There was something particularly disturbing about the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes, the incident in which an eccentric Jewish spiritual teacher fed five thousand people in the middle of the desert with only two fish and five loaves of bread. It was troubling that there didn't seem to be any information on how the miracle was performed.
As a last resort, I picked up a Greek to English dictionary and began translating the original Greek text in the book of Matthew that describes the miracle. That's when things started to get really interesting. Greek is a particularly deep and complex language. The words of this language, used and developed over centuries by some of the greatest philosophical geniuses in history, can contain multiple layers of highly subtle innuendo. Even more astonishing is the fact that this information is amazingly consistent with contemporary self-help and self-empowerment concepts.
The first sentence in the book of Matthew says Jesus departed from there in a boat into a desert place. And having heard, the crowd followed him on foot from the cities. A transliteration of the Greek text from Matthew actually reads as follows: Iisous anechorisen ekeithen en polio ies eremon topon kat idian.
Using the widely recognized dictionary in Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, I looked these words up to see if anything was missing. Here's what I found: Anachorisen can mean "depart," as the traditional translation indicates, but can also mean to "withdraw the self." A contemporary psychologist might translate this as "withdraw the ego." Topon can refer simply to a place but can also refer to a "condition" or "opportunity," in other words, a place of potential. Kat means "down." Curiously, any concept resembling "down" was completely left out of the traditional translation, apparently because it didn't "fit." Eremon can refer to a desert but can also indicate more generically an empty or solitary place. Finally, idios can indeed be translated as "privately" but can also mean "pertaining to the self."
Using this straightforward information a strong case can be made for this translation: Jesus went away alone to withdraw his self or ego, going down into emptiness, a place or condition of potential. Now we're getting somewhere! What was he doing? Meditating, of course. And would this not be logical, something totally consistent with standard contemporary self-help principles as well as the spiritual basics of virtually every known religion through history?
A complete retranslation reveals that the miracle worker set up a total of twelve "conditions" that enabled the miraculous expansion of supply to occur. The other eleven conditions were equally as interesting, equally consistent with established and respected spiritual principles across the globe: The second condition that must be present for a miracle to occur is a state of compassion, a sincere concern with the welfare of others. To establish the third condition, that which is needed must be clarified and put into words-what contemporary teachers refer to as an affirmation. In the fourth condition, any supply that already exists must be maximized. The supply that manifested in the biblical miracle was not conjured from thin air. Rather, it was an expansion of that which was already on hand. The fifth condition is all about giving. For a miraculous supply to manifest, sincere and generous giving must occur.
Setting up the sixth condition requires a miracle worker to ground solidly in the present moment. Visualization is the essence of the seventh condition. Before something better can transpire, we have to be able to conceptualize the end result. No matter what condition of lack or disease or unhappiness we see with our physical eyes, we have to see something better with the eyes of spirit. The eighth condition is established via an attitude of all encompassing gratitude. The ninth condition is set into motion by acting as if the desired state has already manifested. The tenth condition involves engaging the circular, cyclical flows of energy which inevitably characterize a state of abundance. Finally, the twelfth step concerns recycling-making certain every shred of excess energy and supply is channeled in a useful way.
All in all, the twelve conditions define a way of living. This way of living is nothing new, but putting it into action in your life will renew your life in countless vibrant ways. With these conditions, that which is impossible may in truth become possible in your own life.
Todd Michael is the author of "The Twelve Conditions of a Miracle: The Miracle Worker's Handbook" (Tarcher/Penguin; 4; $13.95). He is a practicing physician and nationally recognized speaker and workshop presenter. For information on his books, workshops, or to arrange a media appearance, visit www.TwelveConditions.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.