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  • Writer's pictureDoug Weiss

Getting What You Want

Each morning as part of my daily ritual, I read from three daybooks. Two of these are Christian in their orientation while the third is a Zen inspired book that explores the Tao and creative visualization. These may seem an odd combination to you but they are more alike than you might expect.

But first I should come clean and admit that my theology has strong Buddhist overtones –in fact a pastor and friend of mine once said I was the most Buddhist Christian he had ever met. I suspect that is because my reading and life experience have led me to recognize more than passing parallels and I freely move between these two understandings with some fluidity.

Perhaps the best way to illustrate this is to talk about the topic at hand—how we go about getting what we want—and what scripture and Buddhist teaching have to say on the subject. Throughout the New Testament we hear repeatedly that God values us highly and wants to give us all we ask for and more. Even in the Old Testament there are miracles—so to speak, in which God delivers on his promises. A child for Sarah at an age when women are well past their ability to conceive, a victory for David over a formidable giant who has killed all that have challenged him. I could go on, but you know these stories as well as I.

To be fair, in scripture, God does not always act immediately in response to prayers. More frequently than not his answer comes at a time that is of his choosing and takes a form of his design. It is for this reason that we are told that in faith we should wait on God acting as if his promises to us have already been delivered. In much the same way, in the Taoist tradition, we are advised that through creative visualization of our desired outcomes the Universe will move us to intersect with our express desires.

Is this just a lot of mumbo jumbo? Can it be that simple? You will find adherents of both Christian faith and Buddhism that would tell you so. When I have questioned these statements I’ve found that they were based on tangible experience, not just recitation of some received wisdom. In fact, I have experienced it myself.

Many times in my life I have acted in the faith of a desired outcome, and it came to be. Now you may think that is an example of a self-fulfilling prophecy, but let me add that none of these things came about immediately, in the way I had expected, and most importantly, often against considerable odds. I am not a naturally ‘lucky’ person. I will never win the lottery, consistently lose in games of chance and on those occasions when I have been in Las Vegas spent my time outdoors in the magnificent canyons and scenery nearby rather than at the tables or slot machines. But in life’s lottery I am a frequent winner.

I’ve been blessed to have been loved deeply, to be surrounded by amazing friends and family, found interesting and challenging work to do, managed to live above my circumstances and been gifted with talents that exceed my natural ability. But even more specifically, I have asked for and received a hundred blessings that I cannot account for by my actions, worth or any other cause save one. I asked for them, repeatedly and in the confidence that whatever came would be good. I have no cause for quarrel, I am blessed.

Here’s the thing, so are you. But as both scripture and Buddha tell us, you have to ask for it to be given. You have to petition for the blessings in your life and then you must do one more thing, act as if your petition has been granted.

If it makes you more comfortable to substitute the word Universe for God, feel free to do so. They are one and the same. However we describe that all-encompassing power, whether we choose to de-personalize it or lean in to faith in a higher being is less important than believing that you can ask for what you want. As I have written before, you do not need to believe in God at this moment, he believes in you, and he wants you to have what you’ve asked for.

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