Posts Tagged ‘faith’

The Parable of the Minefield – Part 2

February 10, 2017

When I wrote the Parable of the Minefield, I was thinking that I was defying the definition of courage, when I thought that the prevailing definition was a lack of fear. But when I looked it up in the dictionary afterward, I saw that the definition actually does match my understanding of it. It defines courage as “the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous” (Merriam-Webster). I would change one word of that. I would change “know” to “feel or believe”. Life is all about perception, especially emotions. For instance, if you have a phobia, you may know intellectually that your fear is not reasonable. Your mind may tell you that something is not dangerous, even though in your heart you believe it is. No matter how much logic you try to apply, you may not be able to summon the courage to do the thing you’re afraid of.

In my story of the minefield, what if there were no mines, but rather, people just thought that it was a minefield? Would it have changed the 5 examples? No! The first person, who didn’t know that it was believed to be a minefield, would have been vindicated to find out later that there really never were any mines. However, he still may have initially had a panic attack when he was led to believe that he had just crossed a minefield. He was still ignorant of the common belief, even if it was incorrect to begin with.

The second man, who didn’t care because he had given up, would not have changed his attitude if he found out later that it was not really a minefield.

The third man, who wouldn’t go because he was overcome with fear, was unable to cross the field because he believed that it did contain mines. Even though the mines were not real, his fear was very real because it was based on the belief that he would likely be killed or maimed by what he thought were mines in the field. Even if someone came along and told him that there no mines in the field, if he continued to believe deep down that there were mines in the field, he still may not have been able to summon the courage to cross it. Many of us have unreasonable fears that may have no basis in fact, but their effect on us can be just as real as if it were a dangerous situation.

Did the fourth man, who was trembling with fear as he crossed the field, exhibit true courage even though there weren’t really any mines? Absolutely! Courage is doing the thing that you’re afraid to do, regardless of whether or not the fear is justified.

What about the fifth man, who was inspired to exercise faith and put his trust in God as he confidently crossed the field? Did he exercise real faith even though the danger wasn’t real after all? Of course! What about when he prayed about it? Shouldn’t God have simply told him not to worry about it since there weren’t any mines in the field? Even if he were so spiritually in tune that he could have gotten such a detailed answer to his prayer, it may not have been in the man’s best interest for God to share that tidbit of information. One of our purposes here on earth is to learn to exercise faith. Remember, faith is the opposite of fear. The more that we can use faith, the less fear will control our life. Did the Spirit lie to the man? No. God simply gave him an assurance that, one way or another, everything would be alright… and it was. Of course God knew that there no mines in that field. But all the man needed to know was that things would be okay. Through that experience, the man was able to build his faith.

There have been many times in my life that I’ve lacked courage; times that fear has held me back. When I have exercised courage by going forward in spite of fear, I have not only accomplished more than I would have otherwise, I have grown personally and built my character. Exercising courage does not mean doing stupid dangerous things. But when your heart, mind and spirit tell you to do something or take your life in a particular direction, move forward in faith, in spite of fears that may be getting in the way.

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The Parable of the Minefield

February 9, 2017

There were 5 people who needed to get from point A to point B. It was important for them to do this. Their families were depending on them. The problem was that there was an active minefield between the two points. They could not go around it. In order to get to point B, they had to cross the minefield.

The first person walked casually across it without a care in the world. When he got to the other side, the people who were there excitedly asked him how he could have done this so casually and bravely. “What are you talking about?” the man asked. “Didn’t you know? You just walked across a minefield!” the people exclaimed. He immediately had a panic attack and almost fainted. “I had no idea!” (This was not courage. It was ignorance.)

The second person also walked boldly across. When he got to the other side, the people asked him if he knew it was a minefield. “Yes, I know” he replied. “I just don’t care.” This person had given up. He no longer cared if he lived or died. He did not exhibit courage, but just apathy and self-destructive tendencies.

The third person simply refused to go. His fear of the minefield was paralyzing. He knew he needed to get to point B. He tried to figure out how to get there without crossing the minefield, but could not come up with anything. So he simply did not go. His family was very disappointed, but he felt powerless to get to the necessary destination.

