...It is an important moment in your life when you discover for yourself the great Truth that things may happen around you, and things may happen to you, but the only things that really count are the things that happen in you. You may have precious little control of the elements or the fluctuation of the stock market or the unpredictable behavior of people. However, you live in a world of your consciousness, which is the sum total of the thoughts of your mind. And you can control what goes on in your mind. This is not to say that it is easy but to establish that it is possible.
There is a great idea that you will encounter again and again on your quest: you are a living magnet, constantly drawing to you the things, the people, and the circumstances that are in accord with your thoughts. In other words, you are where you are in experience, in relationships, even in financial conditions, because of what you are (which is where you are in consciousness). Now, this is not an easy teaching. You may want to reject it and put the book aside. In the Bible, when Jesus began to layout the hard laws of His teaching, it says, "Many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him" (In. 6:66). And thus it has always been. However, if you are willing to accept full responsibility for your life, then even as your level of thought has put you where you are (or at least contributed to it), so by a change of consciousness, you can change the experiences of your life.
This would seem not to apply in the case of the nation's economy and its influence on your personal prosperity. Certainly there are broad differences of opinion among the world's economists. However, we can be certain of one thing: by reason of the law of sequence and consequence, every cycle had to start somewhere. It is likely that someone or some group of persons set forth a strongly felt belief which spread like fire and swept across the country, having a measurable influence upon consumer buying, the job market, the inflationary spiral, and on the performance of the stock market. One thing that economists do agree upon is that business conditions always tend to reflect the level of confidence of the people.
On a more personal level, your own prosperity or lack of it will also reflect the level of your thinking. There is just no way around it: your fortune (good or bad) begins with you. Financial crises, even recessions or depressions, so far as they affect your pocketbook or bank account or job stability, begin with your reactions of faith or fear. You do not cause economic conditions, though we all share in the cumulative consciousness that is the cause; but if you give them reality by your negative thoughts or conversations about them, you become synchronized with an energy flow that has as swift an influence on your life as the light that bathes the room when you throw the switch. You do not make the light, but in a very real sense, it becomes real in your experience by reason of your act of turning it on. Someone could say, "You are fortunate to have light in your room." But your fortune begins with you.
Your personal welfare begins with your consciousness. It is not what happens on Wall Street. It is not the "state of the economy." It has its inception in the state of your mind. You can be prosperous when business is poor, and you can experience financial difficulties even when business is booming.
Consider, if you will, the responsibility you have toward conditions as a whole. For what happens in your mind and is reflected in your affairs will have a definite, even if miniscule, influence upon the nation's business. There is no way out: you are always on the side of the problem, Or you are on the side of the solution. "Choose this day whom you will serve" (Josh. 24: 15).
However, as concerns prosperity for you, it is simply a matter of addition or subtraction. By your thinking, you are either adding to your good or you are taking away from it. The law is inexorable. Failure or lack in your life is simply the result of continuously "minus-ing" yourself. Conversely, success and prosperity are the results of constantly "plus-ing" yourself. It is wise to take inventory occasionally. Are you dealing in minuses or pluses? It is that simple. Your negative thoughts of fear and worry are depleting your good faster than inflation erodes the value of the dollar. And your positive, optimistic thoughts add to your good more dramatically than compound interest increases your bank savings...
One of the most self-limiting attitudes of the whole human race is the belief in chance or luck. Occasionally it is said, "I have been lucky, my prayer was answered." However, God doesn't deal in luck. As Emerson says, "The dice of God are always loaded." The belief in luck crowds out real faith and lulls all true initiative to sleep. And yet so many people think that prosperity and success are simply the results of good luck and that financial reverses, unemployment, even illnesses are "misfortunes" or bad luck. It is the most flourishing excuse for all human difficulties. It soothes the conscience and presents the person as an innocent victim of an unknown, sinister force. We say, in an almost pious declaration of self-defense, "I couldn't do much about it; I was just unlucky."
It is often in this consciousness of spiritual immaturity that a person may turn to "the wheel of fortune" as a way to strike it rich. A person may have an urgent financial need and think, I will make my demonstration by picking the winning number in the lottery. Traditional religion has often muddied the issue by preaching on the sin of gambling. There is nothing immoral about games of chance. If one has the means and wants to be entertained by picking horses or playing roulette, then let that person enjoy himself or herself in clear conscience. However, it may become a source of spiritual limitation if the gambler is not spending available funds in entertainment but is desperately trying to make his or her fortune. It is a self-delusive trap, for in an orderly Universe, there is simply no way in which one can get something for nothing. Under divine law, you receive as you have given, no more and no less.
If you feel you have been "down on your luck," don't succumb to the temptation to try to "make it big" in some game of chance. Your fortune begins with you, not with the roll of the dice or with the winning number or with any kind of lucky break. There is only one way in which you can "change your luck" and that is by altering your thoughts...
God's living enterprise and that your good fortune is secure because it is God's good pleasure to give it to you ...