Are we all connected?
Good morning, my friends
Thoughts and Prayers? Yeah! I’m going there. If you’ve ever had something bad happened to you that you shared publicly, you’ve probably had someone say, “My thoughts and prayers are with you.”
Whenever there’s a tragedy media and social media are filled with that phrase. Often, social media being what it is, it’s delivered in the shorthand, “Thoughts and prayers.”
With the possible exception of “Thank you for your service,” when speaking to active military or veterans, “Thoughts and Prayers has become one of the great cliches of our time. Because of that, it’s come under fire for being an insincere platitude in a situation where action and not words are needed. It’s even come to the point where it angers some people.
I’d like you to consider two propositions today.
- Trite but true – while trite, I don’t think it’s generally insincere. In those moments of hardship and tragedy, we humans want to do something or say something to console. Often today we’re too far away or powerless to really do anything substantive and so we fill that silence with these words. For me, I put this in same category as the whole Christmas/holiday debate. If someone offers me a greeting during that time of year, I graciously accept. I’d propose we should see the intention and not the lack of originality in the expression when someone offers Thoughts and Prayers.
- Action Not Words – as stated in the previous paragraph, peoples’ reaction this phrase seems to revolve around the fact that it doesn’t mitigate the tragedy or tangibly help the people involved. While the words alone may not, we should not discount the power of thoughts or prayers when they become action and not just words.
There’s no shortage of anecdotal and faith-based evidence that many people focusing their minds on a particular outcome holds immense power. Prayer and directed positive thoughts/energy are two very practical ways to do that. While they may not pick up a scrap of debris or provide a meal (those are other needed actions too), we should not assume it’s doing nothing.
This story on NPR discusses research that shows couples can influence each others’ emotions and life signs at a distance.
In the story, I contend, they got one thing wrong. The report stated there’s been no evidence found that strangers at a distance can impact the well-being of someone. However, the study reported shows that the mechanism is in place for us to effect people close to us at a distance.
The only conceivable difference between the two must be emotion and the level of intention. In other words, the amount of energy being sent and the specificity. I’d doubt the universe is set up with mechanisms to recognize personal relationships.
You may recall I posted an article about Metta Meditation recently. I outlined a very practical Buddhist method of sending loving-kindness to others. I’d like to propose an experiment to test whether “thoughts and prayers” make a difference at a distance.
Here’s what I propose.
- Select three people close enough to you that you talk regularly, but not physically co-located.
- For the next two weeks, use Metta, prayer, or your own positive vibe-sending technique and send them positive energy every single day for 2-5 minutes.
- Be very intentional, focused, and try to do it with high emotion.
- Don’t tell them you’re doing this.
- If possible, plant several specific ways that you wish them well – health, money, career, etc. Be consistent throughout the two weeks.
- When the two weeks are up, contact those people and ask them how they’re doing. Get some specifics, if you can, about the areas you focused upon. Did anything extraordinary happen? Did they feel anything?
- If you wish, share the experiment with them, once you gather the results.
- Then, pretty, pretty please, share your results in the comments below. I’d love to hear how it goes.
I have done things like this many times before. It’s not a 100 percent, but I’ve seen some amazing things happen. The skeptics will crow coincidence. Let them. I am convinced we are all connected even if we don’t yet understand fully how.
Next time you INTENTIONALLY send “Thoughts and Prayers” you’ll know you’re doing some real and something that matters. The worst thing you’ve done is spent some time sending positive vibes into the world and it sure can use them!
In parting today, I want you to take a couple minutes, close your eyes, and send yourself some positive vibes. No matter what today offers, YOU’VE GOT THIS!