22 Mar The Spirit of Opulence & Beauty | Inspirational Podcast
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 The Hidden Power, by Thomas Troward, published in 1921…
Many of our problems in life are due to a misapprehension of the nature of our own power. If we clearly realize that the creative power in ourselves is unlimited, then there is no reason to limit the extent of what we can enjoy by means of this power. When we are drawing from the infinite, we need never be afraid of taking more than our share. That is not where the danger lies. The danger is in NOT sufficiently realizing our own richness, and in viewing the externalized products of our creative power as being the true riches, instead of the creative power of spirit itself.
If we avoid this error, there is no need to limit ourselves in taking what we will from the infinite storehouse. And the way to avoid this error is by realizing that true wealth is in identifying ourselves with the spirit of opulence. We must be opulent in our thought. Do not “think money,” as such, for that is only one means of opulence. But think largely, generously, liberally, and you will find that the means of realizing this thought will flow to you from all quarters, whether as money or as a hundred other things not to be reckoned in cash.
We must not make ourselves dependent on any particular form of wealth, or insist on it coming to us through some particular channel—for that is to impose a limitation, and to shut out other forms of wealth, and to close other channels. Instead, we must enter into the spirit of wealth.
The spirit is Life, and throughout the universe Life ultimately consists in circulation, whether within the physical body of the individual or on the scale of the entire solar system. Circulation means a continual flowing around, and the spirit of opulence is no exception to this universal law of all life.
When this principle becomes clear to us, we shall see that our attention should be directed to the giving, rather than the receiving. We must look upon ourselves, not as a miser’s safe to be kept locked for our own benefit, but as centers of distribution; and the better we fulfil our function as such centers, the greater will be the corresponding inflow. If we choke the outlet, the current must slacken. A full and free flow can be obtained only by keeping it open.
The spirit of opulence—the opulent mode of thought—consists in cultivating the feeling that we possess all sorts of riches which we can share with others, and which we can share liberally because by this very action we open the way for still greater supplies to flow in.
Now, you may be saying to yourself, “But I am short of money, I hardly know how to pay for the necessities. What have I to give?”
The answer is that we must always start from the point where we are; and if your wealth at the present moment is not abundant on the material plane, you need not trouble to start on that plane. There are other sorts of wealth, still more valuable, on the spiritual and intellectual planes, which you can give. Therefore, you can start from this point and practice the spirit of opulence, even though your balance at the bank may be nil. Then the universal law of attraction will begin to assert itself. You will not only begin to experience an inflow on the spiritual and intellectual planes, but it will extend itself to the material plane also.
It is not money, but the love of money, that is the root of evil. And the spirit of opulence is precisely the attitude of mind which is furthest removed from the love of money for its own sake. It does not believe in money. What it does believe in is the generous feeling which is the intuitive recognition of the great law of circulation, which does not in any undertaking make its first question, “How much am I going to GET by it?” but, “How much am I going to DO by it?”
And by making this the first question, the getting will flow in with a generous profusion, and with a spontaneousness and rightness of direction that are absent when our first thought is of receiving only.
We are not called upon to give what we have not yet got and to run into debt; but we ARE to give liberally of what we have, with the knowledge that by so doing, we are setting the law of circulation to work. And as this law brings us greater and greater inflows of every kind of good, so our out-giving will increase, not by depriving ourselves of any expansion of our own life that we may desire, but by finding that every expansion makes us the more powerful instruments for expanding the life of others. “Live and let live” is the motto of true opulence.
Now, let us turn to Beauty. Do we sufficiently direct our thoughts to the subject of Beauty? I think not. We are too apt to regard Beauty as merely a superficial thing, and do not realize all that it implies. This was not the case with the great thinkers of the ancient world—for example, Plato describes Beauty as the expression of all that is highest and greatest in the system of the universe. These great philosophers of old were no superficial thinkers, and, therefore, would never have elevated beauty to a supreme place if it were only superficial.
Therefore, we shall do well to ask what it is that these great minds found in the idea of Beauty, which made it appeal to them as the most perfect outward expression of all that lies deepest in the fundamental laws of Being. It is because, rightly apprehended, Beauty represents the supreme living quality of Thought.
It is the glorious overflowing of Love’s fullness, and indicates the presence of infinite reserves of Power behind it. It is the joyous profusion that shows the possession of inexhaustible stores of wealth, which this can afford to be lavish and yet remain as exhaustless as before. Read correctly, Beauty is the index to the whole nature of Being.