The fourth person was also very afraid, but he went anyway. Every step was a huge effort. Getting across the minefield was a horrible, harrowing experience. When he finally got to the other side, he collapsed with emotional exhaustion. It caused him to need years of counseling and it was a terrible experience, but he had made it! This man exhibited true courage. Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is moving forward in spite of your fear. Where there is no fear, there can be no courage.

The fifth person strolled across the field whistling a happy tune. When he got to his destination, everyone was astonished. They asked if he knew that it was a minefield and that he could have easily been killed. He responded that he knew that. They asked him if he had a death wish or didn’t care about being blown to bits. He said that he did not have a death wish and that he in no way wanted to be killed or maimed. So how could he cross the minefield so casually?

He explained that prior to starting across the minefield, he had prayed fervently to Heavenly Father about whether he should cross the field and implored that he be protected in his efforts. A sweet, calm assurance had come over him that it would be alright. He would most likely be kept safe, but even if he wasn’t, he was in God’s hands and it would turn out for the best in the end. Based on that, he decided that he would exercise faith as he crossed the field. He would replace fear with faith. He wasn’t able to do it entirely. So he did have to exercise some courage as well. But with that, he was able to cross the field with a song in his heart and a smile on his face.

The opposite of fear is not courage. The opposite of fear is faith – faith in God, faith in your own abilities, faith in those around you, etc. Going through life can be like crossing a minefield at times. At certain times and in certain situations, we can find ourselves being like any one of the people in this story. Sometimes there is danger and risk that we’re naively unaware of. Sometimes we can be so distressed and fed up that we feel like we just don’t care anymore. There are times when our fears stop us from doing things that we know we ought to do, or even need to do. Other times, we’re able to summon our courage and push through the fear, in spite of the difficulty and even getting a few bruises and scars along the way, both physical and emotional. But of course the best way to live life is with faith. When we’re able to have faith and confidence (deep down, not just superficial), we can face our trials with quiet assurance that everything will work out, even when the trials become difficult and damaging.

 

(The foregoing is an expansion of an idea published in my blog 9/11/15. It can be found at https://drdonwhittaker.com/2015/09/11/courage-and-fear/.)

“I Tried!”

October 27, 2016

falling-dominoes-1422284For a long time now, I’ve been fascinated with the idea of “trying”. The word “try”, along with all of its variations, is often misunderstood and misused. I believe that looking at this concept in the proper manner can have a major impact on your success in life. Imagine the following two scenarios –

Scenario one – I have a pencil on my desk and I ask you to try to pick it up. An easy task, right? If you pick it up, that’s doing, not trying. If you don’t even attempt it, you can’t say that you tried.

Scenario two – I ask you to pick up a large truck and lift it above your head without the use of any tools or equipment. I would consider that an impossible task, as I’m sure you would also. You can pull up on it with all your might, but you won’t be able to lift it, even if you have some delusion that you have super powers.

For some of you word buffs, you will argue that the word “try” also means to accomplish something. However, the way that I think of it and the way that it’s often used, especially in the past tense, means that you attempted something but did not succeed. So please bear with me as I use it in that manner. The way I see it, there are three prerequisites for honestly saying that you tried to accomplish something.

  1. You must approach it with the belief that the task is something that is possible for you to achieve.
  2. You must put forth a full, honest effort with a clear intention to succeed in the task.
  3. In the end, you must fail in the attempt (going back to the way that I’m using the word). Based on 1 and 2, if you do not succeed, this will qualify you as having tried. If you do number 1 and 2, in most cases, you will succeed, in which case I would say that you didn’t just try, you did.

In the first scenario, there is a case in which you could say that you really “tried” to pick up the pencil. Let’s say that, unbeknownst to you, the pencil had been glued to the desk and it was your understanding that you could only use your bare hands to pick it up. In that case, you would have gone to pick it up and fulfilled all three of the prerequisites of having tried. What if you believed that the pencil were glued to the desk even though it wasn’t? Would you even make the attempt? If you really put forth an honest effort, you would pick it up easily and be surprised that it was no effort at all. What if you had been hypnotized to believe that the pencil actually weighed 2000 pounds? If you even tried at all, would your belief prevent you from lifting the pencil, even though in reality it only weighs a few ounces? That’s an interesting question.

