Friday, May 11, 2007

The Path of Prosperity: Chaper Three

(This month we here at Successful Living are focusing on some of the great self development books of the past. Now we focus on James Allen and his classic Path of Prosperity. We will have a chapter posted on Monday, Wednesday and Friday until the complete book is posted).

Chapter 3
The Way Out of Undesirable Conditions

Having seen and realized that evil is but a passing shadow thrown, by the intercepting self, across the transcendent Form of the Eternal Good, and that the
world is a mirror in which each sees a reflection of himself, we now ascend, by
firm and easy steps, to that plane of perception whereon is seen and realized the
Vision of the Law.

With this realization comes the knowledge that everything is included in a ceaseless
interaction of cause and effect, and that nothing can possibly be divorced
from law.

From the most trivial thought, word, or act of man, up to the groupings of the
celestial bodies, law reigns supreme. No arbitrary condition can, even for one moment, exist, for such a condition would be a denial and an annihilation of law.

Every condition of life is, therefore, bound up in an orderly and harmonious sequence, and the secret and cause of every condition is contained within itself,
The law, "Whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap," is inscribed in flaming
letters upon the portal of Eternity, and none can deny it, none can cheat it, none
can escape it.

He who puts his hand in the fire must suffer the burning until such time as it has
worked itself out, and neither curses nor prayers can avail to alter it.
And precisely the same law governs the realm of mind. Hatred, anger, jealousy,
envy, lust, covetousness, all these are fires which bum, and whoever even so much
as touches them must suffer the torments of burning.

All these conditions of mind are rightly called "evil," for they are the efforts of
the soul to subvert, in its ignorance, the law, an they, therefore, lead to chaos and
confusion within, and are sooner or later actualized in the outward circumstances
as disease, failure, and misfortune, coupled with grief, pain, and despair.

Whereas love, gentleness, good-will, purity, are cooling airs which breathe peace
upon the soul that woes them, and, being in harmony with the Eternal Law, they
become actualized in the form of health, peaceful surroundings, and undeviating
success and good fortune.

A thorough understanding of this Great Law which permeates the universe leads
to the acquirement of that state of mind known as obedience.

To know that justice, harmony, and love are supreme in the universe is likewise to
know that all adverse and painful conditions are the result of our own disobedience
to that Law.

Such knowledge leads to strength and power, and it is upon such knowledge alone
that a true life and an enduring success and happiness can be built.

To be patient under all circumstances, and to accept all conditions as necessary
factors in your training, is to rise superior to all painful conditions, and to overcome them with an overcoming which is sure, and which leaves no fear of their
return, for by the power of obedience to law they are utterly slain.

Such an obedient one is working in harmony with the law, has in fact, identified
himself with the law, and whatsoever he conquers he conquers for ever, whatsoever
he builds can never be destroyed.

The cause of all power, as of all weakness, is within; the secret of all happiness as
of all misery is likewise within.

There is no progress apart from unfoldment within, and no sure foothold of prosperity
or peace except by orderly advancement in knowledge.

You say you are chained by circumstances; you cry out for better opportunities,
for a wider scope, for improved physical conditions, and perhaps you inwardly
curse the fate that binds you hand and foot.

It is for you that I write; it is to you that I speak. Listen, and let my words burn
themselves into your heart, for that which I say to you is truth:

You may bring about that improved condition in your outward life which you desire,
if you will unswervingly resolve to improve your inner life.

I know this pathway looks barren at its commencement (truth always does, it
is only error and delusion which are at first inviting and fascinating,) but if you
undertake to walk it; if you perseveringly discipline your mind, eradicating your
weaknesses, and allowing your soul-forces and spiritual powers to unfold themselves,
you will be astonished at the magical changes which will be brought about
in your outward life.

As you proceed, golden opportunities will be strewn across your path, and the
power and judgment to properly utilize them will spring up within you. Genial
friends will come unbidden to you; sympathetic souls will be drawn to you as
the needle is to the magnet; and books and all outward aids that you require will
come to you unsought.

