Image for The Gathering Pod A Martha Beck Podcast Episode #161 Listen Again: How to Spark the Magic
About this episode

In this Gathering Room, Martha helps us reconnect with our true desires, which signal the path to the fulfillment of our destiny. (Inspired by Suzanne Eder’s new book, “What You Want Wants You.”)

Listen Again: How to Spark the Magic

Martha Beck:

Welcome to The Gathering Room. I hope that you are in the mood to make magic today, because I am. And I’ve been reading about things that remind me how to make magic, and I wanted to share some of those with you. I’ve shared them before, but it always seems to come around in a different way.

So in another Gathering Room, I talked about a book by Suzanne Eder, E-D-E-R, called, What You Want Wants You. After I did that, a lot of you sending questions, “Where can I get this book?” Well, you couldn’t because it hadn’t been published yet. I got to see it ahead of time. Now it’s been published and I just reread it. Well, I re-listened to it so I can’t hold you up a copy, but it’s really good. And Roe is going to put the name of it, What You Want Wants you and Suzanne Eder, the author, in the comments I think. Is that right? Yeah. So you can get this book. And I really, really highly recommend it.

It’s one of those books that as I read it, my muscles unclench and I relax. I love the way she goes at it. She has a lot of sort of new age sentiments in there, but she’s also really smart and really logical. She was an accountant who is now a new age author. And that combination sits really well with me because she makes the math work and she accesses the magic. And her basic premise is really interesting to me because it’s kind of counter-cultural.

Suzanne thinks that sort of the royal road to our best lives and our destiny and our souls is desire. So we have a view of desire. I was going to call this Gathering Room, the Magic of Desire. But I was bouncing it off people and they were like, “No, that just sounds like sex.” And we think of desire as being sexual. We associate it with selfishness, with depravity almost, with base desire. That’s nothing but base desire. And what Eder says is that that’s a misinterpretation of real desire. And what she says real desire is, is an expression of the one soul that is the basic ground of being for all of us.

So Nisargadatta Maharaj, my favorite yogi, talks about how we are all beautiful objects made of gold. But what we are is just gold. You can melt us down. We will melt down. Our bodies will go away, we don’t know exactly what goes on with our consciousness. But it’s gold and the gold remains as the ornament gets melted, right? So what she’s saying is that we’re all pure divine essence, and to be in physical form is to perceive an apparent separation between ourselves and all other things.

So the reality is all love. In physical form, it is possible to have a delusion of separation. And that separation gives rise to all kinds of freaked out feelings, like, “I’m not good enough. I’m alone. I’m this weird little isolated ape out here on a blue rock in space. And I’m going to die and no one’s going to love me.”

So we get this whole schema as humans, feeling our link to the divine, but fearing that there’s nothing but just little us and that everything’s out to get us, right?

So what Eder says is you can have base desires. But if you have a base desire, if it’s desire for something bad, it will be based on something that is unkind to yourself. When I say how to spark magic, this is how you do it. And I’ve been talking about this a lot because it’s part of my whole thing about getting over anxiety. It is absolutely pivotal. Kindness to the self is the ground of all magic. Because what I’m calling magic is actually divine essence. And divine essence is purest when we are kind.

When we are not kind to ourselves and we say, “I suck and everybody hates me,” the divine essence in us says, “Untrue, untrue.” And we experience that message as pain. Because pain is the most benevolent way to get our attention and make us want to go away from that. It’s a very compassionate way to steer us back into what’s true, which is, “Oh, I am part of divine essence experiencing the world in this unique physical way for the benefit of all being and for the expansion of joy. And what I am is innately 100% good.”

So Eder says, and here’s a quote that I’m going to read for you, “What you genuinely want to express, experience and create is what the world most benefits in receiving from you or experiencing with you.” So when you get in touch with what you genuinely want to express, experience, or create, everything benefits and everything works with you and for you. And it does look like magic.

