Last Updated: March 27th, 2019

After entering the Franciscan order in 1954, Friar Justin Belitz has since set out on his own path, helping people by the thousands change their lives, heal relationships and gain new direction. He founded The Hermitage, a non-denominational interfaith centre that offers workshops, classes and support groups for those seeking personal growth. After attending his Success: Full Living talk in his hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana, I sat down with him to ask him about visualization, one of the tools he focuses on in his teachings.

According to the Law of Attraction we attract what we think. But another popular line of thinking is that we cannot actually trick our mind to fake it until we make it. How do you resolve this difference?

It depends whether you understand the reality that’s being given to us by the scientific community. Both the theological and the scientific community are connected. Teilhard de Chardin said that the only thing that’s necessary for anything to change is for a human being to think a thought and a sufficient amount of time for that thought to materialize. The scientific community backs that.

The mystics understood this. St. Francis’ anchor was meditation. He was always going into a cave or top of a mountain as Jesus did to connect with that divine energy within. Once you’re there and you’re projecting that energy in a positive way, that’s affecting the entire universe. I have no doubt that the scientific community is correct when they say if we can get one percent of the total population of the planet to meditate every day we would have world peace.

Friar Justin Belitz - HermitageThere are so many people who try to manifest change in their lives but it doesn’t work for them. Does this only work in certain circumstances?

I believe it’s a matter of skill. If you go into the lives of saints you’ll find that they were skilled at meditation, they were reading people’s minds, they were doing healing, they were bilocating, they were levitating. It wasn’t like they were desiring to do this stuff. It just happened because that’s the way they were able to complete whatever it was they needed to do.

St. Anthony was one of our Franciscans. He had promised a gentleman that he would be with him when he died. He was in the middle of a service when he knew that this man was dying. So he walked down the steps of the altar, knelt down, put his hood up and he appeared at the bedside of this man. He was with him until he died then he simply disappeared and came back.

St. Augustine said there is no such thing as miracles. There is only the application of law about which we know nothing. I have some of my people using meditation to overcome cancer. Some are successful, some are not. Why? I believe it’s a matter of skill. I think that if a person really understands how to use that spiritual energy they can direct it anywhere.

What is the most skillful way to manifest a change in our lives?

I believe that the most powerful way of making any change in life is meditation where you use images. You picture yourself being the way you want to be. You picture the result that you want. Affirmations are also really valuable.

As far as visualizations go, what’s the best way for a beginner to get into this?

The reason why I teach the Silva method is because it’s the only meditation program I know that has specific techniques that show you how to do that. This technique is very close to the meditation we used while I was in training, which was created by St. Peter of Alcantara. We would go into the quiet, someone would read a little bit about the life of a saint or a virtue and we were told to picture ourselves being like that saint or picture ourselves actually practicing that virtue.

It was imagery within the context of the meditation. This is scientific. The images go onto the brain. The brain takes that all into the subconscious and tells the person from inside how to perform.

What would you say to someone who isn’t having any success with visualization?

This is the value of a small faith community or meditation support group. If you’re sharing with other people you’re going to get so much more support spiritually from that group than you can possibly get by yourself.

I’ve given these programs all over the world and people think that once you have the program then everything will happen. Taking the program is the easy part. Putting this stuff into your everyday life—that’s the challenge.

image: woman drawing self via Shutterstock