03 Aug Why the Rich Get Richer by Dr. Frederick Bailes
Excerpt from “Your Mind Can Heal You” by Dr. Frederick Bailes
Why the Rich Get Richer
IN 1927 I ADDRESSED THE LIONS CLUB OF SACRAMENTO, California. During the luncheon, I was seated beside Warden Smith of Folsom Prison. In the course of the conversation, I told him that I had been preparing a series of articles on the dominant thought patterns of certain groups of people, and that I would like to know something of the working of the criminal mind.
Upon his invitation, I visited this prison, where California’s most desperate criminals were incarcerated. We had dinner prepared and served by the inmates. I was particularly impressed by the finely chiseled features and the dignified bearing of one of the waiters. I could not believe that he was an inmate. He seemed to be a man who would be received anywhere. But the warden assured me that his crime was a particularly revolting murder, and that he had previously spent years in other prisons.
For several hours, I was permitted to mingle freely with certain of the inmates. I spent much time with the man who had attracted my attention. His philosophy of life was one that seemed prevalent among the others, but in him it was accompanied by an intense bitterness. He felt that society had denied him a chance, then had persecuted him.
He related the circumstances of his birth. His father had deserted “the old lady” before he was born. He had grown up in the slum section of one of the large cities, had started stealing fruit at the corner vegetable store, and had followed the usual course of a juvenile delinquent-playing hooky, running with the gang, and eventually finding his way into major crime. He was filled with envious hatred of anyone who had succeeded, and he wound up a particularly vitriolic tirade with the words, “The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. What chance does a poor kid have anyway! The only way he can get what he wants is by going wrong.”
Income Follows Consciousness
“The rich get richer while the poor get poorer.” I agreed with the inmate, telling him that the Great Teacher also agreed with him. Jesus once said, “Unto every one that hath shall be given, but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.” Like many sayings of the Master this seems to be harsh, but it illustrates the truth He was always trying to teach men.
He had tried to show that a man’s thought had power; that it was the alpha and omega of his experience. In this verse He was saying that those who gather more of this world’s goods have evidenced a more vigorous money consciousness. At this point He did not debate whether wealth was good or bad, or whether the person acquired it rightfully or wrongfully. He merely stated the law of mind by which one draws anything into his experience.
The steady expectancy of money had drawn that money to them. Now they had it. Very well, that same consciousness would draw more of it to them. This law applies to health and to every other good thing for which people yearn. On the other hand, he who has little evidently has an unsound consciousness at this point. Since the law of life is to increase and magnify any state of mind, the path of life will lead downward for the second person.
The first person is moving constantly out into deeper waters of supply. The second moves steadily into shallower waters. The unsound consciousness of the second may be further distorted by seeing the first become richer. If he gives in to envy, hatred, and feelings of persecution, these emotions drain his consciousness still lower, with a resultant lowering of income. A malign fate seems to diminish even the little that he has-but it is his own state of mind that robs him. He has taken into himself the parent thought of futility.
There are those who have broken away from slum influences, who have never allowed them to infiltrate into their souls. In Jacqueline Cochran’s thrilling life story, The Stars at Noon, she courageously strips away all pretense and tells the story of her early life, spent amid the most sordid circumstances. Half-starved, half-educated, one might almost say half-civilized, living in the swamps of the southern states, she had something within her that refused to allow the swamps to set their measure upon her. The Law of God written on her heart made her determined to burst the bars of circumstance and grapple with her evil star. Walking out of that unambitious home, she became a proficient beauty operator at thirteen, a trained nurse before she was twenty, and the wife of a millionaire a few years later.
Her flying record speaks for her courage and skill. She has come a long way. Nobody pushed her; her family derided her when as a child she persisted in bathing regularly. It would have been the easiest thing in the world for her to settle down, submit to the pressures, and become a slattern. But she never allowed the slightest feelings of self-pity to enter. She never allowed envy to sear her soul. If others could have the nice things of life, she knew that she could have them too.
Jacqueline Cochran proved that there is something in the human soul that can offset the strongest pressures from the environment. There is a Power within any of us that can lift us to the heights.
It’s the Set of the Sails, Not the Gales
Compare Jacqueline Cochran with the prison inmate whom we met at the beginning of this chapter. Here were two people with the same circumstances, but with opposite results, proving that it is not what life does to us, but the way we react, that matters. The one allowed his surroundings to ruin his life; the other used them as steppingstones to bring her to the end of the rainbow.
Each of us has some element in his surroundings upon which thoughts of futility can fasten. Poverty is not the only deadening factor. Wealth has ruined as many as has poverty. One may start life with a frail body, a less-than-brilliant mind, or any one of a dozen defects upon which our lesser selves could pounce, using them as excuses for our failure to mature. “It’s the set of the sails, and not the gales, that determines the way each goes.” It is something that operates within, rather than the gales that blow from without, that makes the difference between winner and whiner.
