Saturday, May 02, 2009

"White Light" - Wishin' and Hopin'

I don't pray to a deity. Stopped doing that nearly 7 years ago. Happy to put it behind me. Never looked back.

I don't meditate. But I'd like to learn. I have a great deal of difficulty focusing on one thing, such as breathing, to the exclusion of other things. It's a work in progress.

But without prayer or meditation, there remains the question of what to do when there's a situation that's out of your control, but you've got something invested in the outcome.

Wish ... hope ... send white light, as a friend of mine likes to say.

I'm more than a bit skeptical about the "law of attraction." I've tried it a few times, seen it work, but the track record is almost exactly equivalent to the results gained through prayer. Inconsistent. Closer to coincidence than anything.

So I hesitate, good humanist/skeptic/UU that I am, to delude myself into thinking I can send out "waves" or "vibes" or anything like that to the universe and somehow influence it to alter the course of events to suit me. Pure logic says it's in my head and nowhere else.

But the thoughts persist. The helplessness that has kept religion going for millennia.

Two of my good friends have been vacationing at Ground Zero for the current flu outbreak. They are healthy, vigorous people who always keep a positive attitude and don't generally slouch around talking about their latest ailment. And fortunately, in the event that some microbe may overtake them, they have access to good healthcare. There really is no reason to worry about my friends. They've kept in touch via e-mail and made no mention of any worries other than government offices being closed and the possibility of travel delays. I do sense, though, that they're more than ready to get back home.

I feel tense, restless, and yes, helpless. I have a personal stake in this situation simply because I care about them and think they're undeserving of sickness, bureaucratic inconvenience, or even the worries of friends, who may want them to quarantine themselves for a week or so after they come back, just to play it safe.

I'm as clueless about "white light" as I ever was about prayer. The Law of Attraction folks say I should only visualize the best outcome -- picture them bouncing off the plane with carefree grins and luggage full of whimsical, sanitary souvenirs. A month's worth of amusing stories about the food and scenery. That is, actually, how I see them in my mind's eye.

If that's "white light," I'm hitting the SEND button now.


Ipecac said...

Your skeptical feelings serve you well. :-)

I believe that people with positive attitudes do influence the chances of things working out their way because they also tend to do something about the problem. Just wishing, though, won't get you anything but disappointed whenever something doesn't work out.

Volly said...


And they did get home last night "safe & sound."

I claim no credit.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I'm glad to read that your friends did make it home well and happy, through your efforts or not.

Persephone said...

As you know, I'm a fellow Unitarian (one of them theist-types, but don't let that scare you). I do Creative Visualization. If you can get past the crunchy-granola aspects, C.V. can be prayer (for those not put off by the P-word), meditation (for those who partake), or just plain ol' visualization. Jocks swear by it (but I try not to let that prejudice me). I've only just gone back to it after years of neglect, and by golly, I haven't needed to take Valerian since before Christmas. So I think envisaging the best for those you love certainly can't do them any harm, may help, and if you sleep better at night, why the heck not?

I have a healthy respect for pandemics, having had Hong Kong flu myself. (Also, my great-aunt died in the great Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919.) However, I think the media is going a wee bit overboard on this one. So far, far fewer people have died than are killed by regular influenza each year. And far far far fewer than those killed in car accidents each year.