The following is The Game of Life, a classic lecture by the late Neville Goddard. In it, Neville explains how to play the “rules” of the universe to manifest anything you desire. Read or listen to this classic carefully — you may discover universal truths that change your life forever.
The game of life, like every game, is played within the framework of certain rules, and any violation of those rules carries a penalty. You and I are playing this game from morning to night, and should therefore learn its rules in order to play it well.
Ecclesiastes gives us this rule: “Even in your thought do not curse the king, or in your bed chamber curse the rich, for a bird will carry your voice or some winged creature tell the matter.” And Mark gives us another, as: “Whatever you desire, believe that you have received it and you will.” If you must believe you have received your desire in order to attain it, then you must start your game by believing it is finished. You must feel yourself into and partaking of your goal. And you must persist in that feeling in order to achieve it.
Now, another rule is said in this manner: “Cast your bread upon the water and you will find it after many days.” In other words, do not be concerned as to how it is going to happen – just do it. This statement hasn’t a thing to do with doing good as the world defines the word. Jesus was a carpenter. The word means one who produces from seed – as a flower, a tree, the earth.
The prophecy of the Old Testament is the seed which a carpenter called Jesus brings to birth. He comes not to abolish the law and the prophets but to fulfill them.
The word, ‘bread’ in the statement: “Cast your bread upon the waters,” means to devour; to consume. Water is a euphemism for semen, that living water which carries the sperm of man. The creative act is psychological, not physical; yet the intentions are the same. You must cast your bread upon the waters with passion! You must be consumed with the desire and literally on fire with love for its possession, for an intense imaginal act will always draw unto itself its own affinity.
Winston Churchill departed this world a very successful man; however, during his life he had many failures. Then one day he made this discovery, which changed his life. These are his words: “The mood decides the fortunes of people, rather than the fortunes decide the mood.”
Let me put it this way: The game of life is won by those who compare their thoughts and feelings within to what appears on the outside. And the game is lost by those who do not recognize this law. Being consumed by anger, they see no change in their world. But if they would change their mood, their circumstances would change. Then they would recognize the law behind their world.
There are those who are depressed all day long and remain that way all of their life. I remember back in New York City, when I would see certain people walking in my direction I would want to cross the street, because I did not want to hear their depressing stories. They would spend hours telling about their wife or husband, their children or grandchildren, and each story geared to depression. Never changing their mood, their world never changed. Seeing no change, they would not recognize a law between the inner world they maintain and the outer world of response.
But if you apply this law you can predict your future. Feel a new mood rise within you. Sustain it and soon you will meet people who embody this new state. Even inanimate objects are under the sway of these affinities. In a certain mood I have gone to my library and removed a book I have not touched in years. And when I casually open it, I find confirmation of my mood. A table, though remaining the same, will be seen differently based upon your momentary mood, for everything reflects it. It is your mood which decides your fortune, not your fortune that decides your mood. People feeling poor attract poverty, not knowing that if they felt rich they would attract wealth.
In the Book of Proverbs, it is said: “The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord.” Now, the lamp of the Lord is the light of the world. We contain that light; and nature – the genie – is our slave, fashioning the world as our mood dictates. By nature I mean all of humanity – the animal, plant, and mineral world. In fact, everything that appears on the outside is a slave of this lamp. Fashioned from within, this slave will fashion your world to reflect your thoughts; and no power can stop their fulfillment.
Become aware of what you are thinking, and you will recognize a law between your mood and your surrounding circumstances. Then you will predict with certainty, because you know certain events – being in harmony with your mood – must appear. Everything – whether a living being or an inanimate object such as a book – must appear to bear witness to your mood.
Now, in order to play the game of life, you must know what you want to replace what you have. When you know what it is, you must assume the feeling that you have it. Although your reason and senses will deny its existence, persistence will cause your assumption to harden into fact and objectify itself upon your screen of space. Play the game this way. You may think it doesn’t work, but that’s because you have not tried it. You may believe the idea is stupid, but I tell you: the mood decides your fortune. Believe me, for I have proved this principle over and over again in my life.
It was Winston Churchill who galvanized the Western world by putting his words into practice. In spite of the horrors and bombing in London, Mr. Churchill sustained the mood of victory, and even in the darkest days he would not waver. Knowing the mood would externalize itself around the world, he sustained the mood – while his opponents, not knowing the law, put their trust in armies and machinery of war.
Mr. Churchill’s wonderful statement, recorded in the “New York Times,” has proved itself to me. By simply catching the mood I have changed the circumstances of my life. Now I teach others how to do it. I invite you to ask yourself how you would feel if your desire was now fulfilled. Toy with the thought. Play with it a while and the mood will come upon you. Keep that mood by playing with the senses it evokes, and watch your world change to match your new mood.
Let me tell you of a lady I know who, in her middle sixties, had nothing when she put this principle into practice. Every morning as she soaked in the tub prior to going to her $75 a week job, she would say to herself: “Something wonderful is happening to me now.” She kept playing upon the mood, toying with the feeling that something wonderful was happening. That very week she received her first breakthrough.
