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C12. The Use & Necessity of Recreation.

Divide the word “recreation” in two parts, thus: re‑creation and there is given it a clearer meaning. Recreation is a re‑creative process for mind and body. In any healthy amusement we draw and build into ourselves a re‑creative, recuperative, life‑giving current of thought. Healthy amusement literally re‑creates us. Life without amusement— life sad and serious, seldom, if ever, smiling—life plodding on in a monotonous rut and seeing and finding less and less to enjoy is for the body a de‑creative and destructive process.


Re‑creation not only throws off care, but adds to the capacity to resist care. Re‑creation enables the mind to forget temporarily what is only an injury for it to remember. Re‑creation adds new life to the body, because it brings new life to the mind, and life for the mind is life for the body. Re‑creation gives strength to meet trial and difficulty. You do not so much want to be spared trial as you want that strength which shall cause you not to fear it. You do not want to run away from the person or the difficulty or the interview you dread as much as you want that state of mind when you meet that person, that difficulty, that terrible lion in your path, which shall not only rid you of all fear, but make the trial an entertainment for you.

Re‑creation, and plenty of it, is one great source for getting this strength, for it is our so much dwelling on difficulties and the difficulty of getting our minds off our perplexities, caused in part through the great lack of color or diversion in our lives that adds to those very troubles by making us weaker to resist them.

Were grown up people able to play more in the spirit in which they played in their childhood, the more would they retain of the elasticity, litheness and vigor of childhood. Children in playing together do literally feed each other with a living element (the spirit of their play), and get from it a great stimulant and strength.

On the other hand, people drudging in companies and engaged in any effort in which they are not interested, feed each other with thought element or spirit heavy and sluggish in quality. People so drudging whose lives are monotonous, colorless and lacking in variety must become at last slow, heavy and sluggish in every movement of muscle, as well as mind.

Every effort we make and every kind of work we may have to do, be it digging in the garden or writing an essay, can be made a source of life‑giving amusement or re‑creation. No matter what you do it is the same force (i. e., thought) which drives whatever part of the body you may use in the doing. If you dig, that force acts through the muscles used in digging. If you are an orator, the same force acts through your tongue to express the thoughts coming to you as you stand before your hearers.

If a writer, the thought or force coming to you acts through arm and hand as put on paper.

Our so‑called most trivial acts may be made sources of re‑creation and pleasure. No act however small should be irksome. We have occasion an hundred times a day to do so‑called little things wherein we are impatient in the doing. We snatch the coat from its hook. We reach for this or that article on our writing table, begrudging the time and effort it takes. We shape in writing our letters in a hurry and take no pleasure in giving them form or legibility. We are using our muscles constantly in some way which gives no pleasure. Every movement of muscle which gives no pleasure is a de‑creative process. It adds its mite to the wearing out of the body. It begets the habit of impatience and unrest.

It is not work that kills people. It is the manner of doing it. Reposeful work is rest. But the science of repose reaches down to the crook of a finger, and a habit of order which will not neglect the proper place for a pin or a pen. Heaven is born out of the day of small things.

Perhaps you say, “If people should make physical effort in the slow, deliberate way you indicate, they would have very little done by the day’s end.”

To this we answer, that whatever is done in this mood would be well done and would not have to be done over again. But what is of far more importance in this reposeful, deliberate, and, it may be added, pleasure‑giving way of performing physical acts, a great deal more at the same time would we be doing spiritually. The greatest results in life do not come of pushing material things about or of using anything material. They will come to you, supposing you have a set purpose in view in proportion as your thought or force works apart from your body on others favorable to that purpose. When you are in the current of hurried, fatiguing or irksome effort that force works at great disadvantage. When you are in the current of reposeful, pleasure‑giving effort, in every possible act your force works more and more on others night and day to your advantage. Results to you in material things will come quicker and quicker. New ideas will come faster.

Finally, you will gain ability to rest or gain strength in all effort, be it of any sort. You will as you call strength to you in any physical movement reserve of it a little instead of giving it all out in that effort. This is the secret of all physical effort when it is pleasant. It comes of mental or spiritual growth and not from any course of material training.

Especially the room sacred to ourselves should he the place above all for re‑creative, reposeful, deliberate effort in the doing of all things. By such doing and in such calm frame of mind do we make a thought atmosphere in which our highest and best friends, unseen of the physical eye, can enter and mingle their thought with ours, so that our happiest moments will be realized there. And this realization of their presence and communion of mind will ever increase, when once we are in the re‑creative mood of doing all things, so that finally all sense of loneliness shall depart. More, we can in such place and atmosphere receive the wisest suggestion and impression as to the course most proper to pursue in all our undertakings. You will then have fairly entered when you can so enjoy what most people call “being alone” in that vast and unseen world of being, individuality and existence, which lies closer to us than our doors. For it enters our doors. It is about us and all around us, and is surely to be reached and realized by some, in our own time as their minds so grow and refine as to be able to sense it, first faintly and feebly, but as time goes on its reality will be more and more apparent.

