TRIBUTE to Norman Vincent Peale
Turning America on to Positive Thinking
Notes from Positive Imaging
Quotes from Positive Thinking Every Day
Notes from The Power of Positive Thinking and Bibliography
During the 20th-century, he was one of the most influential clergymen in the United States. Ordained in the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1922, Peale served as pastor at a succession of churches that included Berkeley, Rhode Island (1922-24), Brooklyn, New York (1924-27), and Syracuse, New York (1927-32) before changing his affiliation to the Dutch Reformed Church so that he could become pastor of the Marble Collegiate Church in New York City (1932-84). Peale’s sermons, were simple, optimistic, and dynamic. He offered a positive outlook on modern living and brought increasing numbers of parishioners Marble Collegiate Church which increased his fame. His sermons were regularly broadcast, first on radio and later on television. In addition, Peale published a weekly newsletter, Guideposts, which reached two million subscribers at its apex. Along with Billy Graham and Robert Schuller, Dr Peale was one of the best known and respected minister for decades.
Turning America on to Positive Thinking
At age 34, Peale accepted a call to Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan where he remained for 52 years as one of New York Cityâ€™s most famous preachers. Membership grew from 600 when he arrived to well over 5,000 today.
In 1945, Dr. Peale, his wife, Ruth Stafford Peale, and Raymond Thornburg, a Pawling, New York businessman founded Guideposts Magazine. With little money and a strong vision they managed to raise $1,200 from Frank Gannett, founder of the Gannett newspaper chain, J. Howard Pew, the Philadelphia industrialist and Branch Rickey, owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Guideposts was designed to be a non-denominational forum for people, both celebrities and ordinary folk, to relate their inspirational stories to provide a spiritual lift to all readers. Today, the 48 page, full-color magazine under the direction of Ruth Stafford Peale is the 13th largest paid-circulation magazine in the country with a circulation of over 4 million.
Peale put his gifted writing skills to work over the years. His fourth book “The Power of Positive Thinking,” was published in 1952 and has sold nearly 20 million copies and has been printed in 41 different languages. Peale completed what has been called his all-time inspirational best seller at age 54. He was the author of 46 inspirational books including “The Art of Living,” “A Guide to Confident Living,” “The Tough-Minded Optimist,” and “Inspiring Messages for Daily Living.”
For 54 years, Pealeâ€™s weekly radio program, “The Art of Living,” was on the air. His sermons were said to be mailed to over 750,000 people per month and in 1964 a movie was made of his life entitled “One Manâ€™s Way.”
Peale also co-founded “The Horatio Alger Association,” with educator Kenneth Beebe in 1947 dedicated to recognizing and honoring contemporary Americans who have achieved success and excellence in the face of adversity.
The Guideposts family of nonprofit organizations includes the Peale Center, the Positive Thinking Foundation and Guideposts Publications. Their purpose is to be the world leader in communicating positive, faith-filled principles that empower people to reach their maximum personal and spiritual potential.
On Christmas Eve of 1993, Dr. Peale left us to meet his maker at the ripe age of 95 years old. His message of positive thinking, strong faith and helping others achieve their true potential will continue to live on with us well into the new millennium.
Notes from Positive Imaging
I share with you some excerpts from Positive Imaging: The Powerful Way to Change Your Life Norman Vincent Peale. Fawcett Crest. New York 1982. (Latest edition is Fawcett Book Group. 1996): The concept is a form of mental activity called imaging. It consists of vividly picturing, in your conscious mind, a desired goal or objective, and holding that image until it sinks into your unconscious mind, where it releases great, untapped energies. It works best when it is combined with a strong religious faith, backed by prayer and the seemingly illogical technique of giving thanks for benefits before they are received. When the imaging concept is applied steadily and systematically, it solves problems, strengthens personalities, improves health, and greatly enhances the chances for success in any kind of endeavor. Jesus Christ Himself said, “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:24). That is the great promise that lies behind the theme of this book. (Introduction)
There is a powerful and mysterious force in human nature that is capable of bringing about dramatic improvement in our lives. It is a kind of mental engineering that works best when supported by a strong religious faith. It’s not difficult to practice; anyone can do it. Recently it has caught the attention of doctors, psychologists, and thinkers everywhere, and a new word has been coined to describe it. That word is imaging, derived from imagination.
Imaging, the forming of mental pictures or images, is based on the principle that there is a deep tendency in human nature to ultimately become precisely like that which we imagine or image ourselves as being. An image formed and held tenaciously in the conscious mind will pass presently, by a process of mental osmosis, into the unconscious mind. And when it is accepted firmly in the unconscious, the individual will strongly tend to have it, for then it has you.
