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It is commonly shown that some wise old wizard is meditating in order to increase his magical might, or just to learn new spells.

My question is - How does meditating (or any other thing) increase magical power?

(This seems broad, but there is no need to give a answer for each and every type of wizard, elemental,necromancer etc - just think of the stereotypical old wizard with a hat and a staff who is always researching for more magic)

My World: There are many different types of magic, most common being the elemental magic (fireball,lightning etc) and necromancy. Assume the entire world is magical, with the average magician being pretty powerful (casually tossing fireballs that will kill a normal person or calling lightning that can wreck a tree easily, but only a dozen times in a day) . Other types of magic would be summoning spirits or healing magic.

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Aify, James, bilbo_pingouin, Hohmannfan, Frostfyre Jun 29 '16 at 21:16

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ In accordance with the expectations of the magic tag, please define how your magic system works. Absent that, there is no "best" solution to your problem. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Jun 29 '16 at 4:24
  • $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre I have added some info that might help :) $\endgroup$ – King of Snakes Jun 29 '16 at 4:57
  • $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre I don't want a 'best solution', I want a suggestion. In this type of problem, there is no best solution. Just giving a answer which seems logical in that context is enough. (not angry, just saying) $\endgroup$ – King of Snakes Jun 29 '16 at 5:00
  • $\begingroup$ This SE isn't a place where questions that are meant to be harnessing "suggestions" should be asked. Each and every question asked here aims to have a "correct" or "best" solution, and your question needs to be changed to reflect that. $\endgroup$ – Aify Jun 29 '16 at 17:40
  • $\begingroup$ As with your other question WB.se is not designed to handle story related things like this. Many of us would be willing to have conversations like this in chat (its a great place to bounce ideas around) but questions like this just don't work with the SE format. Though the short answer to your question is, It works however you want it to because it's magic $\endgroup$ – James Jun 29 '16 at 18:08
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You'd have to know how magic works to answer.

If the magic bears any resemblance to known physics, the energy has to come from somewhere. Does it come from the chemical energy in the magician's body? That would make throwing fireballs that destroy a building impossible. Maybe he uses the chemical energy in his body like some sort of catalyst to move energy in the surrounding world, like pushing a boulder over a cliff. Maybe the energy comes from a pool of mana that's just out there waiting for a magician to draw on it. Maybe there's some mechanism to manipulate mana, akin to burning oil to make an engine run.

If you want your story to have magic that operates according to rational rules, you'll have to figure out what those rules are. Lots of fantasy stories don't worry about it, they just declare that the magician can throw fire balls or raise zombie armies or whatever, and that's it.

Personally, I always balk at stories where the magic is not governed by any discernable rules -- other than, "what suits to the author to advance the plot at this point". I really dislike stories where in chapter 1 the wizard can throw a fireball that destroys a city but in chapter 5 he is overpowered and captured by an ordinary guy with a club, with no explanation why he couldn't destroy his attacker with a similar fireball. But maybe that's just me.

If I was writing a fantasy story, I'd try to work out some "theory" about how magic works. Like let's say there's this form of energy unknown to 21st century physicists. Let's call it "mana". And let's say it can be manipulated by saying just the right words and making just the right hand gestures. Then it follows that the way for a magician to increase his power is to study the workings of mana and learn more about what effect any given hand gesture, etc, has. He could do research in much the way that a chemist or physicist does research. Once he knows the principles, he probably needs to practice and train to get the hand gestures just right.

Another obvious theory would be that there are good and evil spirits in the world, ghosts or whatever, and that magic works by convincing or forcing these beings to do your will.

I'm sure many other theories are possible, in the sense of, would be internally consistent and at least vaguely plausible.

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This question cannot be answered without knowing the fundamental basics of the magic system you've worked out.

In real life, meditation has nothing to do with any superpower, it is a practice of clearing mind and execute mental focus. Therefore, meditation is going to have effect on your magic only if it has any element that involves concentration and a different state of mind can create a different effect.

It's absolutely relevant in my magic system, for example, that is fundamentally based on concentrating on runes. If your magic system lacks elements where human mind itself makes any change, then I doubt meditation would amplify it.

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Meditation isn't like meditation in the mundane world. It is a magical spell which heals the conduits of the soul through which mana flows during all other spell casting. Those conduits burn under heavy use, causing damage which can impair a person's casting abilities. Soul burns which are treated immediately with meditation, leave no permanent damage. Heavy magic use on top of existing, untreated soul burns can make the damage permanent, robbing the person of some or all of their magic use forever.

Before the meditation spell was discovered, people thought that everyone got a limited amount of magic to use in their lifetime. Once it was used up, no more would ever replace it. Now they live in an enlightened age, prospherous in the knowledge that magic is fundamentally unlimited. They know that with prudent application of meditation between each major casting, no caster's supply of magic ever needs to "run dry".

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Chi-adepts use meditation both as a way to focus, and as a way to gain control both over the energies inside their body and the physical body itself. They also use it to deliberately ignore disturbances in the physical world, like noise, pain, etc.

If your magic causes pain after a certain level, you might want to use meditation to help keep the extreme focus necessary despite bodily distractions. Also, if you are practicing for working long and complicated spells, you might want to use meditation so that you can keep up the necessary concentration for hours.

What it could mean for your magic users with internal magic reservoirs:

  • gain magic control (no wasted magic so that 100% go into your spell, more fine-control like being able to snipe a fly off a forehead without the person being harmed)
  • Activate non-obvious pools of magic (find hidden reservoirs in your body and link them to your main pool)
  • increase magic (constantly strain your magic against your magic channels so that they grow and you can then channel more)
  • Mental practice (form and shape the magic within your body without actually releasing the spell so that your brain gets used to twisting itself into certain shapes and the spell comes easier -- i.e. quicker casting speed)
  • invent / improve spells (use the absolute focus and the insight into one's body meditation gives to create or streamline spells)

Magic that is external (think wicca):

  • gain magic control (finer touch for handling the external energies)
  • stretch your magic senses (train to not only grab magic right next to you but in a greater radius)
  • sense magic (observe the natural magic around you so that you become more familiar with it and know where how much of it is; figure out if there are spells around you and observe them)
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