And she mentions a case that I’ve also brought up because I know this person, Anita Moorjani, the Indian woman. She was born in Hong Kong, but she’s of East Asian descent. And she had horrible fear of cancer her whole life. Her father died of cancer, her friend died of cancer. She was terrified of cancer. She got cancer and she fought it with everything. She fought it with positive visualization and she did it with the law of attraction. She did it with herbs and she did it with treatments and she did it with western medicine and she did it with surgery. She did everything she could.

The cancer ravaged her body. She went into her final coma. Apparently when unconscious, actually had a near death experience where she ran into her father and her friend, and got a very different concept of herself as being a microcosmic aspect of the whole universe blended with the universe. And she was told, “You need to go back down and finish your mission.” And she said, “Okay, what body shall I use?” And they were like, “That one will do fine.” And she was like, “No, it’s 85 pounds and it’s riddled with tumors.” And they said, “No, now you know it’ll be fine.”

So she came back into her body, and within hours the tumor started melting. And nine days later, she was cancer-free. After years of battling. And it’s because her desire to be free, this is what Eder says, “Her desire to be free and your desire to have whatever you want, to be free from the cancer, was based on fear.” And the fear belief, “Oh my God, I’m nothing but suffering. Death is the end of existence. I can’t stand it. I’m so scared,” that was not the genuine desire underneath.

The real desire was, “I desire to understand that I am deathless. I desire to understand that I am not this little human being. I desire a full understanding of my own divinity within this physical body.” That was her deeper desire, what Eder would say. And so she came in no obstacle to believing in that desire. Nothing but joy and sort of confidence in her belief system at that point.

So I was thinking about this and one of the most interesting things that ever happened to me as a coach was when I went to the methadone clinic in Phoenix to work with homeless heroin addicts. And I have all these little life coaching things, like, “What do you really want? What do you hope will happen? What’s your ideal day?” And they always said, “What do you want? Heroin. What do you enjoy? Heroin. What’s your ideal day? Being on heroin.” That’s all they wanted.

And yet, when I would do muscle testing with them, and the body likes to tell the truth so the muscles go weak when we lie. When I had them say, “I really want heroin,” or “I really like being high on heroin,” their whole bodies would go weak the way the body does when we lie. I believe that what they really wanted was something that feels something like being on opiates, and that is enlightenment. The full expression of the divine self in a human body brings bliss. It brings a freedom from fear, it brings a sense of aliveness in the body, it brings complete relaxation.

All of those things can happen if we develop spiritually to the point where we can drop the parts of ourselves that believe in the separation, where we can drop our illusions. So what they really wanted was enlightenment. And it just got diverted into heroin, but the heroin was causing them enormous suffering to say to them, “You’re close, but steer it a different way. You can get this feeling a different way. Look and see what’s happening. See what’s causing pain, see what’s causing joy. Go for the joy, stay away from the pain, but don’t give up on the thought that you can have this feeling of complete freedom and release and joy.” Okay, so take it from that extreme case to something much more mundane.

I was just talking to a friend about how she’s discovering her creativity and that it comes out in interesting ways, like the way she gets dressed, the way she wears clothing. And I thought, “You know, you can get dressed out of a fear of looking bad, like, “Do I look fat in this? I’m never going to wear horizontal stripes. I’m going to wear this because Jane gave it to me for my birthday and she’ll be mad if I don’t wear it.”

There are reasons to get dressed to cover this self and to try to be better than you think you are. But if you already think that you are the divine in this human body with a fully developed sense of expression that could come out in something like making a planet, then how would you get dressed? If you had no fear that you weren’t good enough, if you had no lack of confidence and no particular attachment to this physical form, just the joy of occupying it. So you could get dressed for success based on the instructions of a bunch of style editors who would say, “Don’t wear this after Labor Day, people will laugh at you.”

And that would be the wrong reason to get dressed beautifully. Or you could get dressed beautifully because it’s a genuine self-expression of desire to show beauty in the way you’re clothed. So the way to spark magic is to get in touch with what you want with desire, but there are all these traps because of the socialized and separation based nature of the human self. So here’s the single step, my little life coachy thing. Go to a desire and look at the reason for what you want, and say to it, “Is there any unkindness in this desire?”