So powerful is the imaging effect on thought and performance that a long-held visualization of an objective or goal can become determinative.
Imaging is positive thinking carried one step further. In imaging, one does not merely think about a hoped-for goal; one “see” or visualizes it with tremendous intensity, reinforced by prayer. Imaging is a kind of laser beam of the imagination, a shaft of mental energy in which the desired goal or outcome is pictured so vividly by the conscious mind that the unconscious mind accepts it and is activated by it. This releases powerful internal forces that can bring about astonishing changes in the life of the person who is doing the imaging. (p 2)
Imaging Helps Heal Harry DeCamp: Harry was also in the insurance business. Quite successful at it, too. But the day came when that success meant little because he was told that he had cancer of the bladder . Inoperable cancer. When he asked how much time he had to live, the doctors couldn’t tell him. They gave him some painkillers and sent him home to die .
Harry had never been a very religious man. As he put it, “I had only a nodding acquaintance with God.” He thought about praying, but he didn’t know how. “I knew God was there,” he said later, “but He was some mystical Being, far away. It didn’t seem right to start begging after ignoring Him for so many years.” Then two things happened in rapid succession. Someone sent Harry a get-well card and wrote on it, “With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). Somehow that phrase stuck in Harry’s mind. It kept coming back to him. Then he picked up an inspirational magazine and read two stories in it. One was about a seriously injured soldier who recovered from near-fatal wounds by creating mental pictures of himself as a healthy, whole individual. The other story was by a cancer victim who claimed that total believing and total faith were the keys to answered prayer, that Christ meant exactly what He said when He told His followers, “What things so ever ye desire. when ye pray, believe that ye receive them. and ye shall have them” (Mark 11 :24, my italics).
Harry DeCamp was not a churchgoer, though he was a nominal believer. After much thought, he decided to believe with total conviction that God could do anything, and that constant prayer backed by real faith could put him in touch with the enormous healing power of the Almighty. In addition to that, he decided to visualize the healing process taking place in the most dramatic form that his imagination could supply. !
He began to image armies of healing white blood cells in his body cascading down from his shoulders, sweeping (p 6) through his veins, attacking the malignant cells and destroying them. A hundred times a day, two hundred, three hundred, he went through this imaging process. He .worked at it constantly, day and night. “The images,” he said later , “were just as clear as if they were coming in on our !V screen. I could see an army of white blood cells cascading down from my shoulders into my stomach, swirling around in my bladder, battling their way into my liver, my heart. Regiment after regiment they came, endlessly, the white corpuscles moving relentlessly on the cancer cells, moving in and devouring them! On and on the victorious white army swept, down into my legs and feet and toes, then to the top of my body, mopping up stray cancer cells as they went, until at last the battle was over. Day after day I replayed that battle scene in my mind. It made me feel terrific.” Harry DeCamp also kept on with his chemotherapy, although he was convinced he didn’t need it. Six months later, when he went back for a checkup, the malignant mass was gone.
Which was responsible for Harry DeCamp’ s dramatic recovery-the chemotherapy or his intense imaging effort? Some modem physicians would say both. A noted cancer specialist, Dr . Carl Simonton, in conjunction with Dr. Stephanie Matthews-Simonton, has written. a book called Getting Well Again, in which he expresses his conviction., based on experience with hundreds of cases, that we all participate, whether consciously or unconsciously, in determining our own health. Dr. Simonton is convinced that imaging is a powerful and effective tool available to victims of cancer or any other illness. (p 7)
The Simontons, as we understand their viewpoint, believe that psychological forces such as unhappiness and emotional despair are prominent in the development of cancer and conversely the elimination of these factors it important in the cure of the disease.
The immune system or the immunity power of the body seems to be greatly affected by the mental level of unhappiness and emotional distress. The Simontons apparently hold this view and their effort is to develop a joyous and positive life-style to counteract the deleterious effect of negative emotions. Relaxation and visualization are evidently basic in their method. The patient is encouraged to image the white cells in the immune system of the body along with administered drugs, chemotherapy, and other forms of medical treatment involved in the effort, as destroying the malignant cells. (p 28)
A Splinter in the Unconscious: I’ve never understood why the consequences of sin aren’t glaringly obvious to everyone. A moral transgression is like a splinter in the unconscious mind. Unless that splinter is removed, it is going to fester. And what form does this festering take? First of all, it damages the self-esteem of the individual. He knows he has done something wrong, and so he doesn’t like himself quite as much as he did before. Next, it begins to affect his performance in subtle but unmistakable ways. A deep, unacknowledged sense of guilt, a built-in censor, will tell that person that so far he may have been doing pretty well, but now, because he has done wrong, he doesn’t deserve to do so well anymore. The voice of conscience, the censor within the mind, will say, “You are a wrongdoer, my friend, you are a sinner.” It may even get inelegant and say, “You are a dirty dog and you deserve to be punished. . . and if no one else will punish you, I hereby order you to punish yourself. ” Sometimes the punishment is quite subtle in that it takes the form of inefficiency or loss of creativity. Sometimes it appears as ill health. Most often it reveals itself as a growing feeling of inadequacy and inferiority . So if such feelings trouble you, perhaps it would be a good idea to take a ruthless moral inventory of yourself and if necessary change (p 39) some area of your life that you may find not as it should be.
