Science and Spirituality

All of us have opinions and ideas that make sense to us based on our individual life experiences. These observations then become our truths because we believe that a pattern exists between what we observe and what seems to unfold, based on past experiences.

Scientists label this Confirmation Bias which they describe as ‘the tendency to search for, interpret, favour, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s pre-existing beliefs or hypotheses’.

Confirmation Bias in my opinion is simply ‘Law of Attraction’ in action. Any active thought (which comes with a certain vibrational frequency) tends to attract another thought of similar frequency to it—which then attracts another and another.

There are many aspects to any situation, but I believe each of us tends to rendezvous with those aspects that resonate with the beliefs we have. Just as the tuner on a radio can be set to a pick up radio waves at a certain frequency, similarly our beliefs pick up aspects within the range of what we are offering vibrationally at any moment. That simply is the way Law of Attraction works—in the same unfailing way as the law of gravity.

I reckon science is only just tapping in to Universal truths that many spiritual teachers must always have known. For example Jesus’s teachings seem to fit in perfectly with my understanding of how all of this works. “Turn the other cheek” is valuable advice indeed in confrontational situations, especially when you consider how consistent Law of Attraction always is.

Attention to any subject (for even as little as a minute) creates a strong enough vibration that Law of Attraction responds to. One angry comment could very well spark off another, until very soon a lot of momentum could gather. The situation then has the potential of turning ugly pretty soon.

‘Turning the other cheek’ may sound simplistic, but simply shifting focus off the irksome topic can work its own magic. It presents the opportunity to regroup, so to speak—allowing for some distraction towards more pleasant topics. And then there can be the gentle tuning out, into a more pleasant arena. ‘Turning the other cheek’ is honestly so much more than just having to grit your teeth and bear it. It provides the breath of fresh air that can diffuse a difficult situation.

Indian mystics too seem to have come to a similar understanding of Universal laws. They have a Sanskrit term Astu, which can be described as a force that brings one’s thoughts into a full blown manifestation. Spiritual teachers in India recommend watching your thoughts and words, lest the Tathastu gods act on them too swiftly. Isn’t this just another way of describing Law of Attraction?

As I see it, Spirituality relies on intuition or faith to visualise beyond what is already manifested—into the realm of pure potentiality, where all things are possible. It is by working in harmony with the laws of the Universe that the subtle connection to Infinite Intelligence (God) is reached.

Science on the other hand, insists on direct evidence and reasoning to move forward, which can be burdensome and therefore limiting.

Albert Einstein probably put it more succinctly than I ever could with his famous quote: “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind, a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

© 2018 G.A.I.L

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Missed Interpretation

I was off to visit a friend with my sister-in-law, and asked my older son (who was around three at the time), if he’d like to come along.

‘I’m going to see Myrtle,’ I said. ‘Would you like to come?’ He had no idea who this person was and my invitation was very casual. He’d been busy playing with his favourite uncle and I seriously didn’t think he’d want to interrupt that, for a visit with one of my friends. But he came along very readily which surprised me, and I couldn’t help feeling a little pleased that he chose me over his fun uncle.

When we reached, Myrtle was pleased to see us and ushered us in.

My son however was rooted at the doorway, staring down at a spot on the floor, a look of expectation on his face. ‘Where’s Myrtle?’ he asked looking around hopefully.

‘Here,’ I said, indicating Myrtle, who was amused because she guessed he was confused since he hadn’t met her before.

The look of hope on his face was being replaced quickly by disappointment and suddenly I had a flash of insight that made me chuckle.

He had interpreted Myrtle as ‘turtle‘ and was expecting to see one he could actually play with! (We had been to the aquarium a few times before and had seen plenty of turtles there.)

Fortunately for us, he handled his disappointment well and I didn’t have to confess this innocent misunderstanding to Myrtle. But I did explain it to him on the way home and he seemed to understand the subtle difference in sound that had made such a big difference to him.

I think of this incident often when I realise that people often hear one thing and interpret it as something quite different, based on what is currently active in their lives at the time.

I guess all of us can see only through the lens of our own perspective. That’s the same reason why eyewitness accounts are similar, but never exactly the same. Everyone reports a different aspect of the same situation. We choose to see different aspects according to what’s going on vibrationally within us.