Okay, so I write. So I have had many reasons to write over the years and I listed them today. And it’s interesting because the very first one was a kind of desire to connect soul to soul. When I wrote my first book Expecting Adam, which didn’t get published first, but it was the first one I wrote. And then I lost it because I got some success and publishers started telling me, “Okay, now come on. You are on the bestseller list, do it again. Do it again.”

So I started writing for money and it was close but no cigar. What I wrote from that place was I don’t think it was evil, but it wasn’t great. A desire to impress people, same. Even the desire to be of service when I started writing self-help. If I looked deep inside myself, it was like put yourself aside and just focus on the others. There was a kind of self-sacrifice that wasn’t totally kind to myself. Then it gets to pure self-expression, which is getting a lot closer. And then there is the self-expression for communion, soul to soul. A reuniting with the reader that blasts the illusion of separation away.

And I worked and worked and worked on myself to get my intentions more pure and to be in integrity. And I tried to write that my last book, The Way of Integrity, from that spot of just soul to soul connection, and it succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. It did a lot better than I ever expected. I really was just in the kindness to myself, that’s why I wanted to write that book.

So I was talking to a friend today who said she’s written a poetry book and she got some negative feedback on it. And she said, “I keep trying to let go of it, but it won’t let go of me.” And that’s another thing. If you have a desire that you’ve pushed aside and you can’t fulfill it, it won’t come true, you can’t manifest it. All the new age stuff makes you crazy because you think you’re sending out the wrong vibes. Trust that what you want is wanting you and it’s not letting go of you. Like you can’t quit on your destiny. Why can’t I quit you, Destiny?

So I want to read another quote from What You Want Wants You by Suzanne Eder before I open to questions. She says, “You are always doing your part when you are honoring what you want in your heart of hearts. The ongoing process of nurturing true desires and bringing them to life is in a very real sense what life is all about. You could even think of it as your purpose for being here.” I really believe that. I believe our destiny is written in our true desires. And that when we get past the illusion of fear and insufficiency and connect with just the divine that is giving us this desire and pulling us toward it, we become incredibly magical and the world becomes incredibly magical. So thanks again to Suzanne Eder, and I hope this was helpful to some of you as well.

So let’s get to the questions. Oh, Suzanne’s here. Oh my God. Suzanne says, “Martha, I’m honored by your deep, intelligent, clear, and compassionate perspective and description of my book. Thank you from my heart for sharing this with your beautiful audience.” Oh my goodness, Suzanne, here we are. I actually thought, “Wow, it would be so fun if I could have her in the room with me.” Well, she is. She’s right here in The Gathering Room. Awesome. Thank you again for your book, Suzanne.

Sydney Lotus says, “When we’re in separation fear, are there practices that can shift us into freedom, joy, and divinity?” Well, I’ve been using like… The Dalai Lama said, “My religion is kindness,” is the way he said it. And he said, “It’s very rare that I can be kind for a whole day.” Because I know a little bit about Tibetan Buddhism, I know that before they practice developing compassion for others, they do years of practice on compassion for the self. And they call it tonglen, the loving-kindness meditation. And they do it for yourself.

So just sit and love yourself and say things to yourself, like, “May you be well. May you be happy. May you be free from all suffering. May you be protected. May you feel safe.” Just whatever. And do that for disciplined chunks of time. I actually just got my first set of mala bead, I’ve been meditating forever. But I hold each bead and give myself a loving-kindness thought, and then move to the next bead and I do that for however long. And I’ve found that that’s really helpful in reducing anxiety, which is one thing I’m writing about, but also in accessing this kind of deep, true divinity that allows us to become magical in the world.

