Positive Thinking: Real Thing or Pseudo Religion?

Now associated with such books as The Secret, the positive thinking movement has been around for at least the last one-and-a-half centuries. And its early pioneers drew from traditional religious thought, including Christianity and Buddhism. They believed that the thoughts we think influence our reality and, ultimately, shape our destiny.

We can, of course, understand that by believing that we will succeed in life, and acting in accordance with that belief, is likely to make us more successful than if we believe we are doomed to failure and act as such. Yet, the positive thinking movement also claims that our thoughts will literally change the world outside of us. (It should be acknowledged, of course, some advocates of positive thinking, such as Neville Goddard, believed that everything around us is, in a sense, merely our own consciousness with no autonomous life of its own.)

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The Alchemist-Hero: Forging Destiny From ‘Bad Luck’

In the Conan The Barbarian movie, the young Conan sees his parents killed and tribe destroyed. Then he is taken into slavery. Likewise, in ancient European mythology, Volund the Smith is captured by a greedy king, lamed, and set to work in the forge. He, like Conan, rises up to get his revenge. Again, in the Icelandic Poetic Edda, we hear of the hero Sigmund, whose father is killed before his birth, and — after his mother remarries — is sent as a foster to the treacherous and greedy Regin. This is not an auspicious beginning.

None of us hope that things will go wrong. We see those born into privilege — being handed chances at lucrative careers that are denied to others, marrying the beautiful and the equally wealthy — and we want to be lucky too.

But, from the perspective of self-actualization, for most people, good luck and bad luck are the same. They are carried along by circumstance, one individual into riches, another into the gutter. But neither really questions who he really is or what he is capable of, good or bad.

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Adventures On The Magical Path

Sometimes there’s God so quickly!

Tennessee Williams

What a magical neighborhood I grew up in! There was magic everywhere – but don’t all children create magic out of their surroundings? The fireflies at dusk were secretly fairies; the nuns in white were secretly ghosts; and the woods behind us were definitely enchanted. And all the while the large Star of David from the temple down the street shined on our houses as if to say, “There is power here – there is something bigger than who you are – and you can reach it if you come to me.”

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