How Thoughts Create Miracles with Mitch Horowitz
Radiantly You – Episode 60
SUSIE: Hello spiritual seekers and radiant souls. This is Susie Hindle Kher and welcome to another episode of Radiantly You – a half hour of talk radio that, as you may already know, is all about raising vibes and creating magic. Each Wednesday. I invite leading-edge thought leaders, healers and spiritual teachers to join me as we break down the ideas, life lessons, daily practices, mindsets and secrets that you can use in your own life.
And my partner in crime here at the KKNW studios is Benny Mathers.
BENNY: I like that, partner in crime, that’s the first time I’ve ever heard that…ever!
SUSIE: Yeah, right! How are you today?
BENNY: Good. I’m good.
SUSIE: I’m excited about this survey that KKNW has going on. So tell us all about it.
BENNY: Yeah. We just launched it on Monday and it’s our annual survey, it just takes a couple minutes. Just go online at 1150kknw.com. It takes a couple minutes to fill out the survey and again, it helps us better craft what you guys want to hear out there as a station, and maybe something some things you may not want to hear.
SUSIE: Awesome. [02:00] We really appreciate you taking the time to do that. So, all right, let’s dive right in. My guest today is award-winning historian and new thought author Mitch Horowitz, and he skates along the cutting edge, maybe even the cutting edge of the cutting edge of the philosophy that thoughts are causative.
And he really – I feel – is on a mission to empower everyone to learn to focus their mind to manifest their desires. Oh, you’re probably thinking, wait not another show on manifesting … been there, done that, and it didn’t really work. So, hold your horses. Hang on, because what Mitch brings to this discussion is, to me, a real groundedness of this idea.
We’re talking today about his new book, which is being released, I think in a week. It’s called The Miracle Club: How Thoughts Become Reality. It’s published by Inner Traditions and you’re going to want to stay tuned, because what Mitch is sharing is kind of like the missing user’s guide for manifesting miracles. The Miracle Club is filled with history, insights and challenges that you can take to help you reshape your life and create miracles with the power of thought.
Now, by way of introduction, Mitch Horowitz has spent most of his adult life searching through the spiritual culture, he’s worked as a body-mind-spirit publisher, as an award-winning historian, and author on alternative spirituality and lots of different New Thought topics. He’s been published in the New York Times, in Time Magazine, Politico, Salon, and the Wall Street Journal…and he’s been a guest on shows like Dateline NBC, CBS Sunday Morning, All Things Considered, Coast to Coast AM, and that fabulous show Radiantly You. He was raised in a world of Bigfoot stories, UFO sightings and Carlos Castaneda books, and he grew up determined and passionate to find the truth behind it all. And today he’s going to let us in on some big truths so stay tuned.
He is also, by the way, a writer in residence at the New York Library. And as of late, his newest little gig is as a lecturer in Residence at the University of Philosophical…. Okay. I knew I wasn’t going to get that right… Mitch, please jump in here…
MITCH: [04:18] Great to be here…sure it’s Lecturer in Residence at the University of University of Philosophical Research in Los Angeles, and I’m actually going to be in Los Angeles starting October 24th giving a variety of presentations, so you can visit me on Twitter or just about any place on social media.
SUSIE: [04:37] Awesome. Thank you so much for being here. If you want to give Mitch a shoutout, you can find him on Twitter @mitchhorowitz. And I just want to let you know before we dive into our conversation about The Miracle Club, that for five more days there is actually a Miracle Club contest over at Inner Traditions, and you can win an autographed book. Does that sound awesome? Head over to innertraditions.com/miracleclubcontest. And this week, leading up to the books release, you can buy the Kindle version of The Miracle Club on Amazon for just $2.99.
So congratulations on your new book. This is really exciting.
MITCH: Thank you so much and delighted to be here with you guys.
SUSIE: You’ve written on some crazy topics, some interesting topics, from the war on witches to the secret life of Ronald Reagan, and now The Miracle Club, which really dives deep, deep, deep into the philosophies and history behind ideas that most people today think of as Law of Attraction. So what was your intention in writing this book?