There are actually many times in life that we encounter this type of situation. How many things would you attempt if you really believed you could and would succeed? How many things do you avoid because you don’t believe it’s possible (or at least likely) for you to be able to succeed?

Let’s say that the pencil really was glued to the desk but I never said anything about using a tool to lift it up. Would you just assume that you must use your bare hands, or would you get something to pry it up with, or if necessary, get it off the desk in pieces? In other words, do you think outside the box to get something accomplished, rather than giving up because you believe it’s impossible?

In the second scenario, what if you just thought it was a real truck, but it was actually a cleverly disguised balloon that was barely resting on the ground? Your internal beliefs may prevent you from even making an attempt to lift it. After all, you don’t want to look foolish! But in this case, if you really did make an honest attempt to lift it and were able to get past any personal belief that could prevent your muscles from even putting forth the effort, you would be very surprised to learn that it was not only possible to lift the truck above your head, but actually quite easy.

Everyone knows that even the strongest man in the world can’t lift a large truck above his head with just his bare hands. But how many situations are there where everyone believes that a task is not possible, but then someone goes out and does it anyway? There have been many examples of this. Either the task was easier than everyone believed, or as is often the case, someone found the strength, inspiration, ideas and determination to actually accomplish it, in spite of the difficulty.

Why is there so much confusion? The simple answer is that we need to have a clear understanding of what we can and can’t do. But obviously it isn’t always that easy. I’ve written in previous entries about how challenging it can be to perceive reality as it truly is. We have so many filters, biases and preconceptions, plus the fact that we don’t usually have all of the facts. Just like having a pencil secretly glued to the desk or a balloon that looks like a heavy truck. There can be many factors skewing our understanding of what is really possible for each of us as individuals. There can be a lack of understanding of what’s truly possible in any given situation. We may be lacking in belief and determination, including self-confidence. We may have false perceptions of the rules and limitations. Or in other words, we may be “stuck in the box”, like assuming we can’t use a tool to pry up the glued-down pencil.

I believe that some of the greatest sources of stress in our lives can be attributed to these kinds of confusion. One situation is where you truly believe you can do something, but you consistently miss the mark. Like if you really believed that you could lift a real truck with your bare hands, so you kept pulling and pulling on it with all of your might. You just wind up getting sore, worn out and wasting time. There may really be goals in your life that are beyond your reach, although I don’t believe that’s very common. The fact is that the truck CAN be lifted, but you need a lot of help and the right tools. So usually, it’s not so much that the task cannot be accomplished, but that you’re going about it the wrong way. So rather than stressing about not being able to ever accomplish a particular goal, if it’s something that you really desire, step back and take an objective look at how else the task could be accomplished.

Another source of stress is when you’re putting great forth great amounts of effort trying to accomplish something that you don’t even believe you can accomplish. If you really believe deep down that the pencil weighs 2000 pounds or is glued to the table and you think you’re not allowed to use any tools to pry it up, especially if you have a lot of time and emotion invested in that belief, would you be able to just reach down and pick up that pencil that isn’t stuck and only weighs a few ounces? This is where you get into some of these deep psychological mysteries. And yet, I think that it happens quite frequently. What if a football team was getting a pep talk right before a game where the coach said, “There’s no way we can beat this team, but go out and give it your all.”? (In other words, don’t plan to win, just “try” to win. Have you ever talked to yourself that way?) Maybe the other team will not be very good and they could beat them after all. Perhaps, but I doubt it. Most often, that team who doesn’t believe they can win has very little chance of winning. Any decent coach, even if he knows deep down that they’re playing a much better team, will do his best to instill into the players the belief that they can win.