For thirty-odd years this lady had attended the opera, concerts, and Broadway shows, with an intimate friend. Every night they dined in some fabulous restaurant, but he had told her many times he would never give her any money. But he suddenly had a change of heart and signed over a one hundred thousand dollar trust fund to her, to be spent immediately as she so desired.
A short time later, she began to apply the law to a greater degree and he again set up another one hundred thousand dollar fund for her. Now, this lady – whose rent is $165 per month – can’t spend the income she receives from a two hundred thousand dollar fund, plus her social security; but she isn’t satisfied and wants more!
The old gentleman has a little hardening of the brain now and they have parted company. And, because he refuses to see her, she curses him, though we are warned: “Even in your thoughts do not curse the king, or in your bed chamber do not curse the rich, for a bird of the air will carry your voice, or some winged creature tell the matter.” This lady calls me every week to tell me she is overcoming the cursing. I hope so, because other things can come into her world if she continues to do so.
The law has its positive as well as its negative side. I am not here to judge how you use the law, but leave you to practice it as you will. If you are in the habit of thinking negatively, you are not going to sustain the thought that you are all you want to be. You may hold it for a few seconds, and if it does not prove itself instantly you may deny it. But in order to play the game of life you must know the rules and apply them. And remember: as in every game, there are rules whose violation causes failure. You cannot deceive yourself, for God is not mocked; as you sow, so shall you reap.
In the world you may get away with a violation that the referee did not see; but you cannot get away from the observer in you, for he and you are one. If you know what you did, then he knows, for your awareness and the father of your world are one. You cannot deceive yourself. You cannot mock yourself. God is going to record your every violation and mold your world in harmony with your feelings.
Let me now share a letter I received from a friend. In it he said: “Last Monday night a friend asked me for help, so that night I spent a half hour imagining I heard the words he would say if his desire were realized. Just before I awoke the next morning, the friend’s wife appeared in my dream and thanked me for my help.
“Then Tuesday evening, while enjoying some music in my living room, my friend appeared in reverie. Speaking with authority, power, and joy, he used the identical words I heard when I imagined him confirming the fulfillment of his desire, and I felt the thrill of completion.”
It is my hope that confirmation will come in the immediate present, and my friend will hear the man tell him in person of the fulfillment of that imaginal act which was set on fire by his friend. Now, in another part of his letter, my friend said: “In a dream I entered a hotel lobby, registered at the desk, and asked to be called at 7:00 o’clock the next morning. As I watched, the man marked a bold seven over my name on the card; then I awoke.”
This is a marvelous vision, as seven is the numerical value for spiritual perfection. It also has much to do with gestation and incubation. In the insect and animal world, I am told, that 280 days is a multiple of seven. We know that a hen’s egg, if properly incubated, takes 21 days – again a multiple of seven. Here we find birth has multiples of seven, but in his case it is incubation of spiritual perfection.
Another lady wrote, saying: “I saw myself lying in bed, ghastly pale as though dead. Suddenly a giant of a man rose out of my body.”
Let me tell you the story of a wonderful artist, who was also a mystic. His name was George Russell, but you know him best as A.E. He said: “I will tell this vision, but where it happened I will not say. It was a vast hall with the columns made of living opal as though the colors of dawn and evening had blended into something alive.
Between the columns were thrones upon which fire-crested kings were seated. One wore a crest of the dragon, another, plumes of fire. In the center a dark body was stretched out on the floor as though in a deep trance. At the far end of the hall, on a throne higher than the others, sat a being with the sun’s glory shining behind him.
As I watched, two crested kings rose, and stretching their hands over the body on the floor, sparks of light came out of them. Suddenly a figure as tall, as majestic as these fire-crested kings rose out of that dark body. Looking around, he recognized his kin and raised his hand in salutation. Then they leaped from their thrones, raised their hands in the same wonderful greeting and – like brothers – walked toward the end and disappeared into the sun.”
Each vision is a foreshadowing of what will take place. A.E. perceived him as coming from another, while this lady saw him as coming from her own being. They are both adumbrations of a wonderful event which will take place in everyone; for that crested king, who is the Son of God, is housed in all.
It does not matter whether the body be that of a woman or a man, or what the pigment of the skin may be; within each one of us is the Son of God, who – radiating his glory and bearing the express image of his person – is the great lamp of the Lord. And one day this majestic being will rise out of your garment of death, and you will enter the land of life.
But while we are here, let us learn the rules of the game of life and play it. Life itself is caused by the assemblage of mental states, which occurring creates that which the assemblage implies. My friend mentally heard the words he would hear if his desire for his friend were fulfilled. Its assemblage, occurring within him, created the event to be played out in the game of life.
After you have assembled your mental state and allowed it to occur within you, you do not have to repeat the act. You cast your bread upon the water the moment you felt relief. Although you do not have a physical expression in a sexual manner, relief is possible; and of all the pleasures of the world, relief is the most keenly felt. When someone you dearly love is late, you anxiously await that key in the door. And when you hear their voice, your relief is keenly felt. That is the same kind of relief you will have when you have imagined correctly.
