The very worst thing in life that can happen to a man is to get into ruts or fixed ways of living, for in the doing of this he ceases to be his own master and becomes the slave of his own habits. Such a man is neither an inspiration to himself nor to anyone else. No matter how much work he may be accomplishing, he has little more of mind or soul than an automatic machine; and no matter how much of this world's goods he may accumulate, he will never be able to enter into the real enjoyment of them, and he frequently stands in the way of others who might enjoy life were it not for the undue pressure he brings to bear upon them. The ounce of prevention is much better than the pound of cure, but the ounce of prevention must be used, if we are going to profit by it. The prevention of a morbid or a despondent mind is a much easier thing than its cure. The prevention of pain and disease of body will usually not take half the time that the cure takes. By renewing the mind and filling it with the real joy of life, with rhythm and melody, harmony and beauty, one may go on doing one's work, possibly increasing it day by day, and yet not wear out; because it is not work that wears us out, but the wrong way in which we do it. When we can put a joy into our work, the hours speed by rapidly, but when we work in a mechanical way, we watch the hours and the day is long. Will humanity never learn that there is a God-given way of doing everything, and practise that way? or must it go on indefinitely doing everything in the hardest possible manner? At present, civilised humanity lives either in the past or in the future, and gets little out of the present. Few people have made the discovery that the present offers to one all that one is capable of entering into and enjoying; and when once understood, one has really entered into the eternity of true living. The only thing that really concerns us is to know how to live to-day, and the living of to-day in the best way we know how, will aid us when the morrow comes to a still better way of living. Life as we live it now is too often filled with unrealities, negative thoughts, and negative actions. What we need is to be alive in every part and to live life as the Almighty intended His children to live - in a free, joyous, happy way. Better be a beggar and be able to enter into the joys of nature, to feel attuned, as it were, to the world in which one lives, to enjoy the blueness of the sky, the green of the earth, and the colour of the flowers, the beauty of the trees, to enter into and feel the heart-throbs of nature than be the prince or the millionnaire, who has all the world can give and yet is not able to enjoy that which he has. Life is not a state for the mere accumulation of material riches, but a state of consciousness, and anyone who is filled with the pure joy of life, and is trying to impart it to the lives of others, is in possession of the real riches, and to him life is worth living. Humanity needs a tuning up to a higher key than that to which it is living. What is the use of living in the slums, surrounded by everything of a degrading nature, when one may live on the mountain tops? We can best fit ourselves for true living by bringing every refining influence to bear upon our lives: music, poetry, painting, architecture, the best of drama, the literature of history, travel, romance, etc.; in demanding the very best, we consequently get it. Through following such a course, the whole inner life is awakened and one begins to live. There is too much of the just existing to no particular end or purpose. It is better to make mistakes than to drift purposeless through life, for people often profit by their mistakes, but there is no profit in drifting. Life was intended to be lived every inch of the way from the lowest elemental savage to the fully developed saint. One should never be satisfied to go through life eating, drinking, sleeping and being clothed. Such a life is profitless, being filled with no endeavour to be or to do, to become all that one wants to become, to do in the best possible way all that one desires to do. Fill the mind with creative desire, desire that has purpose and object in it, and then go confidently ahead and live the desires of heart and mind. The beauty of music and colour may be made to fill the mind and the heart with high, true, pure desire. Why not use it to overcome the old habits, the old desires, the old obstacles that stand in the way of real accomplishment? We can overcome when we will to overcome. In the past we have been satisfied to say that things are well enough, that we have no desire to improve upon them; let us see that nothing is ever well enough, that new departures and new and better ways should constantly be entering into life, that when we have achieved one end, we have only fitted ourselves for still greater achievement. It is always through doing that we grow, and when the heart and mind are filled with a sense of the beautiful, then everything is going to be done in one's outer work in the most beautiful way. Life can bring to us whatever we will to have it bring; and it is the one who is rhythmic, melodious, and harmonious in action who will reap the strength, the beauty, and the perfection of life.
In the study of life we find a law of contradiction. In logic, when the absolute truth of any theory is ascertained, then anything which in any way contradicts that truth is held to be false or untrue. In our every-day life we lose sight of logic and, consequently, go on believing many things to be true and believing their contradictories to be true also. In our every-day life, hate seems to be as true as love; doubt as real as faith; despair as real as hope; disease as real as health; sorrow as real as joy; death as real as life; and we might go on indefinitely enumerating these contradictions of life, love, and truth. Mankind is not yet able to see all this in its true light; if love, faith, and hope, etc., constitute living the realities of life, then whatever contradicts them must of necessity be false and untrue. To a degree, people see this, but only in the most limited way. No one, unless he were very ignorant, would affirm the reality of darkness; he might say that darkness had an existence, but its existence was wholly dependent on the absence of light, and at any minute by the turning on of the light, the darkness would vanish. Neither would anyone claim that ignorance was something in and of itself, but would tell you that with the coming of knowledge the ignorance would be dispelled; that ignorance simply indicated a lack, and with the supply of that lack, ignorance would cease to exist. That which is true concerning one contradictory is, from first to last, true of all contradictories. The introduction of truth into the mind eventually dispels everything that contradicts it. One of the most important things to which I would call attention is that man's life on this earth, from first to last, is a process of overcoming. A New Testament writer says: "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." There is also a promise made in the book of Revelation: "He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son." We overcome darkness with light; we overcome ignorance with knowledge; we overcome hate with love; and so on; all the way through life we encounter unreal states of consciousness in order to replace them with real ones.