A friend of mine was recently lamenting about his “impossible situation.” I guess it’s all in the eyes of the beholder, because after listening to his detailed explanation of the facts, it appeared that his was an impossible situation with a lot of possibilities.
Our discussion got me thinking about what, exactly, defines an “impossible situation.” What does “impossible” even mean? Is it impossible to get the man or woman of your dreams to love you if he/she is already in love with — and maybe married to — someone else? (Shades of Dudley Moore in the classic 1979 film 10 — or Simon Cowell, who actually achieved the impossible dream with his best friend’s wife. Ouch!)
How about surviving terminal cancer? Stories about miraculous healings is a surefire invitation to a heated debate. Many of us have known people who were told they had a terminal disease, yet survived and lived to enjoy many more healthy years. Has every one of these cases been flukes? Perhaps … but perhaps not.
All of which raises the question: When the seemingly impossible happens, is it God, luck, coincidence, or something else that is responsible? God can presumably do anything, but we’ve also been taught that God helps those who help themselves — meaning God helps those who take action. Thus, the human ability to employ free will and take action is very much intertwined with God.
Sometimes, of course, we witness the impossible and refer to it as a coincidence. But I’m not totally convinced that there is even such a thing as a coincidence. It’s not farfetched to believe that coincidences are nothing more than the direct result of a group of atoms being attracted by the rapidly vibrating atoms in someone’s brain.
As an example, suppose I haven’t spoken to you in a year and I suddenly decide to call you. Before I can dial your number, however, the phone rings — and it’s you! That’s happened to me far too many times for it to be classified as a “coincidence.”
Which leads me to that great metaphysical abstraction we refer to as human will. The will to accomplish something — be it winning a sporting event or making millions of dollars — manifests itself in something we call attitude. If you have the “right” attitude, you can will something to happen, i.e., you can literally think it into becoming a reality.
Viktor Frankl, the father of logotherapy, was perhaps the most famous of all Holocaust survivors. He lost his mother, father, brother, and wife in Nazi concentration camps. Years later, as a world-renowned psychiatrist, he wrote: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
To be sure, Frankl had an amazing attitude under seemingly impossible circumstances. Even so, I have no doubt that Frankl would have been the first to admit that he was a very lucky man. But doubt aside, he also was convinced that he could not have survived Auschwitz and Dachau had he not focused on finding a meaning to life.
Consider three possibilities you would have had if, like Viktor Frankl in the 1940s, you had found yourself in a Nazi concentration camp.
Possibility No. 1: Even If you had a great attitude in the face of your seemingly impossible situation, you still may not have survived without a good deal of luck.
Possibility No. 2: If you had harbored an attitude of total despair, you surely would have been doomed, even if you had a lot of luck.
Possibility No. 3: If you had a positive attitude coupled with good luck, you would have had at least a shot at surviving. This, I believe, is what Frankl was getting at when he said that choosing one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances is the last of the human freedoms.
In all likelihood, then, the impossible dream is, at least theoretically, not impossible at all. I’ve experienced far too many impossible situations that mysteriously — somehow, someway — became possible, and my guess is that you’ve experienced your share of these situations as well.
Talk about impossible, when I get up every morning and behold my little speck of the universe, it occurs to me that both the universe and my consciousness are complete impossibilities. Surely I am the most improbable collection of atoms in existence. If I am a product of “evolution,” so called, then what was the cause behind this evolution? After all, I am nothing more than a consequence of some universal action, am I not?
Whatever it is that arranged my atoms in such a way that I can reflect on my own existence, does it not seem reasonable that the same “whatever” can make a brain tumor disappear? Or bring the perfect spouse into the loneliest of lives? Or lift a person who has hit rock bottom financially and guide him to great financial success?
I believe the answer is yes. Luck, coincidence, and fate are interesting abstracts, but a more meaningful abstract is human will — the will to power, the will to money, the will to live … and so on.
And when it comes to transforming the impossible into the possible, I believe the most important human will is the will to connect. Connecting with the Infinite Energy of the universe allows you to transcend secular constraints.
In other words, when you are connected to Infinite Energy, your life is not at the mercy of luck or coincidences. Infinite Energy allows you to go beyond dreaming the impossible dream and actually live it. Though we may never completely understand it, connecting with Infinite Energy appears to give the atoms of which we are comprised the magnetic ability to attract the things, people, and circumstances we need to transform our impossible dreams into reality.
Which leaves it up to each individual — be he a practicing religionist or an atheist — to customize the best way for him to connect with the Infinite Energy of the universe. It’s also nice to know that when it comes to this monumental challenge, no one has an advantage over you. On the contrary, you are on an equal footing with the most learned of theologians, so don’t shortchange yourself because of a lack of specific knowledge.
And remember: The issue isn’t how you connect, but whether or not you do connect.