What did I do on the last day of this eventful year 2015? Went for an hour-long walk in the neighbourhood park. Did some cooking. And then some reading and writing. And that’s when I stumbled on parts of this wonderful book by Rob Brenzy called Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia, Revised and Expanded: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings.
The book is about a wonderfully crafted word – Pronoia – defined as an understanding that the Universe is fundamentally friendly. It envisages a perception of life according to which we realize the fact that Life gives exactly what we need and when we need it. Nothing more. Nothing less. The word has its origin in Greek mythology: Pronoia is said to be one of the Oceanides (the beautiful, supernatural sea nymphs) and the wife of Prometheus, the divine rebel who stole fire from the Gods and gave to humans, thus becoming an archetype of human progress.
As I read parts of the book, it was increasingly clear how much we have taken for granted. Am sharing two pages of the book for the simple reason that it will help each one of us gain perspective of the fact that the Universe is actually a very friendly place. It is our inherent insecurities and blind beliefs that make us feel like victims, crucified and pilloried. In other words we permanently harbour feelings of paranoia, the very antithesis of pronoia.
Read the excerpt and you’ll look at life differently. And what can be better than that as we are on the threshold of another new year. Let us change our perceptions. Like Santiago, the shepherd in Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist says, “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” Remind your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dream. So, surge ahead. It is a beautiful world and a small life time that we have! Happy New Year!!
“Thousands of things go right for you every day, beginning the moment you wake up. Through some magic you don’t fully understand, you’re still breathing and your heart is beating, even though you’ve been unconscious for many hours. The air is a mix of gases that’s just right for your body’s needs, as it was before you fell asleep.
You can see! Light of many colours floods into your eyes, registered by nerves that took God or evolution or some process millions of years to perfect.
The interesting gift of these vivid hues is furthermore made possible by an unimaginably immense globe of fire, the sun, which continually detonates nuclear explosions in order to convert its own body into light and heat and energy for your personal use.
Did you know that the Sun is located at the precise distance from you to be of perfect service? If it were any closer, you’d fry and if it were any further away, you’d freeze. Here’s another one of the Sun’s benedictions: it appears to rise over the eastern horizon right on schedule every day, as it has since long before you were born.
Do you remember when you were born, by the way? It was a difficult miracle that involved many people who worked hard on your behalf. No less miraculous is the fact that you have continued to grow since then, with millions of new cells being born inside you to replace the old ones that die. All of this happens whether or not you ever think about it.
On this day, like almost every other, inside a temperature-controlled shelter. You have a home! Your bed and pillow are soft and you’re covered by comfortable blankets. The electricity is turned on, as usual. Somehow, in ways you are barely aware of, a massive power plant at an unknown distance from your home is transforming fuel into currents of electricity that reach you through mostly hidden conduits in the exact amounts you need and all you have to do to control the flow is flick small switches with your fingers.
You can walk! Your legs work wonderfully well. Your heart circulates the blood all the way down to replenish the energy of the muscles in your feet and calves and thighs, and when the blood is depleted it finds its way back to the heart to be refreshed. This blessing recurs over and over again without stopping every hour of your life.
Your home is perhaps not a million-dollar palace, but it is sturdy and gigantic compared to the typical domicile in every culture that has preceded you. You have at your disposal soaps, creams, razors, clippers, tooth-cleaning accessories: a host of products that enhance your hygiene and appearance. You trust that unidentified scientists somewhere tested them to be sure they’re safe for you to use.
Amazingly the water you need so much of comes out of your faucets in an even flow, with the volume you want, and either cold or hot as you desire. It’s pure and clear; you’re confident no parasites are lurking in it. There is someone somewhere making sure these boons will continue to arrive for you without interruption for as long as you require them.
Look at your hands. They are astounding creations that allow you to carry out hundreds of tasks with great force and intricate grace. They relish the pleasure and privilege of touching thousands of different textures and they are beautiful.
In your closet are many clothes you like to wear. Who gathered the materials to make the fabrics they are made of? Who imbued them with colours, and how did they do it? Who sewed them for you?
In your kitchen, appetizing food in secure packaging is waiting for you. Many people you’ve never met worked hard to grow it, to process it, and get it to the store where you bought it. The bounty of tasty nourishment you get to choose from is unprecedented in the history of the world.
Your many appliances are working flawlessly. Despite the fact that they feed on electricity, which could kill you instantly if you touch it directly, you feel no fear that you are in danger. Why? Your faith the people who invented, designed and produced these machines is impressive.
It’s as if there is a benevolent conspiracy of unknown people that is tirelessly creating hundreds of useful things you like and need.
There’s more. Gravity is working exactly the way it always has, neither pulling on you too much or too little force. How did that marvel ever come to be? By some prodigious, long-running accident? It doesn’t really matter, since it will continue to function with astounding efficiency whether or not you understand it.
Meanwhile a trillion other elements of nature’s miraculous design are expressing themselves perfectly. Plants are growing, rivers are flowing, clouds are drifting, winds are blowing, animals are reproducing. The weather is an interesting blend of elements you’ve never before experienced in quite this combination. Though you may take it for granted, you relish the ever-shifting sensations of light and temperature that interact with your body.
There’s more. You can smell odours and hear sounds taste tastes, many of which are quite pleasing. You can think! You are in possession of the extraordinary gift of self-awareness. You can feel feelings. Do you realize how improbably stupendous it is for you to have been blessed with that mysterious capacity? And get this: you can visualize an inexhaustible array of images, some of which actually don’t exist. How did you acquire this magical talent?
By some improbable series of coincidences or long-term divine plan, language has come into existence. Millions of people have collaborated for many centuries to cultivate a system for communication that you understand well. Speaking and reading give you great pleasure and a tremendous sense of power.”
First when I read this, I felt so ashamed that I have overlooked and taken so much for granted. Then once, I accepted my feeling, I felt immensely optimistic and experienced a surge of positivity coursing through my veins. What about you? Did this create an aha moment in you?? Would love to hear what you felt via comments.