MITCH: [05:37] Well, I’ve always classified myself as a believing historian. I’m a participant in the different occult and esoteric movements that I write about and the truth is, most historians of religion are what you’d call believing historians, but they just don’t advertise it as such. Most of our histories of mainstream faiths, whether Judaism or Catholicism or of the newer religions like Mormonism or Seventh-Day Adventist and Christian Science, most of these histories are written by people who come from within the ranks of those congregations, but they don’t necessarily want to put a label on themselves and they don’t advertise that they are critically sympathetic to the topics that they’re writing about.
I feel I wanted to be straightforward with my readers, and I’ve always made it plain that I am both in observer, a chronicler and a participant in some of the alternative spiritual movements that I write on, and I decided it was time to write a practical book. The Miracle Club is really my first practical book, where I sit down and share with the reader the techniques that I place the greatest stock in that I’ve used and experimented with myself and offer the reader methods that can be tried and experimented with to test the contention that your thoughts are causative, which is something that I firmly believe.
SUSIE: I have to say you’ve done a great job of laying out your own thinking, which I think is what I think is the value in this book is how you explain that because it really gave me new insights and I just want to say up front to I know when I was introducing you I used that term manifesting, but you actually don’t really like that term, right?
MITCH: [07:16] I avoid it you know, I in the book I write that. I don’t think that the process of thought causation is a matter of manifestation so much as it is a matter of selection. One of the things I set out to try to do in this book is to come up with a theory of positive mind metaphysics. If I contend that it works, why does it work? And, although there’s a lot to say here, I’ll boil it down as plainly as I can. I think we’ve seen enough evidence over the past 80 or 90 years in a wide variety of fields of study, including quantum physics, serious psychical research, neuroplasticity and a variety of theorizing about space-time-distance relativity to come to the conclusion that linear time simply doesn’t cover all the bases, in terms of what we physically observed happening in the universe, both in the cosmos and in the particle lab. And it may very well be the linear time is an illusion, albeit a very powerful illusion, that we use to organize our lives. And that what we’re doing all the time, through our emotionalized thoughts, our mental images, our expectations, is that we’re really selecting from an infinitude of events, which is a physical model that is being increasingly validated across different fields of study. And it’s almost like our attitudes form a kind of matrix-grid, where we select from among a vast infinitude of events. So my sense of things is that when we experience some incredible synchronicity or when we experience some coincidence that is just off the actuarial tables, and you say, wow, this really corresponds to something that I was thinking about, this goes beyond the ordinary in every way that I can determine. I would say we’re not manifesting but we’re selecting, and once you kind of grok to that idea it may make it more practical and more available to you to actually select some of the experiences that occur in your life.
SUSIE: I would say even more empowered. There’s something that feels a little bit more deliberate about selecting than manifesting. Manifesting still feels one degree removed in a way.
MITCH: [09:31] Yeah, I agree and also the idea of selecting kind of puts us into the same conversation as people are having around quantum theorizing, interdimensionality, retro-causality, things that physicists, astronomers and serious psychical researchers are all thinking about.
SUSIE: One of my favorite things about the book is that – well, you actually you’ve just shared a lot of really deep information – but I just want to let listeners know that the book actually doesn’t over-complicate these ideas and I love that you don’t, you know, spend time pontificating on these ideas behind mind power. And you mentioned something in there that really resonated with me – that it seems like we maybe, in these modern times, have lost our ability to appreciate simple ideas in today’s spiritual movement. So can you unpack that idea a little for us?
MITCH: [10:18] Yeah, I appreciate your mentioning that. I mean simple ideas like the golden rule, for example, contain incredible power if we actually take the time to realize what they could mean in our lives. You know, we have this manner of dismissing ideas because they seem familiar, but the fact is, if I could live by the golden rule for one hour, it would change my existence. It would literally change my existence, but we walk past these so-called simple ideas sometimes because we think they belong to childhood or they sound like a Sunday school lesson somewhere. But for example, if you were to take a pledge that you’re always going to keep your word, you know if you really took that pledge and if it meant life itself to you, you would learn so much about yourself even in the course of an afternoon or 24 hours, it would be extraordinary.