In life, we’re sometimes faced with situations that we don’t believe we can win with, but we put forth our best efforts anyway due to social pressure or physical necessity. It could be a salesman with a very poor sales record who’s been told that he’s got to get the top sales for that week or he will be fired. Then at the end of the week, his sales aren’t much better than normal and he gets fired. He then cries out, “I tried!” Or it could be someone who’s been trying desperately to find a job for a long time and who needs to find a job this month or his family will be out in the street. The next month rolls around and still no employment. He exclaims bitterly, “I tried my very best!” In neither of these cases is the person lying. However, as I stated earlier, I believe that part of trying is not just putting forth an effort, but actually believing deep down that you can accomplish the task. Trapped emotions, acquired beliefs, and so forth can prevent us from having the faith to really put forth a full and honest effort, even when we are doing our best to believe “on the outside”.

Energy work that we do, including the Emotion Code, Body Code and EVOX, can help people to release trapped emotions and false perceptions that prevent us from reaching our full potential. In the meantime, it’s important that we don’t judge others based on what WE believe they should be able to do. Notice that I did not state in either of the scenarios in the preceding paragraph whether or not they were capable of accomplishing the task that they absolutely had to succeed at. From the outside looking in, we have no way of knowing, in spite of how well we feel that we would do in that situation. One of my pet peeves is when someone says, “if I can do it, anyone can do it”. That is a slap in the face to our Creator who made each of us with unique talents and abilities. Also, we don’t know what someone is or is not capable of, given their current circumstances. For ourselves, we need to do some careful self-examination and make sure that if we feel that we’re really trying to accomplish something, we are fulfilling the first two prerequisites of what it means to really try. Then if you really do fall short of your goal and you don’t accomplish the thing you’re trying to accomplish, you can truly and justifiably say, “I TRIED!”

Remember though, it makes no sense to intend to try. Just like the example of picking up a pencil. You can intend to pick it up or you can refuse to pick it up. If it had been glued down, you could say you tried after the fact. But it doesn’t make sense to say that you intend to put forth an effort with an intention to fail. Like Yoda said in Star Wars, “There is no try, only do.” In future tense, never say you’re going to try, only intend to do.

Courage and Fear

September 11, 2015

CourageFearWe are told to not be afraid and to have faith –“doubt not, fear not”. Indeed, doubt and fear are the two most powerful forces that hold us back in life. For some, they can be completely crippling. For others, they simply hold us back from achieving our full potential in life.

I’ve often wondered about these admonishments. How can you tell someone to not have fear or doubt? How can you respond? “Okay, I won’t have any more fear and I’ll have complete faith.” Wouldn’t it be nice if it were that easy? It’s not though, is it? I believe that what these are really saying though is that we should not allow these to get in our way. We can start to eliminate doubt and fear by exercising faith and courage.

Herein lays the crux of the matter. I believe that many of us don’t have a true understanding of what faith and courage really mean. When we feel fear, we wish we had more courage so that we would not be afraid. We then allow that to stop us from doing what should or needs to be done. We know that we could accomplish great things if only we had more faith, but we allow our doubts to hold us back. However, that demonstrates somewhat of a misunderstanding of what faith and courage are. These are action words, not simply a state of mind. Let me explain.

We often think that if we have fear, it means that we lack courage. That lack of courage then becomes a stumbling block. “I can’t do that because I’m afraid.” I maintain that where there is no fear, there can be no courage. Here is an example. Suppose you had to walk across a mine field (active explosives hidden in the ground). If you didn’t know it was a mine field, would it take courage to traverse it? Of course not. Suppose you had a death wish or you were so confident that you could avoid the mines that you didn’t feel any fear. A death wish or overconfidence certainly shouldn’t be confused with courage. The only time that it would require courage to walk across that mine field is if you knew that it was a mine field and you feared death and dismemberment. Courage is not the lack of fear. Courage is acting in spite of your fear. Courage is to be afraid of doing something but doing it anyway.

