A person who expects the worst, or the commonplace, is very unlikely to attract positive things or even see them if they surround him. A person with faith or a good attitude is likely to invite good experiences and frame seemingly negative events in a positive light.
If faith doesn’t lead to a life-affirming and optimistic attitude, it can hardly be called faith. Faith should lead to the conviction there is a universal answer to our inner desires and an infinite supply of good things for all; that nothing can be “too good to be true” if goodness and truth have the same Source. Convictions like these constitute what I call an “Abundance Mentality.”
Many human fears are unnecessary and debilitating. Jesus declared, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). When the multitude came to Jesus with their troubles, he comforted them and — without affirming their thoughts of scarcity — pointed to the infinite abundance and responsiveness of the Father.
How much of our trouble arises simply from want of faith? A mentality or attitude contains an element of faith when the mind assumes a truth that transcends immediate experience. Seeking to define “faith,” I find this a solid definition: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen… By faith we understand that… what is seen was made out of things which do not appear” (Heb. 11:1, 3).
Things seen (our outer conditions) were made out of things unseen (our inner beliefs). With our minds we frame the world around us, be it a world of selfishness and poverty or a world of harmony and wealth. The greatest benefits life has to offer are obtainable by changing the mind. By change of mind is meant not a mere change of opinions, but the transition to a new mentality. The word “repent,” from the Greek metanoia, means “to change the mind.”
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3:2). Change your minds, for all the wonderful and good gifts of life are readily available, within your reach. We have the freedom to change our minds from a state of poverty and doubt to a state of wealth and assurance; to abandon the Scarcity Mentality and put on the Abundance Mentality.
The Bountiful Father
God is our Bountiful Parent; able, willing, and ready to do all things. The Divine Will is, however, to accomplish things through us. “[By] the power at work within us [He] is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think…” (Eph. 3:20).
The beliefs of the Abundance Mentality apply to the abundance of food, water and natural provisions. Nature offers the resources that can produce more goods than can be counted. If we are connected to the Source, then every resource can be resupplied again and again without limit. There is no real shortage in nature.
Think of how seeds produce countless more seeds, each containing as much life-force as the first. Humanity can access whatever is desired through faith plus alignment with Law. We are heirs to whatever we need for a fuller and fuller expression of life.
When a person thinks that the goods or possibilities of the world are limited — only so much food, money, available positions, successful people, or an ultimatum between virtue and prosperity — these thoughts form a belief system: a Scarcity Mentality.
On the contrary, one may be convinced that nature provides no limits to what can be produced or acquired; that by the right and constructive use of our minds we may possess all things in God’s possession. Those with this Abundance Mentality know that all virtue is harmonious with all prosperity. Everyone may succeed in worthwhile undertakings and be abundantly supplied without limit or competition.
The Ideal Work
“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore earnestly the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Luke 10:2).
The harvest field contains all kinds of wonderful goods: health, wealth, attainment, friendship, wisdom, and all valuable things, whether expressed within us as virtue or manifested in the outer world as some desirable life condition.
Do our souls hunger after righteousness and fruitfulness with faith, or do we fear that we shall starve? Jesus said, “Everyone who seeks finds.” Either he was giving false assurance or truly believed in the certainty of an abundant harvest; that all may obtain whatever they need or intend to use. These words are audacious and contrary to conventional wisdom, but they are also truly reliable.
Although the Scarcity Mentality is apparently more prevalent than the Abundance Mentality, Divine Law does not place a limit on how many can think and live abundantly. The world needs not merely better systems, less racists, more conveniences, external adjustments, and the like. What’s needed more than anything are true believers who recognize the grace of God, the abundance of nature, and their inalienable worthiness to receive their true desire.
To practically apply this knowledge faithfully for the profit of all is the “Great Commission.” Not many have an Abundance Mentality, but all may definitely develop it by repenting from beliefs in necessary shortage, unavailability, vice, and poverty, and turning to the truth that all Creation is good, all things are possible with God, and constructively applying Divine Law leads to prosperity, virtue and limitless growth.
The Original Truth
God’s Plan and Desire for humankind is in the direction of living, growing, loving, and learning. We are to “be fruitful and multiply,” similar to how nature produces in abundance. Natural laws allow that everyone may be filled, with plenty leftover. So where do evil things such as poverty, sorrow, disease, and discord come from? In short, they come about as a natural consequence of man’s disobedience (rather than by punishment) and are creatures of man.
The “original truth” is the first statement made about reality: “It is good.” If we desire but haven’t yet acquired a certain good — a particular virtue, a state of health, spiritual riches, material riches, better relationships or external conditions — then we begin by knowing that these are not “unrealistic,” but natural. The answer is “at hand.” What we seek for is seeking us also.
God, being perfect, never created imperfection, so we cannot ascribe true reality to anything that wasn’t so in the beginning. Undesirable things are facts, but the truth is always beautiful and good. God created all plants, animals, herbs, and fruits in abundance and charged man to “have dominion” or make proper use of them.
Living in harmony with God leads to life, joy and abundance in an ever-increasing measure. All error, sin, sorrow, and shortage are created by humankind’s misuse of Divine Law. Not only conscious wrongdoing, but ignorance, results in evil. As men and women by free will create disharmony and scarcity, they can also understand and apply rightly the same laws to restore the original harmony and abundance.
Divine Law: A Two-Edged Sword
Divine Law can be used constructively or destructively and, while operating flawlessly, can be misapplied to create negative conditions in one’s life. When faced with undesirable conditions, we often attempt to change the effects without dealing with the cause. But the cause must be discovered within if we are to improve external conditions.
