Can You Believe It?

In piecing together a coherent world, it’s easy to succumb to fear and reach sketchy conclusions. Science and meditation are great ways to counteract that.

Illustration by Elizabeth Dejure Wood

Science relies on having an open mind willing to dismiss our own beliefs, and so does mindfulness—which doesn’t end at sitting quietly and handling stress better. When we can patiently observe our experience, we recognize all the distracted reactivity that might otherwise influence our perception of the world. Building awareness of any patterns we’ve fallen into that aren’t so useful, we begin to let go of whatever stands between us and being more at ease: Maybe that exhausting perfectionism isn’t making my family any happier after all. Through that type of investigation, we develop our innate wisdom.

That truth-seeking is similar to what happens in science. We pursue objectivity and learn. Flip a light switch, energy flows for a reason. It’s not mysterious. We can determine under what conditions that will occur or not. Doctors wash their hands now because evidence showed it to decrease the spread of germs. There are, as a matter of fact, facts to discover about ourselves and the world. More than ever, skillful living requires an examination of what we accept as true. With the blizzard of information coming at us from politicians, the internet, the news, it’s easy for fearful thoughts to go viral. One simple…

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