How to Create the Ideal Life | Inspirational Podcasts

Podcast Transcript: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast, brought to you in part by Book of Zen, makers of wearable inspiration for a better world. Today’s podcast has been edited and adapted from the book Joy Philosophy by Elizabeth Towne, published in 1903…

You and I are artists. But we are prone to look too long and often at our canvas (the results of our efforts) and too little at our Ideals, which are the source of all effort and accomplishment.

Let us take special times every day for gazing upon our Ideals. The first thing in the morning, and the last thing at night, should be daily given to special gazing upon what we desire. Then several times a day, we should pause in our efforts, for a few moments’ study of the Ideal.

Choose for these sittings the same hour, the same place, and even the same chair facing the same way. Let the chair be an easy one, but with a straight back. Keep your appointments with your Ideal to the minute, as nearly as possible. But if at any time you are unavoidably hindered, take the earliest moment possible.

And always remember that the matter of first importance is to stay relaxed. To let a change upset you simply necessitates extra time and effort to get settled again.

Sit bolt upright, resting against the back of your chair, and in an easy position. Keep absolutely still, with eyes resting (not fixed) always on the same spot, straight ahead, and slightly above level. Do not get into a rigid state, but see that you are still. Aim not to move even once during the entire sitting, which should be about half an hour long. Perhaps less to begin with.

Now having disposed of your body, rise mentally to the highest heights you can picture. For instance, take your highest business ideal; picture it in rosy colors and definite outline. Stretch it. Make your ideal just as large and fine as possible. Picture out the details as plainly as possible. Make it definite. Decide just what you mean to work for and to realize.

Let us suppose that you are parent with a family of small children whom you wish to educate. You don’t want just barely enough money to send them to college, leaving yourself broke and struggling in retirement, during your golden years. You want to be successful and financially comfortable, so valuable to the world that you can receive plenty of money in return for your service.

You want to GROW in wisdom and knowledge until more lucrative and enjoyable work is successfully achieved. You want, say $100,000 a year, to come easily to you as a result of your own positive and skillful effort.

Keep filling in the details of your Ideal and get just as enthused over it as you possibly can. But keep your muscles relaxed. Rise above the body and revel in your Ideal.

There is a reason for this—when muscles are relaxed they are in condition to be filled with power from the Ideal that is held. Tensed muscles keep out the mental energy. Mind has a positive impact upon muscle, and relaxed muscles are receptive to mental power.

So loosen the body and get enthused over your Ideal. Let your mental picture wake as much emotion as possible; for emotion is a real creative force, and creates after the pattern held in mind.

If you hold a fearful picture in mind, emotion creates it. In the Bible, Job says “I feared a great fear and it came upon me.” If you hold a beautiful picture, emotion creates that too. Fear and joy, and all intermediate shades of feeling, are the same force—the soul-force out of which all creation is made.

So I tell you to do your best to get enthused and exalted over your Ideal. Keep telling yourself that your Ideal is you, and that in due time you will prove it in terms of matter. If it is not you, what is it? Your Ideal exists within you, does it not? And therefore it must be you. And your financial hurdles, your work, your “conditions,” exist outside of you, do they not? Then they are not you. What exists within is you.

Of course, your “conditions” do have their mental pictures within you too—pictures which preceded the conditions themselves. In past years, you have held with emotion the mental pictures of these very conditions. Hence their creation. But these pictures have grown old, as people grow old, and they are ready to be laid away and dissolved to ashes.

Every single day and hour you are dwelling with emotion upon mental pictures which are to take their place, both inside and outside of you. So I bid you to take special hours for holding with enthusiasm the sort of pictures you want to create— instead of letting your mind perpetuate the same old things over again. And I bid you to put into this Ideal picturing all the emotion you can summon, to the end that you, more quickly and vitally, will create what you want.

Of course, this is not at first easy to do. Conditions will come in between you and your Ideal—conditions which arouse fear, which is emotion (your creative energy). Your emotion has habitually gone out to your current conditions, recreating them. And when you picture your Ideal it thus seems cold, dead, and unreal.

