Chapter 14 – The Opulent Consciousness

Chapter XIV
W. John Murray
Mental Medicine
Divine Science Publishing Assoc.
New York, 1923.

[192] In concluding this attempt to point out a few of the working principles of the New Psychology, I feel that it would not be complete were I to overlook or avoid one of its most essential aspects, which is its usefulness in the field of success, using the word as every businessman uses it. I shall not indulge in any of those high-flown definitions of success, which would have us believe that a man is a success if he is as poor as a church mouse and still maintains his integrity, for I see no reason why a businessman should not succeed financially and still maintain his integrity. The day has gone by when success is a synonym for unscrupulousness. Poverty is not a virtue, as some princes and parsons would have us believe. If it is, then let such persons cultivate it on [193] their own account, and stop recommending it to others. Poverty is a disease of the intellect through which foolish men convince themselves that prosperity is only for the few. This is as foolish as it would be to conclude that life belongs only to the minority, and then to shoot one’s self. The belief that poverty is an insuperable obstacle in the path of progress robs man of initiative, depletes his energies, and produces the very things he fears.

A man who fears poverty is deprived of his natural courage, so that he stays with a poorly-paid position or job until he is too old to look for, or even hold, a better one if he could get it. Poverty (in thought) begets parsimoniousness and fear of investment…True, some investments are not the surest way to success, but this is frequently because a certain type of investor in his greed buys gold-bricks from smooth talkers.

[194] Bruyere says, “Poverty is the mother of crimes,” and one does not have to be a very profound philosopher in order to appreciate that wherever it shows itself in its most brazen forms, it becomes the father of theft, drunkenness, harlotry and murder.

When a certain rich man said, “Poverty is not ignoble,” it was because he was not afflicted with it. Let him once suffer its pangs and he will sing a different tune. It is not much comfort to be told that, “God loves the poor,” unless the poor can be persuaded that there is escape for them through Divine Love. Poverty is all right in a play, but in a home it is a different thing and no honorable man wants it there. It forms cataracts on the eyes so that no man can see things in their true relations; neither can he see (appreciate) the “goodness of God in the land of the living.” When bloated capitalists tell us that poverty is a divine necessity, an incentive to industry, and a stepping stone to greater things, it is their way of sugar-coating an unpalatable medicine destined to produce [195] a reaction in the form of a revolution later on. Dionysius affirms that, “A generous and noble spirit cannot be expected to dwell in the breasts of men who are struggling for their daily bread.” Voluntary poverty in the case of one man is his own concern, but a whole people should not have it thrust upon them, nor should any individual accept it as a visitation of divine providence.

There are many antidotes recommended for the poison of poverty. Among these are industry, truthfulness, thrift; yet we have seen, despite the possession of all these virtues, such poverty as makes the heart sick and the spirit revolt against a system which makes the many poor so that the few may be unduly rich.

New Psychology is assuring us that the conquest of poverty, like the conquest of disease, is a matter of thought functioning on a higher plane than that of accepted limitation. The thrift of the old school is giving place to the thought of the new school, so [196] that now it is an error to believe that we must stint and starve ourselves in the pleasant day in order to avoid the “rainy day” that may never come. Such an attitude of mind is an unconscious limitation of the power of God to supply our needs in old age; as if God were particularly partial to youth, which can shift for itself. If poverty is so frequently associated with old age, there is a psychological reason for it.

Listen to the ordinary conversations of people and it will at once become apparent to you how preponderant the belief is that poverty and old age are twin sisters. One and all we seem to be imbued with the idea that “we must provide against our old age,” and by this we mean that we must have something “laid by.” To save as a matter of custom is one thing, but to save with the mental picture of poverty in old age is another and dangerous thing. We are only now beginning to realize that we induce the things upon which we think most frequently.

As I write, sitting on my little balcony in [197] Italy, I can see a woman sitting at the same window at which I have seen her every year that I have come here. She talks incessantly for hours at a time in a voice that is strong and powerful. She lives in the past, prior to the time when a faithless husband left her for another, as a result of which she lost her reason. Despite the fact that she is kept under lock and key so that she never leaves her room, which I understand is not overly hygienic, the neighbors tell me that she has not aged a day so far as appearances indicate, and she is now over ninety years of age. Old age is largely a state of mind, but I would not suggest that one should lose one’s reason in order to preserve perpetual youth. I merely state that the less we look forward to old age and poverty the better.

We have referred again and again to the creative power of our own thought, and we are told that this is unlimited, save by the limitations we place upon it through doubt and fear; and we have said that the Source of all power is unlimited. Therefore it follows [198] that the Source of all Substance is unrestricted, and for this reason we need not be afraid that we shall overdraw our account.

The difficulty does not lie with any sense of limitation in the Source; it lies in our ignorance of how to draw from the Source. One may have ever so much in the bank, but there are certain formalities which he must go through, before he can get what is actually his. Opulence is ours by divine right, but we can only get it as we comply with certain conditions. First of all we must know that it is, and second we must know that we have a right to it as the children of God, and third we must affirm that we have it. This is what Jesus meant when He said, “When ye pray, (affirm) pray knowing that ye have received.” That is, when we pray or affirm that we are one with the Source of all supply, we must know that this Source is as willing to give as we are to receive, and that it is only awaiting our demand upon It [199] as a reservoir awaits the turning on of a tap before it can flow through the pipe.

