The power of belief & positive thinking


It is just the tip of the iceberg! And yet DR SWATI KANNAN shares with us enough about the current research on the power of belief to ask ourselves, “How am I shaping my biology with my thoughts?”

The word ‘belief’ is defined in the dictionary as ‘confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptive to rigorous proof.’ But if we examine the origin of the word, we find something far more interesting. This word can be broken down into two separate terms: ‘be’ and ‘lief’. ‘To be’ simply means to exist or to live. The word ‘lief’ originates from an Indo-European word ‘leubh’ meaning ‘love’. The combined word ‘belief’ now takes on a whole new meaning, which is simply ‘to be in love’. Belief used to define faith in God or ‘to be in love’ with God. And we
cannot  love without using the heart.

Beliefs do not necessarily  represent  what  is  true or factual. Our beliefs are based on perceptions of reality, which are shaped by our experiences and culture. The power of each belief or thought stems from within the individual believer. In this sense, whatever you  believe  in  your  heart  to  be  true  is a reality in your life. As a result, you then attract events, experiences and people in your life to match your ‘loves’ or ‘beliefs’. This is demonstrated in my parents’ relationship where my mom always says that what attracted her to my father was their shared belief in meditation, God and spirituality.

Coming from a background of engineering and medicine, I was taught to question every belief, even the proven theories in medicine. So, how can I believe in the ideas of a soul and of God  that  have  never been scientifically proven? Well, it  is simple. It is my conviction that they exist, thus making them real and alive. It is not sufficient to just think the thought with the mind, however, as it must be felt in the heart for positive effect. This is the concept behind prayer, meditation and positive thinking: a simple thought that is felt by the heart. A true belief or prayer resonates both in the heart and mind.

Whatever you believe in your heart
to be true is a reality in your life.
As a result, you then attract events,
experiences and people in your life
to match your ‘loves’ or ‘beliefs’.

Imagine how the world would be positively changed if we all prayed for the well-being of each other? This concept was actually studied on a small scale by medical researchers in San Francisco, California. Forty patients with advanced AIDS were allocated randomly into two groups: one group that received prayers from strangers and another control group that received no prayers. The subjects allocated to the distant prayer group benefited from a reduction in AIDS-defined illnesses and illness severity, and a decrease in the number of hospital visits. Even though this is considered a small study in the world of medicine, its scope is still very powerful, for it suggests that heart-felt prayers can alter the course of a serious disease. Perhaps prayers and peaceful vigils conducted in masses can alter an entire country’s consciousness.

This study is just one of more  than  6,000  articles that have been published regarding the relationship between prayer or faith and health. Scientists  have also been researching the biological changes caused by certain perceptions or beliefs. One such scientist, Dr Bruce Lipton, has discussed the effects of positive and negative thoughts on the genomic code. Simply stated, his concept is based on the simple paradigm of the laws of attraction: like attracts like. If ideas in the mind send certain vibrations, and everything in the universe, including the brain, the heart and the human genome, emanate a certain vibration, then changes can occur if vibrations match.

Taking that paradigm one step farther, if beliefs are simply ideas that are loved by our heart, then the vibrations for such beloved thoughts should be even more potent in their effect. The difference between a thought and a belief is not only love but also certainty. A thought implies that something is possible and could happen. A belief surpasses that possibility and makes it certain it will happen. It is then the marriage of feelings, emotions and ideas that will make a mountain move upon request.

Think of the implication: since every type of idea emits certain vibrations, thoughts should be pure and positive in nature. To many of us, the phrase ‘positive thinking’ sounds nonsensical, as how can sheer optimism make a poor, uneducated, jobless man rich? It is true that an outlandish thought, “I will be rich, I will be rich,” without any attempt to find a job, might not work. But what if that jobless man started thinking, “I will find a great job that utilizes my level of education and will help support my financial needs”? Even positive thoughts must be reasonable and, of course, genuine.

Positive thinking,
transformed into positive beliefs,
can be powerful in shaping our life,
mind, heart and character.

Optimistic thoughts become optimistic beliefs, leading to an optimistic attitude even during dire circumstance in life. This then triggers a chain reaction: the man finds a job, and he is well liked for his optimistic attitude and hard work. He believes he will succeed, and so he attracts supportive people in his life as a result of his positive attitude, affording him more opportunities for success.

In the past twenty years, positive thinking has been acknowledged by mainstream psychology, and is called ‘positive psychology’. It focuses on enriching the lives of ordinary human beings. It complements traditional psychology, as the emphasis is placed on personal growth and happiness instead of the negative aspect of mental illness and phobias. It is a scientific approach to the integration of positive thinking into our attitudes and beliefs, thus attracting positive outcomes. It also supports the paradigm of the laws of attraction and heartfelt beliefs. It is not enough to just think the thought; we must feel it, believe it, love it, live it and even transcend it.

Positive thinking, transformed into positive beliefs, can be powerful in shaping our life, mind, heart and character. Scientists are now studying this concept in many fields – genetics, medicine, psychology, biology and quantum mechanics. A mere two-page article cannot even begin to summarize these efforts and the myriad of research publications that investigate the above-mentioned,  yet intangible concepts. How do you measure the power of belief or positive thinking? But sure enough, we are finding ways to study it, measure it and then integrate it into our lives.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.


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