For example if we’re feeling vulnerable for whatever reason, any idle comment can very easily be perceived as something totally different from what may have been intended.

Law of Attraction which is always operating in the background tends to offer thoughts of similar vibrational frequency, which only adds momentum to a thought.

Very soon a small little negative thought can end up into a deep rooted belief that actually creates a totally different point of attraction.

I think it’s always a good idea to take sticky subjects with a ‘pinch of salt’ so to speak and give the other person the benefit of the doubt. This can prevent a situation from getting into a potentially negative spiral which can often spin out of control.

I used to get pretty bummed out when people did not respond to any well meaning overture of mine – be it a mail, a message or anything in between. I’d often interpret this as them not ‘caring’.

I finally had to invest in that proverbial ‘pinch of salt’ and convince myself that everyone’s outlook (or interests) are not always the same as mine and don’t have to be.

I’ve given myself permission to be who I ‘be ‘ and let them be who they ‘be’.

And the best part is that I don’t ever need to tell them that Myrtle never really was a turtle! 😉

© 2018 G.A.I.L

Finding Resonance

I have no quarrel with people who think blogging about philosophy is a waste of time. After all, why waste time ‘thinking’ when you could just as easily live life and enjoy every moment for what it’s worth?

I agree completely.

But what about people like me who actually thrive on figuring out the pieces to the puzzle? Philosophy like everything else need not be everybody’s cup of tea. But it certainly is mine 😉

I guess I’ve always had an insatiable curiosity to know how life works. I honestly get a thrill every time I resonate with a thought or an idea someone else may have figured out before I did.

Dr. Wayne Dyer is one person whose philosophy has always struck a chord with me. He has shaped my thinking over the years with his various books and really expanded my understanding. One of his favorite quotes was “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change”. What an interesting concept, that has the potential to yield such amazing results!

Perhaps each philosophy I resonate with is something I may have subconsciously suspected, which suddenly makes total sense when I came across it and makes me feel connected in a way I cannot explain.

Sometimes I’m faced with a question to which I have no immediate answer. For instance, the other day a good friend asked me what might be the end result I hoped to achieve by starting this blog. Besides my hope of finding resonance with other people who are reaching for the same understanding as I am, I could think of nothing.

And while this question was still brewing in my mind I came upon a quote by Maya Angelou (literally within a few hours) which left me quite startled.

Her words were, “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” This was a perfectly accurate description of how I see myself, yet her words said it far more succinctly than I could at the time. My blog is simply a reflection of that feeling.

I’m a great example of someone who’s not perfect, but who thinks that life is! We get to enjoy the perfection of this universe any way we choose.

Far from feeling cheated about my illness, I found that my innate desire to know about life sent me on a journey of self-discovery. My illness was simply the catalyst that propelled me forward.

I stumbled upon something I never even knew existed until then—i.e. Law of Attraction, which I’m discovering is very real and very consistent. I also realized that I was never going to be content with just surviving, but actually thriving!

I thought it was a remarkable coincidence to come upon Maya Angelou’s quote at that time.
Coincidences as we see them are incidents that come together, in a seemingly random fashion. But are they really all that random?

I truly believe in the theory that every thought that has ever been thought still exists in a cyberspace of sorts. Law of Attraction simply organizes the rendezvous with these thoughts when our asking is strong and we have no resistance to receiving the answer.

My unspoken question (to the Universe) about my purpose in blogging attracted to me an answer that filled in the blank for me.

I do not consciously intend filling in anyone’s blanks for them. I’d rather just put my thoughts out there for anyone to use when the moment is right. And I don’t have to be the one to choose that moment for them. Law of Attraction will take care of that!

© 2018 G.A.I.L

Empathy and beyond

Many years ago when my older son was around four, we happened to be at a ferry crossing in India. As we stood in line with the other passengers, waiting to go down the ramp into the ferry boat, I noticed a disabled man on a little cart almost at floor level.

His legs may have been paralyzed and I felt sorry that he must not have been able up afford a proper wheelchair. The gadget he was using was simple yet functional (much like a skateboard) enabling him to move, as he used his palms against the ground to propel himself forward.