It was Milton who wrote: “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a Heavâ€™â€™n of Hell and a hell of Heavâ€™â€™n.” Image yourself as a worthwhile person: act as if you were someone worthy of admiration and respect – and gradually that is what you come to be. What you can image, you will be, in the long run. (p 40)
But there is also such a thing as negative imaging. And the most common name for it is worry. When we worry we are using imaging, all right, but we are pointing it in the wrong direction. When we worry about our health, or our children, or our jobs, or our future, we are giving these fears a degree of reality by allowing them to pervade and color our thinking. And if they dominate our minds, they may also affect our actions. Just as affirmative imaging tends to actualize desirable events sooner or later, so negative imaging, or worry , tends to create conditions in which the unpleasant thing that is worried about has a better chance of coming to pass.
The Bible, that extraordinary Book of Wisdom, clearly recognizes this. In the Book of Job, perhaps the most ancient of all biblical writings, Job cries plaintively: “The thing which 1 greatly feared is come upon me. . .” (Job 3:25). Of course it did. He imaged this dire happening. He greatly feared something, and finally it happened. Haven’t you known of cases yourself where people display excessive fears of some misfortune and then that misfortune seems to seek them out? I know I have.
The Bible never mentions a problem without offering a solution. There are constant exhortations to cheerfulness, to hope , to faith – all tested antidotes to worry . ” A merry heart doeth good like a medicine” (Proverbs 17:22). “Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not” (Isaiah 35:4). “. . . my peace I give unto you” (John 14:27). Trust God, the Bible keeps saying, because the more you trust the less you will have to worry about.
Let’s be realistic: anyone who has any imagination at all is going to be concerned now and then. A little worry is probably a good thing, if it impels a person to take prudent action. It’s chronic worry that is dangerous, the constant (p 56) imaging of undesirable events. The occasional worrier takes affirmative action. The chronic worrier becomes exhausted and confused, like a desert traveler in a swirling sandstorm. His friends may say to him, “Why don’t you stop worrying? It’s just a waste of time. Doesn’t change a thing!” But usually he is unable to follow this cheery advice. And as a matter of fact, that last phrase is dangerously misleading because worry does change things-mainly the capacity of the worrier to cope successfully with the thing that is worrying him.
When worry becomes really acute, it can clamp down on the mind like a vise, blotting out all rational thought processes. This is how black magic works. A friend of mine who lives in South Africa once told me how his mother’s maid became convinced that a local witch doctor had put a spell on her because she had offended him in some manner. She became unable to eat because all food seemed to have a terrible odor, although actually it didn’t. Everything edible became repulsive to her. She was convinced that she was going to die, and although her employers called in doctors and ministers to help her, she finally did die of starvation so powerful were the negative images that had taken possession of her mind. (p 57)
I was interested to read a brochure announcing a course called “Guided Imagery and the Body/Mind Approach to Optimum Health,” by Jeanne Archterberg, Ph.D. , and G.Frank Lawlis, Ph.D. This brochure, in describing the program to be offered, stated: “Imagery has been the golden thread running through effective medical practice for over 3,000 years. Imagery appears to be the bridge between psyche and soma; it is central to learning biofeedback. . . and may be the basis for understanding and increasing the power of the placebo effect. As such. imagery may well prove to be the single most important technique for modern health care.”
Thirty years ago an authority on psychosomatic medicine, Dr. Arnold A. Hutschnecker, wrote, “We, ourselves, choose the time of illness, the kind of illness, the course of illness, and its gravity .” And he added, “We are moving toward a recognition that in illness of any kind, from the common cold to cancer, emotional stress plays a part. ”
Not long ago I came across a newspaper story in which a California physician, Dr . Irving Oyle, was quoted as saying that people could live to be 150 years old if they would just practice a combination of right thinking and prayer. “Positive, beautiful thoughts trigger the release of beneficial (p 88) hormones in the body and this in turn help the body to heal itself.” On the other hand, he said, “If you presume that you live in a hostile universe, the reaction to that presumptions is what wears out your body.” Then he added, “Prayer is a good way to combat anxiety and promote healing… When you pray, you assume and promote healing… When you pray, you assume that there is some force in this universe which is on your side… Some powerful force. The minute you do that, your body relaxes. And if you really believe that God will respond to you, you have immediately instituted the healing process. Faith itself creates the hormones that make you live longer.
