11 Apr How to Live Life Without Regrets – Inspirational Podcasts
Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. Remember to subscribe to our new YouTube channel for a fireside chat version of our podcast. Simply look us up on YouTube to subscribe or visit LivingHour.org/youtube. Today’s podcast has been edited and adapted from Thoughts Are Things by Prentice Mulford, published in 1898.
THE tendency of many people after they are a little “advanced in years” is to look backward with regret. The “looking” should be the other way–forward. If you want to go backward in every sense (mental and physical), keep on cultivating the mood of living regretfully in your past life.
It is one chief characteristic of the material mind to hold tenaciously to the past. It likes to recall the past and mourn over it. The material mind has a never-ending series of solemn amusement in recalling past joys, and feeling sad because they are never to come again.
But the real self, the spirit, cares relatively little for its past. It courts change. It expects to be a different individual, in thought, a year hence from what it is today. Indeed it is willing a thousand years hence to forget who it is today, for it knows that this intense desire to remember itself for what it has been retards its advance toward greater power and greater pleasure.
Do you want forever to bear with you the memory and burden of pain, especially when such burden brings more pain and deprives you of pleasure? It is like a bird that insists on carrying with it always the shell from which it was hatched. If you have a sad remembrance, fling it off. If you can’t fling it off, demand that the Supreme Power provide aid to help you do so, and such aid will come.
If you want to grow old, feeble, gray, and withered, go at once and live in your past, and regret your youth. Go and to revisit places and houses where you lived twenty, thirty, forty years ago; call back the dead; mourn over them; live in remembrance over the joys you had there, and say they are gone and fled, and will never come again.
In so doing you are fastening dead selves all over you. If we came into this physical life with the memory of our last one, we should come into the world physically as miniature, decrepit, and grizzled old men and women. Youth physically is fresh and blooming, because it packs no past sad material remembrances with it.
A girl is beautiful because her spirit has flung off the past and sad remembrance of its previous life, and has therefore a chance for a period to assert itself. A woman commences to “age” then, when she commences to load up with regrets over a past but twenty years gone.
For the body it uses, your spirit demands: grace, agility of movement, and personal beauty, for it is made in the (quote) “image of God,” and beauty, grace and agility are the characteristics of that infinite mind and life. In that phase of existence we call childhood and youth, the spirit has the chance to assert its desire for beauty and agility, because it has not (as yet) been loaded up with false beliefs and regrets.
The liveliness, sprightliness, and untiring playfulness of the boy or girl of ten or twelve, is due to the gladness of spirit relieved of the burden that is carried in a past existence. That burden was one of thoughts unprofitable to carry. You would physically have the agility you had at fifteen could you fling off the burden of sad remembrances and beliefs of error that you have been loading up with these twenty or thirty years past.
You can commence the unloading process now, by resolving, with the aid of the Supreme Power, to fling off the remembrance of everything in the past that has annoyed you, everything you regret, everything you have mourned over.
Have you buried your dearest on Earth? You do them no good by your sad thoughts concerning them. You place a bar between their spirit and yours in thinking of them as “lost.” You may in so doing not only increase and encourage in them a sad mental condition, but bring their gloomy mental condition on yourself, as many do in grieving.
The greatest good we can do them is to think of them as alive like ourselves, and to fling thoughts of graves, tombstones, coffins, shrouds, and ghastliness out of our minds. If we cannot do so of ourselves, let us demand help of the Supreme Power to do it. We often make those who have lost their bodies feel dead when we think of them as such. If we do this, they will throw back their thoughts of deadness on us.
Keep out of graveyards. It may seem to some that I am cold and unfeeling to say this, but the truth (as it presents itself to me), says that the graveyard where your loved ones do NOT lie is spiritually a most unhealthy place to visit. Graveyards are full of thoughts of regret, death, and decay. When you visit them you incorporate such thought into yourself. It is hostile and killing to youth, vigor, elasticity, cheerfulness, and life.
Our graveyards are full of lies. We place a stone over the cast-off body of a friend. We place on that stone the word “died.” That is not true. Your friend is not dead. It is only the body they used that lies there. But that grave is planted in your memory, and your friend (in your mind) lies in it.
