Spiritual Economics

The Principles and Process of True Prosperity
by Eric Butterworth | Unity Books © 2001 · 218 pages

Eric Butterworth is an amazing guy and this book really transformed my relationship to money. In the Note, we'll take a look at the fact that our goal shouldn't be to make money/acquire stuff but to achieve the level of consciousness through which abundance flows through our lives naturally. We'll look at the roots of the words affluence and security and prosperity along with some Big Ideas on how to merge our spirituality and our economics.

“The goal should not be to make money or acquire things, but to achieve the consciousness through which the substance will flow forth when and as you need it.”

~ Eric Butterworth from Spiritual Economics

Are you committed to discovering who you are and how you can give yourself most fully to the world? AND how you can consciously circulate wealth in the world as you give your gifts, support others, and support yourself? (That, btw, is pretty much a pre-requisite to truly living your hero’s journey.)

If so, this book is pretty much a must read.

Spiritual Economics and The Science of Getting Rich (see Notes) were two of the most influential “wealth/abundance” books I read during a critical phase in my life in which I was really starting to bring my life into integrity around money. If you’re like me, I have zero doubt you’ll also find them transformative.

Since my initial read, I’ve picked this book up at least half a dozen times and have been blown away by the love Butterworth exudes in his words. As a Unity minister, he eloquently, compassionately, brilliantly and forcefully establishes his principles of economics.

So, without further adieu, let’s jump in with his definition of Prosperity and then dance through the roots of other words associated with money while we explore the heart of spiritual economics!


Prosperity comes from the Latin root which literally translates: ‘according to hope’ or ‘to go forward hopefully.’ Thus it is not so much a condition in life as it is an attitude toward life. The truly prosperous person is what psychologist Rollo May calls ‘the fully functioning person.’”


What a beautiful word. As Butterworth shares, the literal meaning points to an attitude of hope.

Think about that. The word we use to describe “abundance,” “wealth,” etc. is grounded in the ideals of moving forward in life with hope. That’s incredible.

As Butterworth advises, prosperity is not so much about a “condition” we experience, but the attitude with which we live! Of course, the good news is that as we “go forward hopefully” with a “prosperous” attitude in all things, we’ll be rewarded with all the external (and internal!!) fruits of true prosperity.

My vote?

Let’s go forward hopefully!

How far would Moses have gone if he had taken a poll in Egypt? What would Jesus Christ have preached if he had taken a poll in the land of Israel? What would have happened to the Reformation if Martin Luther had taken a poll? It isn’t polls or public opinion of the moment that counts. It’s right and wrong and leadership.
Harry Truman


“The word affluence is an overworked word in our time, usually implying cars and houses and baubles of all kinds. Its literal meaning is ‘an abundant flow,’ and not things at all. When we are consciously centered in the universal flow, we experience inner direction and the unfoldment of creative activity. Things come too, but prosperity is not just having things. It is the consciousness that attracts things.”


Another beautiful word. Did you know the word literally means “abundant flow”? That rocks.

Get in the FLOW of the universe. Express yourself. And you will experience every sense of the beautiful word “affluence.”

If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary: new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or old laws will be expanded and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with license of a higher order of beings.
Henry David Thoreau


“The word secure comes from two small Latin words: se meaning ‘without’ and cure meaning ‘care’—being without care, freedom from anxiety. Victor Hugo articulates this very special sense in this lovely couplet:

Be like the bird

That pausing in her flight

While on boughs too slight,

Feels them give way

Beneath her, and yet sings,

Knowing she hath wings.”


To be without care.

I’m repeating myself here, but that’s beautiful. How would you feel if you were “without care.” KNOWING that, should you encounter a challenging situation, you have wings to fly.

Your most important asset is the conscious control of your own life.
Eric Butterworth

Why Be Average?

“Why be an average person? All the great achievements of history have been made by strong individuals who refused to consult statistics or to listen to those who could prove convincingly that what they wanted to do, and in fact ultimately did do, was completely impossible.”

Love that. I’m smiling as I remember the times in my own life when the “experts” I consulted told me I couldn’t do something.

The most vivid memory: I was a 24 year-old law school drop out in 1998. The only thing I knew I wanted to do (besides burn my resume :) was coach a Little League Baseball team. I did that. In the process, I had a vision that within 5 years every team and league in the US would be using the web for everything—schedules, standings, directions to the field, pictures Grandma and Grandpa could check out if they missed the game, etc.

