I was just reading something from Wake Up World in my G+ news feed, and it got me to thinking. The graphic said “The placebo effect is scientific proof that we have the ability to heal ourselves. Our thoughts are powerful enough to bring things into existence – when will we begin to absorb this?” I’m not sure why, but after leaving my comment in agreement, my first thought was of spirituality.
I think that any reasonable person questions their faith from time to time. Especially when life isn’t what we want it to be, we can question our deities and beliefs. The thought that ran through my head was: what if spirituality can work on the placebo effect too? When people are given a placebo pill and they truly believe that it is real, they can have as much improvement as people on “real” treatment, and sometimes more. The results are absolutely provable and authentic. Even though there was nothing more in effect than their belief that they were being healed.
What if faith works like that too? Whether any god is real or not, might not actually matter. If you believe in a deity and have faith in what it can do for you and the world, couldn’t you make it true simply through your belief? Now, some will say that god (especially God) is absolute and real, but we can’t prove it, and often we can’t see it in our lives. Many have postulated that the current course of humanity has killed the gods, or that no god(s) ever existed. But what if none of that matters?
Imagine this: Let’s say your faith is faltering because of events in your life. You’re starting to believe that god isn’t real or that it doesn’t love you. What if you change your thinking and absolutely believe that it is real and that it loves you. The same way that you absolutely believe in that pill the doctor gives you, even though you can never know if it’s actual medicine or a placebo and you are healed either way, that kind of faith could heal your life. It may seem far-fetched to some, but the placebo effect is real, and that cannot be denied.
The thing is, no one has been able to prove or disprove the existence of any higher entities yet. No one knows whether it/they are real or not. Whichever way you go, you’ve got a 50% chance of being right. If believing makes you feel good, why not do it? When your doctor gives you a pill, there’s a chance that it’s just packed, colored sugar, but you believe it will work, and most of the time it does. So why not have faith and believe that it will be good for you? More than likely, it will be.
And even though there have been fewer studies on the phenomenon, it has been noted that the placebo effect can work in reverse as well. If a person receives a real medication, but absolutely believes that it won’t work, they can actually negate any positive effects it would have brought. I person’s belief can actually keep a medication or procedure from working. So it stands to reason that if your deep belief is that the higher power(s) don’t like you and aren’t working for you or don’t exist, then you’re probably making it true.
It certainly gives you something to think about. It can be fun (or maddening) to think about what your life would be like if you truly believed in things. What if, like a placebo healing an illness, a belief could heal our lives? One could even speculate that we could have true faith and belief in ourselves, no gods involved, and also achieve the same results. Give it some thought. You never know what might ring true for you.