Basic Keys to Healing: Hope, faith, truth-these seem to be the keys. (p 89)
Quotes from Positive Thinking Every Day
“Never talk defeat. Use words like hope, belief, faith, victory.
“Joy increases as you give it, and diminishes as you try to keep it for yourself. In giving it, you will accumulate a deposit of joy greater than you ever believed possible.”
“It is of practical value to learn to like yourself. Since you must spend so much time with yourself you might as well get some satisfaction out of the relationship.”
“One of the greatest moments in anybody’s developing experience is when he no longer tries to hide from himself but determines to get acquainted with himself as he really is.”
“Live your life and forget your age.”
“Those who are fired with an enthusiastic idea and who allow it to take hold and dominate their thoughts find that new worlds open for them. As long as enthusiasm holds out, so will new opportunities.”
“Practice hope. As hopefulness becomes a habit, you can achieve a permanently happy spirit.”
“If you want to get somewhere you have to know where you want to go and how to get there. Then never, never, never give up.”
“Stand up to your obstacles and do something about them. You will find that they haven’t half the strength you think they have.”
“Drop the idea that you are Atlas carrying the world on your shoulders. The world would go on even without you. Don’t take yourself so seriously.”
“In every difficult situation is potential value. Believe this, then begin looking for it.”
“The more you lose yourself in something bigger than yourself, the more energy you will have.”
“When you become detached mentally from yourself and concentrate on helping other people with their difficulties, you will be able to cope with your own more effectively. Somehow, the act of self-giving is a personal power-releasing factor.”
“Change yourself and your work will seem different.”
“Resentment or grudges do no harm to the person against whom you hold these feelings but every day and every night of your life, they are eating at you.”
“When a problem comes along, study it until you are completely knowledgeable. Then find that weak spot, break the problem apart, and the rest will be easy.
“Understanding can overcome any situation, however mysterious or insurmountable it may appear to be.”
“The mind, ever the willing servant, will respond to boldness, for boldness, in effect, is a command to deliver mental resources.”
“Enthusiasm releases the drive to carry you over obstacles and adds significance to all you do.
Cushion the painful effects of hard blows by keeping the enthusiasm going strong, even if doing so requires struggle.”
“Our happiness depends on the habit of mind we cultivate. So practice happy thinking every day. Cultivate the merry heart, develop the happiness habit, and life will become a continual feast.
“Life’s blows cannot break a person whose spirit is warmed at the fire of enthusiasm.”
“You can be greater than anything that can happen to you.”
“One way to become enthusiastic is to look for the plus sign. To make progress in any difficult situation, you have to start with what’s right about it and build on that.”
“When you wholeheartedly adopt a ‘with all your heart’ attitude and go all out with the positive principle, you can do incredible things.”
“Watch your manner of speech if you wish to develop a peaceful state of mind. Start each day by affirming peaceful, contented and happy attitudes and your days will tend to be pleasant and successful.”
“Anybody can do just about anything with himself that he really wants to and makes up his mind to do. We are all capable of greater things than we realize.
“Go forward confidently, energetically attacking problems, expecting favorable outcomes.”
“When I dig another out of trouble, the hole from which I lift him is the place where I bury my own.
“Yesterday ended last night. Every day is a new beginning. Learn the skill of forgetting. And move on.”
“The cyclone derives its powers from a calm center. So does a person.”
“Believe it is possible to solve your problem. Tremendous things happen to the believer. So believe the answer will come. It will.”
“You are greater than you think you are.”
“Problems are to the mind what exercise is to the muscles, they toughen and make strong.”
“Be humble, be big in mind and soul, be kindly; you will like yourself that way and so will other people.
“Always remember that problems contain values that have improvement potential.”
“The way to happiness: keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry. Live simply, expect little, give much. Fill your life with love. Scatter sunshine. Forget self, think of others. Do as you would be done by. Try this for a week and you will be surprised.”
“Cut the “im” out of impossible, leading that dynamic word standing out free and clear — possible.
“Be an all-out, not a hold-out.”
“The positive thinker is a hard-headed, tough-minded, and factual realist. He sees all the difficulties clearly… which is more than can be said for the average negative thinker. But he sees more than difficulties — he tries to see the solutions of those difficulties.”