“But,” someone asks, “how shall I know whether futility dominates me?” One way to know is to watch the reasons we give for our illness, our failure to succeed either in business or in the love life. He who says, “Everything I touch goes wrong no matter what I do or how hard I try” or “People take advantage of me, never cooperate with me,” can classify himself without others pointing it out to him. Sometimes the giveaway is, “No doctor can ever find out what my trouble is. I’ve been to the best and I think that they are all either ignorant or charlatans.”
Something Is Always Going Right
It is not true that “everything always goes wrong” with any person. His sense of futility blinds him to the many things that go right. If one would review the events of the day, among the unhappy experiences he could :find at least a few that were pleasant.
Men search for gold, but they seldom find it in large nuggets. They carefully pan for tiny specks and flakes. These can be melted into larger nuggets. Our good comes to us usually in this way-occasionally a nugget, but most of the time in little flecks. A cheerful greeting from the newsboy, the smile of a child, a word of compliment or appreciation, a slight improvement in some technical skill, a small order when we would like to have made a big sale, a slight sign of intelligence in some slower student these are the makings of happiness.
A schoolteacher said: “I have the worst kind of pupils. They are a bunch of little roughnecks. They pay small attention to me. They even giggle contemptuously when they greet me on the grounds. I’m a failure. Everything I do is wrong. I’m sure the other teachers make fun of me behind my back and I’m afraid that I’ll be let out at the end of this school year.”
She was encouraged to sit quietly in the schoolroom for fifteen minutes after the children had gone, carefully reviewing the day’s work and jotting down anything that seemed to belie what she had said to me, no matter how trivial it might seem at the time. Even if there were only one incident, write it down! Then at home she was to lie down comfortably and let her mind drift back along the events of the day.
There might be only three encouraging things remembered, but these could make a tiny nugget. She was to give thanks for them and allow them to become a nucleus of happiness, for the next day more would be remembered.
Our minds always see more of anything that we are looking for. We pass by most of the advertisements in the papers, but our eye is caught when we see something we are thinking of buying. That article may have been advertised daily for months, but to us it was not there until our wanting it brought it to our attention.
The schoolteacher’s search worked a miracle for her. One child whom she had thought rather stupid crept timidly back into the classroom and asked her a question about the two presidents named Adams, and thanked her very nicely for her assistance. On the way out another child whose deportment usually left much to be desired was bending over a narrow flower bed. As the teacher passed, she straightened up and said, “Oh, Miss Blue, did you ever see anything so beautiful!” It was the first real commingling of souls between them as they stooped to examine and discuss the flowers. On the bus the driver felt her animation and remarked, “You must have had a good day today. You look happy.” To which she replied, “I’ve had a wonderful day.”
It is not necessary to relate the details, but good things began to flow in her direction. The discipline began to improve. The mental level of her pupils seemed to rise. The janitor at her apartment brought her a little scene that his daughter had painted. None of these were big in themselves, but they certainly grew out of her redirected awareness.
Our Fortune Begins within Us
In one sense, none of us ever has a chance except the chance he makes for himself. Inherited wealth or a brilliant mind will do nothing for one unless he cultivates the ability to make effective use of them. Heaven and hell have their origins within the human heart. No one is ever condemned by any power outside himself. We condemn ourselves to a life of frustration. The tragedy is that so often we fail to see where the mainsprings of experience lie. We think they are outside us when they are within.
This mistaken view of life may never lead one to criminality, but it can ruin his chances for happiness. It can hold one in the shackles of the parent thought of futility, where the will to win almost disappears. We stress the word almost, because “hope springs eternal within the human breast.” It can be smothered; its light may flicker and grow dim, but in the proper circumstances it can be fanned into a bright flame.
A real estate salesman said: “I work hard. I do the best I can. But I have not closed a sale in six months.” He worked in an active district; other salesmen in the same office were closing deals. He was not physically lazy. The evidence was that somewhere in the recesses of his deeper mind he did not want to close sales.
At first, he was hurt and angry when this was pointed out to him, but he was brought to the place where he was willing to admit its possibility. Questioning revealed that his divorced wife had been making demands upon him for an increase in her support. This he was not willing to grant. In order to support his argument that he was in able to increase the amount, he had let several sales slide six months before. He had thought that by making a poor showing he would be able to present her with evidence that would cause her to desist from her demands.
The deeper mind has a curious way of turning an action into a habit if this action is accompanied by a strong emotion. In his case, he had hated his ex-wife, had told friends he would starve before he would give her any more money. Whenever he thought of a way to outwit her, he felt very strongly about it.
It is impossible to hold ugliness in one comer of the mind without its coloring the entire thinking process. This man had a duty to provide for his ex-wife who was living in squalid surroundings, subsisting on the bare necessities. By determining to hold her good away from her, he was unwittingly expressing a belief that one’s good can be withheld without that person’s consent. Whatever one believes about another, he unconsciously believes about himself; therefore, this thought began operating in all sections of his mind and closed down on his sales.
