“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
For John Dewey, in Democracy and Education, immaturity does not mean the mere absence of maturity, and dependence does not mean helplessness. Rather, both immaturity and dependence denote what he calls a “present potency”, or the immediate potential for growth. In other words, the realm of what is possible can only be understood from where we stand. But as new possibilities emerge, the metaphorical “ground beneath our feet” shifts. Without this constant flux of positionality we cannot grow. It is okay to depend on long held and deeply felt notions of reality, but true growth involves leaving these assumptions open to revision.
Pam Grout responds to this facet of the human experience in her book E-Squared: Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments that Prove your Thoughts Create Your Reality. She gradually guides her readers toward what is possible by allowing them to stay grounded in their preconceived (generally empirical/scientific) notions about how the world functions. Again, people tend to need some level of certainty in order to continue growing. Grout lets her readers keep that certainty close at hand as they explore the possibility that the law of attraction might actually work.
Grout claims, true to the dictums of the law of attraction, that the universe consists of an invisible, yet ever-present force of energy that will respond to our thoughts. But Grout does not expect us to take this on faith. Instead, she presents the reader with a series of experiments that “prove” that we are responsible for crafting our own reality. Her first experiment entitled “The Dude Abides Principle” asks readers to suspend their disbelief for 48 hours and sincerely ask the universe for a sign that it is out there, ready and willing to deliver their requests.
As a side note, I want to mention that Grout’s book contains much more than these experiments. It is an engaging and easily accessible introduction to the law of attraction and the scientific principles that many claim underlie it. But for the purposes of this blog, I am going to focus mainly on the energy experiments. However, if you want to know more, you should absolutely go read her book.
Okay, let’s get down to the nitty gritty, then. If I just clear my mind of doubt and ask the universe for a small favor, a tiny unexpected gift, what could go wrong? Why not open myself up to the possibility that some lovely little surprise is just waiting for me to summon it into my presence?
So this morning, as I am having my coffee, I close my eyes and try to banished all disbelief from my thoughts. Instead I begin to focus on certainty…
Dammit! Just yesterday I wrote a post about the pitfalls of certainty, and now I am asking myself to deny my own skepticism? How does one proceed under these conditions? Is it possible to silence doubt long enough to assume a position of authentic openness? The solution that comes to mind is to focus, not on the idea of the little gift, but on the feeling it evokes. This is a tool often promoted in the law of attraction literature. I ask myself, “What is the non-rational reaction that I might have to the moment when this small, yet indisputable favor from the universe enters into my reality?” My heart leaps a little as I access my emotional imagination, and I stay with that feeling for as long as I can manage it.
Deciding that I have successfully placed my order with the universe, I open my eyes, resume sipping my coffee and immediately something remarkable occurs. I feel fantastic! It must have had something to do with the fact that I rarely just stop thinking. Like many of us, I find the practice of silencing the inner monologue to be rather arduous. And yet, here I have done it, all in service to this energy experiment. Even if the universe does not deliver what Grout promises it will, at least I have experienced a lovely, and rare, moment of calm.
So we’ll see in the next 48 hours if this energy experiment works! (Spoiler alert: It does)