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.
Why do people shout? It has to do with our hearts. A story: A guru and some of her students pass within earshot of two people vehemently arguing in loud voices. She stops a little way past them and asks, “If those two are so physically close to each other, why are...
Outside perspective I’m in the kitchen. I feel like the mythological Sisyphus, but my daily task is emptying and reloading the dishwasher. Jane is away. Annie and a friend are within earshot, in the dining room; having settled on a card game, they are starting to...
Rabbi Brian talks about an interaction with a Christian friend accused of being homophobic.
I got to gate B5 in the Burbank, California, airport early. I’m sitting here typing. Watching people. Relaxing. (I like airports and being at the airport early; it gives me a chance to just sit. I like the unstructured time. If you’ve been reading my stuff for a...
Rabbi Brian reminds me that you are not a Jedi.
Rabbi Brian talks about delight and speculates as to what the sound of God's laughter must be.
And, God laughed. Rabbi Brian tells a longer than usual story about his being kicked out of his son's...
Brené Brown, an expert on shame and vulnerability, explains that the difference between people who have love and acceptance and those who do not have love and acceptance is that the former believe they deserve love and acceptance. This is amazing. See if you can...
Hammock, oops. I ordered a hammock, letting Jane pick out the color. The Friday it arrived, I installed it between the dogwood tree and the fireplace. It was lovely.Then Jane showed up.She stood next to me and said, “I’d like a turn.” I don’t know how I ordered a...
You must love. Please, love.