I wanted to get 1 million (!!!) teams using a web site I would build. I thought I could do that within 5 years. I talked to some smart, successful mentors who told me it was impossible. How would I, a 24 year-old law school dropout with no business experience, no money and no connections do that?

Just the feedback I needed to get to work. (In a way, they were right, though. It took us 4 years, not 5 to get our first million teams using our site, eteamz.com. :)

So, what are YOU currently being told is impossible?

Don’t consult experts and stats. Make a strong note of this important lesson in Spiritual Economics. Follow your heart. Dream. Do what you’re here to do.

Oh, while I live, to be the ruler of life, not a slave, to meet life as a powerful conqueror, and nothing exterior to me shall ever take command of me.
Walt Whitman
When you believe you can do it, the ‘how-to-do-it’ develops.
Eric Butterworth

Entropy vs. Syntropy

“It is interesting to note that there is mounting evidence for the existence of … ‘syntropy,’ through the influence of which forms tend to reach higher and higher levels of organization, order, and dynamic harmony. Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, Nobel Prize winning biologist, refers to it as an ‘innate drive in living matter to perfect itself.’ And today many are calling attention to a psychological drive toward synthesis, toward wholeness and self-perfection.”

Abraham Maslow (see Notes on Motivation and Personality) says: “What one can be, one must be.” That’s a powerful statement.

You feel that drive deep within us that’s begging us to be our highest self? That impulse is (much much much) bigger than you or me. It’s a Universal impulse toward wholeness. We are DRIVEN to self-perfection. Ignore it at your own risk.

I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more luck I have.
Thomas Jefferson

Take Charge

“There is only one way by which you can achieve prosperity. It is to take charge of your mind.”

We’ve heard that one before, eh? ALL the great teachers tell us we must master our minds to master our lives.

From the Buddha (see Notes on The Dhammapada): “More than those who hate you, more than all your enemies, an undisciplined mind does greater harm.

To Marcus Aurelius (see Notes on Meditations): “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.

To Shakespeare: “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

How about you? Are you in charge of your mind? What steps are you taking to get even more in charge? Meditation perhaps? (Maybe try a 10-day Vipassana course to get your mind in shape! Did wonders for me!! :) How about being truly present with your children? Catching your negative self-talk? Practicing mantras? … ? … ? … ?

Witness how you show up in the world. How your mind can bounce from thought to thought to (hopefully not negative) thought. Get in charge.

Faith is really your consent to let your own uniqueness unfold and to let that which is attracted by your uniqueness manifest in your life. Thus when Jesus said, ‘All things are possible to those who believe,’ he did not say that a swan can become a duck or that a nonmusical person can become a concert pianist. You cannot become something that is not the outforming of your own inner potential. You can only be you. However you can unfold more of the you that may have been long frustrated.
Eric Butterworth


“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 which 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).”

I love this.

Whether we explain it through the Law of Attraction, your Reticular Activating System or some other way, you know you’re a magnet, right? You will pull into your life whatever is in your consciousness.

I like to take the Reticular Activating System (RAS) approach to it. You know, your RAS—that little bundle of cells at your brain stem that filters the TRILLIONS of stimuli we’re constantly being bombarded by. It filters out the “unimportant” and gives us the important. For example: Let’s say you’re going to buy a new car. Ever had the experience where all of the sudden you see that car everywhere?!? You told your unconscious mind that getting that car was a priority, so, all of the sudden you noticed it. Make sense?

What if you tell your unconscious mind that the world is a frightening/dangerous/vicious place. Guess what? You’ll get ALL KINDS of evidence to support that belief—from the rude waiter to the guy who cut you off on the freeway, you’ll be sure to notice every single little thing that supports your perspective. You’re a magnet.

On the other hand, let’s assume you believe the world is a beautiful, abundant, loving, expanding experience. What do you think you’ll “magnetize” toward yourself? Of course, the people and experiences are consistent with that level of consciousness.

For more on this, I think you’ll dig my Notes on Abraham-Hicks’ Ask and It Is Given + Money, and the Law of Attraction as well as my Notes on Wayne Dyer’s Power of Intention.

When you pray, move your feet.

Practice! Practice! Practice!

“Ask the great athlete or the concert pianist or the successful actor if they arrived at the place where they need no further practice. They will tell you that the higher you climb in proficiency and public acceptance, the greater the need for practice.”

Think about that for a moment longer: The higher the greats climb, the GREATER the need for practice.