In ancient times there lived in oriental lands those of calm, contemplative and re‑creative mood, who while acting little with the body accomplished great results through their spiritual power. A part of their secret lay in the cultivation of reposeful, re‑creative effort in the doing of all things. The other part lay in their knowledge and trust in the Supreme Power, and ever drawing more and more from that power.


In that world of to us unseen existence many a poet, dramatist and writer has in mind entered and temporarily lived. So did Shakespeare. His creations to us are realities. Had they known better the laws of their being, could they have emerged from the domain of material thought and beliefs, they would at last have believed in their finer and spiritual senses, have more used and trusted them, and so going forward step by step they would have shaken off the fetters of mortality, put on immortality and recognized what even they deemed fancies as truths. Their higher minds wrote down truths which their lower and material minds scorned, discredited and rejected afterward.

But the better period has dawned. Though its gray light as yet but tinges the sky, yet man does to‑day stand in knowledge on the threshold of his more glorious and beautiful life. Let us not despise as trivial the steps and methods by which only it can be realized; nothing is trivial.

Any effort ceases to be re‑creative the moment it becomes wearisome. That is the time when our force or thought ceases to put new element into our mind or spiritual being.

If you come into the thought atmosphere of people who find pleasure in harmless recreation, you absorb of that atmosphere. It is life and life‑giving element. It does good to mind and body. It builds up both and strengthens both.

When you re‑create a mind, freshen it, get it for a time off a too much worn track of thought, physical effort or study, it is then cleared to receive new ideas. Inspiration does not come of memorizing or plodding or poring over books.

It comes of keeping the mind in a proper condition to receive newer thought than ever was printed in books, and newer device or invention than ever before was seen in the machine shop.

We are all of us dual. That is, we possess and use the mind of the body, and the other and higher mind which acts through the more powerful and far reaching spiritual senses.

The mind of the body or that portion of our mind and force which acts directly on the body, often needs a certain limited, gentle and pleasing outlay of effort in the direction of seeing things of beauty or exercise of muscle, or hearing. Such outlay or exercise can keep it out of injurious currents of thought. For instance, many men get a certain rest in whittling. They can think clearer while so engaged. In other words, the act of whittling concentrates their material mind on such exercise, while the other and higher mind and senses are liberated, and can go forth and act, and that certain repose a man feels while engaged in such act comes of the temporary liberation and exercise of his other and finer senses.

Thinking or getting new ideas does not come at all of trying to think. On the contrary, it comes of getting the mind in the most restful and contented mood. That is why some of my lady readers may get their best and most agreeable thoughts or mental moods while engaged without hurry, in their sewing or fancy work—or in any physical effort which you do not set out to do in just so many minutes, and care not whether it is finished this week or next. Work in this mood ceases to be work at all. It becomes play, and as we have said before, because it is worth twice saying, the gentle unstrained physical effort in getting the material mind on a certain track leaves the higher mind and senses more freedom to act in.

In time to come all the world’s physical work will be done in this restful mood, and without hurry or straining to accomplish a certain amount in a certain time. Then all work will become as play. It will also be far better done. But far more results will come of such method of doing.

If you have any set purpose in view, and you have for the day done all physically you can to attain that purpose, stop further work. Rest, amuse yourself in some harmless way and re‑create. You are then gathering force and putting it on that purpose. You are sending then force constantly to push your purpose forward.

But if you keep your mind ever on the rack and strain as regards that purpose—if you are making effort all the time with the body only because you think you must “be doing something,” you are wasting force, driving the best results from you. Though you may gain small successes, they will not last and be as nothing when compared with the greater and permanent result which comes of using and trusting your spiritual power.

Then if your material mind will set up a worry because things look dark or do not move fast enough, demand Faith of the Supreme Power.

The world’s physical business, its building, its manufacturing is far too much hurried and strained. We act too much on the assumption that life is short, and so a great deal must be done in a short time. In a sense this is true. The very mental condition in which so many do business makes life short.

The race will realize in time to come that there is time enough to do all things reposefully and pleasantly, and that such mood of mind is one great factor in keeping the body strong and vigorous, and keeping that body far longer than its present average duration.

The young man who works all day at a trade is sometimes advised to go to the reading room, or a school of some sort in the evening, to “improve his mind.” Does he “improve it,” after having worked off so much force in the day time to work off more at night in the endeavor to fill himself with “facts,” a part of which fifty years hence may have proved to be fiction?