“Practice loving people. It is true that this requires effort and continued practice, for some are not very lovable, or so it seems – with emphasis on “seems.” Every person has lovable qualities when you really learn to know him.
“Never react emotionally to criticism. Analyze yourself to determine whether it is justified. If it is, correct yourself. Otherwise, go on about your business.”
“How you think about a problem is more important than the problem itself — so always think positively.”
“When you are afraid, do the thing you are afraid of and soon you will lose your fear of it.”
“The more you venture to live greatly, the more you will find within you what it takes to get on top of things and stay there.”
Notes from The Power of Positive Thinking and Bibliography
In saying this I certainly do not ignore or minimize the hardships and tragedies of the world, but neither do I allow them to dominate. You can permit obstacles to control your mind to the point where they are uppermost and thus become the dominating factors in your thought pattern. By learning how to cast them from the mind, by refusing to become mentally subservient to them, and by channeling spiritual power through your thoughts you can rise above obstacles which ordinarily might defeat you. By methods I shall outline, obstacles are simply not permitted to destroy your happiness and well-being. You need be defeated only if you are willing to be. This book teaches you how to “will” not to be. (p ix)
At this point, however, I wish to indicate that to build up feelings of self-confidence the practice of suggesting col1fidence concepts to your mind is very effective. If your mind is obsessed by thoughts of insecurity and inadequacy it is, of course, due to the fact that such ideas have dominated your thinking over a long period of time. Another and more positive pattern of ideas must be given the mind, and that is accomplished by repetitive suggestion of confidence ideas. In the busy activities of daily existence, thought disciplining is required if you are to re-educate the mind and make of it a power-producing plant. It is possible, even in the midst of your daily work, to drive confident thoughts into consciousness. Let me tell you about one man who did so by the use of a unique method. (p 6)
We build up the feeling of insecurity or security by how we think. If in our thoughts we constantly fix attention upon sinister expectations of dire events that might happen, the result will be constantly to feel insecure. And what is even more serious is the tendency to create, by the power of thought, the very condition we fear. (7)
The famous psychiatrist, Dr. Karl Menninger said, “Attitudes are more important I than facts.” That is worth repeating until its truth grips you. Any fact facing us, however difficult, even seemingly hopeless, is not so important as our attitude toward that fact. How you think about a fact may defeat you before you ever do anything about it. You may permit a fact to overwhelm you mentally before you start to deal with it actually. On the other hand, a confident and optimistic thought pattern can modify or overcame the fact altogether. (p 10)
One of the most powerful concepts, one which is a sure cure for lack of confidence, is the thought that God is actually with you and helping you. This is one of the simplest teachings in religion, namely, that Almighty God will be your companion, will stand by you, help you, and see you through. No other idea is so powerful in developing self-confidence as this simple belief when practiced. To practice it simply affirm “God is with me; God is helping me; God is guiding me.” Spend several minutes each day visualizing His presence. Then practice believing that affirmation. Go about your business on the assumption that what you have affirmed and visualized is true. Affim it, visualize it, believe it, and it will actualize itself. The release of power which this procedure stimulates will astonish you.
Feelings of confidence depend upon the type of thoughts that habitually occupy your mind. Think defeat and you are bound to feel defeated. But practice thinking confident thoughts, make it a dominating habit, and you will develop such a strong sense of capacity that regardless of what difficulties arise you will be able to overcome them. Feelings of confidence actually induce increased strength. Basil King once said, “Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid.” Experience proves the truth of this. You will feel these mighty forces aiding you as your increasing faith reconditions your attitudes.
Emerson declared a tremendous truth, “They conquer who believe they can.” And he added, “Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.” Practice confidence and faith and your fears and insecurities will soon have no power over you. (p 11)
To sum up-what can you do now to build up your self-confidence? Following are ten simple, workable rules for overcoming inadequacy attitudes and learning to practice faith. Thousands have used these rules, reporting successful results. Undertake this program and you, too, will build up confidence in your powers. You, too, will have a new feeling of power.
1. Formulate and stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourself as succeeding. Hold this picture tenaciously. Never permit it to fade. Your mind will seek to develop this picture. Never think of yourself as failing; never doubt the reality of the mental image. That is most dangerous, for the mind always tries to complete what it pictures. So always picture “success” no matter how badly things seem to be going at the moment.
2. Whenever a negative thought concerning your personal powers comes to mind, deliberately voice a positive thought to cancel it out.
3. Do not build up obstacles in your imagination. Depreciate every so-called obstacle. Minimize them. Difficulties must be studied and efficiently dealt with to be eliminated, but they must be seen for only what they are. They must not be inflated by fear thoughts.
