The Surest Way to Prosperity
Paramhansa Yogananda, East-West Magazine, October 1932
Find Your Goal
Dear Reader, do not wander aimlessly, lost in the jungle of life, constantly bleeding your happiness with the thorns of new desires. You must find the goal of your life and the shortest road which leads you there. Do not travel unknown roads, picking up new troubles. I am not telling you to be desireless, speechless, ambitionless, and useless in the world. All I am telling you is to culture the right desires and drop the useless ones.
Too much wrong ambition is just as bad as too much passive contentment. As human beings, we have been endowed with needs and we must meet their demands. As man is a physical, mental, spiritual being, he must look after his all-round welfare, avoiding one-sided, over-development. To possess wonderful health and a good appetite, with no money to maintain that health and to satisfy that hunger, is agonizing. To have lots of money and lots of indigestion is heart-rending. To have lots of health, and lots of wealth, and lots of trouble with self and others, is pitiable. To have lots of health, wealth, and mental efficiency, but no knowledge of the ultimate Truth, and with a lack of peace, is very useless, disturbing, and dissatisfying.
The Mechanical Life
Most people live almost mechanically, unconscious of any ideal or plan of life. Most people come on earth, struggle for a living, and leave the shores of mortality without knowing why they came here, and what their duties were.
All Must Struggle for Needs but Not for Unnecessary Necessities
No matter what the goal of life is, it is obvious that man is so undermined with needs that he must struggle to satisfy them. The believer and the disbeliever in God must both struggle to meet their needs. Therefore, it is very important to know that man should concentrate on his needs and not create a lot of useless extra desires. He must differentiate between real needs and unnecessary necessities.
Man, often being wrapped up with his unnecessary necessities and physical luxuries, forgets to concentrate on his little physical needs and on his great need of developing mental efficiency in everything, and of acquiring Divine contentment. Man is so busy multiplying his conditions of physical comfort that he considers very many unnecessary things as a necessary part of his existence.
Though in poor circumstances, he often buys new models of automobiles and new clothes on the installment plan, so that he is always over head and ears in debt and spends his entire time in unsuccessful attempts at making money. He has no time to develop his mental efficiency or to cultivate peace within because his time is entirely taken up in slavishly meeting the demands of Tyrant Physical Luxury habits. Every man must remember that the real needs of life are mental and spiritual efficiency.
Maximum peace, all-round mental efficiency, and sufficient material security, constitute the goal of man.
Efficiency Will Bring Everything
Great wealth does not necessarily bring health, peace, or efficiency, but acquirement of efficiency and peace are bound to bring a properly balanced material success. Most people develop mental efficiency as the by-product of their efforts for material success, but very few people know that money is made for happiness, but happiness cannot be found just by developing an insatiable soul-corroding desire for money.
After establishing that the goal of life is maximum efficiency, peace, health, and success, let us consider the surest way to prosperity. Prosperity does not consist just in the making on money; it also consists in acquiring the mental efficiency by which man can uniformly acquire health, wealth, wisdom, and peace at will.
Learn to Concentrate
Mental efficiency depends upon the art of concentration. Man must know the scientific method of concentration, by which he can disengage his attention from objects of distraction and focus it on one thing at a time. By the power of concentration, man can use the untold power of mind to accomplish that which he desires, and he can guard all doors through which failure may enter. All men of success have been men of great concentration, men who would dive deeply into their problems and come out with the pearls of right solutions. Most people are suffocated by distraction and are unable to fish out the pearls of success.
All Men of Concentration Do Not Succeed
However, one may be a man of concentration and power and may dive deep into the sea of problems but still may not find the pearl of success at all. There are many men who have powerful concentration but they do not know where to strike success. This is where another factor in acquiring prosperity comes into consideration. Brilliant people with efficient minds also have starved or have had only meager success.
Prosperity is Governed by Past and Present Karma
All prosperity is measured out to man according to the law of cause and effect, which governs not only this life, but all past lives. That is why intelligent people are often born poor or unhealthy, whereas, an idiot may be born healthy and wealthy. Men were originally sons of God made in His image, having free choice and equal power of accomplishment, but, but the misuse of his God-given reason and will power man became controlled by the natural law of cause and effect and law of action (Karma) and thus limited his life. A man's success depends not only upon his intelligence and efficiency but upon the nature of his past actions. However, there is a way to overcome the unfavorable results of past actions. They must be destroyed and a new cause set in motion.
