By Gel Santos Relos
“What the mind can conceive and believe, and the heart desire, you can achieve.”
One of the books that really had a big impact on my faith journey is “The Power of Positive Thinking” by Norman Vincent Peale. The lessons I learned from the book came at a time, when the realities of life have shattered my idealism -- when the obstacles and challenges seemed bigger than my dreams.
In his book, Peale said the secret formula to fulfilling your dreams is to “Prayerize, Visualize, Actualize.”
Peale said the question is: What exactly do you want? Is it really something you should want for yourself? Pray! Ask God to help you achieve it, believe that He will help you and be thankful. God always knows what you need, and based on my experiences, He usually gives us something much better than what we ask for.
For those who do not believe in organized religion, praying may mean tapping into one’s sub-conscious mind to be wired to a Higher Energy -- charging one’s “low batt” spirit, by connecting to the One True Energy which holds the universe together.
I remember how I prayed so hard in the past, for things that my heart so desired.
Like being accepted to the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication. A job as an anchor on radio and television. Or the restoration of love, intimacy and happiness between my husband and me, during that time when our marriage was falling apart.
I prayed so hard for these, every single day. I prayed each time I pass a church. I went to Sacred Heart Parish and St. Jude for novena masses. I prayed on my knees.
Not all the time was my spirit strong, especially when my eyes were blinded by tears and my heart broken and aching. But I continued praying for grace. Strength. Resolve. Discernment.
For those who are not religious, this is what is referred to as “creative visualization.” Things exist first in the mind, before they manifest in reality.
I remember visualizing my self in the campus grounds of UP -- seeing my self in jeans and cotton t-shirt walking around, so free-spirited, carrying my books to the next class and fired up to produce my next program for my radio and television classes in the College.
I joyfully recall how I would practice delivering my news in front of the mirror, or taping my self on cassette recorder, as I emulated my role models Cheche Lazaro, Mel Tiangco and Helen Vela. The mere visualization brought so much joy and power in me.
I remember that I would picture in my mind every single day -- my husband and I doing the things we used to do before, when we first became a couple. I pictured us walking hand in hand by the beach, talking and laughing and having a romantic dinner together. I visualized him looking into my eyes and saying, “I love you.”
Peale said that you have to picture yourself in that situation that you desire. It’s not enough to think about it, you have to be almost “obsessive” about it and own it. Play the moving picture in your mind as though it is right there before you -- you can hear, smell and taste it, until joyful tears swell in your eyes.
Peale reminds us we have to believe that we already received it, and we should be thankful.
This does not suggest that you resort only to prayer and do nothing. On the contrary, the praying and visualizing stages help you have the right mind set, the stamina, and the energy to work harder towards your goal.
I prayed and visualized and they helped me walk the extra mile to study hard and get A’s; to prepare hard and be up-to-date with current events, practice my public speaking and writing skills; take care of myself and how I looked; and have the persistence -- despite initial setbacks, criticisms and disappointments in reaching my goal to host a television program and become a newscast anchor.
I faithfully prayed and visualized for strength, even when my relationship with my husband was chaotic, rocky, complicated, cold and disappointing. The images that I played in my mind helped me look beyond the present adversities and discouraging realities.
More importantly, they helped me exude positive warm energy and do “loving’ acts that were otherwise very hard to do under my circumstances. And then slowly and amazingly, these drew out the same energy and behavior from my husband.
In all the examples that I gave you, I got what I prayed for. The moving pictures that I played in my mind over and over again in my faithful visualization became my reality. And there have been many many more other miracles that manifested in my life.
They manifested not in my own timetable, but in God’s time. Some had to go through rocky paths, more sub-plots -- but my consistent longing and will to plug in to God’s divine power, helped me through all my trying times.
For all the other things I asked for, I lifted them up to God, trusting Him and holding on to His promise: “Everything works together for the good” (Romans 8:28).
Norman Vincent Peale's book adapted the message of faith from the bible and shared how it applies to the faith challenges of our present realities. “According to your faith, be it done unto you.” (Matthew 9:29)
Praying and visualizing help us have strength amid challenges. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory, which will be revealed toward us.” (Romans 8:18)
But he also reminds us that we need to do our share, not only by faithfully praying and visualizing, but in doing our part to make our dreams come true - both in our inner and outer realities.
“All things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.” (Mark 11:24)
The Bible stresses on an important requirement in faith and praying: “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.”
This reminds us how to come to terms with our imperfections and our issues-- to resolve them by forgiving our selves and our enemies, and by making amends. Only then can we truly be in a position to claim God’s favor.
Photo credit: 1- jordansargent blog spot 2-itsallaboutgodandhislove blogspot 3-sodahead
(My Asian Journal Column April 4, 5, 6, 2012)