Belief and Basketball

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If you genuinely believe your arms can’t move — if you’re hypnotized, say — you won’t be able to shoot a basket.

But being able to move your arms doesn’t mean you can sink a basket. That belief is necessary but insufficient.

What about believing you can sink a basket? It might help a little, might let you relax and focus and not tense up, but it’s no substitute for practice and skill and coaching. Belief is one ingredient, but it’s far from the only one.

And, once the basketball leaves your hands, it doesn’t matter what you believe. Physics takes over, and the ball goes where it goes.

Same with magick: If you really don’t believe you can move your ethereal muscles, you probably can’t. That much belief seems necessary.

But once you can move your muscles, knowing what to do with them is more than belief. It’s a matter of practicing until those muscles figure out what to do. And sometimes, you need a coach to tell you to loosen your wrist or angle your elbow or move your feet. And with magick, sometimes you need to consciously figure out what your ethereal muscles should do, then consciously guide them to do it.

And, once you’re consciously guiding your ethereal muscles through particular steps, something new becomes apparent: It doesn’t matter what you think those steps will do. The muscles do the steps, and then physics takes over. And when the happens, when physics takes over and does something different than I expected, that’s when my magick genuinely surprises me.

(Not sure how to tell a surprise that’s a failed technique apart from a surprise that’s from the physics doing something unexpected? Try it again. The physics will work the same way a second time, but failed magick will just produce random results.)

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