Jack is a volunteer at the CCNY Archives. Before retiring, he worked at IBM for over 28 years. His articles have over 120,000 views.
The book The Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale was first published in 1952, just one year after I was born. It was a revolutionary idea where he connected the power of the mind to things that happen to us in our daily lives.
In 2020, it still has relevance more than ever. I will describe some of my own personal experiences in this article.
- Sept. 2020
The world is divided into two realms. One that we see and one that we don't see. It has been often referred to as the physical and spiritual dimensions. These two realms have overlapping fields and where they intersect, we are surprised and do not understand what is happening.
One such example is the concept that our brain can influence our reality just by being positive. When you think about it, why is this so hard to believe? We live in this world. We interact with the people around us. They in turn interact with us. We go about our daily work with a certain expectation or anticipation. How we treat others often reflect back onto us in ways unknown.
Look at it another way, if we are all robots, or a machine, then it should not matter one way or another. We are programmed to do a task and we do it. We cannot affect the outcome. But we are not robots or machines. We are designed with a purpose. We are also given free will. Meaning, we have a mind of our own. We can choose a different path. Life offers us various choices at different stages. We make the decision to take those paths, and suffer the consequences or receive the rewards.
The mind or the brain is at the center of this decision process. A robot lacks that critical piece. No matter how good it is designed, it can only do what it is programmed to do, no more, no less. It has no free will.
Because of the free will, it comes with consequences. It has to be that way. If I choose path A instead of path B, I should end up at a different point. If I end up in the same spot, then the two paths are identical and therefore is essentially the same path just a parallel road.
How can thinking positive produce results?
The Brain is Not a Computer
In our understanding of the world, we usually find analogies to explain complex ideas. For example, we refer to the Computer as the brain equivalent. The computer has several important components, there is the CPU, the Memory, the cache, the I/O ports, and the Bus...
However, the analogy ends when we are talking about the human brain. There is something we have that a computer does not have. We have intuition and an awareness and a conscience. These are various forms of human intelligence. A computer is just a fast and fancy calculator, no more, no less.
Block Diagram of a Computer
Miracles and the Brain
It was CS Lewis who observed the amazing brain and how it is like a miracle that we can be self aware. How does an organ in our body become intelligent enough to ask questions about where we come from and what is the meaning of life?
The Bible talks about how this came to be. God created man in his own image. He then create a women, Eve, to be a partner for Adam the first man. In the beginning, they were not self aware. It was only with the eating of a forbidden fruit, that their eyes were opened and knew they were naked. This was the first sign of self-awareness. It is what separated Man from the animal kingdom.
Throughout the rest of the Bible, there were many incidences of miracles performed by God with relations to man, his creation. These miracles came about when man requested help or guidance from God and He chose to intervene. It is faith and the power of the mind that brought them about. It is fair to say, without a self aware brain in humans, miracles could not have happened. If they did, man would not be able to comprehend them or recognized their existence. It takes two parts, the faith to ask and the comprehension when it was granted.
In the case of Moses parting the Red Sea, it was he who beseeched God for assistance and the miracle of the Red Sea parting, and the survival of the Jewish race that was recorded and propagated down through the ages. Without a self-aware human to be present throughout, who would know?
The Miracle Continues Today
Some people have lost their way. They became jaded by the many acts of man's inhumanity to man. After wars and natural disasters and genocides...some have lost their faith in a creator. Advances made in science seems to explain the unknowns of the past. Superstitions were replaced by scientific explanations. Miracles were disavowed as just stories or myths instead of actual events that happened.
Yet, we still see miracles happening today. How come? Just in recent year, we have a prime example called miracle on the Hudson. An airline struck some birds after takeoff and had to make an emergency landing on the Hudson river in the middle of winter. Not a live was lost. The odds of that happening was insurmountable. Yet it did happen. Their prayers were answered and God intervened to save the lives of all passengers and pilot. Two excellent books were published in the aftermath. Their lives were forever changed as a result of this miracle. Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters by Captain Sully Sullenburger.
My Personal Experience
I have personally experience miracles in my life. I may have not known it at the time but it happened. One memorable event happened when I was about 4 years old. My own memory is hazy but my mom told me years later. We were living in Taipei at the time and we did not have a running toilet. Our toilet was an outhouse behind our house with literally a hole in the ground. There was a door with a latch to keep children out. Apparently, someone left the latch open by accident and I was playing nearby and went into the outhouse without anyone around. If I fell into the hole, I would have surely drowned. I was told by my mom that they heard a yell for help from the house. When they came running, they saw me with my arms stretched holding on while my body was half inside the hole. It couldn't have been more than a few minutes but it seemed like a lifetime. My dad pulled me out and saved my life.
I consider this event a small miracle. My life was spared even though accidents like this happened frequently in those days. For whatever reason, I was spared. I went on to live till today having just turned 69 years of age. I have lived a rich life and have contributed to many successful projects and continue to contribute as volunteers to my Alumni Association and to my fencing club. I am not sure how this played out in the grand scheme of things, I just know I was saved at a young age so that I could fulfill some purpose.
I don't know if that incident had an influence over my attitudes. I was always curious and approach life as a mystery to be solved. My disposition was one of optimism and knowing things will turn out for the better. I guess, anything I accomplish in my life is something that is more than expected of me. I look at a glass of water as half full instead of half empty.
The Power of positive thinking is real. It is present in your brain. Your attitudes is a choice. You can affect your future and the future of the people around you with your positive energy. When you are positive, and have a brighter outlook on life, it rubs off. When you have faith, and ask for help, God responds.
7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye. shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh. findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Some Related Info
- US Airways Flight 1549 - Wikipedia
Miracle on the Hudson - in 2009
- Norman Vincent Peale - Wikipedia
A great philosopher of the 20th Century
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Jack Lee
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 15, 2020:
A nice handling of an important concept. It works in my life and when it does not, I have problems.
Jacob from Delhi, India on September 15, 2020:
Jesus said while you pray, believe that you have received what you have asked. Miracles will happen when we believe. God is a Good God. Nice article. Keep up the good work.