A Reasonable Expectation
“Science is the tool of the Western mind and with it more doors can be
opened than with bare hands. It is part and parcel of our
knowledge and obscures our insight only when it holds that the
understanding given by it is the only kind there is.”
Carl G. Jung
Perhaps there is
more magic in our lives than we realize. When Western Civilization
embraced science and reason, magic and miracles became targets of
derision. Only the gullible believed in them, we were told. Everything
could be explained through science and reason. That approach has served
pretty well. Scientists have made incredible advances in technology and
medicine, charlatans do not so easily take us in, and we don’t lose a
lot of sleep if someone curses us. On the other hand, we may be missing
out on opportunities for wonder. We may be neglecting sources of power
in our lives.
Science recognizes the
placebo effect, even though it can’t quite explain it. In medical
research, when you test a medication, you have to take into account the
fact that a significant percent of people given a fake pill will get
better from taking it. The number is often 30%. Similarly, people will
get side effects from a fake pill when there is nothing in it to cause
those ill effects. The suggestion that the pill will do something
powerfully affects many people whether negatively or positively.
Here is a story of a
similar process that reveals how thinking works on our bodies. A man
was treated with chemotherapy for cancer. One of the side effects of
the chemo was sensitivity to cold. The doctor warned him not to touch
or drink anything cold, because it could damage his nerves. Forgetting
that warning, he drank ice water and developed numbness in the back of
his throat. After the chemo was over, he was healthy and the numbness
went away. A year and a half later, routine follow up tests showed what
appeared to be a small tumor. After talking to the doctor, thinking
about cancer again and reflecting on the treatments likely to come, he
took a drink from a cold can of soda pop. Instantly, there was that
numbness in the back of his throat again. Clearly, memory and
suggestion had created a physical sensation that should not have been.
This raises the question:
How else do we affect our health and other aspects of our experience
with thought, imagery, suggestion and expectation? Certainly, anxiety
can be stimulated with subtle thoughts. Panic attacks—extreme anxiety
states, can be triggered by a smell, a sensation or a thought that
never reaches full awareness. What about disease? How much do we make
ourselves sick with the way we think about our bodies and our lives?
Stress clearly has a role in illness, but what about the beliefs we
have about our health and our destiny? Do we stay in unhappy jobs and
relationships because we can’t imagine anything better? Does our lack
of affluence reflect an expectation that we must always struggle with
money; that perhaps we don’t deserve more?
We cage ourselves in our
thinking patterns and come to believe that nothing exists for us
outside the cage. The truth is that our minds are tremendously powerful
forces, but they need to be given their freedom in order to be
harnessed. Sounds like a paradox. In order to free our minds we need to
be able to live in the realm of paradox. We need to be able to consider
questions such as:
- How can I be open to
a miracle without depending on one?
- How can I be open to
a magical experience without being gullible?
- How can I be
skeptical without being closed-minded?
- How can I create
positive expectation for the results I want?
- How can I make
available the full potential of my consciousness to help form my
experience and the unfolding of my life?
- What resources am I
missing because they are not yet within the scope of my believing?
This universe is a big
place and there is much in it we don’t understand. Many things happen
to people that can’t be explained. The sick get better, the dying don’t
die, catastrophes are surprisingly averted, and boons are bestowed
unexpectedly. Sometimes these are freak accidents and sometimes,
perhaps our mental state affects the outcome. What have we got to lose
by visualizing and affirming the conditions we would like to exist in