Okay. Constellations in Her Bones says, “How can celebrating ourselves bring us into the alignment of our genuine souls? Does the enlightenment of one heal others?” Yes. Yes, without question. I mean, history is peppered. Not littered, but peppered with examples of people who got past the illusion. And we don’t know how many there were. There are probably many who lived and died in obscurity, but the few that we know about for sure changed billions of lives, some of them. The Buddhists and the Jesuses, they changed billions of lives.

I was talking to my friend the poet today about this phenomenal thing that happened to Nelson Mandela in prison. That his soul seemed to project himself out of that prison and cover the whole world as he worked on himself to develop his own enlightenment. And it didn’t happen with everybody who was with him in that prison. He was extraordinary. But in our own time, in my own time anyway, he shifted the course of history for millions of people, and he did it from inside a 10 by 10 foot cell. And then he went on to become president and everything. But yeah, celebrating yourself and aligning with your desires absolutely shines the light of the divine more brightly into the human world. How can it not? And then it wants to share, that’s what it wants. And what it wants it will have.

Samita says, “Is this along the same pathway when Marty teaches us about the universe sending us what we need at our correct address?” Which is peace. “But we are residing at 123 Suffering street.” Oh, so well put Samita. “Desire, joy, peace, freedom, and all that is holy.” Joyce is waiting. You get there. And all along it was Joyce. “Joy, peace, freedom and all that is holy is waiting for us at our home address.” Yes, so very well put, Samita. I’m sorry I garbled that.
But any of those things, any of those very positive things will bring you home. And every bit of suffering is trying to tell you, “This isn’t it, honey. Go a different direction.” It’s all loving information. All of it. Even the suffering is loving information, trying to get us home where it can say, “All right. Now watch everything you ever wanted, pal. Yay, here we go.” So thank you Samita for that lovely, lovely comment.

Steven says, “I understand this generally, but how do we do this when the desire is a specific person who, because of free will, may not have the same desire?” I used to think and think about this. And what’s weird to me, Steven, is that after years of getting more in touch with myself, I have found that there is a kind of alignment of souls so often that what I want for someone is what they want for themselves and what they want for me.

And I was thinking today as I was preparing this about how in Hamlet, there’s a line from a guy named Polonius, who everybody says, I always heard in Shakespeare classes in Shakespeare books, “He’s an idiot. He’s there as a comic relief.” But they can never tell me why he’s an idiot. I think he’s kind of a life coach in a Shakespeare play. And one of the things he said that people told me was stupid but I can’t figure out why is this, “This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

And I thought, “Why do people call that stupid? It’s brilliant.” If you’re being absolutely true to yourself and your true self is love, there’s no way. And if you’re completely honest, how are you going to be deceptive to somebody else? What is most truly yourself is most true for others too. And I decided that it was the same people at Harvard who told me that Shakespeare lost his mind and was senile when he wrote his later plays because magic and forgiveness play such a deep role in those plays.

And the tragedies, he had it right in the tragedies. Okay. All of this just to say, “To thine own self be true and it must follow, thou can not then be false to any man.” If we accept the basic premise of Suzanne’s book, which I do accept that we’re all part of the same divine love, then being truly that tends to move in harmony with other people who are truly in themselves.

So sometimes you can get a catastrophe where it’s a fatal love where people can’t get together because of their beliefs or because they’re caught up in something. But how weird is it that very often when we feel love for another, they feel love for us. When we feel deep, genuine love, a desire that is not to possess or control but a desire merely to merge and connect. That communicates.

And so often, even with my own work team at Martha Beck, Inc., we went around the room with the six of us on my little leadership team. And everybody wants the same things for themselves and for the company. It’s weird. There’s no like cult-like marching step. It’s just that everybody’s working really hard on their integrity. And truth to the self ends up being truth to the other. And desire from the true self is so often matched by desire from the true self of others, that’s art of the magic. It is mind-blowingly magical and it’s beautiful. It’s one of the best things about being human.

