Thomas C Liske MD FCCP
I have had a long term interest in what motivates people and how it relates to their success. Numerous books have been written on this topic which all seem to support the same message. There must be a well-defined goal, you must be focused on that goal, there must be unquestionable belief in the accomplishment of that goal, there must be gratitude for existing blessings and the anticipated achievement of that goal, there is no room for negative thinking, and the understanding that there is an infinite source of energy of which we are a part. The Source (God, Supreme Being, the Infinite, or whatever title you wish to assign) can be accessed through consistent daily meditation and by controlling your thoughts thinking only about the goal without knowing the “how” which will be provided by the Source. What you think is what you get.
I do wonder about the underlying source of energy. Mind-Body Medicine is an emerging field. There appear to be “miracles” occurring every day. What causes a spontaneous cure of advanced cancer? Why are some lives spared and others not in similar exposures to a disaster? Why do patients with a good attitude seem to tolerate illness better than those without? Is it all about genetics or some anomaly of the prefrontal cortex? Or is there an extended part of the universe which is not attainable through science or the physical world requiring access only through our spirit?
Years ago, I had a patient whom I will call John. He was an elderly man originally admitted with respiratory failure secondary to pulmonary emphysema. He was promptly placed on a ventilator as he was unable to breath on his own. He was a most difficult patient. He would not cooperate with the simplest of tasks.Nurtses and therapists continually battled with him. After three months in the hospital, staff was growing weary of his attitude. He had no family to assist and was depressed and angry at the world. One Saturday, I entered his room, closed the door, and pulled the curtain on his window. I pulled up a chair to his bedside. I said “John, you need to make a decision. Either you work with us to help you get better or you go ahead and die because you can’t go on like this forever.” My purpose was to elicit some cooperation. John died that afternoon.
That event got me wondering about the relationship between the mind and the body. Nurses will tell you about dying patients who hold off death until some beloved person arrives from out of state. Health care personnel will report that patients with a good attitude do better and heal faster than others.
There are motivational authors and speakers who will tell you that if you believe, you can have anything you want and the universe will provide a way. I suspect that this is true to a certain extent. However , I believe that achieving that level of faith demands total belief not allowing for a moment any thought of failure. In the Christian religion, this is equivalent to faith in God. ”Ask and ye shall receive”. The problem for most folks is that being faced with a difficult challenge, it seems to be impossible to not think about it. I believe that the only way to accomplish is to find the stillness of God (the Universe, the Source, the Infinite Source of Energy etc.) It can be found through consistent daily meditation. Sitting in silence for 30 minutes once or twice daily can accomplish this but it may take some time to develop your ability.
As for me, I believe that faith can move mountains but it requires consistent attention to the process.