Perhaps the chains of poverty hang heavily upon you, and you are friendless and
alone, and you long with an intense longing that your load may be lightened; but
the load continues, and you seem to be enveloped in an ever-increasing darkness.

Perhaps you complain, you bewail your lot; you blame your birth, your parents,
your employer, or the unjust Powers who have bestowed upon you so undeservedly
poverty and hardship, and upon another affluence and ease.

Cease your complaining and fretting; none of these things which you blame are
the cause of your poverty; the cause is within yourself, and where the cause is,
there is the remedy.

The very fact that you are a complainer, shows that you deserve your lot; shows
that you lack that faith which is the ground of all effort and progress.
There is no room for a complainer in a universe of law, and worry is soul-suicide.

By your very attitude of mind you are strengthening the chains which bind you,
and are drawing about you the darkness by which you are enveloped, Alter your
outlook upon life, and your outward life will alter.

Build yourself up in the faith and knowledge, and make yourself worthy of better
surroundings and wider opportunities. Be sure, first of all, that you are making
the best of what you have.

Do not delude yourself into supposing that you can step into greater advantages
whilst overlooking smaller ones, for if you could, the advantage would be impermanent
and you would quickly fall back again in order to learn the lesson which
you had neglected.

As the child at school must master one standard before passing onto the next, so,
before you can have that greater good which you so desire, must you faithfully
employ that which you already possess.

The parable of the talents is a beautiful story illustrative of this truth, for does it not plainly show that if we misuse, neglect, or degrade that which we possess, be
it ever so mean and insignificant, even that little will be taken from us, for, by our conduct we show that we are unworthy of it.

Perhaps you are living in a small cottage, and are surrounded by unhealthy and
vicious influences.

You desire a larger and more sanitary residence. Then you must fit yourself for
such a residence by first of all making your cottage as far as possible a little paradise.

Keep it spotlessly clean. Make it look as pretty and sweet as your limited means
will allow. Cook your plain food with all care, and arrange your humble table as
tastefully as you possibly can.

If you cannot afford a carpet, let your rooms be carpeted with smiles and welcomes,
fastened down with the nails of kind words driven in with the hammer of
patience. Such a carpet will not fade in the sun, and constant use will never wear
it away.

By so ennobling your present surroundings you will rise above them, and above
the need of them, and at the right time you will pass on into the better house and
surroundings which have all along been waiting for you, and which you have fitted
yourself to occupy.

Perhaps you desire more time for thought and effort, and feel that your hours of
labor are too hard and long. Then see to it that you are utilizing to the fullest possible extent what little spare time you have.

It is useless to desire more time, if you are already wasting what little you have;
for you would only grow more indolent and indifferent.

Even poverty and lack of time and leisure are not the evils that you imagine they
are, and if they hinder you in your progress, it is because you have clothed them
in your own weaknesses, and the evil that you see in them is really in yourself.
Endeavor to fully and completely realize that in so far as you shape and mould
your mind, you are the maker of your destiny, and as, by the transmuting power
of self-discipline you realize this more and more, you will come to see that these
so-called evils may be converted into blessings.

You will then utilize your poverty for the cultivation of patience, hope and courage;
and your lack of time in the gaining of promptness of action and decision of
mind, by seizing the precious moments as they present themselves for your acceptance.
As in the rankest soil the most beautiful flowers are grown, so in the dark soil of
poverty the choicest flowers of humanity have developed and bloomed.

Where there are difficulties to cope with, and unsatisfactory conditions to overcome,
there virtue most flourishes and manifests its glory.

It may be that you are in the employ of a tyrannous master or mistress, and you
feel that you are harshly treated. Look upon this also as necessary to your training.
Return your employer's unkindness with gentleness and forgiveness.

Practice unceasingly patience and self-control. Turn the disadvantage to account
by utilizing it for the gaining of mental and spiritual strength, and by your silent
example and influence you will thus be teaching your employer, will be helping
him to grow ashamed of his conduct, and will, at the same time, be lifting yourself
up to that height of spiritual attainment by which you will be enabled to step
into new and more congenial surroundings at the time when they are presented
to you.

