Work and the Success Syndrome (Part 1)

By Eric Butterworth
Work and the Success Syndrome (Part 1)

When Jesus says, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (Jn. 8:32 KJV), He implies that our bondage in life is caused by our acceptance of erroneous beliefs. A Greek philosopher, Zeno, says, "The most important part of learning is to unlearn our errors." In the study of spiritual economics, nothing is more basic or more rife with mistaken beliefs than our attitudes toward work.

Why do you work? You may smile at the question, for it seems perfectly obvious that everyone works to make a living. However, if this is the only reason you can come up with, then it is one of the errors that needs to be unlearned. It is an attitude that may well be frustrating your creative flow.

What are you getting out of your work? If you respond in terms of salary figures, fringe benefits, and executive "perks," then you are underpaid. Not that your employer is inadequately compensating you. That is something else. What we are referring to is that by the evidence of your narrowness of vision, you are shortchanging yourself.

Your prosperity will always be a reflection of your consciousness, the degree to which your thoughts are centered in the divine flow. You spend most of your life engaged in some kind of gainful employment; thus if your attitudes about work in general and your job in particular are not right, then truly you are working against yourself. You may seek diligently to demonstrate prosperity, but unless you unlearn your error thoughts about work, you will forever be out of "sync" with the creative flow of the Universe.

A German educator, Friedrich Frobel, had a refreshingly positive sense of the cosmic process at work within the individual. How good it would be if his ideal of work could be stressed in our modern-day educational system: The delusive idea that men merely toil and work for the sake of preserving their bodies and procuring for themselves bread, houses, and clothes is degrading, and not to be encouraged. The true origin of man's activity and creativeness lies in his increasing impulse to embody outside of himself the divine and spiritual element within him. It is a tremendous realization. What if our young people could be graduated into their work life with a reconditioning of this awareness?

Work is, and should be so considered by every worker, a giving process. Jesus said, "Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth" (Mt. 6:3 KJV). In other words, don't get trapped in the error of equating what you earn with the work you do. How easy and yet how mistaken it is to be influenced by the "another day, another dollar" syndrome.

Let your work, whatever it may involve, be an outworking of the creative flow, engaged in through the sheer joy of fulfilling your divine nature. You will prosper, and you should do so, but it will not be because you have "made money" in your job. The work in the job is the means by which you build a consciousness of giving, which in turn gives rise to an outworking or "receiving flow." It is a subtle distinction, but an extremely important one. If the left hand (receiving your pay) knows what the right hand does (the work of your job) then there is no real giving, only a bartering. This is "selling your soul for a mess of pottage." All the elements needed to fulfill the prosperity law for you are missing.


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Eric Butterworth authored numerous articles and books, including Discover the Power Within YouUnity: A Quest for TruthIn the Flow of LifeThe Universe Is Calling and Celebrate Yourself. He was a Unity minister in New York City and conducted services at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center for more than 35 years. Butterworth's life was dedicated to helping people to help themselves. This excerpt is from his book Spiritual Economics.