Choosing: Deciding on the Dream"A dream cannot come true unless you dream that dream." --Oscar Hammerstein
>Set Your Intention
>Test Your Dream with Five Essential Questions
>Commit to Your Dream
My son John was just under a year old when I collapsed with a life-threatening kidney disease. The shame and guilt resulting from my unplanned pregnancy had continued to fester to the point that my toxic feelings literally poisoned my body. Tests revealed that my right kidney, ravaged by infection, was sending waste throughout my body, while the left kidney was failing quickly. The doctors gave me six months to live.
The night before I was scheduled to have surgery to remove my right kidney, a minister named Dr. Mila Warn visited me in the hospital. My mother-in-law had heard her preach, and she had asked Dr. Warn to stop by and talk with me.
"Maybe she can help," my mother-in-law told me.
I was doubtful. Even though I'd grown up going to church, I hadn't attended services for the past few years, and I didn't for a minute believe a minister could do anything about malfunctioning internal organs. But if she wanted to pray for me, I wouldn't object. At least, I told myself, a new face would help pass what I anticipated would be a very long evening.
The first thing Dr. Warn did was hand me a pamphlet containing the teachings of Emmet Fox. It was called "The Mental Equivalent." She pointed to a passage that read:
"Whatever enters into your life is but the material expression of some belief in your own mind. The kind of body you have, the kind of home you have, the kind of work you do, the kind of people you meet are all conditioned by and correspond to the deepest mental concepts you hold."
Great, I thought. So my bitter thoughts had killed my kidney, and now they were killing me. It was my fault I was dying. Somehow I didn't feel terribly comforted.
Dr. Warn told me to stop focusing on the past. What I needed to do, she said, was make a decision about my future. Whatever I deeply believed would ultimately greatly influence the outcome of my illness. "Can you believe that you don't need surgery and that both your kidneys are perfect?" she asked.
"No, I can't believe that," I answered truthfully. The tremendous pain in my back could not be denied.
this," she encouraged. "Think about the right kidney as the repository of all that is presently toxic in your life. Can you do that?"
This I could handle. My insides felt painfully noxious. I told Dr. Warn the story of my disgrace, the feelings of humiliation that still haunted me.
"So imagine," she said, "that when the kidney leaves your body, the toxicity that has been poisoning your life will disappear as well. All your guilt and shame about the pregnancy or anything else can then also be removed. Then, with all the poison gone, your other kidney will no longer be diseased."
While tests had indicated that my left kidney was also badly damaged, it did not hurt as yet, so I figured I had nothing to lose by following Dr. Warn's suggestion. I would try to create a vision of a perfectly healthy organ. And as we continued to talk I made another, deeper decision: I decided that I wanted to live.
It wasn't as if I had consciously wanted to die. Since my diagnosis I had feared death. My heart ached at the thought of leaving behind a baby I loved. I still cherished my dream of teaching. But the dream seemed more elusive than ever, and I didn't feel as if my absence from the world would leave a great void. Life had brought frustration and unhappiness; if I had nothing to look forward to but more of the same, then I wouldn't be missing out on much. In my desolation, I even imagined that my son might be better off raised by someone else.
So while I did not welcome the terrifying experience of dying, I certainly did not object strenuously to my fate. There is a tremendous difference between fearing death and choosing life.
That night I chose life. Dr. Warn remained at my bedside for hours and helped me articulate the new thoughts that would, with God, allow me to build the life I wanted to live. As if a beautiful broom were sweeping away the past, we saw all toxic shame and guilt and unhealthy thoughts being swept into the kidney that would leave my body in the morning. Moment after moment I held fast to the idea of a perfect left kidney. Dr. Warn urged me quietly to focus all my energy on this healthy image.
With God's help, she told me, I would be healed. I wanted very much to believe her.
The next day a baffled team of physicians considered the evidence they found during surgery. Indeed, the right kidney had needed to be removed. The left one, however, contained not a trace of disease. I left the hospital a week later, regaining my strength quickly and feeling alive in a way that went beyond physical health. The scar on my abdomen became an exclamation point marking the precise moment I began my spiritual awakening.
Set Your Intention
My healing experience as a young woman taught me a powerful lesson about intention. I began to learn that I did not have to be a victim of circumstance. With God working through me, I could choose the life I wanted to live and bring my intention to fruition through the thoughts I held.
Have you ever looked in the paper and seen a notice from a bank that is attempting to locate a long-lost client, someone who has money in an account? The person either forgot about that account or never knew it existed, but either way, no one has come forward to claim the money. The funds just sit there, collecting interest, until they're ultimately transferred to the state. The same is true of our lives. Many of us go through life not realizing that we have a key to a rich account, that at any time we can reach in and draw from the currency of life to guide and move us into our dream. Creation's gold mine is in you. The key is deliberate intention. Whatever your dream may be at this moment, identify it. If you cannot define your desire, it can never become a reality.
Setting an intention means declaring a purpose, starting with your thoughts. In Genesis (which means "the beginning of all creation"), we learn that everything originates from thought. In the beginning there was the void. God resolved to fill the emptiness. He had a very specific purpose. God did not begin, "Let there be...whatever." God said, "Let there be light." God intended light, and light came into being.
God intended earth. God intended the waters. God intended you and me. We were created in the image and the likeness of God; we are holograms, if you will. So the power, the presence, the energy is within you and me. The energy of God, as life, is within each of us. You have a divine identity as a co-creator with God, the source of all life.
The greatest control you have in your life is the power to direct the thoughts that help your dream take form. We are always constructing the fabric of our lives with our thoughts. If you do not exercise that control, the fabric of your life becomes flimsy. For instance, if you say, "I want something, but I don't know what. I will leave it to God to decide," you are foolish; you are not setting an intention. You must be willing to take responsibility for your wishes and desires if you want to make them real. If you merely wish for a greater life but do not specifically channel your energies into charting that future, the life force moving through you has no definite direction. How can God assist you in a dream that you have not specified?
Identify the life you would like to be living as best you can see from where you're standing. Everything created in the world of form was first identified in mind. Anything you see was first an idea, a blueprint in the mind, and through the power of intention became a pattern. That pattern evolved into something that now we can touch, see, smell, taste, feel, or experience.
You create continually with your thoughts. You can create basically the same life with very little difference over and over again, year after year. You can experience the same life relentlessly, with a little different color to it, a slightly altered texture. Or you can co-create with God, moving confidently in the direction of your dreams.
I learned a long time ago that if I really wanted to bring my ideas into experience, I needed to write down my intentions. When you put pen to paper, you have little choice but to get specific. The actual process of forming your thoughts into words on a page is a creative act, a genesis, moving energy toward the very thing you want to experience. Purchase a small spiral notebook and write on the front "My Dream Journal." Keep in this journal the deepest dreams of your heart. Describe, as specifically as possible, what your life will look like when your dream comes to fruition. Use the power of your imagination to identify a dream that is a deep longing of yours. Do not dismiss your dream as unobtainable. Do not edit your journal by telling yourself, "What I really want is impossible. Maybe I should just settle for..." There is no need to render your dreams puny by crossing out what you truly desire. The likelihood of a dream coming true is not based so much on what your logical mind tells you but on your willingness to form an intention, to risk, to step out beyond your current experience.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Excerpted from Building Your Field of Dreams by Mary Manin Morrissey. . Excerpted by permission of Bantam, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.