The Game of Life (book)
The Game of Life and How to Play It, published in 1925, teaches the philosophies of its author, Florence Scovel Shinn. The book holds that ignorance of, or carelessness with the application of various 'Laws of Metaphysics' (see below) can bring about undesirable life events.
- 1 Spiritual laws discussed in the book
- 2 Influences
- 3 Books and writing
- 4 References
- 5 Further reading
Spiritual laws discussed in the book
Here are some of the Spiritual Laws Florence Scovel Shinn explains in the book:
The Law of Expectancy
Florence Scovel Shinn emphasises the power of the imagination to bring about life events:
|“||Whatever man feels deeply or images clearly, is impressed upon the subconscious mind, and carried out in minutest detail.
"Keep thy heart (or imagination) with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life." (Prov. 4:23.)
This means that what man images, sooner or later externalizes in his affairs, I know of a man who feared a certain disease. It was a very rare disease and difficult to get, but he pictured it continually and read about it until it manifested in his body, and he died, the victim of distorted imagination.
So we see, to play successfully the game of life, we must train the imaging faculty. A person with an imaging faculty trained to image only good, brings into his life "every righteous desire of his heart" - health, wealth, love, friends, perfect self-expression, his highest ideals.
About the power of words:
|“||Jesus Christ taught that man's words played a leading part in the game of life. "By your words ye are justified and by your words ye are condemned." [Matthew 12:37]
Many people have brought disaster into their lives through idle words. For example: A woman once asked me why her life was now one of poverty and limitation. Formerly she had a home, was surrounded by beautiful things and had often tired of the management of her home, and had said repeatedly, "I'm sick and tired of things - I wish I lived in a trunk," and she added: "Today I am living in that trunk." She had spoken herself into a trunk.
Florence Scovel Shinn points out that words must be followed-up with acts of faith that one will receive what one desires:
|“||If one asks for success and prepares for failure, he will get the situation he has prepared for. For example: A man came to me asking me to speak the word that a certain debt would be wiped out. I found he spent his time planning what he would say to the man when he did not pay his bill, thereby neutralizing my words. He should have seen himself paying the debt.
We have a wonderful illustration of this in the Bible, relating to the three kings who were in the desert, without water for their men and horses. They consulted the prophet Elisha, who gave them this astonishing message:
"Thus saith the Lord - Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain, yet make this valley full of ditches."
Man must prepare for the thing he has asked for, when there isn't the slightest sign of it in sight.
It is needless to say that the ditches dug by the three kings in the desert were filled to over-flowing. (Read, II Kings [3:16-17])
The Divine Pattern and Intuition
Florence Scovel Shinn says that one must always ask for the "right" circumstance, or the "Divine selection," and not to ask for specifics.
|“||A woman came to me asking me to "speak the word" for a position. So I demanded: "Infinite Spirit, open the way for this woman's right position."
Never ask for just "a position"; ask for the right position, the place already planned in Divine Mind, as it is the only one that will give satisfaction.
After making a divine request, sit back and wait for an intuitive lead or hunch.
|“||Very soon, she had three positions offered her, two in New York and one in Palm Beach, and she did not know which to choose. I said, "Ask for a definite lead."
The time was almost up and was still undecided, when one day, she telephoned, "When I woke up this morning, I could smell Palm Beach." She had been there before and knew its balmy fragrance.
I replied: "Well, if you can smell Palm Beach from here, it is certainly your lead." She accepted the position, and it proved a great success.
The Law of Substitution
According to Florence Scovel Shinn, sometimes our desires are misdirected, if only slightly.
|“||Many people are in ignorance of their true destinies and are striving for things and situations which do not belong to them, and would only bring failure and dissatisfaction if attained.
For example: A woman came to me and asked me to "speak the word" that she would marry a certain man with whom she was very much in love. (She called him A. B.)
