Magic tricks often rely on distraction: the magician will set up a scenario, then draw our attention away to something else. While we are watching what his left hand is doing, his right hand completes the “trick”, so that when we return our attention to the original scene, the “magic” is complete and we are duly amazed.

So is it with meditation.

Here both the subject and object of the magic act is our conscious awareness. We start with an opening scenario with which we are all too familiar: a morass of stress, tension, restlessness, confusion and dismay.

This mess and stress are kept under guard by our mind’s focus and attention. While we pay them attention, they loom large and inescapable: because they loom large and inescapable, we are more in their thrall.

To dispel such a spell, needs magic.

Meanwhile, in the next room, our vast inner wealth of peace, light and bliss is locked away in the safe of our spiritual heart.

The meditation exercise now performs the role of the magician’s distraction: we are invited to focus all our attention on something, either internal or external. It might be our breathing and counting, a flower, a beautiful scene, soothing music, a mantra or a divine image.

While our focus is thus occupied, our mind-guard is distracted, leaving our tension and stress unobserved and unattended.

While the mind’s back is turned, peace, light and bliss tiptoe in from our spiritual heart next door, silently disarming and dissolving stress, tension and confusion wherever they are found, straightening furniture, opening curtains, establishing order and calm.

By the time we have completed our meditation exercise and return our attention to the original scene of our awareness, the magic act is complete…

Abracadabra! – our consciousness has been transformed.