While I felt sorry that he was forced to commute like this I could not help but admire his resilience in seeking to be independent in his own way.

I am usually hesitant to give alms to just any beggar on the street because there are many who pretend to be disabled when they really are not. But there was no doubt in my mind that this person was definitely genuine. I hurriedly fished in my purse for any change I could find.

Probably thinking this was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate empathy in action, I handed the coins to my son and asked him to give them to the man, explaining that we’d be helping him.

As we approached the man and my son reached out to give him the coins, I caught the man’s eye and for a split second I was confused. He looked at me with utmost kindness and shook his head ever so slightly.

In that moment I realized something that simply hadn’t occurred to me before – and I kicked myself that it had not struck me earlier. He was disabled for sure, but certainly not needy!

Because he was on a rundown looking cart and dressed in humble clothes I had assumed he was a beggar. I had incorrectly surmised that he could not afford a wheelchair. After all, who would choose to brush their palms against the ground when they could move in the comfort of a properly designed mobility device?

In that brief unspoken moment when our eyes met, something indefinable happened. I found myself humbled by the fact that he understood my intentions, yet held no grudge that he had been so completely misunderstood.

I think of this incident often these days when I am in the midst of doing something very ably with my left hand. Then someone will come along and offer to complete my chore, obviously assuming they can do it better because unlike me they have the use of both hands.

I try not to feel irked because I’d rather they appreciate my ‘ability’ rather than assume that my apparent disability is somehow limiting. But then part of me understands that they are coming from a place of caring – even though they are probably just as clueless as I was then.

I guess we all live and learn … and grow, through every little experience.

© 2018 G.A.I.L

The Right Syntax

Many years ago I came across a parenting tip I thought was pretty interesting. Apparently the choice of words plays a big role in whether a child complies or not.

Saying “Don’t jump on the sofa” according to this child expert was not an effective choice of words. Children would be more inclined to hear (quite selectively) “Jump on the sofa” and therefore continue, much to the parent’s annoyance.

I wasn’t quite certain I agreed, because I truly believe in saying exactly what I mean. To me it seemed silly, if not inauthentic to deliberately choose words to manipulate behaviour.

I’d rather say what I mean and mean what I say!

Yet something about the idea intrigued me and I found myself considering what that parenting expert thought would be a better option. Apparently something like “Settle down” would be far more effective.

I mused over his advice and thought that this theory might be worth a shot. I decided to pay attention to what I now said to people (my syntax, so to speak) and the results that would ensue. To my surprise, people in general often seemed to conform to the same pattern that the parenting expert had predicted.

After a while I wasn’t too surprised when a casual reminder like, ‘Don’t forget your keys’ would often end up with the person actually forgetting to take the keys!

I decided it cost me nothing to alter my syntax – so I did. I began to rephrase my sentences to something like, “Remember to take your keys” and found that it worked better than I might’ve imagined!

It is only now that I actually understand the mechanism of how this works. There are always two aspects to anything – what is wanted – and what is not wanted. When you think a thought or even say it aloud, Law of Attraction which is always operating in the background, takes over whether you understand how it works or not.

So when you see boisterous behaviour (jumping on the sofa) and say “No” to it you actually focus on it (unintentionally of course) and therefore invite it into your experience, thus creating more of it.

When you choose to give your attention to something you’d prefer (the child settling down, in this case) you activate that vibe and thereby actually set the tone for what you want – i.e calmness.

Law of Attraction then responds to this vibrational request and the result becomes evident in what unfolds.

Too simple to be true? Perhaps… but I’m convinced it really is that simple!

© 2018 G.A.I.L

A Chip off the Old Block

   

Many good ideas are born around a kitchen table. That’s the sacred place of home where we bond, confide and bounce ideas off each other.

Our own kitchen table had had its fair share of sticky fingers and all the myriad activity that goes along with school projects and growing up.  After eleven years it certainly looked worn and my husband suggested it was probably time to look for a new one. To me this table was like an old friend and I was reluctant to say goodbye just yet.