Visualization Cannot Create a New Cause of Success
Some psychologists erroneously teach that by visualizing a Rolls Royce with eternal gas, or by mentally picturing Henry Ford, one can get a Rolls Royce or can become like Henry Ford. No matter how strongly all the people in the world visualized Henry Ford, all of them could not be like him. This is an impossibility according to the law of cause and effect which governs this earth and the destinies of men.
All Can't Be Millionaires but All Can Be Gods
Though it is impossible to conceive of fifteen hundred billion people of the earth becoming millionaires, still it is easy to think that all people by real effort can regain their lost divinity and become sons of God.
To become a son of God is not an acquirement, but a regaining of that which was lost. To become a son of God is to be able to claim all prosperity and everything that God has. It is possible for all to be millionaires after reclaiming their lost Divine Sonhood if they then still desire to step down into the field of material prosperity.
The Surest Way to Prosperity
The surest way to prosperity lies, not in begging through wrong prayer, but in establishing first your Oneness with God and afterward demanding the Divine Son's share. That is why Jesus said that men of the world wrongly and unsuccessfully seek bread first, but that they should seek the Kingdom of God first, then all things, all prosperity, unasked, would be added unto them.
This is easier said than done. You have heard this before, but you must learn to demonstrate this truth in your life. You must remember that Jesus actually knew and felt it when he said: "I and my Father are One." That is why He could command the storms to stop, turn water into wine, wake Lazarus from sleep, and heal the physically and mentally suffering, and could feed the multitude. He was spiritually efficient, and hence He knew the art of mental and physical efficiency.
God is the secret of all mental power, peace, and prosperity. Then why use the limited impossible human method of prosperity? By visualizing prosperity, or by affirmation, you may strengthen your subconscious mind, which may in turn encourage your conscious mind, but that is all that visualization alone can do. The conscious mind still has to achieve the success just the same and is hindered by the law of cause and effect. The conscious mind cannot initiate a new cause which will bring positive success in any direction, but when the human mind can contact God, then the superconscious mind can be sure of success, due to the unlimited power of God and due to creating a new cause of success.
Superconsciousness Has No Limitations
The man of powerful concentration must ask God to direct his focused mind on the right place for right success. Passive people want God to do all the work and egotists ascribe all their success to themselves. Passive people do not use the power of God in intelligence and egotists, though using God-given intelligence, forget to receive God's direction as to where the intelligence should be used. I can blame inertia as the cause of failure, but it hurts me to see intelligent egotists fail after making real intelligent effort.
Avoid Passivity and Egotism
That is why it is necessary to avoid both passivity and egotism. In the early morning and before going to bed, every man, woman, and child interested in prosperity must make the positive contact with God in order to succeed.
Repair Your Mind Microphone
Since your soul's message cannot reach God through your mental microphone if it is broken by hammers of restlessness, so you must repair it by practicing deep silence both in the morning and before sleep, until all restless thoughts disappear. Then, when the mental microphone is repaired by calmness, affirm deeply: "My Father and I are One" until you feel the response of God through a deep ever-increasing peace, which cannot be felt except through practice of the Preceptor-given right method of meditation. This increasing peace, or Bliss, is the surest proof of God's contact and response.
Remember, you must broadcast your message: "My Father and I are One" until you feel this overpowering, all-solacing Bliss of God. When this happens, you have made the contact. Then demand your celestial right by affirming: "Father, I am Thy child, guide me to my right prosperity," or "Father, I will reason, I will will, I will act, but lead Thou my reason, will, and activity to the right thing which I should do in order to acquire health, wealth, peace, and wisdom."
Do not will and act first, but contact God first and thus harness your will and activity to the right goal. As you cannot broadcast through a broken microphone, so you must remember that you cannot broadcast your prayer through the mental microphone which is disordered by restlessness. By deep calmness, repair your mind microphone. Then again, as you cannot get an answer by just calling someone through a microphone and then running away, so, also, you must not first pray once and run away, but you must continuously broadcast your prayer to God through your calm mental microphone until you hear His voice. Most people pray in restlessness and do not pray with the determination to receive a response.
Remember that the surest way to all-round prosperity, or to the attainment of health, wealth, peace, and wisdom, lies in first reclaiming your lost Divine Sonhood by continuously broadcasting your message to God through your calm mental microphone until you receive His answer through the increased Bliss of meditation.