We need to quit with this firm belief that the Universe is looking out for us and start looking out for one another.
I’ve heard it again and again, stated as fact, from friends, family and acquaintances: “Ask the Universe for it.” The Universe has become the new God, one the atheists can get on board with. Our current major religions have become too corrupt for many of use to cope with. Too many wars, too much intolerance, too much scandal. The Universe has no church, and if we’re to believe in books like The Secret, the Universe will provide.
Who does the Universe provide for? Middle-class westerners. It can’t get enough of us. We’re getting everything we’ve asked for. New job? Bing! New love? Bing! New house? Bing! Achievements are credited to the Universe. The 1-in-10 success rate is perfectly acceptable because this – like all belief systems – was never based on fact. Confirmation bias is still having its hay-day.
What about the failures? Well they require some introspection – What was I doing wrong? Was I posing the question the wrong way? Were my positive vibrations not positive enough?
If you’re working within a belief system in which you control your life, in which you have the power to draw your desires to you, you cannot ignore the flipside of that coin. The flipside says you also have the power to keep the good things away, that you’re responsible for what the Universe brings you, both good and bad.
Understand this and you’ll understand why “The Universe” is a middle-class Western phenomenon. I’m sure the Chibook girls aren’t sitting somewhere, wondering what they did wrong. Omran Daqneesh and his family aren’t wondering how to re-tune their vibrations so they don’t bring more chaos upon themselves.
I’m not one to deny happiness to anybody. It’s a tough world and I don’t begrudge people the comfort of believing there is something more, some higher order that they can tap into and rely on. What I’m not ok with, is a belief-system that serves only the fortunate. A belief-system that implies a person’s fortune is entirely theirs to make. It is not.
My fortune is almost entirely mine to make, but that has nothing to do with the Universe. It has to do with the fact that I grew up in a stable, middle-class family and received a free, world-class education. It has to do with the fact that I never suffered through war, hunger, abuse, illness, or severe discrimination. I was one of the lucky ones that was born with the red carpet already rolled out. It didn’t happen because I deserved it. It didn’t happen because I asked the Universe for it. It just happened, because that’s how life is – things happen.
I can believe in the Universe, because the ‘evidence’ for it is manifold in my life. I could ask for a new opportunity today, and it would probably provide. Not because it’s magic, but because I work for myself, I have a strong network, I’m active on Twitter, and I have this website with new content being posted today. I’m in a position in which I can be my universe. And that brings me to my second point:
If you are lucky enough to be in a position where you have some semblance of control over your life, use it. This may sound crazy to some of you, but there are plenty of people out there who genuinely believe that if they want their dream life, all they need to do is ‘Put it out there.’ There is a growing stack of evidence that being ‘too positive” in your goals actually lowers your chances of achieving them. Setting a goal, imagining it happening, and then sitting back and waiting for it is not a strategy for success. The Universe doesn’t have your back here. You need to set goals, have dreams, work hard, support one another, celebrate when you achieve, learn & pick yourself up when you don’t. There is no absolute law for getting what you want out of life. It’s not a choice between blind faith, and hard work. It’s more nuanced that that. Success comes from you, your loved ones, your past, your present, your circumstance and yes, a very healthy dose of chance.
There are portions of our destiny we can control, and portions we cannot – and none of those portions have been doled out equally. That’s just the way it is. Donald Trump doesn’t have some special voodoo bond with the Universe that helps him achieve what he wants. Good people have no more Universe clout than bad people. We’re all in here together. The one place where we can create an advantage is with togetherness. Good people can achieve more than bad people, not because of some moralistic deity, but because they unite and empower those around them. All of the good things that have happened in my life have been because of the support and love of others. I have achieved nothing on my own, and I don’t believe I ever will. I am not good. I am not bad. I’m just here and I’m doing the best I can. The Universe couldn’t care less and that’s fine.
Stop crediting the Universe for your own achievements, or the amazing support of the people around you. Stop blaming the Universe (and yourself) when things go horribly wrong. Life is messy. It’s hard and lonely and there are days when it will make you cry. There is no rhyme or reason to why I was born into the life I have, and Omran Daqneesh into his. The only thing I can do is take what I have, and use it.