Paranormality

When I was in Ireland, I picked up a book to read on the long plane ride home. It was called "Paranormality," and it was about a man's journey to debunk many of the so-called "paranormal" activities that people have experienced through the years. Initially, I thought that this book was going to irritate me. Let's face it, most skeptics are no fun. I would consider myself to fall within the category of "skeptical but open-minded." Although I need solid evidence before buying into something, I also relish the idea of a life filled with questions. There are lots of things out there that can't be explained, that fall outside of the realm of scientific explanation, and this is what keeps life interesting. I mean, look at what I do. Every day, every single day, I am asked whether what I do really works. I used to launch into long lectures about the scientific studies that have been done regarding the efficacy of acupuncture. I would talk about how I interned in a hospital working on newborns, and could actually see the heart-rate and oxygen levels change as soon as I touched an acupuncture point. I would end my lecture with discussion about the million dollar grant that the U.S. Army invested to study the effects of acupuncture on PTSD.

Lately, I've stopped explaining. Why? Well, because I don't like boring people. And to be honest, I was starting to bore myself as well. You can only listen to yourself spouting the same things over and over for so long before you want to tape up your own mouth. So now, when people ask me this question, I just smile. "There's only one way to find out," I answer. "Give it a try. See how you feel after. And then you'll know the answer, won't you?" So they set an appointment. And then they know.

Anyway, back to the book. As I said, I was ready to get annoyed with this narrow-minded author, but then I started reading. It was actually really good. The overall premise of the book was this: humans love to believe in the mysterious, the unknown, in a world where there are still miracles and things that cannot be explained. However, a lot of these mysteries are the work of humans, not the otherworldly. For example, have you ever heard of table-tipping? This is a phenomenon where a few people sit around a table with their hands placed lightly upon it, and wait for spirits to move the table. After some time has passed, the table will move, sometimes violently. This used to be seen as the work of spirits; we now know that tiny muscular contractions are doing all the work.

The main point of the book was this: the human body and mind is filled with mystery and power. Yet, we keep searching for something beyond ourselves to believe in. Why can't we embrace the fact that we are all capable of the miraculous, rather than waiting to place our faith in the otherworldly? Why can't we believe in the powers that we hold, and build faith in ourselves as healers and magicians and powerful beings?