We have just started a new class on Norman Vincent Peale's great classic book (THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING). The class is being given Sunday mornings (9:30 to 10:30 am) in the UCOT sanctuary. I hope you will come join this class.
I have been asked by several people how I got interested in Peale and this book, which was first printed 67 years ago. First, I believe that this book has stood the test of time, and it has much to say to us today. Second, I got interested in Peale back in the 1990s when I was looking for a magazine. I wanted some journal that stressed community and spirituality in the modern world.
I was not having any real luck in finding such a magazine until I was way far north in upstate New York. I was visiting my father-in-law, who was in the hospital for brain cancer. While I was in the hospital waiting room, I saw an old, and beat-up, copy of a magazine called GUIDEPOSTS. I started reading it, and I said to myself, "This is the magazine I have been looking for!" It was only after reading that issue of GUIDEPOSTS that I discovered that it was founded by Rev. Peale.
At that point in time I was going through a "long dark night of the soul" that included my father-in-law's health challenges. I decided to read Peale's most famous book, and I found that THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING lifted me out of this dark period for several reasons, including:
--The very first chapter in the book has this title: "Believe In Yourself." Back then this was a real issue for me. I often did not believe in myself. Peale tells a story about being with a president and ceo, of a Fortune 500 company, who did not believe in himself. This business executive often felt that he was a fraud and not up to the job of leading a mjor company. Peale gave the man a "prescription" which read, "When these doubts hit go read Philippians 4:13 ('I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.')" The business leader followed this advice, and he told Peale, "It is amazing how one little sentance from the Bible has changed my outlook." If this worked for this business executive, I decided to try it, and much to my amazement it worked-- and it keeps on working! (I strongly suggest that you have some positive affirmations-- and they don't have to come from the Bible. Turn to these affirmations when self-doubts hit you.)
--Peale stressed the importance of daily prayer and meditation. He saw it as a way of clearing out our minds from negative thinking, which holds us back. I decided to follow this advice, and it made such a major difference in my life.
--He also pointed out how futile fear and worry are. They don't solve our problems, and they take away our joy in the present moment. I also started to notice how often the first thing Jesus and other enlightened masters would tell people is, "Fear not!"
--I was also touched that Peale stressed the importance of having positive visions of what we really want. That great Unity teacher, Eric Butterworth, stressed a similar point when he said, "Our first job is not to set things right. Our first job is to see things right."
I started to follow the advice Peale made in his classic book, and I started to see some very dramatic and positive changes in my life. As he said, "There is no problem, difficulty, or defeat that you cannot solve or overcome by faith, positive thinking, and prayer to God."
Try it. This stuff honestly does work-- and works big time!
Rev. Dr. Rick Belous
Unity Center of Tulsa