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.

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 the spiritual-religious aspects of 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 observation bias and how it might be keeping God out of your life – no matter what your understanding of the word gee-oh-dee is. 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 literally be astounded to realize that what you expect to see is almost synonymous with what you see.

 

What is it in your own world that you want to see?

Do you expect, like Eeyore, to see the world as bleak? Or do you expect, like Pollyanna, to see that the world is wonderful?

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 it was a good thing I did, because the day started with news that caused us to scramble our plans so one of us could make it to a spontaneous protest.

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.  

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.

 

Love, shaken, fear.

Love, shaken, fear.

Rabbi Brian A modern-day rabbi with John Lennon’s inclusivity and a Blues Brothers mission. Fear. Fear is real. Fear does terrible things to us. Fear can transform our rational, mammalian brains  into reptilian, fight-flight-flee, us-versus-them brains. Fear...

Saying Something

Saying Something

Rabbi Brian A modern-day rabbi with John Lennon’s inclusivity and a Blues Brothers mission. My friend Ran'd brilliantly observed an odd juxtaposition on his Facebook feed. (I noticed something similar on mineas well.) Ran'd noticed loud comments about the silent...

Delta Airlines, I’m sorry

Delta Airlines, I’m sorry

Rabbi Brian A modern-day rabbi with John Lennon’s inclusivity and a Blues Brothers mission. The 77% Weekly Newsletter. Free. 40/52 weeks a year. Delivered to your in-box Delta airlines, I'm sorry.  If you dislike someone, the way they hold their spoon will offend...

26 days, but who knew?

26 days, but who knew?

40/52 weeks a year of something spiritual-religious delivered to your in-box. Free 26 Days. But who knew? It wound up only being 26 days, but that’s a long time. On day 22, I did not know that Jane would be better on day 26, a mere 4 days away. It was the late...

Crying With Love

Crying With Love

40/52 weeks a year of something spiritual-religious delivered to your in-box. Free Crying with love: the third time I finally cried The first time I had been having a very rough time and was telling the checkout woman at Trader Joe’s about it. I found myself filled...

Spiritual Rewards. Now Free.

Spiritual Rewards. Now Free.

Spiritual Rewards. Now, Free. A fun, spiritual-religious hack to get you the things you want with zero expense. Or at the very least, a way to keep what you want at the forefront of your mind.  A tale of two marketings   Marketing...

Should_2_Doing

Should_2_Doing

Themes in this article (and the story of the frogs) you'll see repeated from issue 13 (frog or fish), earlier this year. This article explains, step by step how to go from obligation to preference. If you follow these steps, you can get what you want.  Yes. You will....

We have free will. Right?

We have free will. Right?

Freedom of Will I wrote my rabbinical school thesis on Freedom of Will. In particular, I wrote about the varied thinking of medieval Jewish philosophers on this topic. The core issue with which these religious thinkers had to contend was how God could  control...

11 words for making peace.

11 words for making peace.

Making peace Most of us are familiar with the notion of last rites – a dying person’s confessional and absolution to ensure their eternal peace. This rite, most commonly associated with Catholicism, is trans cultural and denominational. (In Judaism,...

Heeding messages. Whose messages?

Heeding messages. Whose messages?

Heeding messages. Whose messages? This article about messaging is in three parts: Michaelangelo’s Biblical Errancy Meaning and Message are Intertwined Asking You to Choose to Believe in Awe Michelangelo’s Biblical Errancy Michelangelo was a great artist....