There is re‑creation in the study of any art when there is pleasure in such study. There is neither re‑creation, nor profit in the study of any art when we are tired or it becomes irksome. The moment you become tired is the moment to leave off. If you continue to paint or sew, or write your sermon, or if a lawyer pore over your authorities, or as a mechanic continue your work when mind and body protest in some way against further effort, you have no longer fresh thought force or inspiration to put on such work. You have sundered your connection with such thought current. You have made connection with an inferior drudging, repeating itself current of thought. You are receiving of that thought element and putting it not only in your work but in your body. As a consequence you will leave off not only tired, but afterward the very thought of your work will give you that peculiar mind sickness or disgust for it which always comes of over‑strain and fatigue. So when next you take up such employment you may feel such disgust for the reason that you re‑absorb the tired thought you left in your work.

So when our business, our trade, our occupation, our art, be it what it may, ceases to re‑create or give pleasure in the doing, or be done with enthusiasm and zeal, it is not well done, and really does us and others more harm than good. It is the tired overworked engineer whose exhausted faculties fail to recognize the danger signal and runs his train to destruction. It is the workman made careless through fatigue who allows the flaw to go unperceived in the shaft which breaks and possibly causes the steamer’s wreck. It is the artist who paints mechanically, or the actor who acts mechanically, with little or no love for his art or pleasure in its exercise, who never reaches the top rounds.

Up to a certain age, varying somewhat as to condition in life, the child is always learning something new—some new game or sport. This is always giving it new life. If you bring up a child where it has no opportunity so to learn new things, it will be a little old man or woman at ten or twelve years of age. When the boy or girl or young man or woman are put into the harness of conventional life, of the hard, serious, earnest work of life as we call it (which should not be hard, serious work at all were life what it should be and what it will be), when the boy has learned his one trade or profession and settled down to that and that alone, and the girl has also settled down in life as wife and mother and house care, and that alone, then it is they commence to become sad and serious—sober and careworn; and so life goes on till the end, and such minds exercised only in a rut—such spirit de‑created through lack of re‑creation drop after middle age gradually into a corner, is pushed aside by the younger element, become of less and less use and importance in the social or business circle, until at last their worn‑out bodies drop away from the spirit and are laid, as people say, “at rest,” an assertion which may not be so readily believed as more is known of what life really means and what it involves.

Why is this! Because such minds are not recreated by the learning of some new thing—of some new source of re‑creation—of some new source of rest whereby the thought or force is for a time diverted from some department of mind to another, some set of faculties to another, so that the lawyer in sailing his yacht shall be a rested and more powerful lawyer the next day—so that the matron in playing her part in the theatrical representation may return re‑created and recuperated next morning to the government of that empire in embryo, her household—so that the preacher in his painting loses his preacher self in the paradise of form and color, and returns to his pulpit with a fresh growth and shade of thought— grown in these periods of forgetfulness of preaching, and in this way should we all be makers of and givers of new life to each other.

For when you amuse or interest me or compel my attention or admiration by the display on your part of some great proficiency in music, in acting, in conversation, in skill and dexterity of muscle, you are proving and expressing some power and quality of God or the Infinite Spirit working through you, and in so centering my thought on one thing, you gather my scattered thought or spirit together, and in doing this you rest my spirit; and if you rest my spirit you rest my body with it; and if you rest my body you strengthen my body; and if you strengthen it you put in it the force or element to drive out disease.

When we cease to learn the new and take pleasure in such learning, the material part of us (the body) commences dying.

The ultimate of existence is a never ending course of learning and enjoying the new. 

Paul says: “Rejoice evermore.” It is the same as saying “play evermore.” In other words, “Rejoice and receive pleasure in the never ending expressions of your spirit as they are one after another developed. Rejoice in your business, your trade, your profession. Rejoice in your walking, your driving, your eating, your painting, your music—in all you do.”

But the physician might say here: “I take pleasure, to an extent, in the exercise of my profession. But sometimes it drives and wearies me. I am the slave of its demand, day and night. I am liable at any hour in the midst of my amusement, or rest, to be called to see a patient. How can I always rejoice?”

This question holds good with many professions.

Now, be your calling what it may, do you consider that you have full capacity and power for its exercise when you are tired, when vitality is at a low ebb, when your effort is strained, when you take little or no pleasure in its exercise? Are you then giving your best self, your best mind, your strongest power to your patient, your client, your patron in anything? Are you not, on the contrary, dealing out an inferior article?

“But I must go where my business or profession calls me,” you answer, “whether I am physically or mentally fit to go or not. I cannot say to a midnight caller in case of sickness, ‘I am unfit to give the patient the best of my skill now. He or she must wait till to‑morrow.’”

Yes, you can when you trust more in that Supreme Power which stands by every soul in proportion to its trust in it. The greater success awaits those who trust it, and the greatest success means being master of your own time and independence to that extent that you can say “No” to any demand or tempting offer when your highest conscience forbids its acceptance.

But all that interests and amuses minds does not re‑create.

