Miracles News

April-June, 2023

Spirit and the Brain

by Rev. Larry Glenz, Ordained Ministerial Counselor

When I was an athlete in high school and college, my coaches often stressed a concept that is best expressed in a quote attributed to Henry Ford:

“If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”

As a younger man, I did not necessarily believe that to be true. But I wanted to know how to get myself to believe I can. That statement began to resonate in my brain and heart from the repetition of being told that by my coaches over the years. Then later, I became a high school coach of football, wrestling and lacrosse. I repeated that statement many, many times to hundreds of players.

As a Course student, I have found that the statement has spiritual truth. I have been devoted to A Course in Miracles for almost 30 years. The Workbook of ACIM teaches in the earliest lessons:

• “I do not understand anything I see.” (W-3)

• “My thoughts do not mean anything.” (W-10)

• “My thoughts are images I have made.” (W-15)

“My thoughts” referred to here, are my ego thoughts. That is not really thinking; it is image making. And it is all illusion.

The repetition of the Workbook lessons, day after day, year after year, trains my mind to be in alignment with God’s Mind. My mind wanders back to the ego often but my dedication to the Workbook lessons brings me back to Holy Spirit. With Spirit, my thoughts create a meaningful world. And I can train my mind by handing my thoughts to Spirit to decide for me.

Now how does the world of science support this idea of training the mind through the repetition of positive thoughts? Well, there seems to be some important validation in the study of the brain.

I have learned that the base of the brain has something called the Reticular Activating System or RAS. This Reticular Activating System works with what the body’s brain is focused on and, like a search engine, projects out those thoughts as images.

If the RAS is focused on loving thoughts, that is what the brain will show us — the experience of more love — the so called “Happy Dream.” But if my thoughts are fear-based, the RAS searches for and filters only fearful images to me. It doesn’t judge. It just shows you more and more of what you are focused on — either loving or fear-based thoughts.

I am certainly not an authority on brain science, but it seems to me that focusing on the thoughts of Spirit will program the brain to love. And ego thinking brings more and more fear-based thoughts. As I understand it, the RAS filters out everything else but what you are focused on.

If I think I can, the RAS receives those thoughts and sends successful, loving outcomes. If I think I can’t, the RAS shows me more examples of why I can’t. The RAS filters out everything else but my focus. For me, it seems science is validating the power of turning to Holy Spirit with my fear-based thoughts.

In truth, I don’t need science or anything in the world to validate the power of Holy Spirit in my mind. It is my experience that great strength comes from turning over my thoughts to Spirit. That is truly all the validation I need. And I am grateful for the training I have received from my devotion to A Course in Miracles.

Rev. Larry Glenz, O.M.C., is a Pathways of Light minister living in Long Beach, NY. Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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