March Reflections – Magnetic Attraction

Think about those people in your life whose quiet presence attracts you. They may come from all walks of life—a friendly service person, a welcoming restaurant owner, a competent doctor, an inspiring teacher, a dear friend, or a beloved family member. You may see them often or rarely but always experience the same peaceful and uplifting reaction when you’re with them because you feel so comfortable and safe in their presence. Just calling them to mind can open your heart and elicit a smile.

What are the characteristics of such magnetic individuals? You are most likely attracted to them because they radiate an inner tranquility and warmth.  Their gentleness, sincerity and utter kindness endear you. Their focus is on you, not them. They show a genuine, loving interest in you by carefully listening to what you are saying and asking follow-up questions. It’s a pleasure to be in their company.

Magnetic or charismatic?

What is the difference between a magnetic person and one who is charismatic? Charismatic people are dramatic, entertaining, charming, hypnotic, and inspiring. They may entertain or motivate you to take some form of action. Many political leaders and entertainers are charismatic. These qualities emanate from their personalities whereas the qualities of the magnetic person radiate from their souls. Some charismatic individuals inspire you towards the positive, others towards the negative. Magnetic individuals always inspire the good. They are humble and egoless, allowing the divine grace, compassion and benevolence to flow through them.

Some people’s magnetism is so strong they have a charismatic effect in their own gentle way. Malcom Muggeridge in his book, Something Beautiful for God, relates a time when a barely usable interview with Mother Teresa aired on TV. Individuals wrote to him afterwards saying, “This woman spoke to me as no one has and I feel I must help her.” He marvels:

It might seem surprising that an obscure nun of Albanian origins, very nervous in front of the camera, somewhat halting in speech, should reach English viewers on a Sunday evening as no professional Christian apologist, bishop, or archbishop, moderator or knockabout progressive dog-collared demonstrator ever has.

Becoming a magnetic person

Thinking about what makes someone magnetic may ignite a desire in you to develop such a demeanor. How do you work towards this goal? The steps are the same as those needed to develop spiritually. These include clearing your deep-seated traumas and serious psychological issues, so you can be fully present with another. If you’re too needy, self-destructive, perfectionistic or self-centered, you can’t truly give your full attention to someone else. These issues simply take up too much room in your psyche for you to be effective.

Second, becoming magnetic requires surrendering to a higher will. This takes work because your ego doesn’t want to give up its control. However, the more you experience how much better the outcome of a knotty problem becomes when you open up to the greater will, the easier it is to surrender.  Knowing you don’t have to solve every crisis on your own enables you to be less affected by the vicissitudes of daily life, and therefore more peaceful. Relinquishing your ego to something higher creates room for those latent divine qualities of compassion, gentleness and serenity to surface and subsequently emanate from you, thus uplifting all you meet.

Further steps

Daily meditation is a third step. I can tell if someone is a regular meditator because their calmness and self-assurance pull me to them. Many are attracted to a person who meditates, although they might not know why.

Exercises in active imagination are a fourth step. You could imagine yourself radiating wisdom, compassion, tranquility, light or peace throughout your day. Your attraction to a particular quality indicates there’s already something in you with which it resonates. With practice, this latent quality will become more pronounced. You could also concentrate on a spiritual master you admire and imagine embodying them as you walk. These practices take you beyond your narrow self-image and move you into a more expanded space.

Just as a magnet draws metal objects to it, so does a magnetic person attract you to them. They inspire and invite you to become magnetic yourself. In following their quiet call, you can similarly influence others. What a beautiful and gentle way to transform the world.

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