But we take these pledges from time to time, and then there’s an interval of time that passes, usually very brief one, and we forget all about it or we break the pledge and we dismiss it… And we lose our sense of how extraordinary and transformative certain basic ideas can be. In this book, as you were alluding to, I deal with a lot of the golden oldies so to speak. I believe in visualization, affirmation, prayer, chanting, meditation, using certain periods of the day – particularly where you going to sleep at night – to repeat certain meditations to yourself. I think that the new Thought Field and the positive thinking field has it right with a lot of its old-fashioned exercises. The question is, how can we use these exercises in a really active way, and what’s going on behind them? Because if we understand what’s going on behind them, it boosts our morale, it induces us to use them more, and it also induces us to not get thrown off course when things don’t go our way, because that happens a lot of times too.
SUSIE: Along that same line, you actually have a challenge in the book that I personally want to do, and it goes something like this. You said to pick a sacred or ethical book and to literally live by its principles for nine months and just to dedicate yourself to that with total commitment and, you said, unreserved abandon. So what’s the goal of doing this?
MITCH: [12:35] First of all, nine months is the gestation period of a human life, so that’s why I chose that period of time. We often admire people who we think lived by the light of an idea. You know, you might say Helen Keller lived by the idea of human worth and radical human potential. Nelson Mandela lived by the idea of justice and universal democracy.
Almost all of our heroes – whether they’re artistic figures, political leaders, what have you, or inventors – almost all of them lived by the light of some inner idea and that’s dramatically absent from our lives today. Because if you adopt a code or an idea that you live by, you are almost stepping out of the main flow of life where we really tend to do things most of the time in order to gather money, to gather friends, to gather resources, to look good in the eyes of others…and there’s nothing wrong with any of that. But if you look at your heroes, they lived usually by one definite ideal that they possessed, and so my challenge is, try to imagine what your life would be like if even part of the time, even part of the time, it revolved around one central ethical ideal. And it can come from any direction, you know, I encourage people to choose a work that has attained some degree of posterity so that at least you know there’s something that’s morally persuasive in the book.
One of my heroes, for example, is a comic book illustrator who recently died named Steve Ditko. Steve was dedicated to the philosophy of objectivism, which was founded by Ayn Rand. And one of the amazing things about Steve, who was known as being a recluse and kind of a grouch, was the fact that his principles were absolutely uncompromising. Movies were made of characters that he created, including Dr. Strange and Spider-Man. Steve didn’t take money from any of those movies because he didn’t like the way that they were produced. That’s an extraordinary moral stance to take. Most people complain all the way to the bank, you know, they complain after they cash the check. And I always tell people don’t be a hero after you cash the check, be a hero first, if you want to be.
Steve in a certain sense, although he would reject this, was a hero because he lived by the light of an inner idea. It doesn’t matter whether I agree or disagree with the idea. I didn’t necessarily share all of his assumptions of life, but it was so extraordinary that he lived this way.
So my challenge to the reader and to the listener is to say hey, you must have people you admire in your life, who lived this way, who lived with dedication to a principle, so try to be that be that in your own life, or at least try see what you learn. So pick one sacred, hallowed text, old or new, and try to live by it for nine months – the the gestation period of a human life.
SUSIE: Now kind of contrasting that idea of living by these principles…choosing a sacred or ethical book, you also are you are really big on going out and getting the things that you want in your life, whether it’s money or success-oriented goals. So you’re not saying, oh, this is all just ethical moral positivity kind of stuff, and I think this is a struggle a lot of people have. So you’ve written a number of really interesting articles about the ethics of money and about going out there to get it. What are some nuggets of wisdom that you found along the way in terms of – I was going to say manifesting money, but now I’m going to say selecting money.