Does it take courage to drive a car? For most of us, it is not a great act of courage to get in our car and drive somewhere. When you first started to learning to drive, it did take courage, because it was a scary thing to do. If you’ve been in a serious accident or had a loved one killed in a car accident, it can take great courage to drive a car, because now there is fear. Does it take courage to mow your lawn? For most people, it’s no big deal. For me, it was never a fearful thing. But a number of years ago, I had a serious accident mowing the lawn. For a while after that, I had to hire others to mow my lawn. I remember the first time I mowed the lawn after my accident. I was practically trembling. But I pushed through the fear. I exercised courage by mowing it anyway. Each time thereafter, it got easier. Now it doesn’t bother me a great deal, although a small amount of fear remains.

What about faith? Is it the absence of doubt? If you know something for certain, there is no need for faith. Faith is the action of moving forward with something in spite of not knowing for sure what will happen.

So if you feel fear or doubt, don’t think that you lack courage or faith. Act on what you know. Do what you can do. Courage and faith are action words. Practice doing them. Start small if you must. Do what you’re afraid to do and you will be building and exercising courage. This will bring you strength of character and help you to achieve a great deal more in life.

Another thing you can do is to remove some of the emotional baggage that is getting in your way. An effective means to accomplish this is with The Emotion Code.

The Power of Intention

February 7, 2014

The Power of IntentionWhen my children were young and starting to do chores around the house, we struggled with getting them to do a good job at their tasks. They would go through the motions of washing the dishes, but the dishes didn’t really get clean. They would vacuum the carpet, but not really care if the vacuum was clogged up and not picking anything up. As I think back on it now, they were doing exactly what they thought they were supposed to be doing. Their purpose was to wash the dishes or vacuum the carpet or whatever. Once they went through those motions, their purpose was accomplished and it was time to play.

How often in our lives are we just “going through the motions”? Of course, I didn’t just want my children to go through the motions of doing their chores. I wanted the dishes clean, the carpet clean, etc. That’s why I assigned them those tasks. But it took me a while to get them to understand that concept. In my own life, there have been times when I was just going through the motions, even though I didn’t always realize it. When I was young, I was taught (or so I understood) that if you be good and work hard, you’ll be rewarded with success. Later, I found that doesn’t always work. There were times when I was working like crazy and being a good boy and saying my prayers and so forth, but still I couldn’t get ahead. I realized that there was more to it. So I started listening to CD’s and reading books by people who were experts on how to get ahead in life. Many of them made it sound so easy. I tried implementing their suggestions, but still my progress was very slow and I would finally give up in frustration. I just wasn’t getting it.

Over the past few years, things have been turning around for me. I’ve picked up again on motivational speakers and authors and I think I’m finally starting to “get it”. It has a lot to do with faith. However, I prefer the word “intention”. I see intention as the purpose behind why you do what you do. Having a strong intention doesn’t guarantee success, but it makes it a whole lot more likely and will take you further than having a weak (or no) intention. Have you ever seen a football team come out onto the field where it just didn’t seem like they were there with the intention to win the game? It can be very frustrating when you’re the fan rooting for them to win. In any endeavor, if you don’t have a strong intention to win, the chances of winning are greatly diminished. Having an intention to “do your best” or “not lose” is NOT the same as fully intending to win.

In writing about faith in the past, I’ve referred to one of my favorite examples in the New Testament where the woman was cured of an issue of blood simply by touching the hem of the Savior’s clothes. Jesus felt virtue coming out of him, which in modern terms of energy work, we could say that he felt an energy shift. When he found the woman and determined what had happened, he told her that her faith had made her whole (healthy). I really don’t think Jesus was telling a little white lie to show humility. I believe he always told the truth. So it was the faith of this woman and not really an act on his part. Imagine if a friend of this woman told her to go and touch Jesus’ clothes and she would be healed, but she reacted with an attitude of, “OK, I’ll do it, but I don’t think it will work”. Do you think that she would have been healed? In this case, I would definitely say no.

In the healthcare work that I do, I’ve often wondered why two doctors would do apparently the same thing, but get very different results. There are many variables, such as the skill of the doctor, the condition of the patient, etc. However, I think there’s more to it. In the 30 years that I’ve been in practice, I’ve seen differences in myself as well as other practitioners, things that couldn’t always be explained. Now I see that a lot of it has to do with intention. One chiropractor can give someone an adjustment without much expectation, another can do it with the intention of helping the patient feel a little better, while yet another can do the same adjustment with the intention of seeing a miracle take place in the life of the patient. Will that last doctor always see a miracle with every adjustment he performs? Probably not, but he or she will see a lot more miracles in their practice than the doctor who never expects miracles or who is not treating with the intention of seeing miracles.

