William Blake once wrote: “As to Myself, about whom you are so kindly interested, I live by Miracle.” In the book on miracles I’m finishing I quote the above passage from Blake, and I go on to ask the question: How does one “live by miracle”? Is there, perhaps, an affective, a cognitive, an existential style that opens the way to sparking the improbable, the impossible breakthroughs in life we call miracles? What indeed would it mean concretely to live by miracle? Perhaps we could put it like this. Are there attitudes, behaviors, values that perhaps are conducive to the occurrence of miracles?
For Blake miracle had much to do with creative imagination. “Imagination is eternity,” as he put it, that is, the ultimate reality. Words like Blake’s have a wild ring of mystery, but what do they mean? Where can they take us? We might try to imagine what it would feel like to live, move and have our being from inside a miracle-friendly universe, a worldview that invites us to imagine things beyond what we think possible. Well, someone might say: just become a Sufi, study the kabbalah, practice yoga, enter a monastery, become a divine decadent.
Understood. But for many, and for varied reasons, such options just aren’t possible. So we have to find our own way, however stumbling and haphazard; probably unavoidable, in the 21st century, as things fall apart and the center that never was ceases to hold.
There is much to be said for Jung’s idea that each of us has to follow our own path to become decently evolved individuals. Scanning various accounts of the lives of miracle-makers—a motley gang, to be sure—I’ve racked up four points for my model of how to ‘live by miracle.’ In my chapter of this title, I describe the four points in some detail.
Here let me just list them, perhaps to launch one’s thought processes. The first that I discuss is the role of belief—which opens the mind to possibilities. If you close your mind to something being possible, it will never happen.
The second element to explore in the project of leading a miraculous life is introversion. You have to practice focusing your attention inward, but if all your energies are spent on purely external concerns, you kill your ‘miracle’ potential.
Third on the list is the need for goal-oriented thinking and the willingness to leave things in the hands of an alternate power, whether you think of that in terms of God, guardian angel, or your own subconscious self.
And the fourth variable for lubricating the miraculous life is spontaneity. Just letting things happen spontaneously without constant doubt, fear, hesitation, and qualification—that seems to be a critical factor for which there is much supportive data.
I’m curious to hear your responses to this model I’ve put forth, and plan to post more on this curious subject of how, like William Blake, we can learn to “live by miracle.”