Okay, E Thompson 270, what a beautiful name, says, “What brings Martha joy? New small joys cultivate big ones, building the habit and the way of living. Thank you for all the ways to help us tune to joy and desire. Thank you.” I am ridiculously self-indulgent. After years and years of trying not to be, what brings me to… The tiniest thing and the hugest, and there’s not that much different. I wake up under my quilt in the morning and I’m just like, “This is the best thing that ever happened. It is warm. It is soft. My joy cannot be measured.” And I have to get up, but I usually don’t until I feel like it. But that’s my privilege.

Anyway, by the same token, sometimes I just had a conversation with another person who has lived her whole life thinking, “I’m here to do something to transform human consciousness.” Or I’m reading Suzanne’s book and feeling this aah in my soul that’s coming straight from her soul. And I think to myself, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could totally transform human consciousness and war, stop destroying the planet, bring species back from the brink of extinction, love all children, never hurt anybody? If we could just do that, it would be awesome.”

And the thought of that is also extremely joyful. But it’s not that different from enjoying being in my quilts when I get up. There’s just one joy that is present in so many things and it wants to express itself. It wants to write and it wants to paint and it wants to hug, and it just wants to do stuff. Because I’m in a body, damn it, and I might as well do something with it. And it brings me joy. And most of all, other beings bring me joy and you are among those. And my beloveds are number one. Everything’s number one.

Okay. Maron Murray says, “Question, do your true desires change over a lifetime or do we have only one true desire?” I think it’s almost like a symphony where there’s a continuous sort of base line of our particular personality in this particular life form. And within that, there are infinite variations. Some of them take years to manifest, some of them take seconds, some of them take hours. So there’s always sort of the river running the same direction, but then there are all these little eddies and things that happen within the flow of that river moment to moment.
So there’s a consistency and there’s also infinite variation. And in fact, that’s the mathematics of the physical universe. Fractal geometry and the mathematics of chaos, that’s what they create. It’s called pattern disorder. Similar gorgeous patterns repeated over and over in physical forms, but never the same way twice like snowflakes. Everyone a hexagon, none of the same design. It’s magnificent.

Jessica says, “How do we differentiate between cultural unkindness and true unkindness that would offend our soul?” Easy. It hurts. You go inside and you say, “Why am I doing this? Why do I want this? Because I hate myself and I want to feel like a bigger person.” Okay, that’s unkind. “Why do I want this? Because I never want to die. I’m afraid.” It’s not kind. “Why do I want this? I don’t know. It just feels amazing.” Kindness, that’ll work. It’s just pain. Pain versus joy, freedom versus captivity. It’s really clear when you start tuning into it and you get free of some of the illusions.

Donna says, “How can we listen and honor our fears and remain kind when the fear is irrational?” You love the one who is afraid while understanding that there is another perspective. Because no fear is an ultimate truth. Fear doesn’t enter into the ultimate truth. If you can’t be destroyed and there’s nothing about you but love, there’s never anything to fear. But when fear comes, you give it a nice cuddle and you say, “I’m so sorry you’re feeling that way. You get to feel that way. I’m going to hold you, love you, understand where you came from, but I’m not going to obey you. You’re not even real.”

As the Buddhas said when all his demons came at him, “You are illusion.” And when he could see that, it would turn into a flower and the flowers fell all around him during his big meditation before his enlightenment. And it was all about his fear.

Elizabeth Gilbert, writer, is here and she says, “Hi, Marty moo.” Hi, Lizzie. “How do you/we battle against western cultural voices that say that anytime we follow our hearts desires, we are selfish and self-centered?” Okay, you go inside. I only want this wonderful thing because I’m selfish and self-centered. Well, that’s not kind, that’s ridiculous. What if a voice inside you said, “Nope”?

Everything you want is for the good. And if it’s something that’s bad, immediately it will cause you suffering then you’ll twist it a little away from the bad and toward the good. We’re all like little two year olds, our little Lila. There’s absolutely nothing bad about her, right? Sometimes we have to say, “Okay, the reason you want chocolate is that you’re hungry and that you love chocolate, and that’s not bad. That’s never bad. We do think you should have some veggies and some delicious, nutritious dinner. And then by all means, we’re going to give you chocolate. You are perfect.”