Do what we will (try to believe what we may of immortality and the impossibility of anything like death in the universe), we cannot help making for ourselves when we think of that grave or revisit it, an image of that friend as dead and decaying in his or her coffin. This image we fasten in our minds, and in so doing we fasten on ourselves the thought of gloom, death, and decay. These thoughts of decay and death are things and forces. When we keep them so much in mind we add elements of decay to the body.
We need, as much as possible, to fasten our thought on life and increasing life — life greater in its activity than any we have ever realized. That is not gained by looking backward. Look forward.
Every regret, every mournful thought, takes so much out of your life. It is force used to pile on more misery. It is force used to strengthen the habit of regretting. It is force used to make the mind color everything with a tinge of sadness, and the longer you use the forces in this way, the darker will grow the tinge.
When we are ever going back in memory to the past, and living in it in preference to the present, we also are bringing back on ourselves the old moods of mind and mental conditions belonging to that past. This feeling constantly indulged in will bring on some form of physical ailment. The ailment belongs to a condition of mind which we should be done with forever.
If we are looking forward, we shall shake it off and be better in health than ever. But if the predominant mood of our minds is that of looking backward, the ultimate result will be serious to the body.
You may be saying: “I have failed in life and shall always be a failure.” That is because you are ever looking back, living in your failure, thereby bringing to you more failure. Reverse this attitude of mind; work it the other way and live in your future success.
Nothing in Nature (nothing in the Universe) is at a standstill. Nothing goes backward. A gigantic incomprehensible Force and Wisdom moves all things forward toward greater and higher powers and possibilities. You are included in, and are a part of, this Force.
Your spirit of youth and ever growing youth is your eternal heritage. If your body has “aged” that is no sign that your spirit has “aged.” The spirit cannot grow old in the material sense, anymore than the sunlight can grow old. If your body has “aged” badly, it is because your body has become the material likeness and expression of the false self or “shell” which has formed on your spirit.
Your false self is made up of thoughts that have been prevalent from an early age, and those thoughts are untrue thoughts. A large proportion of that thought is regret. Regret is an inverted force–a turning of the mind to look backward when its natural and healthy state is to look forward and live in the joys that are certain to come when we do look forward.
In the new life to come to humanity, when we have learned to be ever looking forward to the greater joys to come and cease to look backward and drag the dead past with us, men and women are to have bodies far more beautiful and graceful than those of today — because their bodies will image or reflect their thoughts, and their thoughts will ever be fixed on what is beautiful and symmetrical. They will know that what is to come (and what is in store for them out of the richness of the Infinite mind) must exceed anything they have realized in the past.
Today (among the great majority of us), our attitude of mind is directly the reverse. Owing to the little trust that we have in that Power the theologian calls “God,” we are ever in our minds saying: “There are no joys to come for us like our past joys. Our youth has fled. Our future on earth is tame and dull. It is as dust and ashes.” The truth that life does not end with the death of the body thus makes slow progress in fixing itself firmly in our minds.
The kind of life a person may be living at seventy does not end here in the grave. It continues straight on. The “old man” (the old woman) as we call them here, wakes up on the other side of life after losing their body an old person still. If they are one of those old people who have “outlived their day and generation,” who live in their physical past and look back on it with regret, who have become “too old to learn,” they will be just such an old person in the world of spirit. There is no sudden transformation into youth on the death of a worn-out decrepit body. As the tree falls, so does it lie for a period, even in the hereafter.
But in this state the old codger cannot stay forever. They must grow not in age but youth. To do this it is necessary not only that they should leave the old body but the old material mind that made that body. Their spirit throws off that mind when they gain a new body (that is, reincarnated), and they throw it off because they lose the recollection of all past sad memories and regrets.
The man should (in mind) be always the boy, the woman, the girl. You can as a man or woman be always a boy or girl in spirit, without being silly or losing real dignity. You can have all the playfulness of youth with the wisdom of maturity. To have a clear powerful mind, you need not be an owl.
Power comes of looking forward with hope — of expecting and demanding the better things to come. That is the law of the Infinite Mind, and when we follow it, we live in that ageless mind.
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