But this is another place where practice makes perfect. Repeated efforts will soon switch emotion into new channels, permitting the old mental pictures to shrivel. And better conditions will follow.

The more regular your efforts, the more quickly will energy acquire the habit of flowing in these new directions. There is enormous power in the rhythm of effort. One soon gets into the swing of a new thought, and it begins to move by its own energy. By rhythmic effort, you will soon create, through your Ideal, a throbbing of the heart. The Ideal passes through the period of gestation and comes forth into the material world.

Make light of the circumstances that exist today. Do not permit them to play upon your emotions. But exalt the Ideal. Glorify it. Accord it all power. Rejoice in it and give it your most loving thought. Return to it at regular intervals, and always enthuse over it. But only to yourself.

As to other people, keep mum. Many an Ideal is stillborn because we waste our energy in talk; and because we draw to ourselves the opposition or contempt of others. Be still. Make no noise, except when there is something to be gained by it. Noises of all sorts use up your mental energy. In stillness, power is generated. Be still.

After a few days of faithful practice at gazing upon your Ideal, you will find your whole life changing. You will find yourself with more heart for your work, and things will seem easier to do. Depressions will grow less frequent and less profound, and in time they will entirely cease, and you will find new ideas coming to you about how to do your work. Then your interest in it will increase, and you will begin to know the joy of the successful artist in life.

When you arrive at this stage, you will wake some morning to find yourself making more money. And you will find yourself with growing faith, or conviction, that in due time your Ideal will become real. After that, all is easy — your Ideal will live outside you, instead of having to be carefully nurtured at stated intervals.

Between the times when you gaze specially upon your Ideal, it is well to forget it as fully as possible. Put your best thought into your work. But never neglect your appointed sessions with your Ideal.

All life is growth, and an Ideal is no exception. Let it grow. Stretch your imagination to take in all you can. For example, if you find yourself approaching the $100,000-a-year mark that you have set for yourself, you may find yourself wanting $150,000. Now don’t accuse yourself of never being satisfied. Just rejoice in this evidence of continued growth, enlarge your operations, and go in to win on a larger scale.

Whenever you achieve any ideal (small or great), don’t stagnate. Look within and find another Ideal to work for. Your Ideals are inspired for your use. Look eagerly upon them and know that they are Life itself.

You do not make your Ideals. They make you—if you keep mentally in touch with them.

Now, perhaps you feel that you are too old; or that your burdens are too great; that you have no time or energy to pursue your Ideals. I say that it is never too late to drop your burdens and use your energy to some joyful purpose. All one has to do is to declare “I have no burdens. Life is a play-ground!“ and stick to it.

You have no burdens—they are all a hallucination. Life is a play-ground of circumstances and situations. Not burdens. That is the TRUTH. Just tell it to yourself until it works its way into your semi-paralyzed mind and makes itself felt.

Relax physically and mentally. Lie idly under an apple tree and look up to the blue sky and let your fancy play with the world. You will find a new and happy TRUTH in common things, just as Isaac Newton did.

Lie there and let truth regenerate you. By and by, you will think of something you want to go play at. Perhaps the pervading humor of the world will suggest that you want to make mudpies again. Perhaps it will suggest an apple pie instead. It is a lot more fun to make apple pies than mud ones—not to mention eating them afterwards.

Perhaps you will prefer to go play the game of business. Well, play that. This whole great play-ground is before you. Go play. Make your own choice of games and have a good time.

There are many serious people who say, “Life is real. Life is earnest.” But I say to you that “Life is really what you think it.” It is a great game, a tragedy, or a sentence of hard labor, just as you will. If you don’t like what it has been, use your ingenuity to make it different.

Above all things, drop the burdens. Refuse to make bricks without straw. If the world won’t let you go, just go anyhow.

There is always a Red Sea to cut off pursuers and obliterate your tracks—unless perchance you dig up your old tracks and lug them through the wilderness. If you do, I give you fair warning, you’ll never get across the border into the land flowing with milk and honey.

Today is a new, glorious day—different from any other day—a clean and beautiful day. The Red Sea has wiped out all the old days; the new days are not yet born. This is the only day there is. Go play in it.

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