Never ever will I say to that child, no matter how old she gets, “You only want that because you’re selfish.” I just don’t believe that. I don’t believe that selfish can push through the truth of a human soul that isn’t bound by fear. And she’s not bound by fear. Her real self can’t want anything evil or selfish. That is not possible to a being that is all beings. And Lizzie loo, you are the absolute best example of someone who has received much and given even more.

If you don’t know Liz Gilbert and you haven’t read her work, if you’ve been hiding under a rock, things come to her because she shines toward everyone. She loves the world and the people of the world so much, that money, fame, everything, ends up flowing to her because she’s this incredible connection to all of us, to the divine. And it’s absolutely pure in her love for other beings. I would tell you if it were not so. Lizzie, you and Suzanne are here in the same place. You’re just like a walking example of what you want wants you. Thank you for your question, Lizzy loo. I have a couple more. I’m going a little over, but I’m all excited about this whole Gathering Room today.

Okay. Inspire Tech or Tech says, “I feel like I keep making mistakes on my path to my full divine expression.” Of course you do. That’s why we’re here. “I’m judgmental mainly of myself. I worry about money too much. I keep forgetting to trust. I feel guilty just sitting on the couch listening to you. How do I fully trust that my pure desires will sustain me and my family?” Okay, you can do it in steps. You’re supposed to make mistakes.

I just gave myself a full month to learn how to do watercolors, and I threw away like 50 paintings. Paint it, throw it away. It’s not good enough. Okay. I didn’t care because the process was I wanted to learn something about it. So you are going to have to learn to be an artist of desire. And that means that you notice, “Oh, I feel guilty sitting on the couch. Well, is that kind to myself? Is that a kindness? No, that does not come from kindness. Unless myself is dying to get off this couch and go jump around.” No, no, no. If you’re saying get off the couch because you’re a lazy slob, that is not kind. Okay, have to rule that one out.

I’m judging myself. “Oh, you’re stupid slob.” Kindness? No. Understand that it’s coming from a place that’s not divine and loved the part of you that was scared into believing it. That’s the thing all the parts get included, you guys. Every part is good. Every part is loved. Even the ones that are condemning us, they’re trying to keep us safe in a society that condemns desire.

So you worry about money, say, “Oh, honey, I so get that. Boy, so in your culture. Come here. Come here and get a cuddle.” And you wait until your desire for abundance is free from fear. And it’ll take a long time. That’s what it’s about and that’s why we’re here. It’s your purpose in life as Suzanne tells us. Beautiful. I mean, we could talk for hours about just that. So thanks for the question.

Now, finally, Jacqueline says, “Hi, Marty, I’m in your current Wayfinder cohort.” Yay, the Wayfinder Life Coach training. “My question is, what if you feel distant from your desires? I.e., it’s hard to tune in after years of challenges. How do you tune in?” Well, you must have just started the Wayfinder training because that’s what it’s all about. You start first with your body, which is so sublime and divine that our culture condemns it is evil and disgusting. Your first clue that it’s good.

They will always tell you the truth, this sweet, innocent animal that you love, it has its desires and they’re allied with your soul’s desires. And it’s your mind and your culture that goes off the pace. So sit down, see where you’re tired, where you’re aching, where you’re lonely, where you want to be warmer, where you want to move more, whatever, and see if you can love those parts of yourself and then the emotions that arise from them.

I was just working with somebody today who got in touch with something, a desire that she’d pushed away. And she had to grieve the fact that she’d pushed it away. It is grievous that we’ve kept our desires far from us when they are our path to full expression of our own divinity and joy in this life and service to the world.

Everybody should get Suzanne’s book, What You Want Wants You. All of us are always making magic, whether we know it or not. And here we are just ready to practice and learn and get better and better. And we’re all just one being doing it together. Isn’t that amazing? That’s how you spark magic. I love you all so much. See you again on The Gathering Room soon. Bye.

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