Tag - philosophy

Getting Paid for playing … (Part II)

As I promised here is the second part for my blog about the importance of playing and this quote: ‘A sensitive person gets paid for playing. That’s the art of Life.’ Here is the part I  of this post if you haven’t read it yet.

So as I said in the previous post there are some traps that are disguised as play. We can find them everywhere (for some reason they are more common in wealthy countries)

Most of the time when people are talking about ‘play’, they say it in a transactional way. ‘Let’s play so we can be more creative’, ‘play is good because it releases X hormone’ or ‘play to connect with your family’. And not only with play but with other activities too, for example dancing to be social, reading to be smarter, or even being nice to people to get something in return. I’m not saying that it is bad to try to be more creative or it is wrong playing with your family so you can connect with them. But what I’m suggesting is the actual process of playing as an end of itself, not as a mean.

Being immersed and really connected with what we do (some experts call it ‘flow’ (check this book here)). When we are in this state of flow, we are happier, less stressed, we lose track of time for a few moments, and for one instance we seem to be at ease. So what if instead of playing so we can connect with our families we played to really enjoy the process. So when the time comes, we are so engaged in the game and it’s so easy to play and have fun that as a consequence, we connect more with our family, not because our ultimate goal was to get closer with them but simply because we enjoyed the game itself.

Alan Watts – Work as Play

And if you really think about it… What is the purpose of playing? It is not to win the game and be the best. The same as in music, it is not about reaching the last note the fastest, it is about the process of playing. Enjoy the process of playing not because you will get something but simply because it’s fun

How can we say ‘enjoy the moment’ if we can’t even enjoy what we do? and how are we going to enjoy what we do if we always want to get something in the future? There is always going to be another song to dance to, a new game to play, some extra work to do. 

So it’s always good to remember that we have a limited amount of moves, so we might just enjoy it because one day we will reach the end and the game will be over.

Thanks a lot for reading this and I hope you find it useful. If you have any questions or want to talk more about this or other topics just send me an email at info@thomasdixonmagic.com and I’ll get back to you.
Stay magical 😉

Some book recommendations:

Getting paid for playing… (Part I)

This is my compass and what I have written in my magic notebook.

My ‘Magic Notebook’

‘A sensitive person gets paid for playing. That’s the art of life’ Alan Watt

This is what I try to live by, this is my compass. When I feel that I’m not playing and having fun with what I’m doing I reevaluate and check with myself. Since I was in school I was a fan of quotes. I even subscribed to a daily email with an inspiring quote (when email was just starting haha!) and made my favourite 50 quotes (one day I’ll translate them and share them with you), but this one has really struck me and has guided me through my life

Because of the length of the post, I’ll separate this blog into 2 parts. The first one will share the story of how I found the quote and the next one with more specifics about the quote and how to avoid some of the traps (it’ll make more sense later)!

It all started as a moment of synchronicity (that instance when two or more unrelated events occur and suddenly everything clicks and makes sense).  I was in my University years when I stumbled across an Alan Watts video (This was the first video I saw). After a few days, I gave it more thought and became very curious about what he was saying so I started to dig more information about him. I went to the library and found one of his books (this book, haven’t found the original English translation).

After reading it, I bought and read everything I could find from him and other similar concepts like Zen Buddhism, Taoism, and others philosophies like Stoicism (Marcus Aurelius and Seneca). Also almost at the same time, I got back into doing magic (since I moved from the capital to another city I stopped doing magic for almost 2 years).

The moment of synchronicity wasn’t this one, but it happened around  2 years later when these 2 different interests (magic and philosophy) were already part of my life. At that time I was reading a lot of philosophy and psychology, doing magic regularly and going to a magic school.

One day while watching some videos of magicians on youtube, I saw Eugene Burger (probably this video) a magician who at first was a university professor teaching religion and philosophy and then later became a full-time magician in Chicago. I loved his style, he was funny, engaging but also very interesting and profound, loved it!