There are certain Bible verses which will serve to enable us first to rise above our fear of lack, and then to enable us to identify ourselves with opulence. When one is afraid of approaching financial distress he can say to himself, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want,” and this will impress the subconscious mind with hope and expectation; and as these increase, fear and doubt will decrease. A new outlook will present itself, and, while conditions may not change immediately, our mental attitude toward them will change, and this is no small advantage.

After we learn that, “God is able to make all grace abound toward us; that we, always having all sufficiency in all things may abound to every good work,” we may then go on to affirm: “My God (Source of my abundance) shall supply all my needs according to His riches. This affirmation, taking root in the subconscious mind, will commence [200] at once to work the impression out into actual experience, on the principle that ideas or mental pictures tend to externalize themselves in objective manifestation.

We must learn not to look to any particular channel such as a particular person or a particular position, for the Source selects its own channels with greater wisdom than ours. We must think opulence in its absolute reality, and then it will flow to us through channels of which we never dreamed. Positions will be given to us, opportunities will present themselves; helpful people will be attracted to us, for these are the means which the Universal Mind employs in order to minister to our particular necessities. In 1st Hermas Vision 1:10, we read: “A righteous man thinketh that which is righteous. And whilst he does so, and walketh uprightly, he shall have the Lord in Heaven favorable unto him in all his business.” A righteous man is not a merely moral man, he is this plus. We shall see how a man can be moral without being righteous, and we [201] shall see how it can be that a merely moral man can meet with disasters, notwithstanding his morality; and this will answer the question so often asked when morally good men meet with failure after failure; “Why does so much calamity come to a man [who is] so good?” The marvel of all the centuries has been that good men should fail while evil men succeed. It is no consolation to a moral man who is a failure to be told that God is depriving him of things here so that he may have more hereafter. It were better to seek some other and more rational explanation. Is it not written that, “No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.” It seems to me that this removes the responsibility from our heavenly Father and places it directly where it belongs.

We all know that a man may be very moral and yet be extremely fearful and apprehensive for the future. We have seen very moral men who did not dare to say their souls were their own. On the other hand, we have seen immoral men who seemed to [202] have no fear of the future, or of anything else, and we have seen them succeed, but we have not suspected how large an influence fear has exercised over the moral man in keeping him poor; neither have we realized how important a factor fearlessness has been in the success of the immoral man. It is not a question of morality quite so much as it is a question of mentality, and the sooner we realize this, the sooner we shall discontinue ascribing to heaven earth’s most dismal failures.

We are not to infer from this that “’twere folly to be good,” but rather we are to know that in addition to our goodness, fearlessness is necessary, and that fearlessness can be cultivated. The timid saint can suggest to his subconscious mind that he is not afraid, and his suggestion will banish his life-long enemy. He has Scriptural authority for this. He can say, “God has not given me the spirit (thought) of fear, but of power and of love, and of a sound mind,” and he can also say, “I can do all things through [203] Christ which strengtheneth me.” By making these affirmations to himself, he can add to his moral goodness, moral courage, which is the fundamental necessity to all success.

Let us dwell for a moment on just two words which appear in one of the above affirmations,–“sound mind.” A mind is sound as an apple is sound, when there is neither worm nor decay in it. Fear is a worm in an otherwise sound mind; it is the soft spot which indicates decay of power and decrease of efficiency, and he who has fear knows that, “Fear hath torment.” Now there is no convenient antidote in the pharmacy for fear, and so it is to spiritual knowing that we must turn, if we would rout this blighter of our hopes and the enemy of our success.

But someone says, “The fearless bad man succeeds in spite of his badness.” Wherein then lies the value of being good, even if one does succeed? The trained psychologist has seen the fearless bad man, who has succeeded financially, under other circumstances which [204] tried his soul and we have seen that, while he did not fear poverty, he feared disease and death; for all men seem to have their particular fears. We have seen good men afraid of poverty, and we have seen bad men afraid of disease, and we have seen that, like Job, “The thing they feared most came upon them.”

The lesson to be gained from all this is that law governs and that “like attracts like.” If the good poor man attracts more poverty and the bad rich man attracts disease and death, and each through his particular brand of fear, it is because of the magnetism of thought. There is no other explanation. “He lived just long enough to get comfortably settled in his new home, and then almost without warning he passed away,” was said of a man who, during the process of construction of his palatial residence, would ask, “What if I should not live long enough to see it completed?” How many builders of new homes have entertained this thought [205] sometimes without breathing it to their loved ones?

To the bad rich man who does not fear poverty but who does fear death, I would suggest that he add to his riches morality, and to the good poor man who fears poverty I would suggest that he add to his morality a fuller trust in God to provide his every need. Fear will master us whichever direction it takes. It lends strength to our weakness and by so doing, doubles the odds against us and our best interests. In conclusion then, I recommend that to obtain such things as you desire in the world of the Good and the Successful and the Beautiful, you “think on these things.”

“I hold it true that thoughts are things;
They’re endowed with bodies and breath and wings;
And that we send them forth to fill
The world with good results, or ill.
That which we call our secret thought
Speeds forth to earth’s remotest spot,
Leaving its blessings or its woes
Like tracks behind it as it goes.
“We build our future, thought by thought,
For good or ill, yet know it not.
Yet so the universe was wrought.
Thought is another name for fate;
Choose, then, thy destiny and wait,
For love brings love and hate brings hate.”
—Henry Van Dyke
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