26 July 2012

From "On the Open Road," by Ralph Waldo Trine

Our complex modern life, especially in our larger centers, gets us running so many times into grooves that we are prone to miss, and sometimes for long periods, the all-around, completer life.  We are led at times almost to forget that the stars come nightly to the sky, or even that there is a sky; that there are hedgerows and groves where the birds are always singing and where we can lie on our backs and watch the treetops swaying above us and the clouds floating by an hour or hours at a time; where one can live with his or her soul or, as Whitman has put it, where one can loaf and invite one's soul.

We need changes from the duties and the cares of our accustomed everyday life.  They are necessary for healthy, normal living.  We need occasionally to be away from our friends, our relatives, from the members of our immediate households.  Such changes are good for us; they are good for them.  We appreciate them better, they us, when we are away from them for a period, or they from us.

We need these changes occasionally in order to find new relations--this is a twofold sense.  By such changes there come to our minds more clearly the better qualities of those with whom we are in constant association; we lose sight of the little frictions and irritations that arise; we see how we can be more considerate, appreciative, kind.

In one of those valuable essays of Prentice Mulford entitled "Who Are Our Relations?" he points us to the fact, and with so much insight and common sense, that our relations are not always or necessarily those related to us by blood ties, those of our immediate households, but those most nearly allied to us in mind and in spirit, many times those we have never seen, but that we shall sometime, somewhere be drawn to through ceaselessly working Law of Attraction, whose basis is like attracts like.

And so in staying too closely with the accustomed relations we may miss the knowledge and the companionship of those equally or even more closely related.

We need these changes to get the kinks out of our minds, our nerves, our muscles--the cobwebs off our faces.  We need them to whet again the edge of appetite.  We need them to invite the mind and the soul to new possibilities and powers.  We need them in order to come back with new implements, or with implements redressed, sharpened, for the daily duties.  It is like the chopper working too long with axe underground.  There comes the time when an hour at the stone will give it such persuasive power that he can chop and cord in the day what he otherwise would in two or more, and with far greater ease and satisfaction.

We need periods of being by ourselves--alone.  Sometimes a fortnight or even a week will do wonders for one, unless he or she has drawn too heavily upon the account.  The simple custom, moreover, of taking an hour, or even a half hour, alone in the quiet, in the midst of the daily routine of life, would be the source of inestimable gain for countless numbers.

If such changes can be in closer contact with the fields and with the flowers that are in them, the stars and the sea that lies open beneath them, the woods and the wild things that are of them, one cannot help but find oneself growing in love for and an ever fuller appreciation of these, and being at the same time so remade and unfolded that one's love, one's care, and one's consideration for all mankind and for every living creature, will be the greater.

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