A VERY common belief held by mortals is that environment determines one's career, that is, that "circumstances make the man;" and that, accordingly, there is no escape from the constrictions forced upon one by the conditions in which he lives. This conclusion, however, grows out of an erroneous concept of life—an utter lack of understanding of the truth about God, man, and the universe. The solution to the problem, then, lies in gaining that understanding, and in applying it to the overcoming of whatever phase of belief would tend to hamper and circumscribe one's human experience, to limit his activities and usefulness.
In discussing the topic, "Growth is from Mind," on page 520 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mrs. Eddy says, "Spirit acts through the Science of Mind, never causing man to till the ground, but making him superior to the soil." And she immediately follows with a most significant statement which supplies the remedy for the belief which would hold man in bondage to the enslaving sod. "Knowledge of this lifts man above the sod, above earth and its environments, to conscious spiritual harmony and eternal being." Here is a positive statement that man is not limited in his capacities, is not bound to heavy labor, but that, as the son of God, man abides in the atmosphere of Mind, environed by Spirit, which reflects its infinite capacities through its perfect ideas forever unfolding.
This being true, does it not follow, then, that the conclusion that we are controlled by circumstances, that is, by our earthly environment, belongs wholly to the category of beliefs which postulate man as material, subject to material conditions and limitations? And it follows that this fallacious argument is as susceptible of refutation through the application of spiritual truth, as is the destruction of any erroneous belief called sickness or sin through application of divine power. As we become assured of the scientific fact, and apply it, we shall overcome the sense of lack of opportunity for spiritual growth, lift our mental horizon, and come into a larger place, a less restricted sense of life and its expression. Jesus' memorable words, recorded in John's Gospel, are directly applicable to this situation. "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly," was spoken in the understanding that more abundant life comes from throwing off the sense of material limitation and the gaining of an enlarged understanding of the infinite, of Life and its expression.