It is a metaphysical truth that the outward life is a reflection of the thought life. Our life is affected by our habit of thinking and attitude of mind, in two ways: first, all our actions are unconsciously influenced by our thoughts, thus helping to bring into manifestation, or attracting to us, an environment that corresponds to our thoughts. Secondly, we discharge or emit an influence, silent and invisible, that no doubt affects other people. They are probably not aware of it, but they are either repelled or attracted by this silent influence. Thus, if our thoughts and mental attitude are of the wrong type, not only are our actions affected thereby, but also we exert a silent influence that assists in driving the right type of friends, opportunity, success, and every possible good away from us. The reverse also is equally true. By right thoughts and a correct mental attitude, we naturally attract to us all the good of which our present life is capable.
This may seem, at first sight, to be a sweeping statement, but two homely illustrations will prove its reasonableness. First we will take the case of a man committed to prison for law-breaking. His environment is obviously due to his wrong actions, the latter being the offspring of his thoughts, for all actions spring from thoughts. Next let us take the case of a man who is the trusted head of an efficient business. Obviously his position is the result of his actions, for he has climbed to it by hard work and faithful service, all due in the first place to constructive thinking and a right attitude of mind.
The Bible tells us that as a man thinketh in his heart so is he. It is equally true to say that as a man is, so does he think, and, that as he thinks, so do his outer life and circumstances become. Therefore, as a man is, so is his environment. This may sound rather metaphysical, but it is really quite simple, and proof meets us at every turn. Take a man from slumdom and put him in nice surroundings, and note what happens. Very soon he either drifts back to a slum or turns his new house into a slum dwelling. Take a man of a higher type, and put him in a slum, and soon he will either leave the slum or change his slum dwelling into a more decent habitation. Put a slut in a mansion, and she will turn it into a pig-sty, but put a woman of a higher type in a hovel and she will make it clean enough to entertain royalty. Therefore, before you can change a person’s environment it is necessary to change inwardly the person himself. When a man becomes inwardly changed and filled with new ambitions, ideals and hopes, he, in course of time, rises above his sordid surroundings and attracts to himself an environment that corresponds to his new state of mind. It would be useless to tidy up the house of a slut for her, for she would soon make it like a pig-sty again, but if you could get a new ideal of neatness, cleanliness, order and spotlessness into her mind, she would not rest satisfied until her immediate environment corresponded, in some measure at least, to her mental ideal or image.
Extremely often, the failures of a man’s life, and its disharmonies and poverty, either comparative or real, are outward symbols of his weakness of character. He may have the ability in plenty, but he may lack application or steadfastness, and thus he fails in all his undertakings and has to be kept by his wife and daughters. He will assure you that his circumstances are due to ill fortune, but the actual cause of his failure is in his character, or, rather, lack of character.
If therefore, a man’s poverty and lack, or financial difficulties are due to weakness of character which manifests in his work and dealings with others, in the form of inefficiency, poor service, and bad judgment, it follows that he, himself, must change before his circumstances can be permanently altered for the better. The difficulty in dealing with unsuccessful people is in getting them to realize that they, themselves, are the cause of all their troubles.  Until, however, they do realize this, their case is hopeless, and it is impossible to help them, but when they acknowledge that the fault is theirs, they can be shown that there is a remedy for their ills and a way out of their difficulties, using self-improvement. Let them then search for hidden weaknesses, and build up those weak places in their character, such as lack of grit, determination, steadfastness, persistence, patience, probity, decision, which are the cause of their troubles, and they will find that their circumstances will gradually change for the better. Everything comes from within—first within, then out, this is the law—therefore the change must always take place within.
See also “The Fundamentals of True Success,” by the same author and published by The Science of Thought Press, Chichester.
