Five Ways to Cultivate Pronoia

July 13, 2015

Um…cultivate what?

I just came across the term pronoia recently. Have you heard it before? According to Rob Brezsny’s book Pronoia: The Antidote for Paranoia, “It’s the understanding that the universe is fundamentally friendly. It’s a mode of training your senses and intellect so you’re able to perceive the fact that life always gives you exactly what you need, exactly when you need it.” Wikipedia has this to add: “A person experiencing pronoia feels that the world around them conspires to do them good.”

We often don’t have much control over what happens to us, but we do have the ability to choose how we see the world. If we find what we look for, and we get what we expect, why not expect the best?

Here are five ways to cultivate pronoia:

As corny and simple as it seems, count your blessings. Health, family, friends, home, comfort in all its forms—your most basic blessings are the most precious…and often the most overlooked.

Choose your input carefully. With what kind of images, stories, and news do you feed your mind? The frightening, sad, ugly, and negative? Or the beautiful, uplifting, joyful, and positive?

On a related note, actively search for beauty. Look for it in nature, music, art, architecture, food, literature, and so on. What do you find beautiful and uplifting? (For more about the importance of beauty in our daily lives, click here.)

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” If you want the world to be a nicer place, do something nice—for yourself and for someone else. In this way, you’re an active part of the conspiracy to do good.

Let go of judgment when seemingly bad things happen. Life may conspire to give you what you need, when you need it, but it doesn’t always give you what you want, when you want it. (And sometimes it gives you what you definitely don’t want.) You can waste a lot of time bemoaning circumstances you don’t like, or you can listen to some widsom from Captain Jack Sparrow: “The problem is not the problem; the problem is your attitude about the problem.”

Author Susan Jeffers said, “We have been taught to believe that negative equals realistic, and positive equals unrealistic.” But we don’t have to continue to believe that or live it. Let’s cultivate pronoia instead.