I was talking to a friend the other day who was telling me about some life problems he’s going through and how he’s discouraged at the thought of living a fulfilling life and doesn’t know what his next steps should be. These are pretty common, yet daunting problems that everyone goes through at some point.

I offered the best advice I could, telling him how affirmations and visualization changed my life, once I realized how the law of attraction works. “Your thoughts and words create your reality,” I said, “You keep talking as if it’s been decided that you’re going to live a hard, lonely life, and that the only thing you can do is try to make it through as comfortably as possible.” I went on to say how thinking and talking like that is only going to attract that reality he’s envisioning. I gave tips on writing down intentions, speaking affirmations and communicating with the universe.

“I’m a scientist,” he laughed, “As much as I like the thought of it, I don’t believe in all that woo-woo stuff.”

No offense, but whenever I hear people say that, my initial thought is well maybe if you tried you wouldn’t have these problems.

It’s so unfortunate how people think you have to choose between science and spirituality. You’re either a practical, realistic, facts-driven person who is probably agnostic, or you’re an abstract-thinking, climate change denying Jesus lover.

Now I know that not everyone is one or the other. I believe in evolution but I also believe in energy healing, which (despite the research on it and significant impact on many people including myself), some “logical” people would scoff at. But I see it as a healthy and therapeutic alternative to strong prescription drugs that have dozens of side effects (most of them worse than the ailment you’re trying to cure), and that don’t actually solve the root problem.

Which leads me to my main question regarding “spirituality” or whatever you want to call this hopeful connectedness: why not give it a try?

When I think back to my friend’s problems, I think of how he is in the perfect spot to take the perhaps uncomfortable step outside his secure, scientifically-proven reality, and into a place of infinite potential. When your worldly problems are weighing you down and you don’t know where else to turn, why not at least entertain the idea of momentarily stepping out of this world, where all of our problems are created in the first place?

I’m not saying to go take some LSD and pack your bags for the land of magical rainbows, but maybe try experimenting with some of the many ways to change your outlook on life. When I first got to Senegal and felt overwhelmed that I couldn’t speak the language, didn’t know anyone, and had work expectations on top of it all, I wrote down some affirmations that immediately lifted my mood and, looking back, actually came true pretty quickly. I wrote down (in more detail than this) that I would learn the language, make new friends, and excel at work by a certain date. To some people this is just wishful thinking, but for people who have experienced the transformative power of expressing your intentions, it’s just another tool to create your reality.

If you have a science-oriented mind, that’s great! But it doesn’t mean you have to reject anything that’s not proven factual. And I’m writing this because I think so many people could benefit from being open to all possibilities in life, even if you can’t test or measure them. If you’ve never used any of these “woo woo” tools before, like affirmations or visualization, why not give it a try? You have literally nothing to lose and so much to gain. What I said to my friend was, “write down exactly where you want to see yourself and what you want to be doing, and try to feel as though it’s already happening.”

I hope he takes this advice one day, and I hope our society continues to dissolve the division between science and spirituality.

Here’s a small example of the power of intention. I wrote this bio for myself almost a year ago, before I had any idea that just 8 months later I’d be moving to Senegal, “speaking French while living in Africa.” 

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