It is not normal to be ill and to be kept from our everyday use, but it is still less normal for a healthy, intelligent mind to keep its body ill longer than is necessary by resisting the fact of illness. Every disease, though it is abnormal in itself, may frequently be kept within bounds by a certain normal course of conduct, and, if our suffering from the disease itself is unavoidable, by far our wisest course is to stand aside, so to speak, and let it take its own course, using all necessary remedies and precautions in order that the attack may be as mild as possible.
Many readers, although they see the common sense of such non-resistance, will find it difficult to practise it, because of their inheritances and personal habits.
The man who held the hot poker only needed to drop it with his fingers; the man who is taken ill only needs to be willing with his mind and to relax with his nerves in order to hasten his recovery.
A very useful practice is to talk to ourselves so quietly and earnestly as to convince our brains of the true helpfulness of being willing and of the impediment of our unwillingness. Tell the truth to yourself over and over, quietly and without emotion, and steadily and firmly contradict every temptation to think that it is impossible not to resist. If men could once be convinced of the very real and wonderful power they have of teaching their own brains, and exacting obedience from them, the resulting new life and ability for use would make the world much happier and stronger.
This power of separating the clear, quiet common sense in ourselves from the turbulent, willful rebellion and resistance, and so quieting our selfish natures and compelling them to normal behavior, is truly latent in us all. It may be difficult at first to use it, especially in cases of strong, perverted natures and fixed habits, because in such cases our resistances are harder and more interior, but if we keep steadily on, aiming in the right direction,—if we persist in the practice of keeping ourselves separate from our unproductive turbulences, and of teaching our brains what we know to be the truth, we shall finally find ourselves walking on level ground, instead of climbing painfully up hill. Then we shall be only grateful for all the hard work which was the means of bringing us into the clear air of freedom.
There could not be a better opportunity to begin our training in non-resistance than that which illness affords.
Hurry, Worry, and Irritability
PROBABLY most people have had the experience of hurrying to a train with the feeling that something held them back, but not many have observed that their muscles, under such conditions, actually do pull them back.