I replied that this would be a violation of spiritual law, but that I would speak the word for the right man, the "divine selection," the man who belonged to her by divine right.
I added, "If A. B. is the right man you can't lose him, and if he isn't, you will receive his equivalent." She saw A. B. frequently but no headway was made in their friendship. One evening she called, and said, "Do you know, for the last week, A. B. hasn't seemed so wonderful to me." I replied, "Maybe he is not the divine selection - another man may be the right one." Soon after that, she met another man who fell in love with her at once, and who said she was his ideal. In fact, he said all the things that she had always wished A. B. would say to her.
She remarked, "It was quite uncanny."
She soon returned his love, and lost all interest in A. B.
This shows the law of substitution. A right idea was substituted for a wrong one, therefore there was no loss or sacrifice involved.
The Law of Karma
Florence Scovel Shinn explains that the Law of Karma is also known as the Law of Cause and Effect.
|“||"Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap." This means that whatever man sends out in word or deed, will return to him; what he gives, he will receive.||”|
|“||If he gives hate, he will receive hate; if he gives love, he will receive love; if he gives criticism, he will receive criticism; if he lies he will be lied to...||”|
The interesting thing about this Law, is that the Karmic return often comes back from a different direction:
|“||One of my students was in the habit of lying. I told her it was a failure method and if she lied, she would be lied to. She replied, "I don't care, I can't possibly get along without lying."
One day she was speaking on the 'phone to a man with whom she was very much in love. She turned to me and said, "I don't trust him, I know he's lying to me." I replied, "Well, you lie yourself, so someone has to lie to you, and you will be sure it will be just the person you want the truth from."
Similarly, good deeds can be returned somewhere else:
|“||People are sometimes filled with remorse for having done someone an unkindness, perhaps years ago.
If the wrong cannot be righted, its effect can be neutralized by doing someone a kindness in the present.
The Law of Non Resistance
The Law of Non Resistance may be considered a sensible corollary to the Law of Karma, i.e. do not react to a negative situation with more negativity, as that will bring back more harm down the track.
|“||"Bless your enemy, and you rob him of his ammunition." His arrows will be transmuted into blessings.||”|
Florence adds an important message for foreign ministers:
|“||This law is true of nations as well as individuals. Bless a nation, send love and good-will to every inhabitant, and it is robbed of its power to harm.||”|
As in Christian Science, Florence Scovel Shinn questions the reality of evil:
|“||Jesus Christ said: "Resist not evil," for He knew in reality, there is no evil, therefore nothing to resist.||”|
|“||If you are afraid, you are giving in to a belief in two powers, Good and Evil, instead of one.||”|
The Law of Forgiveness
Though Karma is a powerful law, Florence Scovel Shinn explains that the Law of Forgiveness or Grace is a higher law.
|“||Christianity is founded upon the law of forgiveness - Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Karmic law, and the Christ within each man is his Redeemer and Salvation from all inharmonious conditions.
As man becomes spiritually awakened he recognizes that any external in harmony is the correspondence of mental in harmony. If he stumbles or falls, he may know he is stumbling or falling in consciousness.
One day, a student was walking along the street condemning someone in her thoughts. She was saying mentally, "That woman is the most disagreeable woman on earth," when suddenly three boy scouts rushed around the corner and almost knocked her over. She did not condemn the boy scouts, but immediately called on the law of forgiveness, and "saluted the divinity" in the woman. Wisdom's way are ways of pleasantness and all her paths are peace.
The Law of Use
Florence Scovel Shinn explains that a gift is a better investment than a savings account.
|“||Many people are in ignorance of the fact that gifts and things are investments, and that hoarding and saving invariably lead to loss.
"There is that scattereth and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty."
Scovel Shinn explains that the Law of Use means that it is improper to hoard that for which one has no use for.
|“||I knew the case of a very rich woman, who hoarded her income. She rarely gave anything away, but bought and bought things for herself. She was very fond of necklaces, and a friend once asked her how many she possessed. She replied, "Sixty-seven." She bought them and put them away, carefully wrapped in tissue paper.
