This experiment began several years ago when I received a brochure in the mail advertising silver bullion coins as an investment vehicle. The “hook” was, “We will sell you two silver eagles for the price of one, if you agree to read our special report on silver.” When I saw this, I thought, “I could give one of these coins to a friend who was having money problems as a touch point for her prayers.” I sent her a coin and a notebook with instructions. Every day we prayed that the Lord would grant her wisdom in the area of finance. Every day she made an entry in her notebook.
The initial experiment was extremely successful. At the end of six months, her attitude towards money was radically different. She began to systematically eliminate her consumer debt. She changed some behaviors that were sabotaging her financial situation. Then towards the end of the six month experiment, she was able to move into her own home for the first time in her life.
Finally, when the participants are ready, they will give their coin with a blank notebook to a friend or a family member who is ready to change their relationship with money. In this way, friendship and blessings will keep flowing forward forever, even into eternity.
Most mornings I walk around the lake at Furman University, adding a few miles along the Swamp Rabbit Trail. I always expect to see something interesting. Sometimes I write a little blurb about what I have seen, posting it with an appropriate stock photograph on Facebook. There are people to watch; sometimes walking or cycling with their cell phones, dogs and children. A pretty good variety of waterfowl live near or on the Furman Lake. My path takes me through carefully manicured gardens, managed and unmanaged forests, and swamps filled with various sorts of snakes. On my walks, I see deer, squirrels, and rabbits.
I also know where the turtles live. A few box turtles inhabit the dry forests around the North end of my walk along the Swamp Rabbit Trail. Small black water turtles are easy to spot in the shallows along the edge of the lake. I have even seen a couple of big snapping turtles, one in the Northwest corner of the lake and another near the swamp where the snakes live.
Yesterday, I saw three turtles swim towards a particular spot in the lake as though they were on their way to attend a scheduled committee meeting. Humans and baboons hold meetings in order to establish their position in the troop hierarchy. I speculated that perhaps the turtles were wiser than humans.
What kind of wisdom would turtles share with one another?
Water turtles are hard to spot. They spend a lot of their day underwater. The rest of the time only their little heads are poking up out of the lake. It isn’t until later, in the afternoon, that they can be found sunning on half rotten tree branches that have fallen into the water.
Did my thoughts bring the three turtles to their morning conference or was something else at work?
There are a lot of what I will term, mind science teachings that are popular today. They come in different religious flavors and varying degrees of sophistication but they all contain a similar teaching often termed the law of attraction. These teachers believe that like attracts like. By thinking positive thoughts you can bring positive results into your life. Likewise, by thinking negative thoughts you can cause yourself all sorts of problems. In the movies and books produced by these gurus, the law of attraction is inevitably applied to financial goals.
If you think about prosperity, it will appear in your life.
Because I was thinking about turtles when I looked at the surface of the lake, three turtles were manifested in my life.
These authors all claim mind or intention is the beginning of all things. That is correct. They all claim that before something can materialize in your world, you must have the thought in your mind. That is correct.
But my thoughts did not create three turtles.
Some authors offer methods of visualization to help you learn how to clearly see your goals. Visualization works. Even Olympic athletes utilize visualization techniques as part of their training. It has been found that mentally rehearsing a gymnastic routine or even shooting foul shots will improve an athlete’s actual performance.
But I wasn’t even visualizing turtles when their heads popped up out of the water’s surface.
I was taking action. I was out for a walk, on the lookout for interesting or entertaining sights. Usually, the lake is a good place to look. The ducks are quacking. The blue herons are patiently fishing the shallows. Turtles and fish are exploring the depths. Because I knew where to look, because I was paying attention, I found—turtles—Right where one would expect to find—turtles.
Don’t stop with the law of attraction. It implies that you do not need to practice or continue exercising in the face of disappointment and discouragement to achieve a goal. In fact, even the exceptional athlete runs hundreds of wind sprints and spends hours in boring repetitive drills of fundamental skills.
You need to have clearly defined goals to reach financial freedom. However, it takes patience, persistence in the face of disappointment, and just plain hard work to bring them from your dreams into this material world.