Interested in his magic and his thinking, I bought one of his magic books. When I started reading it, to be honest, I wasn’t very impressed with the magic (probably at the time I didn’t appreciate the simplicity of it), but I loved the philosophy and the thinking behind his magic. I  was interested in how he talked about oriental philosophy and some of the concepts that I have been reading about on the side. I felt I was in the right place, reading from this book exactly at this time in my life.

The moment that really surprised me was that in one of the chapters he had a conversation with a philosopher about how interesting it is to earn one’s living by having fun. That philosopher was Alan Watts! Getting paid for playing… (Part I) He said: ‘A sensitive person gets paid for playing, that’s the art of life’).  Eugene talked with Alan 10 days before he passed away! This really struck me and I still keep the quote since the first time I read it around 8 years ago

Since then I’ve been an avid reader of philosophy and psychology but also I love performing and having fun playing on stage and this phrase has connected with me and reminded me to check my priorities.

Next week I’ll share the second part of this post. I’ll be commenting more on the idea of playing, flow and some of the traps we can find in our path. See you next time 😉

The real secrets

The real secrets

When I lived with my parents in Chile, I used to watch lots of movies and TV shows with my dad. We saw some good and some very bad ones, but all made lovely memories.

Usually, during the movie, my dad would find lots of inconsistencies, mistakes or things that “are not like that in real world”, making him lose interest in what we were watching. Most of the time he was right, someone made a stupid decision, something that was physically impossible happened or it was just complete nonsense.

Of course there are terrible movies and those mistakes are just a small part of what makes them incredibly bad. But if we try to analyze every detail, look beyond the 3D animation, the actors and make-up, we will find something very disappointing… IT’S JUST A MOVIE! IT’S NOT REAL!  Yes, everything is make-believe – it’s camera tricks, 3D animated characters, not historically accurate and perhaps not even based on “real life events”. At first, we can think that we’ve gained something with this knowledge, but perhaps we also feel like something was taken away from us.

It’s just like with magic, there is a big smoke screen and we think that by looking through it we will find the real secrets. That finally, we will feel satisfied, and complete. But most of the time we end up feeling disappointed, because maybe knowing the secret wasn’t what we were really looking for. Maybe we don’t need “just a trick” and the answer to “how do you do it?” don’t lead us to the real secrets of magic.

I think magic:

“offers the pleasure of something plain and ordinary, unexpectedly elevated to a marvel. It’s a redemptive feeling, a reminder of many potential wonders. When a magician places a coin in his hand and makes it disappear, it is a reminder that there’s something about coins and hands that we’ve failed to appreciate. Unlike a mere deception or a simple secret, which gives the impression that something’s been taken away, a great magician makes you feel like something’s been given to you.”*

Looking for answers, judging and categorizing things has helped human beings to discover amazing things. But, by labeling and judging everything, we could lose our ability to wonder and enjoy the simple things: good company, watching a movie, drinking hot chocolate, or just walking in the park.

I’m not suggesting that we need to throw our brains down the drain! We need them to be what we are, but sometimes, if we let our brain rule us, we lose the ability to feel and and truly enjoy experiences.

Thinking is an incredible tool, but we don’t need to think that we are happy to actually be happy. We don’t need to think about sounds to enjoy a song and, perhaps, we don’t need to peek behind the curtains to enjoy the show. Even though we see the smoke and mirrors, we can still enjoy the movie, not because we don’t see it, we know it’s there, but maybe, just for now, we can let it go, sit down and enjoy it for what it is, JUST A MOVIE!

At the end, even though my dad analyzed most of the movies, we still enjoyed a lot of incredibly stupid ones (like Underworld or Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer, amazingly fun to watch!), because we knew that they were just stupid movies or maybe we just enjoyed each other’s company.


See you next time :)!

*Quote from: Hiding The Elephant, Jim Steinmeyer


Related bibliography


Recommended book: The Doors of Perception, Aldous Huxley

Recommended video: Alan Watts, Let go of controlling everything