Do not complain that you are a slave, but lift yourself up, by noble conduct, above
the plane of slavery. Before complaining that you are a slave to another, be sure
that you are not a slave to self.

Look within; look searchingly, and have no mercy upon yourself. You will find
there, perchance, slavish thoughts, slavish desires, and in your daily life and conduct slavish habits.

Conquer these; cease to be a slave to self, and no man will have the power to enslave
you. As you overcome self, you will overcome all adverse conditions, and
every difficulty will fall before you.

Do not complain that you are oppressed by the rich. Are you sure that if you
gained riches you would not be an oppressor yourself?

Remember that there is the Eternal Law which is absolutely just, and that he who
oppresses today must himself be oppressed tomorrow; and from this there is no
way of escape.

And perhaps you, yesterday (in some former existence) were rich and an oppressor,
and that you are now merely paying off the debt which you owe to the Great
Law. Practice, therefore, fortitude and faith.

Dwell constantly in mind upon the Eternal justice, the Eternal Good. Endeavor
to lift yourself above the personal and the transitory into the impersonal and permanent.

Shake off the delusion that you are being injured or oppressed by another, and try
to realize, by a profounder comprehension of your inner life, and the laws which
govern that life, that you are only really injured by what is within you. There is no
practice more degrading, debasing, and soul-destroying than that of self-pity.

Cast it out from you. While such a canker is feeding upon your heart you can
never expect to grow into a fuller life.

Cease from the condemnation of others, and begin to condemn yourself. Condone
none of your acts, desires or thoughts that will not bear comparison with spotless
purity, or endure the light of sinless good.

By so doing you will be building your house upon the rock of the Eternal, and all
that is required for your happiness and well-being will come to you in its own

There is positively no way of permanently rising above poverty, or any undesirable
condition, except by eradicating those selfish and negative conditions within,
of which these are the reflection, and by virtue of which they continue.

The way to true riches is to enrich the soul by the acquisition of virtue. Outside
of real heart-virtue there is neither prosperity nor power, but only the appearances
of these. I am aware that men make money who have acquired no measure of virtue, and have little desire to do so; but such money does not constitute true riches, and its possession is transitory and feverish.

Here is David's testimony:- For I was envious at the foolish when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.. . .. . Their eyes stand out with fatness; they have more than heart could wish ....... -Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my
hands in innocence ... When I thought to know this it was too painful for me; until
I went into the sanctuary of God, then understood I their end."

The prosperity of the wicked was a great trial to David until he went into the sanctuary of God, and then he knew their end.

To Be Continued..

Want to know the Five Steps to Getting Everything You Want in Life? Then you need to check out the new Successful Living Video Newsletter right here.

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Blogger MICHAEL said...

About 3 years ago I dropped into a black hole – four months of absolute terror. I wanted to end my life, but somehow [Holy Spirit], I reached out to a friend who took me to hospital. I had three visits [hospital] in four months – I actually thought I was in hell. I imagine I was going through some sort of metamorphosis [mental, physical & spiritual]. I had been seeing a therapist [1994] on a regular basis, up until this point in time. I actually thought I would be locked away – but the hospital staff was very supportive [I had no control over my process]. I was released from hospital 16th September 1994, but my fear, pain & shame had only subsided a little. I remember this particular morning waking up [home] & my process would start up again [fear, pain, & shame]. No one could help me, not even my therapist [I was terrified]. I asked Jesus Christ to have mercy on me & forgive me my sins. Slowly, all my fear has dissipated & I believe Jesus delivered me from my “psychological prison.” I am a practicing Catholic & the Holy Spirit is my friend & strength; every day since then has been a joy & blessing. I deserve to go to hell for the life I have led, but Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross, delivered me from my inequities. John 3: 8, John 15: 26, are verses I can relate to, organically. He’s a real person who is with me all the time. I have so much joy & peace in my life, today, after a childhood spent in orphanages [England & Australia]. God LOVES me so much. Fear, pain, & shame, are no longer my constant companions. I just wanted to share my experience with you [Luke 8: 16 – 17].

Peace Be With You

5:07 AM  

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