As we sat around one day, about a year and half after my surgery, a thought popped into my head and I couldn’t resist entertaining it, even though it seemed rather far-fetched. I was contemplating bringing this table back to life, rather than getting rid of it, and as I shared my thought, everyone gazed at me quite startled. They were rather skeptical of my idea and the thought of me sanding, polishing and varnishing simply did not seem to be worth the effort at all.

I however, was undeterred.  As a child I had witnessed my dad dabbling in a lot of carpentry as a hobby and had been privy to the satisfaction he seemed to derive from his various projects. I could feel the stirring of a similar desire in me and I simply had to follow my inspiration.

In a way, I understood the reluctance my husband and boys felt. I was riding on the heels of my dad’s passion, while they were not. Their path of least resistance was to go out and buy a new table, but mine was to test my own creativity and see whether I could bring my dream to reality—singlehandedly, in every sense of the word. I would need to do everything with my left hand!

It took me nearly two weeks to sand the table to my satisfaction, but I was pleased with my effort. A lot of the initial skepticism my family had had, was quickly fading away as the kitchen counter became our temporary watering hole. I did encounter a few glitches with applying the stain and the epoxy layer but I managed to sort them out, learning a lot through the experience.

My ‘new’ table was a perfect reflection of the thrill I felt at accomplishing quite ably, everything I had set out to do. Unfortunately the chairs now stood out awkwardly, so I had to sand and varnish them as well. This of course took a couple more weeks, but slowly and steadily I worked my way through all of them.

And finally, our kitchen table was recommissioned, happy in its new attire. For me the satisfaction was worth all the time and effort. More than that, the table stands as a tribute to my dad, who had subconsciously sown the seeds of passion and patience in me all those years ago.

And while it’s certainly true that many good ideas are born around a kitchen table, I daresay (tongue-in-cheek of course) that this table was born around a good idea!

© 2018 G.A.I.L

Life beyond perfectionism

I was born into a family culture of perfectionism. It might seem like a good thing, but I don’t think it really is.

Perfectionism comes with invisible shackles that can bind and smother in unseen ways.

In my case, it seemed to hold me captive to a standard that was never really consistent.
People have different perceptions and outlooks and trying to meet everyone’s expectations can be quite daunting. What’s worse is that after a while I began to hold myself to a standard that no one else even expected—or really cared about.

It took me a while to come to my senses and realize that I was robbing myself of so much, because I was focused inward (on meeting some very high standards) and not outward (in enjoying the moment for whatever it was worth).

I seriously began to question if I could indeed let go of this bugbear which seemed to have its claws entrenched pretty deep into my psyche. I finally decided it was time to say goodbye when I realized it was giving birth to something almost as obnoxious—and that was procrastination. I found myself putting off doing something for fear that it may not turn out as perfect as I liked.

Old habits however, die hard. There is an air of familiarity about ‘habit’ that feels comfortable even though it may not be serving us as well. That, as I now understand, is because one cannot go cold turkey where Law of Attraction is concerned. Only thoughts within the same vibrational range can harmonize, so it’s rather illogical to expect to switch from ‘perfectionism’ to ‘sensible’ on a dime. It requires a gradual steering away, thought by thought; subject by subject. I had to cajole myself into accepting that something was ‘good enough’ rather than ‘absolutely perfect’.

I think my kids have been the biggest instrument for change as far as I’m concerned. They came along and challenged my need for perfection in interesting ways. I soon realized that the world would not fall apart if their rooms weren’t absolutely tidy and they certainly would survive, even if they didn’t always get to bed on time.
I’ll admit it wasn’t easy to turn the other way and ignore a condition that was not meticulously dusted off of any perceived imperfection.

Yet slowly and steadily I began to find my balance, taking baby steps away from my biggest nemesis. Metaphorically speaking I had lowered a bar that never needed to be there in the first place.

I am pleased to say that I now use a different yardstick, called ‘satisfaction’. I measure my accomplishments by the amount of pleasure I derive, in doing them.
Since I no longer strive for ‘perfection’ I can focus more purely on a sense of fulfillment, which surprisingly nets me a higher yield than perfection—allowing me to achieve far more.

I suspect that’s because ‘satisfaction’ tends to spawn a certain confidence – and I find ‘confidence’ far more delightful!

© 2018 G.A.I.L