Getting one off more deeply into the subject and becoming more metaphysical, it is necessary to point out that the cause of all manifestation is the Mind. We have already seen that a man’s mind and character are reflected in his circumstances; now let us think, for a moment, about the Infinite Mind. The whole universe, which is, of course, infinite in extent, has its origin in the Divine Mind and is contained within this Infinite Mind, just in the same way that you can hold a mental picture in yours. God’s Universe, as it is imaged in the Divine Mind, is perfect. We see it as imperfect because we only receive a finite sense-perception of that which is perfect and infinite, from this forming, in our minds, an image that is necessarily imperfect and finite, which we project outwards, and, not knowing any better, think is real. But the universe, as imaged in the Divine Mind, and as it is in reality, is both infinite and perfect: it is also infinitely perfect. There is no poverty or lack in a universe that is infinitely perfect, whole, and complete in the Divine Mind. Poverty and lack have their origin in the mind of man: they have no place in the Mind of God.
We cannot, in a little elementary work of this kind, go more deeply into this extremely fascinating subject. Sufficient if we say here that the only Reality is infinite perfection and wholeness, therefore there cannot be any lack at all (in reality). The obvious lack and poverty that we see around us are the product of the human mind. Those who live in a consciousness of poverty and lack, go through life closely fettered by limitation. They can never escape from poverty, it dogs their footsteps like their shadow. It is a shadow or reflection, in the outer life, of their state of mind and mental attitude.
On the other hand, those who live in a consciousness of sufficiency, are not troubled about supply. Their circumstances reflect their type of mind and mental attitude. It does not follow that they will be rich, for many of them prefer to live from hand to mouth, and quite large numbers of people have no desire whatever to possess wealth of any kind, but they have no worry about supply, for their needs are always met by sufficiency.
Several of our readers look upon the possession of wealth as an iniquity. I do not see how, at this stage, it can be altogether avoided. Capital is necessary for the conducting of business and the carrying out of enterprises, but, as far as the hoarding of wealth is concerned, I certainly think that it is both unwise and unnecessary. There is nothing more deadening to the spiritual life than riches. There is always hope for the drunkard and the harlot, but it is most difficult although, of course, not impossible, for one who is burdened by wealth to enter the kingdom of heaven. Some can do so, but they are allowed to enter simply because they hold their wealth as of no importance, merely as something of which they are stewards for a season.
The hoarding of wealth is just as unnecessary as poverty. They are both based upon a fundamental error. This error is in thinking that all supply, being material, must necessarily have a material source: that it is limited in quantity, and therefore must be grabbed at and fought over. The truth is, of course, that the source of supply is Spiritual, and therefore without limit; consequently, one who realizes the truth has no thoughts of poverty or lack and ceases to fear it. On the other hand, he has no incentive to hoard or to grab wealth, for of what use are riches to one whose supply is forever assured?
All who enter into this truth regarding supply, either despise riches or hold them very lightly indeed. They cease to have any desire for wealth. Why should they have any such desire? People hanker after wealth because they fear poverty with a deadly fear, and long for wealth because they think that its possession would release them from their fears. When, however, they know the truth, they also KNOW that their wants will always be supplied, therefore they no longer desire wealth and its cares and responsibilities.
Wealth is just as abnormal as poverty. Our Lord showed this to be the case by choosing to be poor (but not in poverty) and by His teaching in the Sermon on the Mount. What Jesus promised was adequate supply, but not wealth or riches, to those who had sufficient faith in their “Heavenly Father.” Many people live this planless life of utter dependence upon their Spiritual Source. They never become rich, but all their needs are supplied. Something always arrives in time to meet their requirements. Such a life requires a very live and active faith, but its results are as certain as the rising of the sun.
An understanding of the truth regarding supply is a necessary foundation for the faith without which the planless life is impossible. It is necessary to know the utter falseness and unreality of poverty and lack before we can trust in Divine Providence or the working of Spiritual (at the same time, mental) law. It is necessary to know that the universe is Spiritual: that God is Spirit, in whom we live and move and have our being, and that because we are a part, very small, but set apart, of the Whole, all our wants, all through the ages, must be supplied. Supply, sufficient for all our needs, is the reality. Poverty and lack, the product of lack of faith, fear, ignorance, the weakness of character, have their origin in the human mind and are the unreality—the negative which has no permanence or reality.
