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I was formally trained in behavioral (psychology) and social sciences (public health) and value the use of evidence to understand people and to guide decision-making and systems-change; however, I do believe there are things that happen in this world that cannot (yet) be explained by science or for that matter may never be explained by science. Sometimes these things show up as messages from the Universe. I receive these messages quite often and use them to validate my decisions or to guide me in the ‘right’ direction. Below I reflect on the sciences and highlight a fun message from the Universe I recently received. This was a great reminder that while I am making decisions every day about the direction my life takes and helping my coaching clients to do the same; I’m also co-creating my life with the great Unknown! This is possible for you too.
In reflecting on the sciences, we know that behavioral scientists study primarily human behavior to better understand how people act within our communities and society. Social scientists study systems to better understand how these systems in which we live affect individuals, communities, groups, and populations. Both are necessary because they help us understand how people engage with the world around us as well as they help us understand how the system(s) in which we live, work, play, and pray affect us so that we have opportunities to make these systems better. Obviously, all sciences have their value; however, no one science is sufficient in its ability to help us understand self, others, and the world around us.
A particularly interesting area of science is noetic sciences or the study of how our inner knowing, including our thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and attitudes, influence our lives and the world in which we live. Noetic sciences are concerned with understanding individual and collective consciousness and the extent to which awareness is translated into our individual and collective life experiences (noetic.org). In other words, do our thoughts really create our reality?
My first exposure to noetic sciences was in 2007 while attending a retreat on the Physical Expression of the Soul at the Institute for Noetic Sciences (IONS). While this retreat was not part of the official work of IONS, the Institute served as our venue and an opportunity to learn about this science in which I was not familiar. Edgar Mitchell, the Apollo 14 astronaut, founded IONS in 1973 because of a profound experience he had on a return trip from walking on the moon in which he experienced a strong and real-time-felt sense of his connection to the Universe. He KNEW, with an internal knowing, that he/we all are connected to something greater. He wanted a place where people could study this type of inner knowing using traditional research tools in a systematic manner; and so, he founded IONS. Today, interdisciplinary scientists at IONS devote their careers to studying this inner knowing and the extent to which it may shape our world.
As a public health professional who is also intrigued by human behavior and the spiritual nature of our existence, I find this work fascinating and truly on the cutting edge of our ability to understand the potential of human beings to guide their lives in meaningful ways and to positively influence systems so that all people thrive in this increasingly complex world in which we live.
I have had the experiential knowing of my connection to the Universe on more than one occasion. My first memory of this connection was when I was 7 years old while driving in a car at night with my grandparents. Looking up into the sky with soft eyes, I felt that connection with something greater than myself. I knew this connection existed; it expressed itself as peace and calm within me. Another experience of this knowing was in my early 30’s at the retreat I mentioned earlier. In a process to better understand my soul’s gift to the world, I had an experience of being One with the Universe. During that experience, I knew that I was so much more than this physical body in which I live. The more I am open to these experiences, the more they show up. Many people I know have had these types of experiences as well. This inner knowing, when I trust it, helps me live a more fulfilled, alive life that gives rather than takes, and that supports rather than depletes humanity. I am grateful that noetic scientists are studying these types of experiences.
I’d like to share one more recent experience I’ve had with inner knowing that has given me hope, excitement, and courage to move forward on my life’s journey. Every November and January I spend a long weekend in Minneapolis with three wise and beautiful female friends who I met at that retreat at IONS in 2007. In November, we reflect on and close the curtain on the year about to end. In January, we reflect on and get ready to open the curtain on the year ahead. We reflect on what happened, why it happened, what is trying to happen, what we want to happen, and why we want it to happen. We use tools that help us tap into our inner knowing such as soul collages; journaling; mantra and meditation practices; and deep, meaningful conversations in which each one of experiences being seen and heard at a deep and meaningful level. This year, one of my major take away messages across different data points was that “your thoughts do create your reality so be careful what you think.” This is not a new message for me, but it came up using several different tools, so I am paying extra special attention this year.
In fact, within 30 minutes of returning home from my trip, I was greeted with an Amazon.com package that I did not purchase. Inside this package was a 2013 book by Pam Grout called ‘E Squared: Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality.’ Ha! Are you kidding me? While I did buy and read this book in 2013 when it was first published, I did not by it again in 2018. As it turns out, new friends in Montana purchased and shipped this book to me at exactly the time this messaged surfaced in my real-time experiences. They did not know about my work in Minneapolis. They did not know I was explicitly working on how my thoughts create my reality.
Message from the Universe? Yes, I know so! Can I prove this? No, but I absolutely know it to be true! Noetic scientists might one day be able to help us understand this experience, but truth be told I personally don’t need the proof. I have the direct experiential knowing. This experience felt like cosmic play in an “I’ve got your back sort of way.” Ha! Life is so fascinating!
While I can’t prove this is a message from the Universe to help make my life easier, more meaningful, and purposeful, I am clear this is evidence I can use to guide me on my journey. Listening for messages from the Universe is a principle I use in my life on a daily basis! It gives me life, makes me feel hopeful, and reminds me we are all connected.
What are the messages you are receiving from the Universe? How might your life become more alive or expansive by listening to and acting on these messages?
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Loved listening to your experience!!!! Your message that I opened up today coincides with a visit from a couple who are long time friends, who in the past were active members of IONS. Rhoda had several experiences that she shares. Listening to you talk about your experiences has energized me to “tune-in” as I meditate.
Your words, “when I trust it” & “Life is so fascinating!” Really resonated with me.
Your website is so impressive!!
Ahhh! I love this! Thanks for sharing Gretchen!! You are tuned-in! Kris