That is an unhealthy and injurious taste which takes pleasure in spectacles of human suffering, be the suffering mental or physical. An audience which can look for hours on the spectacle of a human heart writhing in all the torments of jealousy or suspense or grief, is influenced by a grade of the same sentiment which once with pleasure saw the Christian captives suffering the same mental agony or fear as they were torn to pieces by wild beasts. Great talent is unquestionably thrown in such representations as great genius with the brush may expend itself in painting dead human flesh or in blood flowing freely from live human bodies from the axe of the executioner or the dagger of the assassin. That is amusement which does not re‑create with healthy thought element. It brings violence and fear and jealousy and all the lower order of thought more prominently to the minds of those who see it. It connects them with that domain or current of thought. It renders connection the more difficult with all that is quiet, beautiful, reposeful and constructive in nature. You absorb only elements of destruction and weakness after seeing a dramatic spectacle in which poison, the dagger, jealousy and revenge form the principal materials. You leave such a play worked up, exhausted, and the better fitted to connect yourself with what you call the Land of Dreams, with the same order of thought and action when your bodies are in the unconscious state we call sleep, and as a result you are the more apt to come back to and take up your physical instrument, your body, in the morning, unrefreshed,

un-recreated, because during sleep your mind or spirit in its dual and to your physical self, unconscious life, may have been sending to your body only the agitating violent destructive order of thought you saw last night at the tragedy.

I once asked a noted Italian danseuse, a devotee to the poetry expressed in physical motion, of what use was the maître de ballet, an accompaniment of the ballet more common years ago than at present. “It is,” said she, “because the presence of the man gives an inspiration or stimulus to the woman.”

There is for all effort, whether as termed mental or physical, a higher and finer inspiration when the sexes mingle as they should in all games or diversions. Man is not improved, or so much benefited, or re‑created when he goes by himself to his base ball, his billiards, his bowling alley, his sailing, his driving. Left to himself in these amusements, and without the restraining, elevating and refining element of the other sex, he becomes the coarser. When man herds with man for long periods whether on ship‑board, in armies or on frontier settlements, he becomes rough and coarse. When woman meets by herself, as she does in so many of our Eastern towns and villages where two‑thirds of the men have “gone West,” she becomes more narrow, gossipy, trivial, and is infected by that over prudishness, which seeing so much evil where evil is not, is the very essence of that evil which it most affects to fear.

Woman has as much nerve as man. She can be as cool in time of danger. Woman has quite as much vigor of muscle and endurance as man. The Sandwich Island women are rated as better swimmers than the men. Could a hod‑carrier bound over the stage like a danseuse? In Vienna you may see a certain class of women carrying hods of brick and mortar up the long ladders like men. How many men would care to change places with a farmer’s wife over her Monday’s wash‑tub? Or any one of the thousands of poor men’s wives in this country, who are cooking, bed‑making, house‑sweeping, marketing, baby tending, with forty different things an hour for their minds. The more objects you have to expend thought or force upon in a given time—the quicker do you exhaust that force. Is woman really so much the weaker sex? Regard the girl acrobat on the trapeze, or the girl rider at the circus. Is she not as lithe and graceful on skates as the man? Regard the girl in her happier and “tomboy” days, when with the boy she has the glorious privilege of climbing trees, rolling down hay mows, roosting on barn ridge poles and sliding down cellar doors. Does she not enter into all these things with the same zest and enjoyment as the boy?

Does she not the more enjoy them when in company with the boy? Does she not as a rule cease to exercise what we will term the athletic side of her nature, when custom says she must cross over to her side of the house and act like a young lady and put on a dress which fetters her limbs? And what then?

With less physical freedom, less of the natural and more of the artificial, less of open association, and, in so many cases, more of stolen interviews, is honesty and purity of mind increased. Are the evils which society in so restricting the association of the sexes endeavors to prevent, really prevented?

Both men and women would be the stronger physically were all their re‑creative effort in each other’s company, for the reason that the elements flowing in thought from each to each give a certain strength and stimulation which is lacking when they are apart. In this restriction of the sexes which has crept upon us during the ages, and had its origin in the barbaric era when woman was held as a chattel, man has actually deprived himself of the only element which can refine him, and woman is likewise deprived of an unseen element which would strengthen her. It is this unnatural separation of the sexes which long custom has made an unconscious habit in so many phases of life that begets the very evils it is intended to prevent.

Q's note:

Today is a Beautiful day!  "73 Degree F Mostly Clear."  (You: "What??")  Me: Hah hah, I'm just being "Silly."  Ya got a problem?  Hah?  ;D


Image Credit:


Google (n.d.). [Image]. Retrieved July 1, 2021, from


Mulford, P. (1886-1887). The use & necessity of recreation. Your forces and how to use them (pp.549-561). Hollister, Missouri: YOGeBooks by Roger L. Cole. doi: 2015:01:16:10:43:09

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