I was listening to the audiobook version of The Grand Design by the brilliant Stephen Hawking in my car. Every once in a while I get an urge to know more about quantum physics. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen often, because pretty much every time, it goes right over my head. Even though Hawking made this accessible for ordinary people, my brain is not really wired for science. I did and appreciate the color illustrations in the book form.
And this story from Chapter 2, which is about the history of scientific theories, struck me funny:
“In 1277 Bishop Tempier of Paris, acting on the instructions of Pope John XXI, published a list of 219 errors or heresies that were to be condemned. Among the heresies was the idea that nature follows laws, because this conflicts with God’s omnipotence. Interestingly, Pope John was killed by the effects of the law of gravity a few months later when the roof of his palace fell in on him.”
I don’t know exactly why, but this made me laugh so hard, I had to pull over to the side of the road. If they had had Saturday Night Live back in 1277, for sure this would have prompted a comedy sketch.
This story is such a perfect illustration of the Law of Attraction – that whatever we give our attention to, we draw onto ourselves. Here was Pope John XX1 publicly proclaiming, “There are no natural laws. There’s no such thing as gravity,” only to be taken down by that very force. (Unless of course it was the will of God that caused his untimely death, which I am not ruling out.)
Then after I stopped laughing, I got self-reflective and asked myself, where do I insist on following the beaten path and focusing only on current circumstances and not on possibilities? Where do I feel flattened down by my own equivalent of Pope John XXI’s unfortunate misunderstanding of gravity?
And because I was driving home from seeing the latest Harry Potter movie, the self-reflection continued in this way. Why do I not simply make up a new story and live my life from that, as single mom turned smashing author J.K. Rowling did? Certainly she understands how to think outside (way outside) of circumstances and the ill effects of gravity do not appear to befall her.
And because I have a wild mind, (Thank you Natalie Goldberg.) this also reminds me of the last time I saw a Pope fall out of a chair. It was actually my psychic develop teacher, who was probably nearing 70 at the time, acting out a vision in response to the question, “What famous people are going to leave the earth plane in the upcoming year?” This was an exercise we practiced with annually. I’m not sure what made her, not once but twice, act out the Pope dying suddenly and just falling over. We didn’t usually have that level of drama in our weekly classes and I think she repeated it simply because we all laughed so hard. People expect a comic fall from Chevy Chase. Not so much from a psychic Finnish Grandmother. Okay, that paragraph was just self-indulgent reverie. Back to the story line.
We all have the gift of imagination. Some of us, mostly those under the age of 6 or so, are making full, joyful use of this faculty. For many of the rest of us, we might dust it off now and again to daydream during a boring meeting or to invent an excuse for why we are late, but we are not really using it in any conscious way to improve our lives. Probably our common sense gets in the way. If J.K. Rowling had stopped to analyze for example, why her magically advanced characters would write with old-fashioned quills by candlelight instead of using laptops, it might have stopped her in her tracks and we never would have enjoyed these spellbinding romps. Maybe when she started out writing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, she thought every detail through and decided that quills and candles would be visually interesting when the movie would be made. But I’m guessing, she just wrote it down.
On getting from here to there, Rhonda Byrne, in her book The Power suggests saying, “I have a full recovery by the horns.” If we could visualize that, we could probably get somewhere.