I've been hesitant to talk about this for some time because it comes off as kind of New-Agey kookery that generally seems to get someone run out of town. However, I've had some very personal experiences with this process and I want to just get them out into the world and hopefully start some insightful discussions with people.
But maybe we should start at the base.
I'm not a very deeply religious person. In essence, I believe that you shouldn't be a dick to other people and generally life will go well for you. This obviously doesn't work all the time, but it's a baseline. The thoughts of higher, omnipotent powers are pretty irrelevant to me. I neither believe that some force exists out there, nor do I believe it doesn't. In either circumstance, it just doesn't impact my life in any meaningful way. The universe (by which I mean the universe we reside in, not some giant conscious being guiding our lives) is full of things that I, and most humans, am unable to comprehend. Either on large-scale or the very microscopic scale.
My brain does it's best to process the meager inputs given to it and make sense of what is generally considered "reality", but I am also under the perception that everyone's reality is different. I'm not saying that people see blue as green, but what our brain distills from what it is provided is specifically related to memories, past experiences, current motivations and many other variables, many of which are outside our conscious control.
I first learned about affirmations in a Scott Adams book. I found it odd that a cartoonist would delve so deep into such a personal way of thinking, but the more I read about it, the more his thoughts resonated with me. I re-read his thought experiment God's Debris
recently and it has me thinking about it again.
I don't fully agree with everything discussed in God's Debris, nor does Scott Adams as he states in the forward, but reading it whips me into a thoughtful frenzy, if such a thing exists.
The premise of affirmations is extremely simple: Visualize your goal, then write down this visualization in the format of "I, [name], will [criteria of completed goal]." Do this fifteen times per day. Over the course of time, things will begin to work in you favor towards completing that goal and eventually you will succeed at it.
It sounds stupid, I know. But it's worked for me several times in the past.
The most recent time was for Dream State. I felt overwhelmed at the task of completing an entire album in the course of a month. I wrote down the words and still worked my ass off and I succeeded on the exact day I wanted to succeed. This is what I visualized:
Now, obviously, I was still dedicated to this project and I worked very hard to complete it. The fact that I invested 10 minutes every night to write down some words may have done nothing at all. But I did have a string of luck that month. I suddenly had more free time some days. I was able to afford a new computer (yay tax returns) and the transition between them didn't affect my music production at all. Some really strange inspiration hit multiple times which kept propelling me forward.
The other time that really stands out in my mind is way back in 2000 or 2001. Again, music related. I had just read about affirmations and traffic on the site that housed my music at the time, MP3.com, was very slow. I gave it a try, thinking that it couldn't hurt. Unfortunately, life got involved and I stopped, but the evidence is hard to refute here.
I honestly don't remember what the colors for the bars mean, probably something along the lines of page hits, plays, and downloads. Back in the day, they actually paid you cash money if people downloaded or played your music, even though the user downloading or playing didn't pay anything. It was pretty cool.
Either way, I don't think these events are just chance, but I also don't think that I was placing some special order with God or The Universe for some assistance. Also, there have been times where I've been unsuccessful with affirmations. Sometimes I realize I wasn't phrasing it right, or visualizing it specifically, or maybe I just feel like it's not "in the cards" for this existence of mine. I am aware, of course, that all these are veiled excuses to keep the thought that affirmations do work. That it was a problem with the tools, not the system.
It could be analogous to someone who didn't have their prayers answered, so they blame past actions or that their life was to be directed down another path. It could also be why some people's prayers are
answered. Focusing your mind on a single goal or event a few minutes a day might go a long way.
I've thought about this a lot lately. It just seems so random. It feels that it's not the universe offering opportunities all packaged up as much as your mind being more attuned to finding those opportunities on your own. I mentioned above how I feel that brains interpret their own reality. Maybe in doing these affirmations I am simply telling my brain to be more keenly aware of opportunities when they arise.
It doesn't explain the spike in that bar graph though, does it? I certainly had no control over what sites those people visited, or what they listened to. I don't believe I did anything different during those few weeks when it rose and fell, but it was a long time ago.
I don't buy into the whole chaos theory part of it, where the barely perceptible electromagnetic field your brain constantly throws out is somehow slowly altering the world. The whole butterfly causing a typhoon stuff just doesn't make sense to me. Yes, the butterfly might play a small part in creating a typhoon, but it small actions certainly aren't the catalyst.
Part of it revolves around the fact that I truly believe that removing something from the nebulousness of the mind and putting it into reality vastly increases it's potency. I feel that if I write something on paper, even if nobody ever sees that paper, that what I wrote is more important than anything else going on in my head at that moment. Verbal communication can tie people together with ideas, cementing a small section of their brain with information from yours. Of course, that doesn't factor in misinterpretation and all that.
I can think anything I want in my head. If I place it in reality, it becomes something of significance. Not even necessarily because other people can see it, but because I can see it, and it reflects upon myself like a hall of mirrors.
I realize that I didn't really answer any questions here, but maybe some of you out there reading this would like to contribute (either on the social network site where you found the link or in the comments below). It is something that I think about often and that I don't think many people are very aware of.
So, your thoughts?
To be clear, because I can't remember if I mentioned it above, I have no problem with whatever lifestyle or religion you subscribe to as long as it doesn't hurt others. I'm not trying to say that I'm "right" or give the impression that I know all about everything. These are mostly ponderings and nothing more.