“[A] man’s foes will be those of his own household” (Matt. 10:36). The outer world is the world of effect and the inner world is the world of cause. Our foes are our destructive beliefs and attitudes. All that we see physically is a shadow of an inner reality. To change our world, we must change ourselves by confronting our “foes.”
A great many people are stuck in a Scarcity Mentality. By believing in the necessity of evil and sin; of shortage and competition; of securing our own goods at others’ expense; of happiness diminishing as it is shared — we impoverish both ourselves and the world.
Others believe that their own success is for others and others’ success is their own, for God succeeds when through His children abundant life is expressed. They affirm that the earth is capable of producing food limitlessly to feed everyone well. We need only learn to use things rightly and Divine Law constructively. They say that their own prosperity doesn’t deprive anyone else of opportunity, to benefit others is their personal reward, and to harm others is self-destructive. These others are living in the Abundance Mentality and are true laborers of the harvest who benefit all at the expense of none.
The person who lives in the Abundance Mentality lives in accordance with reality, while the one in the Scarcity Mentality is not aligned with Divine Law. Scarcity is a lie. Since, however, one’s perception shapes one’s experience, the former actually lives in a plentiful harvest of joy and abundance, while the latter actually lives in a competitive world of loss and shortage.
“According to your faith it is done to you” (Matt. 9:29). In both cases, their outer experiences tend to reinforce their inner beliefs. The former knows the truth which sets her free from worry and want, and provides her with a fruitful harvest, while the latter’s belief is mere error, but she must reap the harvest of erroneous thinking. The one is operating the Law constructively, and the other, destructively.
These vastly different “worlds” are evidence of the great power of the human mind to create the outer world according to inner beliefs and assumptions. We create our lived experience in the image and likeness of our own mentality.
There’s a story of a Quaker who sits near a well outside town to greet travelers as they arrive. They often ask, “What manner of people dwell here?” He responds with the question, “What manner of people dwell where you come from?” If they respond, “Oh, they are lovely, friendly, and well-mannered,” then the Quaker replies, “You’ll find the people here very similar.” If, contrarily, they say, “Oh, they are awful, gossipy, and ill-mannered,” he responds, “You’ll find the people here very similar.”
We needn’t find a new set of people to change our relationships, but rather a new set of beliefs about people in general. As self-help author Wayne Dyer says, “When you change the way you look at things [people] the things [people] you look at change.”
A depiction of Jesus feeding the five thousand (Matt. 14:13-21).
The Law of Appreciation
“For to him who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away” (Matt. 13:12).
This saying has at least two meanings, one being actual and another perceptual. It certainly doesn’t mean that one can’t transition from a state of poverty to a state of wealth, for this happens often. With regard to actions, it means whoever makes productive use of her goods shall have more to use, but whoever makes no use of her goods shall lose their possession. Wealth is not to have much, but to be able to properly use much.
The other meaning relates to perceptions — that whoever perceives what he has shall increase his abundance while whoever perceives what he has not shall increase his scarcity. In other words, if we focus on good, good flourishes, and if we focus on lack, lack increases.
I believe the saying primarily relates to perceptions and not acts, although they are connected. Consider that if we perceive our abundance, it’s natural to actually make use of our goods too, while if we don’t perceive what we have, this implies that we aren’t using it well. While it’s not one or the other, I emphasize that it’s the perception or mentality that underlies and encompasses the whole.
Rev. Moon teaches that good and evil spirits are, respectively, drawn to good and evil energy. As “birds of a feather flock together,” birds that flock together will also develop similar feathers. By endeavoring to think good thoughts, we attract spirits of good energy and become good. We begin to establish a common base with them. This opens us to be further influenced toward righteous thought and action.
The strength of this relationship grows until it takes on a life of its own. It becomes self-reinforcing so that it continues even without our input. By then we have repented in the true sense, having “changed our minds.” This law can be used for good or ill, and we are therefore admonished not to establish a common base with Satan by poor thoughts and deeds.
The New Self
It is not only in the outer world of action that we sow our seeds, but primarily in the soil of our consciousness. The reason for this is that actions are expressions of beliefs. We cannot do a thing we don’t believe in. By knowing that our outer world is directly connected to our inner beliefs, we know that we hold the power within to transform circumstances of scarcity to those of abundance by undergoing metanoia and cultivating an Abundance Mentality.
“Put off your old self which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:22-24).
Metanoia is undergone on an individual level, where restoration begins. Shifting one’s mentality from error to truth, from envy to appreciation, and from a belief in scarcity to a belief in abundance creates a new self, better able to serve and benefit others. We may then draw from the infinite storehouse of God, knowing that all may be filled without diminishing the harvest supply in the least.
In cultivating a new state of mind, we should practice mental fidelity, knowing we cannot serve two masters, but must be devoted to the one and despise the other. To despise means to pay no attention and give no regard to something. In seeking to overcome evil we simply supplant it with good, contemplating the truth of abundance.
If we believe “the Law of the Lord is perfect,” then we know that the circumstances of our life bear true witness to our mentality and are a correct reflection of our constructive or destructive use of the Law. So we don’t blame the circumstances, or ourselves. We simply assume the Abundance Mentality by adding a thought to a thought, an action to an action, a belief to a belief, and these beliefs persisting over time become a new mentality, a new self.♦
Esfand Zahedi earned his undergraduate degree from the State University of New York at New Paltz with a major in philosophy and minor in religious studies. Previously, he attended Ulster County Community College and Barrytown College of UTS. He lives in Kingston, NY.