Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Word of the Day: Pronoia

A few months ago, while waiting for a sandwich at Naidre's, I picked up a copy of The Sun sticking out of the magazine rack by the door and started flipping through. The Sun is a venerable magazine that I respect and enjoy when we meet, and though it’s a little new-agey for me, it often has excellent content.

On this morning, a word on the top of a page caught my eye: "Pronoia." Huh, I thought. I read the subtitled of the article: "How the world is conspiring to shower you with blessings." Wow. What a luscious idea! My eyes hit "Definition: Pronoia is the antidote for paranoia. It's the understanding that the universe is fundamentally friendly. It's a means of training your senses and intellect so that you're able to perceive the fact that life always gives you exactly what you need, exactly when you need it.

"Hypotheses: Evil is boring. Cynicism is idiotic. Fear is a bad habit. Despair is lazy. Joy is fascinating. Love is an act of heroic genius. Pleasure is our birthright."

(Click here for a link to the article.)

The notion immediately brought to mind my favorite yoga instructor, Summer Deaver, and the beautiful things she says during practice that help me feel right as rain. The piece was by Rob Brezsny whom, as I've discovered today while researching a bit for this entry, is the man responsible for putting this meme "pronoia" into circulation through books and such. (Although he didn't invent the word. For more info about that click here. Something about zippys and astrology…)

Anyway, I read through the article and as I did the color of my day shifted. Soon my sandwich was ready and I left the article open on the little table for someone else to discover. But I carried the thought with me all day, sharing it with a few people, and letting it dwell in my mind as a happy reminder that when things seem all wrong, sometimes it's just a matter of my own perspective.

That was a few months ago. And since then, I don't think a day goes by that the word doesn't pop into my head. It has become something like a little fairy that shows up when I least expect it and reminds me to be grateful and to feel the abundance around me. And we can all use a little of that from time to time.

I think from time to time we could all stand to be a little more pronoid about the world and our place in it. So, here's to the conspiracy. May it help us all to feel a little warmer and a little more fearless.

But one question: why is it that so often things -- images, sounds, wording -- having to do with spirituality are so kitschy? I had to go to Nasa for this image. Guess that's a topic for another time...

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