MITCH: [16:08] I really believe in the sacredness of human aspiration and I don’t think that you should allow anybody to take your aspirations from you or to question them, whatever they may be. If your wish is to move in the direction of material prosperity of money, of career success, romance, whatever it may be, I say that’s something sacred. And I say that the individual will never truly be happy unless he or she is at least moving progressively in the direction of human aspiration. If we take seriously the contention that we as individuals are created in the image of the higher, that we are in the image of the creator, then it stands to reason that we are here to produce and to generate.
The artist wants to produce his or her art, wants it to find an audience. The financier wants to produce resources for him or herself and the clients, and so on. All of us are part of a circuitry of generativity. Again, if one takes seriously one of the opening statements of scripture, I think that stands to reason. And we do function within this material world. Christ said, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s,” and I actually feel that we make these false divisions, particularly within the alternative spiritual culture, between things like personality and essence, inner/outer, transcendent ethics or aspirations versus material ones. It’s all one, in my view, and I’ve spent many years on the road seeking and and I’ve gotten to know a lot of people and my contention is that the Western seeker, and I can only speak of the Westerner because that’s my world, the Western seeker, and I would probably say this is universally true, will never be happy unless he or she is truly moving in the direction of some sense of personal fulfillment. And I don’t want anyone to take that away from you. I don’t want anyone to suggest to you that you’re too outwardly focused or to materially focused or vice versa. You know, it’s what you feel lies in the direction of your own gravitational pull, lies in the direction of your North Star.
I think ambition is sacred – all ambition is sacred and I think we should honor it, not slice it dice it or ask ourselves, gee, am I being too materialistic? I think that we are here to aspire, to produce and to create, and I think that should be honored, and I think the individual him or herself should be at ease with that. I also think we should be ethical and nonviolent, and by nonviolent. I mean not disrupting somebody else’s ability to seek their own highest sense of aspiration. And that’s where transcendent ethics come. But it’s all one in my view.
SUSIE: There’s a quote in the book – or I might be paraphrasing it here – but you were you were mentioning that Jesus said to his followers to be in the world, but not of it, and you were saying that kind of your translation of this is to locate your values on the highest scale, but dig your well where you stand, right? Go for it.
MITCH: [19:29] Yes. I feel that’s right, yes, I really do. I believe that very, very deeply. And it’s funny, when I encounter people, as I do all the time…as you do all the time…from within the alternative spiritual world or the mainstream, almost always what they’re focused on is money or career, finance, wellbeing, recovery, and romance, marriage, relationships. These are basic human concerns. They’re not wrong, they’re not the product of tunnel vision, they’re not a product of being detached from higher values. I think that when we create this sense of ‘either or’ – like inner versus outer – it’s all a complete abstraction. Nobody can show me what inner is, what outer is nobody can show me what ego is, what consciousness is, what awareness is. These are just words that we use and we form some loose consensus around. It’s all one, and I think you should move in the direction of what feels inherently right, and you have that compass.
SUSIE: I love that. So as you were writing this book, I’m curious…what was the most interesting thing that you discovered that was kind of new to you? Were there any are there any new revelations or was this all just you documenting stuff you already knew from your your vast experience?
MITCH: [20:50] Well, one of the things that really occurred to me while I was writing this book is that, although we may sometimes describe an effort to change something in our lives or bring something in our lives through thought of as a failure, I would say, take a pause and take a very deep breath before coming to that conclusion. Because sometimes there can be a significant interval of time between a thought and the actualization of something and it’s extraordinary if you look at your life – where you are where you’ve been – and try to really maturely meditate on what thoughts have followed you along the way, and you’ll be very surprised in many cases to find that you have come into circumstances, in many, many instances, that coalesce with your thoughts.
