In listening to music or poetry, one should endeavour rather to feel their beauty than try to use the mind in thinking about it; because such listening, in order to serve its true purpose, should awaken the inner feeling. In the development of the life of man everything external to himself should be used simply as a means to an end for the full and complete expression of his own life. Some might claim that such a proceeding would end in extreme selfishness, but just the reverse of this is true. Said Pope:

"God loves from whole to part, But human souls must rise from individual to the whole. Self love but serves the virtuous mind to wake, As the small pebble stirs the peaceful lake."

It is only through self-development that a man can come into right relation with his fellow-man. It is only through soul development that the self at last comes into conscious relationship with the Source of Being from whence it took its rise. There is what might be termed an unconscious selfishness where the self seems solely engaged in its own preservation. This is one of the necessary stages in life, because the one who has never cared for himself cannot come to care for any other self, since everything must begin with the self and work from that self outward. The part, as it were, reaches out to establish at-one-ment with the whole. Through learning how to care for and protect one's self there later comes the power to care for and protect others. Selfishness and unselfishness are varying degrees of the same thing. The first is personal desire for happiness, pleasure, and self-protection. Later this is all used for the happiness, pleasure, and protection of others. If one had never lived the former part of it, one could never know how to live the latter part of it. In the grand economy of nature, nothing is ever lost. Everything fulfils some purpose. What we call our lower nature is only the laying of the foundation for something that is larger and more enduring; but from first to last it is all necessary, and, consequently, it is all good. Because each individual man is a member or part of humanity, it follows that whatever makes for his highest and best good must also be working through his life for the good of others. Because no man liveth unto himself, his feelings, thoughts, spoken words, and his actions all exert an influence upon his fellow-men. The kind of influence he exerts is solely dependent on what he himself is. If his life is filled with melody and harmony, then he is showing a way of escape to those whose lives are monotonous and discordant. While each person is of necessity bound to work out his own salvation, yet the value of the light and help that may come from another life is almost incalculable. We may not carry the burdens of others, but we may lighten those burdens through showing them easier and better ways of carrying them.

The person, then, who is trying to purify and refine his own life is aiding the world at large probably as much as he could in any other way. Later there will come a stage where he will lose all concern for his personal will, where he will concentrate his time and attention on feeling, thinking, and caring for others. That time comes only when a man becomes conscious that he is at-one with God and his fellow-man; the part becomes, as it were, merged in the whole, the personal will becomes displaced by the Universal, and the man is consciously co-operating with God.

The question often arises in the mind of an individual as to how he can best cultivate his mind and develop his life; and too often he makes the mistake that such cultivation can only be attained through what might be called materialistic ways and means which give no lasting returns. I know that many people will take exception to the advice or suggestion I am about to give, saying that if they were followed out they would unfit the man or woman for practical, every-day living. Now I know that there are two sides to life - the side that should be thoroughly idealistic, and another side that should be as thoroughly practical. But I assert that there should exist no antagonism between the two, that true idealism should always be expressed in a thoroughly practical way, that the idealistic life is not necessarily made up of dreams that can never be realised, but rather of visions of things that are to be. The world could never make any progress if it were not constantly receiving new ideals; therefore, in the truest sense of the word, it is not the layers of brick or the hewers of wood who are the creators of the world's beautiful, artistic buildings, but the architect who first wrought out the structure in his own mind. Were it not for the inner vision the world would perish. An early English poet wrote:

"My mind to me a kingdom is; Such present joys therein I find, That it exacts all other bliss That earth affords or grows by kind."

Now, if the mind is devoid of beauty of thought, there can be no beauty of expression. If we are to enter into the enjoyment of our own minds, then the inner must necessarily be filled with something for us to enjoy. I have said this by way of preface for what follows.

A person may be so busily engaged in his every-day work that he may not have very much time to give to anything outside of it; but if he can do his work more easily and better because of giving some little time to the improvement of his mind, and if he is to find satisfaction and joy in his own mind, then he must be willing to devote as much time as he can in order to obtain the best results. He should cultivate the love of music, and he should cultivate his singing voice preferably to some musical instrument. If he can cultivate both, so much the better. He should learn to discriminate between good and indifferent music, and never select the poorest when he can have the best. I do not mean to say that the person who is just taking up music should become absorbed in the classical or higher order of music, but there are many degrees, or, we might say, planes of music, where even the most simple music may be good or indifferent. Select, then, the best music of its kind, whether for the voice or instrument. Remember that music is the greatest power in the world to awaken the inner emotions, and not merely the elemental passions of life. Try to feel its rhythm and melody within the self; then seek to give expression to it, in so far as you are able. Make the life musical, and the mind will become stored up with delightful memories of the music you have listened to. After music read the greatest poets. Next to the composer of music comes the composer of verse. In a lesser way he may be said to be putting the things of the spirit into tangible form. The writer can remember times in life, many years ago, when, feeling despondent or gloomy, he could take up one of the great poets and become so thoroughly absorbed in reading that after fifteen or twenty minutes he would find all the gloom and despondency dispelled. The reading of the poetry was, in fact, a mental treatment that made for a healthier and brighter outlook on life. The poet, too, like the composer, is very close to the soul of life and is able to interpret something of the joy and gladness, something of the faith and hope, that live eternally in the soul. In other words, it is the composer of music and the composer of verse that help to bring us in closest relation to the soul of healing. People cannot make a study of one or the other without its having a direct action upon their inner lives to call out more of sweetness and light, to act as a refining influence upon the external life. Thus we not only lay the foundation for a beautiful life in the present, but are storing up the riches that shall last when this present life is no more; for as we brought nothing in the way of material things into this world, so when we leave it, we take nothing with us save the love and wisdom we have acquired while here in this world. This constitutes our real capital of life, no matter where we are.