The same is true in every profession or endeavor. There will always be setbacks, but if your intention is to succeed, almost nothing can stop you. Whether you’re sweeping floors, bussing tables, or doing brain surgery, if your intention is to succeed, you’ll not only do a better job but receive greater satisfaction as well. Remember, wanting and needing is NOT the same thing as intending. I spent many years wanting and needing and working myself to a frazzle, but just getting more and more frustrated with not being able to provide sufficiently for my family. Even being deserving isn’t enough. When you’re not raised with a strong intention to succeed, when you’re just used to trying hard and doing your best (which isn’t wrong, but often is not enough to put you over the top), it can be tricky to learn. People who have found success often make it sound easy – “if I can do it, anyone can do it”. However, changing patterns of thinking that you’ve known all your life is seldom easy. I’ve been helped by people like Leslie Householder (author of The Jackrabbit Factor), Wayne Dyer, Russ Rosen, Angela Barrus and others, including my office partner, Joe Kepo’o, to help turn my thinking around. I still have to work at it so as not to drop back into old patterns of thinking, but to the extent that I’ve managed to have more purpose in my life and career, to the extent that I’ve been able to put more intention into what I do, I’ve been able to see far more success, not just monetarily but in helping people to have more miracles in their lives. THAT, my friends, is my true purpose in life. It’s why I do what I do – to change lives for the better through helping people heal both physically and emotionally. Life is wonderful.

Faith, Gratitude & Health

July 31, 2013

gratitudeI wrote previously about the power of hope in the healing process. Faith also has a great deal to do with it. There’s no question about how the degree of faith you have in both the treatment and the one administering the treatment has upon your likelihood of improving. When I was in chiropractic college, I did a research paper on the “placebo effect”. This is NOT about fooling people with sugar pills, but rather about how one’s belief and attitude toward their treatment plays into the success of the treatment. I believe that in most instances, no matter what kind of treatment one is receiving, from drugs to surgery to energy work, that placebo effect will have a bearing on the outcome.

Before medications can be marketed to the public, they must go through a number of studies in order to be approved by the FDA. Surgeries don’t usually get the same kind of research. I heard of one study where they examined a particular knee surgery. The patients were divided into three groups. The first group got the surgery they were evaluating. The second group did not get the surgery. However, their skin was opened up and then stitched back up without making any internal changes. The third group was the control group that got no treatment. Which group do you think reported the most improvement? It was actually the second group. They were the ones that didn’t get the actual surgery but thought they had.

In my own life, I’ve looked for ways to cultivate my faith — faith in God, faith in my self and my abilities, etc. Lately, I’ve found that one of the most effective means of increasing faith is to have a heartfelt expression of gratitude. When you feel gratitude down deep, it’s hard to simultaneously feel doubt or worry. It can often be more helpful to think about the things you’re grateful for than to focus on what you need or want. Remember that you are most likely to attract more of whatever you focus on. If you focus too much on your aches and pains, you will get more of the same. That doesn’t mean ignore them, but you focus more on resolving your health issues than on how miserable you feel. Find any good aspect of your health (you can usually find many if you try if you’re not in acute pain) and focus on that. Feel gratitude for it.

The next step is where faith really comes into play. Be grateful for the improved health you’re going to have. If a trusted friend said that they have sent you a gift, would you withhold your gratitude until you actually received it? That wouldn’t make sense, and it certainly wouldn’t show any faith in your friend. If you expect something good in your life, be grateful as if it were already your’s, including improved health. There are no guarantees, but your chances of getting what you want will be greatly enhanced.

Be grateful for both your current and future blessings. Having an attitude of gratitude will increase your joy, which is the purpose of your existence, and you’ll attract a lot more good into your life. For more information on how we help people achieve better health, please visit my website.