I analyze in the book that famous expression, “careful what you wish for you just might get it.” And the best I can tell, that expression actually began with the philosopher Goethe, who put it this way – what you wish for when you are young will come upon you in waves when you are old, so be careful. That was the original expression, and on first impulse, of course many people hear that and say well, that’s ridiculous…you know, I haven’t gotten lots of the things that I wished for when I was young. Is that so? Take a second look at that. I think Goethe was correct. Our thoughts are extremely powerful in ways that we don’t often recognize, but we are also extremely forgetful. And there can be an interval of time or a gestation period that’s quite long between thought and actualization, so take a look and see whether you think Goethe is perhaps correct.
SUSIE: That’s incredible. I love that. I’m definitely going to think on that one a bit, because I think there are some deep deep truths in there. One of the things I’d love to share for folks are some of the go-to tools in this book that could help people focus their minds and maybe add some oomph to things that they’re already doing like visualizations or affirmations – what are some things you highlight in the book?
MITCH: [22:57] Here’s the number one thing that will I think help add oomph to your current practice, especially a visualization, meditation, prayer or affirmation. Use – and this is very, very simple and we can all do – it in the few moments just before you go to sleep at night…those few moments as you’re drowsy and as reality seems to be bending, but you still have some directional control over your awareness and over your attention. Use those few moments for prayers, visualizations and affirmations. It’s an extremely supple and suggestible time for your mind – sleep researchers call it the hypnagogic state. But before that term even came into clinical usage, there were a variety of people in New Thought history, including the French mind theorist, Emile Coue, including my hero Neville Goddard – who I write about a lot in the book, who realized instinctively that those few drowsy moments just before you drift off to sleep are periods of extraordinary mental power, suppleness, suggestibility. It’s a time when you can impress things on your subconscious mind and it’s also been found by serious psychical researchers as a kind of prime time for telepathy or extra physical mental manifestations, which I take very seriously, and which I write about with references in the book. That material is real and the period of time just before you drift off to sleep at night is this kind of borderline time, psychologically speaking, where lots of things can occur that are out of the ordinary. It’s a state of consciousness that sleep researchers themselves are still trying to understand, are still documenting. Those few moments before falling off to sleep and likewise the few moments that just when you occupy that in-between state between sweet sleep and wakefulness in the morning, those are extremely subtle potent powerful times, psychologically speaking, and you should use those times twice a day – morning and night – for meditations and affirmations. We can all do it because we all enter those states effortlessly.
SUSIE: So how about you? Is there anything that you do every day to keep your mind sharp and to make sure that your thoughts are working in your favor?
MITCH: [25:20] I do just what I described. I believe very strongly in the importance of writing down goals. I go into that in the book. It sounds ordinary, but there is a great deal about it that is extraordinary. I pray, I meditate and practice transcendental meditation – that’s my personal choice. I affirm, I visualize, I meditate, I use all these different states of mind. And I pay a great deal of attention to the specific writing down and setting of goals, which has a surprisingly strong pull on the mind in ways that we don’t always expect.
SUSIE: So what’s next for you? You’ve got the book coming out, you’re going to be lecturing in Los Angeles. What else?
MITCH: [26:06] Well a friend and I – a great director named Ronnie Thomas – and I are making a documentary about an occult book from 1908 called the Kybalion, which some of your listeners will probably recognize, and we’re making a movie about the backstory of that book and about its principles and how to apply them, so I’m very excited about that.
SUSIE: Wow. I would love to have you back on when that gets into development because that would be an interesting conversation.
MITCH: I’d be delighted
SUSIE: [26:32] We’ve been talking to Mitch Horowitz. He has a new book coming out – The Miracle Club. You can get that this week on Amazon for just $2.99, that’s the Kindle version. Thank you so much for joining us. I really have enjoyed this discussion.
MITCH: Likewise. Thank you, my pleasure.
SUSIE: [26:48] And thank you everyone for listening. If you head over to my website at radiantriverwellness.com, I’ll have links for more information about Mitch, how to connect with him and how to check out The Miracle Club book and The Miracle Club book contest. As always, thank you for listening. Bye for now.