Rosicrucian Writings Online

[H. Spencer Lewis]

[From The Rosicrucian Digest July 1932]
THIS is the month when millions of persons throughout the world seek a period of rest and recreation. Among the English speaking races the summer months are generally known as vacation months. So universal has become this habit of abandoning work and serious occupations and turning attention toward the lighter and happier things of life that great businesses exist for the purpose of caring for the desires of the millions who feel that they must go away from home and away from the familiar environments to some other place to find rest and enjoyment which they seek. Steamship companies usually are taxed to their utmost facilities during this period and railroads, hotels, amusement places and every means of convenience, entertainment, diversion, and extraordinary interest finds the summer months the sole reason for their business existence.
It is strange that human individuals should feel that journeys to distant places are necessary in order to find diversion, rest, recreation, and pleasure. One cannot blame the laborer and the business employee, nor the housewife and student, for wanting some little change of scenery and some change of local environment during such a period. The business office, the store, the schoolroom, the rooms at home, and even one's own garden and yards, no matter how attractively arranged, do become boresome and uninteresting during a period when one is conscious of the thousands of other attractive sights and amusing facilities that are easily available to everyone, regardless of any expenditure that may be made.
What is more difficult to understand, however, is the desire on the part of so many persons to travel great distances in order to find the change of environment or change of scenery that will bring them new interest or afford them an opportunity to rest and enjoy the freedom of their time. We can understand the teacher, the housewife, the professional man, the student who is interested in foreign history, foreign peoples, or the study of human nature, desiring to go to distant lands and there benefit by the sights and the revelations of time and country. But why should the young man or young woman, or business man or business woman, who has only a few weeks or a few days at his or her disposal, seek to plan a trip to some very distant place and spend most of the vacation time in foreign travel when they are not familiar with the many benefits, the many surprising, fascinating, beneficial benefits to be found close at home?
Those who live in the United States seem to forget that this great country affords in its diverse topography, climate, and division of types of people, hundreds of opportunities for unique and fascinating tours with many advantages for American or English speaking persons not to be found in any foreign countries. There are those living in eastern states who will find in the midwest or in the west or on the Pacific coast all of the surprising features of nature's beautiful handiwork that they may ever find in any foreign land, and there are places right among the eastern states in the hills of Pennsylvania and New York and some of the southern states where nature in all of its ruggedness and beauty affords ample opportunity for the feasting of the eyes, the resting of the body, and the entertainment of the mind.
Millions of persons have travelled from foreign lands to view the Niagara Falls, the Great Lakes, the Catskill Mountains, the trail of the pines in the South, the beaches of Florida, or the harbors, the parks, and the historic buildings of Massachusetts, Maryland and Washington, D. C. Millions have left the east and the midwest to see the coast line, the high mountains, the forests, the plains and valleys of California, where some of the oldest living things in this world are to be found, such as magnificent Sequoia trees still towering majestically toward the sky and which were old and stately even at the time that Jesus, the Christ, was upon earth. There are millions of persons who have travelled through Canada to see the ruggedness and beauty of the magnificent mountains of that wonderful land and yet there are thousands living in Canada who think they must go to the United States or Mexico to find rugged scenery that delights their hearts. There are those in Europe who think that only in the Orient or in Asia, in Africa, Australia, or the United States can be found that great change of scenery and of human life which will afford them the opportunity to rest and invigorate their minds with new impressions, yet we have those here in this country who believe that there is no scenery more beautiful than the Alps, or the Dolomites of Italy, or the beautiful mountains and valleys of Austria, the rivers and cities of Germany, the chateaus, castles and old palaces of France, or the stately homes and beautiful gardens and estates of England.
Persons living in these European countries are apt to think that they must go far abroad to find real beauty and historic interest, as well as rest, and yet we who have toured Europe many times can plainly see where those living in the congested areas of cities like Paris, Berlin, London, Vienna, Rome and many others, need go but a short distance to find the most beautiful of inspiring sights. For those living in Italy it is but a short ride by train or automobile through Genoa and San Remo to the Italian and French reviere to Monte Carlo and Nice, where Americans believe the world is most beautiful and attractive both summer and winter.
The Londoner thinks of the trip to the continent of Europe as a long journey and often prepares for weeks in advance for such a trip, yet the fact of the matter is that one may journey from London by train to the shores of the channel and by first class passage across the channel and then by train again through a beautiful part of France to the heart of Paris in eleven hours and for a cost of approximately eleven dollars of American money. Such a trip is equivalent to a ride from New York City to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and thousands are taking this trip daily as a matter of business and do not consider it a real journey nor a vacation trip. It is merely an incident in their business life. And there are very few trips in America that one can take with such a wide change of scenery and such a complete change of nationality and human interest for an expenditure of so little in time and money as the trip from London to Paris.
