“New thought is new life, and renewal of life. A new idea, plan or purpose fills us with hope and vigor. One secret of eternal life and happiness is to be ever pushing forward the new, or ‘forgetting the things which are behind, and pressing forward o those that are before.’ Eternity and endless space are exhaustless of the new. Senility comes through ever looking back and living in the past. You have nothing to do with the person you were a year ago, save to profit by that person’s experience. That person s dead. The ‘you’ of today is another and a newer individual. The ‘you’ of next year will be still another and a newer one.” ~Prentice Mulford
While Mr. Mulford was more of a social guru than a spiritual one, much of his advice applies to both worlds. And while he may have had detractors when he wrote this, most in the medical community would agree with him today.
Medical research has shown that the chances of developing senility or other forms of age-related dementia are greatly reduced by regular mental and physical activity. But for the mental part especially, it only works if you are learning new things, not just rehashing the past. The more different this new learning is from what you already know, the more effective it seems to be in reawakening the brain. If you have always been scientific, for example, studying an art will be very effective. But learning anything new helps.
Renewed Life of Spirit
An even more effective way to stop the mental deterioration is to move from purely material learning, to spiritual development. Here, you are not only learning something new and very different, but you are awakening new faculties: the spirit and soul.
A renewed life of spirit means turning away from materialism and seaking truth in spirit, the only place it can be found. Matter is illusion. It isn’t that is doesn’t exist, but that it is something quite different than it appears to be.
Mulford speaks of an “eternal life and happiness”. There is only one eternal life and that is the renewed life of spirit. He spirit and soul are eternal. The body and brain are not. So if you want to have eternal life, you have to awaken and develop a renewed life of spirit. It doesn’t just happen on its own. Nor does it happen by default when the physical body dies. We have to start the process while we are still alive on the material plain.
Don’t Play Dead
It is sad when I look around and see so many people, especially the elderly, who are trapped in the past. The hold parades in military uniforms forth years after their military service. I spent ten years in the Army, but that part of my life is over and I have moved on. I hear people complaining that many today don’t behave in certain ways that they consider appropriate. They consider them appropriate because it is how they behaved when they were teens or young adults. How conveniently they forget that their grandparents said much the same about that behavior they now dream of with nostalgia!
When your answer to virtually all of the problems around you is to turn to the past, you are one of those living dead that Mulford is addressing. You have to accept that while the experiences you have from the past are valuable, this is a different time. And tomorrow will be even more different. So stay alive and look to the present, not the past. Renewed life can only be renewed now and in the future, not the past.