Had she used the necklaces it would have been quite legitimate, but she was violating "the law of use." Her closets were filled with clothes she never wore, and jewels which never saw the light.
The woman's arms were gradually becoming paralyzed from holding on to things, and eventually she was considered incapable of looking after her affairs and her wealth was handed over to others to manage.
So man, in ignorance of the law, brings about his own destruction.
So man must not hoard, but must use or give away generously...
|“||Giving opens the way for receiving. In order to create activity in finances, one should give... But the gift or tithe must be given with love and cheerfulness, for "God loveth a cheerful giver." Bills should be paid cheerfully, all money should be sent forth fearlessly and with a blessing.||”|
The Law of Love
Florence Scovel Shinn quotes Jesus when she explains the importance of love.
|“||Every man on this planet is taking his initiation in love. "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another."||”|
|“||Real love is selfless and free from fear. It pours itself out upon the object of its affection, without demanding any return. Its joy is in the joy of giving. Love is God in manifestation, and the strongest magnetic force in the universe. Pure, unselfish love draws to itself its own; it does not need to seek or demand. Scarcely anyone has the faintest conception of real love.||”|
Scovel Shinn reveals that love (in conjunction with faith) restores health.
|“||All disease, all unhappiness, come from the violation of the law of love. Man's boomerangs of hate, resentment and criticism, come back laden with sickness and sorrow. Love seems almost a lost art, but the man with the knowledge of spiritual law knows it must be regained, for without it, he has "become as sounding brass and tinkling cymbals."||”|
Scovel Shinn's writing shares some common beliefs with Mary Baker Eddy, and there is some shared terminology. e.g. 'Infinite Spirit', 'Mortal Mind', 'Treatment', 'Demonstration' and 'Native Nothingness'. However her writing style is more familiar and less verbose than that of Mary Baker Eddy.
Also Scovel Shinn makes less of the illusion of matter, an argument that dominates Mary Baker Eddy's work Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures.
Scovel Shinn's emphasis on the power of the spoken word may have been influenced by Emma Curtis Hopkins.
Florence Scovel's books are widely discussed and admired in Unity Churches around the globe.
Books and writing
Unable to find a publisher for The Game of Life and How to Play It she published it herself in 1925. "Your Word is Your Wand" was published in 1928 and The Secret Door to Success was published in 1940 shortly before her death on October 17, 1940. The Power of the Spoken Word is a compendium of her notes, gathered by a student and published posthumously in 1945.
Florence Scovel Shinn's first book can be downloaded in pdf format at the following site:
-  The Game of Life and How to Play it
Extracts from all of her books can be read online at the following links:
-  The Game of Life and how to play it (1925)
-  Your Word is your Wand (1928)
-  The Secret Door to Success (1940)
-  The Power of the Spoken Word (1945 - notes published posthumously)
- Shinn, Florence Scovel (1925). The Game of Life and How to Play it.
- Collected works
- F.S. Shinn, The Wisdom of Florence Scovel Shinn: Four complete books, Fireside Books, New York, 1989.
- The Cornish Colony
- Alma Gilbert-Smith. The Women of the Cornish Colony. Exhibition Catalogue for 2002. Cornish Colony Gallery & Museum.
- Alma Gilbert-Smith. Cornish Art of the Past Century: Art for Art’s Sake. Cornish Colony Gallery & Museum, 2001.
- James B. Atkinson, Alma Gilbert-Smith, The Cornish Colony: One Hundred Year Celebration Exhibit, 1898-1998. Alma Gilbert, Inc., Plainfield, New Hampshire.
- Virginia Reed Colby, James B. Atkinson, Footprints of the Past, Images of Cornish, New Hampshire and the Cornish Colony. New Hampshire Historical Society, Concord, New Hampshire, 1996.