When we have learned the reality, it is necessary to live in the Consciousness of it, and to think and act and praise God as though sufficiency were already ours. Not to spend money that we cannot afford to spend, nor to incur debt, but to live mentally in an atmosphere of abundant supply. We have to remember that the change in consciousness must take place first and become well-established before its effects can be seen to manifest in the outer life.
The entering of this higher consciousness where we know and realize the truth, that the Source of all our supply is Spirit, and that the Divine Source is limitless, is not easy, although it is less difficult to some than to others. It demands constant mental activity and watchfulness: it requires persistence and perseverance in right thinking, yet it is possible to those who are in earnest. By living in the consciousness of God’s Supply and exercising a lively faith, life becomes affected, principally due to both conscious and unconscious change of action.
Having dealt with the esoteric or inner side of the subject of supply, I will now treat it more from the outer or practical side, the latter being, of course, just as important as the former.
The teaching of this chapter does not discourage industry and thrift, far from it. After the Lord Christ had fed the five thousand, all the leavings were carefully collected so that nothing should be wasted. This is in accord with Universal law. There is a law of economy both in the natural and spiritual worlds. Nature appears, on the surface, to be very wasteful and prodigal, but, actually, she never wastes anything, if it can be avoided. Therefore, the action of the disciples was in accord with universal law. What a lesson for us! To be careful and saving is a mark of superiority both in mind and character. The wastefulness of the helpless poor is notorious. Those who are “well to do” are far more careful and conserving than the very poor. There are exceptions, it is true, but the rule is that a man who cannot save money has not it in him to command success in life. Inability to deny himself certain things shows a weakness of character and lack of purpose which makes success impossible. Two men that I knew very well built fortunes upon which they saved out of meager earnings. It is always the start that is difficult: if you cannot overcome the preliminary difficulties you do have not the steadfast purpose to hold your own in the battle of life. On the other hand, once the initial difficulties have been overcome, it is not difficult to get your bark into the currents of prosperity. When once you realize that there is unlimited abundance in which you can share: when once you learn to live in the consciousness of this abundance, at the same time living within your present income and doing your present work as well as it can be done, you have set out on the path to affluence. One who realizes and believes that there is abundance and plenty for him puts into operation a powerful law which will surely bring opportunity to him, sooner or later. Many, however, ruin their hopes by not knowing that for a time they must live a kind of double life. They must be opulent in consciousness, but careful and thrifty in actual practice. The time will come when their means will largely increase, then, if they are wise, they will live on part of their income, instead of living up to it. This will give them a wide margin for charitable purposes, for the taking up of further opportunities and extensions. Many businessmen have to let golden opportunities pass, simply because they have saved little or nothing, owing to lavish private expenditure, or they have to let other people in to share their schemes who, in addition to taking a large share of the profits may prove a serious handicap and hindrance in other ways.
While in its essence, the Source of Supply is spiritual, it comes to us through material channels, and, in order to have a share in it, it is necessary to earn it. We have to give something in exchange for what we draw from life in the way of supply. We must give in order to receive, and what we give must be something that the world wants or needs.
The secret of supply is, then, to realize that there is unlimited abundance and to live in the consciousness of it, as completely as though no material channels existed, and, at the same time, to work as zealously and be as careful as though there were no such thing as spiritual supply. At the same time, we must give the world something that it wants, or otherwise serve in some useful capacity, exercising honesty, probity, and justice in all our affairs. It is folly to expect abundance to drop ready-made in our lap; it must be earned by intelligent and faithful service.
Being a retired business man who started life with nothing, not even good health, I have looked at this subject from a business man’s point of view. The principle applies, however, to every walk in life, and each reader can adapt the teaching of this lesson to his or her particular needs.