4. Do not be awestruck by other people and try to copy them.
Nobody can be you as efficiently as YOU can. Remember also that most people, despite their confident appearance and demeanor, are often as scared as you are and as doubtful of themselves.
5. Ten times a day repeat these dynamic words, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31) (Stop reading and repeat them NOW slowly and confidently.) 6. Get a competent counselor to help you understand why you do what you do. Learn the origin of your inferiority (p 12) and self-doubt feelings which often begin in childhood. Self-knowledge leads to a cure.
7. Ten times each day practice the following affirmation, repeating .it out loud if possible. “I can do ail things through Christ which strengthen me.” (Philippians 4:13) Repeat those words NOW. That magic statement is the most powerful antidote on earth to inferiority thoughts.
8. Make a true estimate of your own ability, then raise it 10 per cent. Do not become egotistical, but develop a wholesome self-respect. Believe in your own God-released powers.
9. Put yourself in God’s hands. To do that simply state, “I am in God’s hands.” Then believe you are NOW receiving ail the power you need. “Fee1” it flowing into you. Affirm that “the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21) in the form of adequate power to meet life’s demands.
10. Remind yourself that God is with you and nothing can defeat you. Believe that you now RECEIVE power from Him. (p 13)
(1) PRAYERIZE, (2) PICTURIZE, (3) I ACTUALIZE. By “prayerize” my friend meant a daily system of creative prayer. When a problem arose he talked it over with God very simply and directly in prayer. Moreover, he did not talk with God as to some vast and far-off shadowy being but convened of God as being with him in his office, in his home, on the street, in his automobile, always near by as a partner, as a close associate. He took seriously the Biblical injunction to “pray without ceasing.” He interpreted it as meaning that he should I go about every day discussing with God in a natural, normal manner the questions that had to be decided and dealt with. The I Presence came finally to dominate his conscious and ultimately his unconscious thinking. He “prayerized” his daily life. He prayed as he walked or drove his car or performed other everyday activities. He filled his daily life full of prayer-that is, he lived by prayer. He did not often kneel to offer his prayers but would, for example, say to God as to a close associate, “What will I do about this, Lord’!” or “Give me a fresh insight on this, Lord.” He prayerized his mind and so prayerized his activities.
The second point in his formula of creative prayer is to “picturize.” The basic factor in physics is force. The basic factor in Ii psychology is the realizable wish. The man who assumes success tends already to have success. People who assume failure tend to have failure. When either failure or success is picturized it strongly tends to actualize in terms equivalent to the mental image pictured.
To assure something worth while happening, first pray about it and test it according to God’s will; then print a picture of it on your mind as happening, holding the picture firmly in consciousness. Continue to surrender the picture to God’s will that is to say, put the matter in God’s hands-and follow God’s guidance. Work hard and intelligently, thus doing your part to achieve success in the matter. Practice believing and continue to hold the picturization firmly in your thoughts. Do this and you will be astonished at the strange ways in which the picturization comes to pass. In this manner the picture “actualizes.” That which you have “prayerized” and “picturized” “actualires” according to the pattern of your basic realizable wish (p 42) when conditioned by invoking God’s power over it, and if, moreover, you give fully of yourself to its realization. (p 43)
Who decides whether you shall be happy or unhappy? The answer – you do! television celebrity had as a guest on his program an aged man. And he was a very rare old man indeed. His remarks were entirely unpremeditated and of Course absolutely unrehearsed. They simply bubbled up out of a Personality that was radiant and happy. And whenever he said anything, it was so naive, so apt, that the audience roared with laughter. They loved him. The celebrity was impressed, and enjoyed it with the others.
Finally he asked the old man why he was so happy. “You must have a wonderful secret of happiness,” he suggested. “No,” replied the old man, “I haven’ t any great secret. It’s just as plain as the nose on your face. When I get up in the morning,” he explained, “I have two choices-either to be happy or to be unhappy, and what do you think I do? I just choose to be happy, and that’s all there is to it.” That may seem an oversimplification, and it may appear that the old man was superficial, but I recall that Abraham Lincoln, whom nobody could accuse of being superficial, said that people were just about as happy as they made up their minds to be. You can be unhappy if you want to be. It is the easiest thing in the world to accomplish. Just choose unhappiness. Go around telling yourself that things aren’t going well, that nothing is satisfactory, and you can be quite sure of being unhappy. But say to yourself, ‘Things are going nicely. Life is good. I choose happiness:’ and you can be quite certain of having your choice. (p 53)
Many people make life unnecessarily difficult for themselves by dissipating power and energy through fuming and fretting. Do you ever “fume” and “fret”? Here is a picture of yourself if you do. The word “fume” means to boil up, to blow off, to emit vapor, to be agitated, to be distraught, to seethe. The word “fret” is equally descriptive. It is reminiscent of a sick child in the night, a petulant half-cry, half-whine. It ceases, only to begin again. It has an irritating, annoying, penetrating quality. T fret is a childish term, but it describes the emotional reaction of many adults.
