Whatever we do with difficulty we are not doing well. When it requires effort to do our duty this means that a great part of us does not want to do it. When we get rid of our hidden resistances we work with ease. As a strong wind, applied in the right way, drives the ship without effort, just so the forces in our lives, if they are adjusted to one another, will without strain or stress easily and naturally work together to carry us in the direction we have chosen. When we get rid of blind conflicts, even the business of ruling our spirits becomes feasible.
=Various “Sprees."= The human animal has a constitutional dislike for dullness and will seize upon almost any device which promises to lift him out of what he considers the monotony of daily grind. An elaborate essay might be written on the means which human beings have taken to create the sense of aliveness which they so much crave. Some of them—we call them savages—have found satisfactory certain wild orgies in primitive war-dances; others—we shall soon call them “out of date”—have found simpler a bottle of whisky or a glass of champagne; still others find a cold shower more invigorating, or a brisk walk or a good stiff job which sets them aglow with the sense of accomplishment. But there are always those who, for one reason or another, find most satisfactory of all a chronic emotional tippling, or a good old-fashioned emotional spree. Persons who would be shocked at the idea of whisky or champagne allow themselves this other kind of indulgence without in the least knowing why.
Nor is the connection between alcoholism and emotionalism so far-fetched as it seems. Psycho-analytic investigations have repeatedly revealed the fact that both are indulged in because they remove inhibitions, give vent to repressed desires, and bring a sense of life and power which has somehow been lost in the normal living. Both kinds of spree are followed by the inevitable “morning after” with its proverbial headache, remorse, and vows of repentance but despite all this, both are clung to because the satisfaction they bring is too deep to be easily relinquished.
Whenever an emotion quite out of keeping with conscious desire is allowed to become habitual, we may know that it is being chosen by a part of the personality which needs to be uncovered and squarely faced. Nervous symptoms and exaggerated emotionalism are alike evidence of the fact that the wrong part of us is doing the choosing and that the will needs to be enlightened on what is taking place in the outer edge of its domain. In the choice between emotionalism and equanimity, the selection of the former can only be in response to unrecognized desire.
A nervous person is invariably an emotional person, and as a rule lays the blame for his condition upon past experiences. But experience is what happens to us plus the way we take it. We cannot always ward off the blow, but we can decide upon our reaction. “Even if the conduct of others has been the cause of our emotion, it is really we ourselves who have created it by the way in which we have reacted."