Those living in Berlin can find themselves within twenty-four hours in the very heart of Denmark after a fascinating trip by rail and steamer and at a very small expense. There is hardly any trip possible for Americans living in the heart of the United States that can be taken within twenty-four hours that will bring them such a complete change of environment as those that can be taken in Europe, and yet Europeans, like Americans, overlook the magnificence of the opportunities that lie within their reach and think only of the distant hills, the distant lands, and the possibilities they may afford.
Perhaps it is due to the fact that our imagination paints the distant scenes with more glamour and scintillating tinsel, more fascinating romance, and more mysterious intrigue than we paint the things that are nearer or closer to us. After all, the great benefit to be derived from any vacation is the opportunity to get closer to God. God is present everywhere in His manifestations, power, and consciousness, but we can only discern God through His great laws, through his beauteous manifestations and through an inner contact with Him. To get out into the open country anywhere is to get closer to God. To get by oneself and sit along the banks of a babbling brook, or under a tree upon a mountain top, or in the deep shadows of a forest and to listen to nature's music as the wind moves, as the birds and animals produce their various sounds as the sun moves and casts its shadows in fairy-like apparitions across the ground and shrubbery around us, is to watch and observe a panoramic play of nature unequaled by the most stupendous theatricals of human invention.
To sit among some flowers or to gather them and then sit down in quietness to fondle and examine them or breathe their perfume and analyze their colors and forms and study the multiplicity of laws involved in their growth and development is to have the most inspiring day of recreation humanly possible.
The need for a change in environment, in thought, occupation and interest is not an artificial creation on the part of man but is an urge of the inner self and it is never quite satisfied when the change is limited entirely to man-made, fictitious, artificial, pleasures that merely divert the mind from any real thinking at all and attempt to inhibit the call of the inner self by paralyzing it with rapid action and continuous pre-occupation. Camping along the trails of civilization in any state, in any country, still continues to be the most fascinating form of vacation recreation, and this is true because it affords persons a real opportunity to get closer to nature and enjoy the realities of life rather than our artificial things.
Whatever may be your desires for a vacation for this summer, let part of your time be spent out in the open spaces, or in the sunlight and shadows of nature's own real amphitheater. Do not always go where the crowds go and avoid as much as possible the tinsels and distractions of commercial amusements. Give your eyes a real rest by letting them loose upon nature's own colorings instead of the painted things made by man. Give your body an opportunity to sleep upon the ground for a few hours each day close to the grass and the earth and absorb the magnetism which the earth transmits to all living beings with greater benefit to the body than any tonic or medicine that man has ever found. Drink fresh spring water from the old well, or the spring, or the running brook, from an old cup, and find the pleasure of an exhilarating tonic made by nature in her own unequaled way. Lie down on your back somewhere and watch the rolling clouds go by and let your thoughts project themselves into the open spaces of the sky until you feel you are above the earth and looking down upon it and you will become attuned with the manifestations of the Cosmic realm. Eat fresh vegetables, freshly picked and uncooked, if possible, and benefit by the life giving qualities that nature has put into her products in accordance with God's injunction when He told Adam that all of the fruits of the earth would administer to his needs. Get away from the eating of canned goods and the commercially prepared or artificially seasoned things of the kitchen. Romp and play with the creatures of the animal kingdom. Become one with all of nature in its ruggedness, its sturdiness, its divine magnetism.
If you must go among the crowds of men and women or congested areas go where you will find those who think as you think, who are like-minded and who will talk and discuss with you subjects relating to matters of interest and profit to you. Go where the air and the sunlight and even the rain of the midday or night are blessings and benedictions rather than inconveniences. Go where you can quickly leave the small bedroom, the poorly ventilated dining room, the crowded and unpleasant business stores, or the darkened and unnatural theaters or moving pictures, and get into the open spaces of the road side, the hillside, the river side or the valleys and plains.
If you can take time, by all means come to California and see the highest of American mountains, the most attractive of nature's rugged places, the unusual areas of thousands of forms of wild flowers, the exhilarating climate, the fresh foods, and the contacts with the persons who think and feel as you do. Come to the Convention if you possibly can and meet with those who will understand your thoughts and who will help you to master your personal problems and who understand your interests in life. But if you cannot come to the Convention go somewhere this summer for your vacation where you will be away from crowded places, stuffy rooms, formalities of dress and entertainment, and live as nature intended you to live and get closer to God and closer to the source of all life, of all habits, and of all people.

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