I picked up Pam Grout’s book E-Squared with great enthusiasm. First of all, it’s been a minute since I’ve read some quality self-help. And my ill-fated hunt for employment has left me feeling weak and in need of something to pick me up.
Second, I knew my wife loved the book. Not really any better endorsement than that.
Finally, the description sounded really appealing: “Nine do-it-yourself energy experiments that prove your thoughts create your reality.”
It’s a concept I have trouble not thinking about. Your thoughts create your reality. The idea always feels like the oddest mixture of hippy-dippy mumbo jumbo nonsense… and an absolute and obvious truth. How can something be both of these things at the same time?
A Complex Simplicity
Nevertheless, this simultaneously obvious and wishy-washy notion seems to be the reality I see all around me.
It’s hard to deny it. Some people were born into ultra-complicated situations. And others were beaten down by the world along the way. How could one ignore the realities of divorce, poverty, illness, abandonment, and violence? The world is an objectively crazy place, filled to the brim with hardships.
Yet, some people overcome those hardships. Some persevere despite the crap life has thrown their way.Some persevere despite the crap life has thrown their way. Click To Tweet
A really fantastic example: Nicholas James Vujicic
No Arms, No Legs… No Problem
This gentleman was born with no arms or legs. Most of us don’t think about the blessings of just having these simple things in life. Of course I have arms and legs. They’re not blessings. They’re a given!
So we spend our days complaining about anything and everything. It’s too hot outside. My boss is a pain. My internet is loading too slowly.
We could literally be sitting there giddy all day long because we have legs. But we’re too focused on what we don’t have.
Then you have someone like Nicholas. If we had his condition, we’d be miserable. All the time. Life would feel useless. We’d feel sorry for ourselves, day in and day out.
But he’s not like that. He chooses to focus on what he has rather than what he doesn’t have. He lives his life to the fullest. And has created something beautiful because of it. And it’s hard not to be inspired. To walk away from hearing him talk and realize that life is far more than what you’ve thought up to that point.
When Cynicism Runs Supreme
And then it wears off, and cynicism takes over again. We return to our prior misery. We go back to hyper-focusing on everything we don’t have, and haven’t been lucky enough to possess.
But some of us don’t want to be this way. I certainly don’t.
I suffered from crippling sciatica for years, and promised myself that for the rest of my life, I’d be excited just to be able to sit in a chair. But it wore off. I couldn’t sit down–the most basic action in the universe–for a couple of years. Now I do so without a problem. And instead of sitting there feel like I’m showered with blessings, I’ve returned to sitting there… and feeling nothing special at all.
So what does any of this have to do with E-Squared, the book I’m reading?
First and foremost, I’m enjoying the book. I find E-Squared well-written and interesting. I appreciate Pam Grout’s enthusiasm, and find the ideas extremely believable.
But here’s the problem: I’m frustrated. I tried the first two experiments, and they both failed. I even repeated the first one, and gave extra time for the second one. And I came up with nothing.
And I was sorely disappointed.
I understand that in order for things to work, you need to (at least temporarily) shed your skepticism. And I tried. I really did. Not in my nature, but I actually flipped my cynicism on its head, and instead awaited results with rapt enthusiasm.
But those results never came.
Is it Bunk?
Now, there’s only two conclusions I feel I can draw from this. The first is that E-Squared is just feel-good blah blah nonsense. Anyone who believes in the bunk Pam Grout is selling should also enjoy spending time getting their palms read and fiddling with Ouija boards. But it simply isn’t real. You just want it to be real so bad, you are willing to actually convince yourself it’s real.
I remember as a teenager using a Ouija board with some friends. I still have the vision of them freaking out because clearly a cabinet door had moved.
I’m going to tell you a secret.
It did not. Not even a little.
But my friends had convinced themselves it had happened, and now they were panicking, and reacting to some spirit being who wished to impact their lives through subtle door movements.
Is that what happens here? Are the scores of excited readers of E-Squared just gullible sheep who believe something because they want to believe it? Is each and every reader just wasting their time and money?
Or Is It Me?
Or perhaps the problem isn’t the book or the concepts within? Perhaps the problem is me.
This is something I feel like I have to deal with every day. There were times in my life I enjoyed praying. Other times in which I found a level of bliss from meditation. There have been times in my life when I felt some type of powerful connection to God, or whatever you might want to call the spiritual forces in the world. I saw sparks everywhere. Coincidences weren’t coincidences. The moments in my life happened for a reason.
Sadly, that feeling has been beaten out of me by life.
But I wish to cast cynicism to the side. I want to break through the wall that seems to prevent me from seeing something bigger out there in the world.
I’m no longer in tune with something greater than this universe. I’m worried about the pain of a stubbed toe. I’m not conscience that my thoughts and actions might have a deep impact on the world around me, either through the butterfly effect or through some other spiritual impact on the universe.
So, does E-Squared possess oodles of truth? This I cannot yet say. I’d like to think it does. Although thinking of it as one giant lie is a lot easier than accepting the alternative:
The problem is me.