And, how about this:

Geniuses and Clods

“The great piano virtuoso Paderewski was once playing before an audience of the rich and the royal. After a brilliant performance, an elegant lady waxed ecstatic over the great artist. She said, ‘Ah Maestro, you are a genius!’ Paderewski tartly replied, ‘Ah yes, madam, but before I was a genius I was a clod!’ What he was saying was that his present acclaim was not handed to him on a silver platter. He, too, was once a little boy laboriously practicing his scales. And even at his peak, behind every brilliant performance there were countless hours of practice and preparation.”

That’s absolutely brilliant. It’s WAY too easy to look at someone we admire and just assume he or she was simply born a genius or “got lucky.”

Behind every (yes EVERY!!) genius in any field is a clod who turned into that genius we admire. Tiger Woods? Check. Oprah? Check. Steve Jobs? Check.

These men and women have worked harder than most can ever imagine to get to a point where they can so effortlessly perform.

How about you? What are you putting countless (yes, countless!!!) hours of practice and preparation into?!?

(Can’t wait to see you perform! :)

There’s nothing capricious in nature, and the implanting of a desire indicates that its gratification is in the constitution of the creature that feels it.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

How’s Your Faith?

“Faith is expectancy. You do not receive what you want; you do not receive what you pray for, not even what you say you have faith in. You will always receive what you actually expect.”

So, that begs the obvious question: What do you expect? Look a little deeper and see if what you’re getting is what you expect.

You can’t (!) receive what you “want” or what you pray for. You’re going to get what you EXPECT.

So, let’s optimize our expectations!!!

And, let’s start by taking a moment to write down a few things we expect:

1. I expect ____________________.

2. I expect ____________________.

3. I expect ____________________.

4. I expect ____________________.

5. I expect ____________________.

Well done.

Now let’s align your actions with your expectations.

What are some action steps you will take that support the manifestation of those expectations?!?

1. I will ____________________.

2. I will ____________________.

3. I will ____________________.

4. I will ____________________.

5. I will ____________________.

NOW we’re talkin’. (And doin’. :)

To Be

“A true desire is not to have but to be. We are whole creatures in potential, and the true purpose of desire is to unfold that wholeness, to become what we can be. As Goethe says, ‘Desire is the presentiment of our inner abilities, and the forerunner of our ultimate accomplishments.’”

Wow. Butterworth continues with this wisdom: “The mystic ideal, so often missed, is really simple: build on the awareness of ever-present substance and expand your faith in the stability of your own inner wholeness. The things will come too, and in abundance. But they will come out of expanse of your wholeness, not at its expense.”

Abundance will come out of expanse of your wholeness but not at its expense.

EXPAND (!) your wholeness and watch the abundance flow. In that order.

Another Question: What are you doing today to expand your wholeness? (Besides reading this Note, of course? :)



Butterworth has an entire chapter on the idea of living from a place of constantly giving yourself to the world.

Call it karma, reaping what you sow or whatever you’d like to call it. As he says: “The law is exact: If you give, really work in a giving consciousness, you must receive.”

So… Give!

Givers vs. Takers

“The takers are the people who believe that their lives will always be the total of what they can get from the world. They are always thinking get, get, get. They plan and scheme ways to get what they want in money, in love, in happiness, and in all kinds of good. No matter that they may be applying metaphysical techniques, they still may very well be takers. But whatever may be their spiritual ideals or lack of any, no matter what they take, they can never know peace or security or fulfillment.

The givers, on the other hand, are convinced life is a giving process. Thus their subtle motivation in all their ways is to give themselves away, in love, in service, and in all the many helpful ways they can invest themselves. They are always secure, for they intuitively know that their good flows from within.”

So, which are you? A Taker? Or A Giver?

Let’s give give give and then allow for the receiving.

And, remember:

The important thing is to know yourself, have faith in the cosmic process that will unfold in you like the life force unfolds in the lily of the field which toils not nor spins, and yet ‘Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these’ (Mt. 6:29).
Eric Butterworth

Universal Order

“In an orderly Universe, there is simply no way you can get something for nothing.”

I love that. Are you trying to get something for nothing? We all do it at times. Not a good place to be. The Universe is orderly. And doesn’t like that. :)

Again: Let’s GIVE! And then, of course, allow for the receiving. (Important order.)

Believing Is Seeing

“Seeing is not believing; believing is seeing! You see things, not as they are, but as you are.”

U2 says it another way: “You’re packing a suitcase for a place none of us has been; A place that has to be believed to be seen.

About the author


Eric Butterworth

Best-selling author of 16 books and a prominent leader in the Unity and New Thought movements