Beauty is the externalization of Harmony, and Harmony is the coordinated working of all the powers of Being, both in the individual, and in the relation of the individual, to the Infinite from which it springs. And therefore this Harmony conducts us at once into the presence of the innermost, undifferentiated Life.
Beauty is most immediate in touch with the deepest mysteries of Life. It is the brightness of glory spreading itself over the sanctuary of the Divine Spirit. When viewed from without, Beauty is the province of the artist and the poet, and lays hold of our emotions and appeals directly to the innermost feelings of our heart.
It speeds across the bridge of Reason with such quick feet that we pass from the outmost to the inmost and back again in the twinkling of an eye. But the bridge is still there and, retracing our steps more leisurely, we shall find that, viewed from within, Beauty is also the province of the calm thinker and analyst.
What the poet and the artist seize upon intuitively, they elaborate gradually, but the result is the same in both cases—for no intuition is true which cannot be expanded into a rational sequence of intelligible factors, and no argument is true which cannot be condensed into that rapid suggestion which is intuition.
Thus the impassioned artist and the calm thinker both find that it is only true Beauty which proceeds naturally from the actual construction of that which it expresses. In other words, Beauty is not something added on as an afterthought, but something pre-existing in the original idea, something to which that idea naturally leads up to.
The test of Beauty asks, “What does it express?” Is it merely a veneer, a coat of paint laid on from without? Then it is indeed nothing but a whited sepulchre, a covering to hide the vacuity or deformity which needs to be removed. But is it the true and natural outcome of what is beneath the surface? Then it is the index to superabounding Life, Love, and Intelligence.
Wherever, therefore, we find Beauty, we may infer an enormous reserve of Power behind it. In fact, we may look upon it as the visible expression of the great truth that Life-Power is infinite. And when the inner meaning of Beauty is thus revealed to us, and we learn to know it as the very fullness and overflowing of Power, we shall find that we have gained a new standard for the guidance of our own lives.
We must begin today to use this wonderful process which we have learnt from Nature. Having learnt how Nature works—how God works—we must begin to work in like manner, and never consider any work complete until we have carried it to some final outcome of Beauty, whether material, intellectual, or spiritual.
Is my intention good? That is the initial question, for the intention determines the nature of the essence in everything. What is the most beautiful form in which I can express the good I intend? That is the ultimate question—for the true Beauty which our work expresses is the measure of its Power, its Intelligence, its Love—in a word, of the quantity and quality of our own life which we have put into it.
Nothing is of so small account that it does not have its fullest power of expression in some form of Beauty peculiarly its own. Beauty is the law of perfect Thought, be the subject of our Thought some scheme affecting the welfare of millions, or a word spoken to a little child. True Beauty and true Power are the correlatives of one another.
Kindly expression originates in kindly thought; and kindly expression is the essence of Beauty, which, seeking to express itself ever more and more perfectly, becomes that fine touch of sympathy which is artistic skill, whether applied when working upon material substances or upon the emotions of the heart.
Seen thus that the Beautiful is the true expression of the Good. From whichever end of the scale we look, we shall find that they accurately measure each other. They are the same thing in the outermost and the innermost, respectively. But in our search for a higher Beauty than we have yet found, we must beware of missing the Beauty that already exists.
Perfect harmony with its environment, and perfect expression of its own inward nature, are what constitute Beauty. And our ignorance of the nature of the thing or its environment may shut our eyes to the Beauty it already has. It takes the genius of a Van Gogh in painting or a Whitman in words, to show us the beauty of those ordinary work-a-day figures with which our world is for the most part peopled, whose originals we pass by as having no form or attractiveness.
Assuredly the mission of every thinking man and woman is to help build up forms of greater beauty everywhere—be they spiritual, intellectual, or material. But to do so, we must enter the great realistic school of Nature and learn to recognize the beauty that already surrounds us, even though it may have a little dirt on the surface.
Then, when we have learnt the great principles of Beauty from the All-Pervading-Spirit which it reflects, we shall know how to develop the Beauty on its own proper lines, without perpetuating the dirt and grime. And we shall know that all Beauty is the expression of Living Power, and that we can measure our OWN power by the degree to which we have transformed our lives, and the lives of those around us, for the better.
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