If you find it necessary to recreate the act every day, you are not casting your bread upon the water. You may imagine over and over again, but you are only going to impregnate once; and if you reach the point of relief, your bread has been cast upon the water to return, perhaps in the matter of an hour. I have had the phone ring – minutes after I have imagined it – to hear confirmation that it has happened. Sometimes it has taken days, weeks, or months; but I do not repeat the action once I have done it and felt the feeling of relief, for I know there is nothing more I need to do.
Learn to consciously play this game of life, for you are unconsciously playing it every day. I am sure the millions who are on relief feel the government owes them a living; but there is no government, only we who pay taxes. The government has no money and can only give what it takes from our pockets. Those on relief are complaining, claiming they are not getting enough out of our pockets, and that mood persists throughout their day.
Their mood never varies, so they see no change and recognize no law between the mood they are sustaining and the outer world they dislike. If they were told that their mood was causing the phenomena of their life, they would deny it. No one wants to feel that he is solely responsible for the conditions of his life, yet there is no other cause. God is the only cause and he is man’s own wonderful human imagination.
When I speak of imagination I am referring to God in you, of which there are two sides: imagining and contacting. Contacts are what imagining is all about. When you imagine, you contact a feeling, and the feeling you imagine, you create. You are the same God who created the world and all within it, but while you are clothed in a garment of flesh and blood your power is keyed low.
I do hope you understand the rules to the game of life; and – because there is a positive as well as a negative rule – I urge you not to curse anyone. Ecclesiastes used the words ‘king’ and ‘rich’ because they are the ones most often envied. A person need not be a millionaire, however, to be envied. He could simply be a little bit better off than another. Someone could live in a better neighborhood, pay more rent, maybe even go to a better restaurant, or buy better clothes, to be envied. So we are warned not to curse the king or the rich in our thoughts, for they cannot be concealed, as all thoughts are completely one; and by a law divine they mingle in one another’s being.
Awareness seems to be scattered, as everyone on the outside is aware. But no one needs ask another to aid in the change of his world if he changes it on the inside. If another is necessary to bring about the change, he will – with or without his consent. You do not have to single out the individual to play the part in bringing about the change you have imagined. He will play his part if necessary because we all intermingle. All you have to do is stand at the end, from within.
I remember visiting my family in Barbados, when I was told I could not leave the island for seven months; but I wanted to leave on the next boat out. To me, being on that boat was my end; so – while sitting on a chair in my parent’s home – I entered the boat in my imagination and viewed the island as I was departing. I did not know how I would get on it, but a week later when the boat left the island I was there. This I know from experience.
In your desire to go anywhere you must first go there in your imagination, and even those who may deny your request will aid you when the time is right. I got out of the army that way. Knowing I wanted to be honorably discharged and in my apartment in New York City, I slept as though it had already happened and I was already there. Then my captain – who had previously disallowed my discharge – had a change of heart and aided in my release. Anyone can do it. This game is easy to play and can be lots of fun in the doing. Think of an object you would like to hold. Think of a place you would desire to be. Then find an object in that room and feel it until it takes on sensory vividness.
Don’t make it a lamp, but that lamp; not a table, but that table. Sit in that chair until you feel the chair around you. View the room from that chair and you are there, for you are all imagination and must be wherever you are in your imagination. Now, cast your bread upon the water by feeling the relief of being there, and let your genie – who is your slave – build a bridge of incident over which you will cross to sit in that chair, hold that lamp, and touch that table.
In Genesis, the story is told of Isaac – who was unable to see, but capable of feeling – calling to his son, Jacob, saying: “Come close my son that I may feel you. Your voice sounds like my son Jacob, but you feel like Esau.” At that moment Jacob – the imaginary, purely subjective state – possessed the qualities of Esau, the objective world. So Isaac gave the imaginary state the right to be born.
As Isaac, you can sit quietly and with your imaginary hands you can feel the difference between a tennis ball, a baseball, a football, and a golf ball. If they are nothing (because they are subjective and not objectively real to you at the moment) then you could not discriminate between them. But, if you can feel the difference between these so-called unrealities, then they must be real, although not yet made objective to your senses. The moment you give them reality in your mind’s eye, they will become real in your world.
Try it just for fun. Take an object and thank the being within you for the gift. Then thank the one on the outside, for within and without are vicarious, as is life; for by observing an odor, a look, or a feeling within, you will discover you are life itself.
Yes, life is a game. Paul calls it a race, saying: “I have finished the race, I have fought the good fight and I have kept the faith.” I call it a game. Both are competitive; but the opposition is with self and not with another, for there is no other. Do not try to get even with another. Grant him the right to use the same law to achieve his goal, even though it may be similar to yours. The knowledge you share will never rob you. Simply determine your goal. Feel you have achieved it and cast your bread upon the water. Then drop it and let the game of life be fulfilled in your world.
Now let us go into the silence.