The Bible advises us to “Fret not thyself . . .” (Psalm 37: 1) This is sound advice for the people of our time. We need to stop fuming and fretting and get peaceful if we are to have power to live effectively. And how do we go about doing so? (p 66)
An effective method for making your subconscious positive in character is to eliminate certain expressions of thought and speech which we may call the “little negatives.” These so called “little negatives” clutter up the average person’s conversation, and while each one is seemingly unimportant in itself, the total effect of these attitudes is to condition the mind negatively. When this thought of “little negatives” first occurred to me, I began to analyze my own conversational habits and was shocked by what I found. I discovered that I was making such statements as, “I’m afraid I’ll be late,” or “I wonder if I’ll have a flat tire,” or “I don’t think I can do that, ” or “I’ll never get through this job. There’s so much to do.” If something turned out badly, I might say, “Oh, that’s just what I expected.” Or, again, I might observe a few clouds in the sky and would gloomily state, “I knew it was going to rain.”
These are “little negatives” to be sure, and a big thought is of course more powerful than a little one, but it must never be forgotten that “mighty oaks from little acorns grow, ” and if amass of “little negatives” clutter up your conversation, they are bound to seep into your mind. It is surprising how they accumulate in force, and presently, before you know it, they will grow into “big negatives.” So I determined to go to work on the “little negatives” and root them out of my conversation. I found that the rest way to eliminate them was deliberately to say a positive word about everything. When you keep asserting that things are going to work out well, that you can do the job, that you will not have a flat tire, that you will get there on time, by talking up good results you invoke the law of positive effects and good results occur. Things do turn out well. (p100)
A fundamental doctrine of Emerson is that the human personality can be touched with Divine power and thus greatness can be released from it. William James pointed out that the greatest factor in any undertaking is one’s belief about it. Thoreau told us that the secret of achievement is to hold a picture of a successful outcome in mind. (p 103)
You do not need to be a victim of worry. Reduced to its simplest form what is worry? It is simply an unhealthy and destructive mental habit. You were not born with the worry habit. You acquired it. And because you can change any habit and any acquired attitude, you can cast worry from your mind. Since aggressive, direct action is essential in the elimination process, there is just one proper time to begin an effective attack on worry , and that is now. So let us start breaking your worry habit at once. Why should we take the worry problem this seriously? The reason is clearly stated by Dr. Smiley Blanton, eminent psychiatrist, ” Anxiety is the great modem plague.”
A famous psychologist asserts that “[ear is the most disintegrating enemy of human personality ,” and a prominent physician declares that “worry is the most subtle and destructive of all human diseases.” Another physician tells us that thousands of people are ill because of “dammed-up anxiety .” These sufferers have been unable to expel their anxieties which have turned inward on the personality , causing many forms of ill-health. The destructive quality of worry is indicated by the fact that the word itself is derived from an old Anglo-Saxon word meaning “to choke.” If someone were to put his fingers around your throat and press hard, cutting off the flow of vital power, it would be a dramatic demonstration of what you do to yourself by long-held and habitual worry. (p 108)
Haven’t you often heard a person say, “I am almost sick with worry,” and then add with a laugh, “But I guess worry never really makes you ill.” But that is where he is wrong. Worry can make you ill.
Dr. George W. Crile, famous American surgeon, said, “‘We fear not only in our minds but in our heart.”, brains, and viscera, that whatever the cause of fear and worry , the effect can always be noted in the cells, tissues, and organs of the body .” Dr. Stanley Cobb, neurologist, says that worry is intimately connected with the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
A doctor recently stated that there is an epidemic of fear and worry in this country. “All doctors,” he declared, “are having cases of illness which are brought on directly by fear, and aggravated by worry and a feeling of insecurity.”
But do not be discouraged, for you can overcome your worries. There is a remedy that will bring you sure relief. It can help you break the worry habit. And the first step to take in breaking it is simply to believe that you can. Whatever you believe you can do, you can do, with God’s help.
Here, then, is a practical procedure which will help to eliminate abnormal worry from your experience. (p109)
Practice emptying the mind daily. This should be done preferably before retiring at night to avoid the retention by the consciousness of worries while you sleep. During sleep, thoughts tend to sink more deeply into the subconscious. The last five minute before going to sleep are of extraordinary importance, for in that brief period the mind is most receptive to suggestion it tends to absorb the last ideas that are entertained in waking consciousness.
