What a life!" groaned my brother, tumbling out of bed on a wet Monday morning to take up again the week's relentless grind. And that, I am afraid, describes most of us.
Yet is this feeling really necessary? Life from one angle is uninteresting. It's always the same thing, more or less, over and over and over again — from the stars and planets arriving on the dot at the same point in their heavenly pathways year after year through the millenniums, to the starting of the percolator at 6:30 on every morning of the year!
Routine governs the universe. Fortunately for us too. For without almost endless repetition there could be no development, no evolution. Doesn't it take any one of us a fearfully long time to learn anything? Walking, talking, controlling temper, learning to play a musical instrument. So repetition and routine are facts that we have to reckon with. We cannot change the habit of the universe. Nevertheless there is still a whole lot we can do about it.
If you ask what that is, I reply: "By developing our innate powers." But don't let me mislead you. You may be thinking I am going to talk about the power to precipitate violets and carnations out of the atmosphere, or make an emerald turn up in the apple pie. That would make life interesting, I admit! But the Editor would never let me get by with it.
Seriously, the powers I am referring to are three — imagination, will, and love. Don't we all use our imagination whenever we wish to get creative results? To write a story or give a talk, or think up the real way to help a neighbor? Isn't our will-power right on the job the instant we need it — to control irritation or check an unkind retort? Can't we look with the piercing eye of impersonal love into every situation which confronts us and determine exactly what we ought to do about it?
Let us look into life as we know it and answer these questions in the light of everyday experience. Now 'creative imagination' sounds like a large term, I agree. It may suggest only such pictures as Beethoven working out the 'Moonlight Sonata,' or Turner dashing upon canvas his inspired vermilion and gold, even of someone like S. S. Van Dine turning out one of his best-sellers. Strange, how seldom it occurs to us that life itself is the highest art of them all.
If we could only bring ourselves to realize that the principles of creative imagination can consciously be applied to marriage, parenthood, a business or professional career, there would be fewer failures. A human being has the powers within himself to take the most commonplace events of daily life — in the office, the schoolroom, the nursery, or the kitchen — and make each one of them a creative masterpiece.
But we must first want to do this. "Back of will stands desire," as the Sages tell us. And we must believe in our Divine Self and its creative powers. Within our own nature reside the germs of all the creative ideas and the power and glory of the unfathomable cosmos. And yet this tiresome personality of ours takes more pleasure, seemingly, in being miserable than in standing up to things. It is far more dramatic to feel oneself unhappy and thwarted. It gives a chance to comfort our weaknesses with self-pity, the most destructive of all human qualities.
So let us gird ourselves and call upon the spiritual will. A mere sentimental desire will not do the work. It must be purposeful, determined, and continuous effort. If we will begin like this and keep it up day after day (repetition again, you see), our very cells will begin to change. We shall be transforming the life-atoms of our brains and nervous systems — so often drugged with the poison of egotism and self-pity — by using the electric, actually the spiritually potent, currents stepped down to us from the creative inner spheres.
If John Everyman will carry into his office work this creative use of his imagination, aided by a determined will purified by the power of impersonal love, surprising results will follow. By impersonal love is meant that kind of interest in others which puts their welfare before his own. This may sound to him impractical as applied in a business office. But has he really tried it? If he does, it can be confidently predicted that this attitude will open up within him all sorts of new channels of service. These will include inspired suggestions, ideas for his own job, such as increasing his power of initiative and invention. For it is the enlightened quality of universal intelligence within ourselves from which all inspiration flows. And such cannot register in a mind always constricted within its own selfish limits.
When in turn we consider mothers and school teachers, doctors and nurses, school principals and business executives, or any other career that might be suggested, we have only to apply creative imagination to realize how these spiritual powers of ours can be applied. By developing today in our own environment the creative vision and a will purified by the understanding love that gives all and demands for itself nothing, we are taking the first step on the age-old path of self-conquest. It will call out, strengthen and develop for practical use, every faculty of our being.
Will it not then serve to make life, for the first time, supremely interesting?
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