort of the spiritual perspectives and it just seems sort of in some way divergent. I'm a little bit concerned as far as even just the potential of questioning, you know, is there possibility for more Maya and, you know, confusion on what's real or not real? And I don't know if enough spiritual conversation has had around this space. So I just my thoughts.

HARI-KIRTANA DAS: All right. Yeah. Well, thank you for sharing them. It is, uh, a topic of some, some concern. For me, when you look at this application of AI through a spiritual lens, it just looks to me like every dystopian sci fi movie ever made. And does not portend a positive result. 

However, I have found ChatGPT to be very useful to help me write sales copy for my courses on spiritual philosophy. So in that respect, I've. I've found it potentially useful. But yes, I think your concern that this is a Maya generator… an illusion generator.. when we go down this particular rabbit hole, as opposed to something that takes us closer to a real, utopian reality, those are well-founded concerns. Thank you. 

Quickly from Jane: I want to learn so much more about yoga philosophy. Well, then read the sales copy that ChatGPT is helping me generate and sign up for my courses. That was subtle, wasn't it? [laughs]

Anyway, Jane, if I can be of service to you in this regard, I, of course, would be happy to do so. In this community is full of people who are actually really knowledgeable in that field. 

Further in the chat: very dystopian. So many possible negative outcomes. Nnot yoga philosophy, but in response to your feelings about transhumanism. Oh, I see okay. I hope to integrate more about transhumanism and juxtaposing it to transmigration of the soul in yoga philosophy in the future. It's a topic that's getting under my skin, so I'm going to pay attention to it. 

We have reached 1:00. I know some of you probably will have to jump out. So for those of you who do have limited window and need to go, thank you very much for being here.

I want to continue for just a few minutes to cover the last topic that I promised we would speak about, which is mantra meditation and creative visualization. This is a category of what I would call real magic. Mantra meditation, part of svadhyaya the study of the self through guided study of yoga, wisdom texts, meditation, and particularly mantra meditation is recommended as part of that process. 

I alluded earlier to how I take on or I try to remember to take on the persona of my alter ego in terms of focusing my mind on an idea that is associated with a sound vibration and mindfully repeating a word or a phrase associated with that idea to the extent that I become absorbed in it. Because the mantra itself is understood to have power unto itself. 

In other words, when we chant mantras, the idea is not to imbue the mantra with power that it doesn't have, but to access the power that is actually latent in the mantra. And by attention, by focused attention and intention, putting these two things together, we gain access to the power that the sound vibration already has. 

I'm curious to know what you think of this idea of mantra as a sound vibration that is inherently powerful, and that we are practicing mantra meditation for the sake of experiencing what the mantra has to offer, as opposed to projecting magically thinking that the mantra has a power. And that sort of thing. What do you think of them apples? Any thoughts on on this idea?

JILL: Okay. I'll share. 

I love this because this is, you know, a great way to end on this idea. So which came first, the chicken or the egg? Is it the mantra that has the power, or is it the intention behind the mantra that you meditate upon and then bring that right? Somebody had mentioned earlier and comment about gratitude and about how much when you focus on gratitude, it's like you're manifesting even more of that into your life. 

So I love the idea that it's the power behind something and not the magical thinking. You know, I had I had seen once this idea that if you treat people the way that you want to be treated, right?  If you treated your spouse the way that you want to be treated, then it will just, you know, magically work. 

But it's true. I have intentionally gone out of my way to do and say and act and touch and interact in a way that speaks, you know, my language and it magically changed the way that my spouse interacted with me. 

But is it that it just magically happened? Or is it because I brought a different frequency into the relationship that just happened to be one that could ignite, if you will, a frequency within my spouse that would rise to match that. And so I think that that's, you know, that that's a true a true principle. I wouldn't call it… I wouldn't call it magic, I would call it truth. That, that the reality is, is that there there is magic behind it, but it's not not a causeless baseless magic. It's some it's it's a real action and energy that come to fruition when you put faith or action behind that.

HARI-KIRTANA DAS: Yeah, yeah. The the energetic alchemy of loving relationships. Which is also a great book title. And someone should write that book. Thank you very much for that connection. 

You know, in a way how we think about or how we generate that kind of alchemy, that that can also be a kind of mantra. So it still brings up that question. Does the mental meditation on acting or wanting to invoke a particular mood or feeling of an exchange of love? Is that something that out of our desire, we project onto the thinking or is it something that's inherent in the thinking that becomes manifest by our acting on it. Yeah. Thank you so much for that. 

I think that that also applies to how we think about spiritual relationships, and how we can potentially spiritualize our relationships in our lives. Thank you so much. 

Back to the chat. From Jane, love that. Jill. Thinking again about the literal resonances and amplification or as you said, ignite. Yeah, that's a nice phrase. And then previously, Jen said: you become what you do. 

So you become a loving partner by acting lovingly. And you invite the reciprocation of of love also by that that kind of action. So that that's also relevant here. All right. Thank you so much. 

So we're running a little over time. Any last thoughts before I tell you what we're going to do next month? All right. Nicola, I don't think I got a chance to welcome you to the conversation. So thank you for being here, Tammy. Also, I don't think I got a chance to recognize you earlier. And anyone else, uh, who snuck in when I wasn't looking. Thank you very much for being here. 

Here's what's going to happen next month. We're going to talk, by popular demand, about spirituality and social justice. What is the connection between these two things? I think there is one. And I would like to explore that connection with you. So I hope you will be able to join us either live or via recording for that. 

And that, as they say, is that. Thank you all very, very much for being here and participating in our conversation. It's always wonderful to have the pleasure of your company and honor to be among you. I look forward to seeing you all next month. If you have any thoughts about where we should go with our monthly conversations, please send me a message. Email me. And I look forward to hearing from you. Have a wonderful rest of your day and rest of your week and rest of your life. And I hope to see you all again soon.

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