This process of mind drainage is important in overcoming worry, for fear thoughts, unless drained off, can clog the mind and impede the flow of mental and spiritual power. But such thoughts can be emptied from the mind and will not accumulate If they are eliminated daily. To drain them, utilize a process of creative Imagination. Conceive of yourself as actually emptying your mind of all anxiety and fear. Picture all worry thoughts as flowing out as you would let water flow from a basin by removing the stopper. Repeat the following affirmation during this visualization “With God’s help I am now emptying my mind of all anxiety, all fear, all sense of insecurity ” Repeat this slowly five times, then add, “I believe that my mind is now emptied of all anxiety, all fear, all sense of insecurity.” Repeat that statement five times, meanwhile holding a mental picture of your mind as being emptied of these concepts Then thank God for thus freeing you from fear. Then go to sleep.
In starting the creative process the foregoing method should be utilized in mid-morning and mid-afternoon as well as at bedtime. Go into some quiet place for five minutes for this purpose. Faithfully perform this process and you will soon note beneficial results.
The procedure may be further strengthened by imaginatively thinking of yourself as reaching into your mind and one by one removing your worries. A small child possesses an imaginative skill superior to that of adults. A child responds to the game of kissing away a hurt or throwing away a fear This simple process works for the child because in his mind he believes that is actually the end of It. The dramatic act is a fact for him and so it proves to be the end of the matter. Visualize your fears. as being drained out of your mind and the visualization will In due course be actualized.
Imagination is a source of fear, but imagination may also be the cure of fear. “Imagineering” is the use of mental images to build factual results, and it is an astonishingly effective procedure. Imagination is not simply the use of fancy. The word (p 110) imagination derives from the idea of imaging. That is to say, you form an image either of fear or of release from fear. What you “image” (imagine) may ultimately become a fact if held mentally with sufficient faith.
Therefore hold an image of yourself as delivered from worry and the drainage process will in time eliminate abnormal fear from your thoughts. However, it is not enough to empty the mind, for the mind will not long remain empty. It must be occupied by something. It cannot continue in a state of vacuum. Therefore, upon emptying the mind, practice refilling it. Fill it with thoughts of faith, hope, courage, expectancy. Say aloud such affirmations as the following: “God is now filling my mind with courage, with peace, with calm assurance. God is now protecting me from all harm. God is now protecting my loved ones from all harm. God is now guiding me to right decisions. God will see me through this situation.”
A half-dozen times each day crowd your mind with such thoughts as these until the mind is overflowing with them. In due course these thoughts of faith will crowd out worry . Fear is the most powerful of all thoughts with one exception, and that one exception is faith. Faith can always overcame fear. Faith is the one power against which fear cannot stand. Day by day, as you fill your mind with faith, there will ultimately be no room left for fear. This is the one great fact that no one should forget. Master faith and you will automatically master fear.
So the process is–empty the mind and cauterize it with God’s grace, then practice filling your mind with faith and you will break the worry habit.
Fill your mind with faith and in due course the accumulation of faith will crowd out fear. It will not be of much value merely to read this suggestion unless you practice it. And the time to begin practicing it is now while you think of it and while you are convinced that the number-one procedure in breaking the worry habit is to drain the mind daily of fear and fill the mind daily with faith. It is just as simple as that. Learn to be a practicer of faith until you become an expert in faith. Then fear cannot live in you.
The importance of freeing your mind of fear cannot be overemphasized. Fear something over a long period of time and there is a real possibility that by fearing you may actually help bring it to pass. The Bible contains a line which is one of the most terrible statements ever made-terrible in its truth: “For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me…” [Job 3:25] (p 111) Of course it will, for if you fear something continuously, you tend to create conditions in your mind propitious to the development of that which you fear. An atmosphere is encouraged in which it can take root and grow. You tend to draw it to yourself. (p 112)
One of the most important and powerful facts about you is expressed in the following statement by William James, who was one of the wisest men America has produced, William James said, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.” As you think, so shall you be. So flush out all old, tired, worn-out thoughts. Fill your mind with fresh, new creative thoughts of faith, love, and goodness. By this process you can actually remake your life. (p 153)
It has been said that the wisest man who ever lived in America was Ralph Waldo Emerson, the Sage of Concord. Emerson declared, “A man is what he thinks all day long.” A famous psychologist says, “There is a deep tendency in human nature to become precisely like that which you habitually imagine yourself to be.” (p 155)
NORMAN VINCENT PEALE BIBLIOGRAPHY:
Positive Imaging: The Powerful Way to Change Your Life
Positive Thinking Everyday
The Power of Positive Thinking