... Magick isn't believing it's there. Nope. How I ask, could you NOT believe in Magick? In this world where a guy two parties have never met before can 'conjure' paperwork and then bang a ceremonial gavel and grant one ownership of land, children, money (and make no mistake, those little bills that represent value based on bajillions of sequences of 1's and 0's are some of our society's STRONGEST Magick) or any number of other privileges, rewards or punishments, Magick is the bread and butter of what we experience. Or I could always challenge nn-believers to visit Washington D.C. and tell me that it is not the most meticulously occult place in the country. Seriously, the a giant obelisk in front of a reflecting pool? Really...
But no, believing in Magick is not the hardest part of it. Nor is learning it. At this point there are a million books (most being watered down repackagings of Crowley's mostly illegible ramblings, Austin Osman Spare, Peter J. Carroll and Phil Hine) that can teach you the rudimentary philosophies and some methods that will get you going. No, the hardest thing is what's known as the Lust of Result.
Lust of Result is especially exacerbated in this day and age where everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE has ADD to some degree. Computers and the Internet, high speed cable broadband hoo-ha has affected MTV, which has affected advertising, which has affected Hip Hop, which has affected everything else (begrudgingly) and even information, as we know it, has been slim-lined, streamlined, stylized and miniaturized so that we get so much so fast we can hardly hang on to any of it (comparatively). Lust of Result is wanting the result you are trying to influence the Universe to give you, which of course inhibits your ability to get it. Crowley said it the best when, to paraphrase a passage in Book IV he points out, "How can you hope to produce changes in the world around you via nothing more than your Will when you cannot even control your own body or thoughts." In other words, I'm sitting here right now drinking a Sierra Nevada, fidgeting with my legs, oop - there's an itch on my neck, that when scratched starts one up on my elbow, earlier I was having trouble writing so I got up and snacked on crap food even though I wasn't hungry, then I vacuumed and compulsively cleaned for about twenty-five minutes, etc. etc. etc.
See my point.
This is where Crowley, who for all his outlandish and often douche-like behavior, not to mention his penchant for not practicing what he preached all of the time, was really quite a remarkable man (top notch mountaineer and part of the first team to locate and attempt to climb the path up Pakistan's K2) with many a valuable insight for Magician as well as Human, would begin talking about the benefits of Raja Yoga.
I wish I had the attention span for yoga of any kind, esp. of the Raja variety. However, referring again to the previous paragraphs here, I do not.
Could I train myself to better my attention span? Yes, I guarantee it is something that could be fought back. However, I would probably need to trim out some of the drinking, which I have no intention of doing (3 beers, on average, a night is I feel not too much to ask). But the point is, it's the concentration on this routine that combats concentration on other, more spiritually fortifying ones that would help in my enhancement of any preternatural skills I may or may not have convinced myself that I have.
In the end one thing I've taken from all the reading and practicing I've done is that there are no set ways to approach hacking into the local reality grid* - so I keep pulling half-assed attempts at performing in ways that are quick and clean and slight on the preparatory. However, if I ever move into a home with a concrete floor in the basement, you can bet I'm buying a whole shit ton of colored chalk and cracking out my Lesser Keys of Solomon text. Always wanted to try to devote some time to recreating some of those Golden Dawn-era rituals, just hard to do when your renting. But not even a massive sale on Guinness could keep me from that. Besides, I always fancied Constantine's mate Brendan's idea - conjuring the Perfect Pint!!!
* thanks to GM for that imagery