Magic Moments. A painting depicting an abstract magic moment.

Your Personal Bliss—Finding the Magic Moments

Think back on those magical times in your life—when you were just oozing with joy and excitement. What was it about those moments that made everything feel magical? It seems sometimes that we live our lives for those moments, and, having experienced them, the rest of our lives seems very ordinary by comparison. We may try to recreate those times, but we’ll find that what we create is not the same because a lot of what made them special was who we were at the time. Does this mean that, as we move through our lives, there will be less and less magic? The answer is no, but we have to be more intentional about finding and seeing it. When we’re younger, many of our experiences are new, and we’re engaging in things for the first time, so our magical moments happen naturally. With each experience we have, the likelihood of new experiences goes down, but the good news is that it only goes down by a very small amount, as long as we continue to pursue and are open to the magic that is happening all the time.

Place, feeling, and circumstances

So much of what makes our magic moments magic is the people we’re with, the places we are, and the circumstances we’re in (what is happening). Equally important is our own emotional connection to what is happening. Many of my magical moments have happened while traveling, or when I’ve fallen for somebody. My most magical moments are when those two circumstances happen at the same time (two come to mind immediately). I was in new and exotic places, and I was experiencing all of the effects of new love—I can’t think of anything more exciting than that! It had an almost mystical effect. The circumstances for magic moments are different for everyone though. For some, it might be the time they hit the game-winning home run and were flooded with gratitude and adulation. For others, it might be an epiphany they had—when they realized a fundamental truth. For many, these moments happened early in life, and we might look back on those times as our “glory days.” We may try to replicate those exact circumstances to recreate those feelings. But that almost never works because that moment was unique—never to be repeated again. However, another equally magic moment can happen; we just need to be open to the possibilities.

Being open to the magic

As we move through the years, we may experience many things—we become “people of the world.” This is great, as it means we’re living a good life, full of rich experiences. But in living a life like this, it’s easy to become complacent or even cynical about what we see. I remember getting goosebumps the first time I came to Washington, D.C., and saw the Jefferson Memorial, and I didn’t hide my wide-eyed wonder. But with experience, we may adopt a persona relating to that experience and view new sights or experiences with a practiced disinterest or disdain. This may be for the sake of others to establish our worldliness, and we may even keep it up when alone. But what does worldliness get us? It’s great to have enough experience to avoid certain dangers or pitfalls, and it may help us get through certain situations with efficiency, but in some ways, it leaves us emotionally numb.

We can learn how to take the best parts of our experiences and retain a sense of wonder at all the magic that exists around us all the time. In relationships, for example, we may get annoyed at certain types of people. An eager beaver type may be irritatingly positive and constructive. Why do we react this way? Is it because we think they’re ignoring the obvious—that if they had more experience, they’d know about the challenges? It would be better all around if we could see the world through their eyes and get back a sense of wonder and eagerness. This is true for any kind of personality, and especially in established relationships, like a marriage, it is crucial. We need to see the world through other people’s eyes and see the magical parts of them, even (especially) if they keep them well hidden. If we can be proactive about creating those magical places and moments, we can have the benefits of our experiences and still have a sense of amazement and wonder.

Letting the non-magical elements go

A big part of magical moments is the absence of those thoughts and feelings that work against the magic. We might find ourselves in what should be a magic moment where everything is wondrous, but it’s ruined by a bad mood, by worry, or by anxiety. We have to be not only open-minded, but open-hearted. Of course, we can’t switch off our worries, anger, or sadness just because a magical moment is happening, but we can choose to take a break from them. We can put them aside for the time being and open our hearts to the truly special moments. Those feelings won’t go away, but then they never really go away. They are part of who we all are. We have to resign ourselves to accept them and work on them, but when the moment calls for it, to look past them.

We also will always have people who are not ideal for the magic moments. People who distract us from them, doubt or belittle them, or take away our ability to fully experience them. These people will also always be around, and we can treat them in exactly the same way as we do our negative emotions. We don’t pretend they’re not there, we just look beyond them so that we can experience the moment. We may find that our impressions of them are more about our judgments than about the actual people, and that they are experiencing the moment too.

The magic inside you

As we strive for magic moments, we may find ourselves only looking outward—trying to create external circumstances that we may never find and don’t really need. In order to experience magic moments, even those that do rely on specific external circumstances, we have to be open to the magic. We have to align our “internal circumstances” with the magic external circumstances. That means being open to magic moments whenever and wherever they might be. If we’re looking for something specific, we may never find it, but if we’re always open to magic, we will find it frequently.

We might also find that we don’t need any external circumstances to find magic moments. Our magic moments can happen within us regardless of where we are, who we’re with, or what is happening. If you can create that magic within yourself, you won’t need to wait for the right set of circumstances, and you’ll find you can create the kind of magic that’s there all the time. It won’t rely on short-term pleasures or fleeting emotions. It will be an almost permanent state of bliss, brought about by “the removal of the disturbing mental elements which obstruct a peaceful and clear state of mind,” which Buddhist scholar Lance Selwyn Cousins describes as an aspect of Nirvana. If we are able to do this, all of our internal explorations—meditation or reflection—can be magic moments, and our time out in the world will be much more likely to be magic as well.

The Realm

I am transported to a Realm otherworldly.
A reality of me but not of my making.
Glancing around in wonder, deep gratitude, and awe—
so this is Nirvana.

I don’t know how I got here.
I don’t even know what here is.
I only know how it makes me feel.
I also know it is coming to an end.

It can’t come to an end!
Now that I’ve been here, I can’t face anywhere else.
I can’t go back! I won’t. I’ll do whatever it takes to stay.
In a panic, I search. I try. I engage. Ineffectual.

I’m out.
I go to work. I eat. I sleep. I talk to friends. I’m back in the ordinary.
Still glowing from the realm, but at the same time wounded.
A gaping wound in my psyche—a place once filled by the realm,
now empty. A place that will admit nothing else. Only the realm.

What is the realm? Was it real?
It was of this world, but not. It was populated by people,
but in the Realm, people are not people, but People of the Realm.
It was in a place, a place I could go back to, but it is no longer the Realm.
The Realm is an experience—
a singular combination of place, people, events, and feelings.

I try to remake it. I put all the pieces in place and call the start.
But it doesn’t start. It’s not here. It’s not the same—not even close.
I stay in the ordinary and slowly begin to forget about the Realm.
I explore the world. I explore myself. And then,
I have a glimmer. Just a brush, a whiff, a glance.

But this time, I don’t panic and try to capture it.
I sit with it and sense it and let it happen.
In serenity, I am present and I exist in the same space with it.
In peace, I become one with it. I’m in the Realm and the Realm is in me.
I am the Realm.

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