Socially Responsible Magic: The Question I Ask Myself Every Day

Socially Responsible Magic: The Question I Ask Myself Every Day February 4, 2015

In my most recent post on PaganSquare, I asked the question: who does your spiritual practice benefit? That question isn’t the one that changed my life, but as I began thinking about it, it caused me to reflect on the question that did. It’s a question I ask myself every day at the start of my day, but also at various other moments. The question is, “Who can I help today?”

I didn’t always ask that question. It never really occurred to me that I should care about who I could help. Like many other people, I just focused on living my life, dealing with my problems, and trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Spiritually, I was focused on my experiments or solving my problems. There was no real connection with other people or what was going on in their lives. There were occasions where a friend would be in a spot of trouble and I’d help out, but my desiring to connect or help pretty much focused on myself or the people I knew.

When I started going to networking events, I quickly learned that if you come in with an attitude of “When am I going to get business,” it will be obvious to other people and they will avoid you. Now everyone is at a networking event because they do hope they’ll get business, but there are a couple of key points to remember. First, you’re there to develop relationships with other people, get to know each other, and as a result, establish trust. You’re also there to connect with the people they know that might need your services. In other words, you aren’t there to get business from them directly, but rather, you are there to get business from people they know. And most importantly, you want to go to a networking group with an attitude of giving. When you come in with a desire to give to other people, it shows that you are thinking outside of your immediate needs and are focused on the success and well-being of everyone in your group.

I didn’t know any of this when I first attended networking groups, but I gradually figured it out, and I started looking at my interactions a bit differently. However, I still wasn’t asking myself “Who can I help?” every day. I came to ask that question because of a shift in my spiritual practices. I started looking at why I practiced magic and what it was for, and the answers I came to were mostly unsatisfactory. But as I began engaging in meditation practices and used them to explore my interactions with the world, I looked at how much my inner turmoil showed up in my life. Eventually I got it sorted out, and I looked at my place in my communities and asked myself what I was really doing to contribute to those communities. That’s when I started asking who I could help.

I ask that question every day. I ask it with an understanding that helping someone doesn’t always involve me helping them directly. Sometimes I give indirect help, such as when I refer a person to someone who can solve their problems. Sometimes it is direct. And sometimes “help” is just being part of a mission, driven by people that want to make change happen in the world. That question drives my interactions with other people and the communities I’m part of. Asking myself who I can help forces me to look at my interactions and examine how I’m showing up and being of service. The reward for asking that question and following through is intrinsic. It is the fulfillment from being of service to others feeling that drives me to continue asking the question.

What drives you every day? What question do you ask yourself as you get ready to go into your day and into the interactions you’ll have? How do you show up in your communities? What motivates you to reach out and connect with other people?

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