When it comes to prayer and magic, there are many similarities, and many differences. I could talk all day about the history of magic and religion, and how the two have influenced eachother, how they have fought battles, and how they have changed the world around us.
But, I am not interested in that for right now. For right now, I am interested in the foundations of both. The actual actions one does.
Let's start with prayer.
When one prays, they offer their requests to a higher being, whether it is a god, multiple gods, or even the universe itself. The main point of the movie The Secret is prayer. Offering your requests to the universe, under the principle of "like attracts like". With prayer, it is like asking a parent to do something for you. Like, if a child asks his/her parent to go out and buy them a certain toy. The child has no direct influence over what the parent does in performing this action, and the parent may even bring back a toy which was not what the child wanted, or, the parent may not even bring a toy back at all.
Magic, on the other hand, is like grabbing the car keys and buying the toy yourself. With magic, you take the force of creation and use it yourself. With every action you create and destroy, and manipulate the potential of the universe to fit your desires, whatever they may be. You send your energy and will out to the universe and shape it to your specifications.
This raises and interesting view. It appears to reflect human development and maturity. Think about it. In the beginning, all children depend entirely upon their parents. Anything they need, they must ask for it. As the child grows, they take more control over their life, manifesting things in their life as they see fit. They are given an allowance, to spend as they so choose. Eventually, they are set free into the world, manifesting every aspect of their lives.
But the key here, is to remember that it doesn't really matter. Not at all. It makes no difference whether you ask a higher force than yourself to create a world you see, or whether you take that power into your own hands and shape the world as you see fit. The key here, is that in both situations, you are still taking that force into your own hands. You are still seeing something in the world that is worthy of being changed, and so you see fit to change it. Whoever actually does the changing is irrelevant.
In both cases, you live in a changing world. A world that shifts and flows; constantly in motion. Things and people enter and exit your world. Forces change and shape it. However, the key here, is that all change is directed by you. You live in your world, and you create it at the same time. And whenever we see fit to change something, we choose to act, and therefore change our world. Whether you're practicing magic to make someone fall in love, bring you money, or wisdom, or get revenge on another, or whether you pray for enlightenment, money, salvation, or the health of someone in a disaster, you never practice magic or pray without something in your mind that you wish to change.
But, if we are given the power through prayer and magic to change our lives, this also means we are ultimately responsible for everything that occurs in our lives. Does this mean that we are ultimately responsible for all the bad things that we cannot control? What about the car that ran over your dog, or the man who broke in and stole your prized necklace? To this, I ask two questions,
1) What is control? How much control do you have over your life? How much control do you want?
2) Does it really matter?
If we have infinite control over every aspect of our lives, then that means some part of use chooses to let bad things happen. Why? Why would anybody want to choose to be victimized, abused, hurt, or even killed?
And some might say, "Everything has a purpose, everything happens for a reason." Is this true? Does it really matter? If nothing happens for any reason at all, then ultimately, everything must also have a purpose.
This is because no matter what happens in our lives, we learn. Every single second of our lives is a moment to be learned from. Because every event that takes place in life can be learned from, that means it also has a purpose: to teach.
This must be, then, why we allow negative and horrible things to take place in life. Because those moments have something to teach. Some part of us knows that there is something to be learned from those moments.
We look for the reasons behind all the negative and suffering in life, but we never think to look for the reasons behind happiness and pleasure. I have never heard the question,
"Why is there so much happiness in the world?"
This is quite simple. If darkness is a teacher, then so too must happiness be a teacher.
Every moment has a purpose.
Every life has a purpose.
Every world has a purpose.
And sometimes, that lesson can be as simple as,
You are the creator of your world, and at the same time, the product of your creative force.
You are the artist, and the painting.
You are the musician, and the song.
The creator, and the created.