The only thing that can happen to us is that in which we believe. This is the reason why the Golden Rule is not only kind to others, but is good practical living for ourselves. When we interfere with the good of another, we thereby open the door for someone else to interfere with our good.
It is not necessary for others to know of our infractions of mental law. The law itself knows and acts as a principle of reflection, fulfilling itself in our affairs. The prospects whom our salesman contacted knew nothing of his domestic affairs, but the law kept on working quite impersonally and the customers were not impressed with his sales arguments. His own belief was fulfilling itself.
What a person is he is to the bottom of himself and with all of himself. He may separate his external self from his inner self in order to impress his friends, but the law of his own mind knows nothing of such a separation .. All it knows is to fabricate the totality of his thought into form.
This man was puzzled and confused. He felt that something was unfair. If he had known and understood the law of his thought life, he would have been able to put his finger on the difficulty immediately. Nothing was blocking his prosperity but his own thought He had thought that he had “lost his punch,” and he did not know where to look for it. His “punch” had never been his. It had been the working of the Creative Process on a mind focused to one point: the selling of property. Now he had become the “double-minded man unstable in all his ways,” and the negative belief about life had assumed dominance.
He was brought to the place where he saw that hate will always destroy the contact with Infinite Love, and that no one who hates can ever be truly happy. I left the matter of providing for his ex-wife in the background and concentrated on the idea of his aligning himself with those qualities of God that could be traced, especially I stressed love.
I have seldom seen a man so thoroughly transformed. It could truly be said that he had been born again. He was a new, a different person. He became one of the most gracious of men and his graciousness was genuine.
Of course, sales came faster for this man. As they did, he increased his allowance to his ex-wife.
There was an interesting outcome to this case. At about the time he got rid of his hostility for his ex-wife, she met another man who swept her off her feet in a whirlwind courtship and they were married within three months. Her second husband was a successful businessman who assured the real estate man he was well able to provide fully for his new wife. Thus two problems were settled at the same time.
Where Does the Dead Cat Belong?
“The rich get richer; the poor get poorer.” Political ideologies have been built up on misinterpretations of this fact of life. Lives have been spent in the shallows of futility. The acids of frustration and envy have eaten away at the happiness of millions who have believed that the rich were lucky and the poor were underprivileged. Politicians have ridden into power on this lie, exploiting it for their own benefit, cooing their sympathy for the blinded souls who voted them in. Encouraged to suck on a governmental breast, the “underprivileged” have been kept in political and spiritual infancy.
The time has come to lay the dead cat on the only doorstep where it belongs: at the feet of the individual. Each of us must learn that the key to every man is his thought, that it is done unto him according to his own belief. If he continues to believe a lie, he will continue to experience the false and unsatisfying life that issues from that lie.
No dictator, no politician can give a man anything more than his own consciousness draws in. All they can give is a political system. Within that system, each of us can garner only that which is the reproduction of his own consciousness. They who have not the consciousness remain the slaves under any system. The cream will always rise to the top; it always has. This is not one of man’s laws. It is a law of God, working through man’s mental operations.
“The rich get richer; the poor get poorer.” Truer word was never spoken. But it is a statement of mental law-not an edict of God. The riches are the riches of consciousness.
Dr. Frederick Bailes gave weekly lectures to capacity audiences in Los Angeles and was well known for his twice-weekly radio broadcasts. He is also the author of Your Mind Can Heal You; Basic Principles of the Science of Mind; The Healing Power of Balanced Emotions; and Collected Essays of Frederick Bailes.
In his book Your Mind Can Heal You he gives a seven step approach to spiritual mind treatment. It starts, he says, “with the fundamental truth that the person for whom we are treating is a perfect idea in the Mind of God, and our whole procedure during a treatment is intended to remove from our own mind any idea or picture of imperfection or sickness.” Here are the seven “R’s” that Bailes suggests:
Relaxation: We assume a position that assures physical relaxation and a quiet mind.
Recognition: We recognize that we are not speaking into a void. We are surrounded by the Creative Mind of the universe, which receives our thought embodied in our words and sets to work to carry it out into material form.
Relationship: We consciously unify with the Creative Mind, knowing that we ourselves, the person treated for, and this Mind are all one. There can never be any separation between them.
Reasoning: To arrive at this inner certainty, we have to dissolve all doubts. We go through a process of reasoning to arrive at this certainty.
Realization: Once we have arrived at the point where we realize the inner perfection of the one being treated for, we shall know it, because we shall have arrived at a place of quiet, calm assurance.
Release: We are not responsible for the outcome of the treatment. Our only responsibility is to build a clear picture in our mind of the perfection of ourselves and the one being treated for, and to remove all doubts about that perfection. We now release this picture to the Creative Mind.
Rejoice: We give thanks for the success of our treatment, not to influence how Mind works but to confirm our belief that the entire situation is resolved in exactly the right and ideal way.