Or, another way to quiet your mind and to let your imagination help you to a better rest is to float on the top of a turbulent sea and then to sink down, down, down until you get into the still water at the bottom of the sea. We all know that, no matter how furious the sea is on the surface, not far below the surface it is absolutely still. It is very restful to go down there in imagination.
Whatever choice we may make to quiet our minds and our bodies, as soon as we begin to concentrate we must not be surprised if intruding thoughts are at first constantly crowding to get in. We must simply let them come. Let them come, and pay no attention to them.
I knew of a woman who was nervously ill, and some organs of her body were weakened very much by the illness. She made-up her mind to rest herself well and she did so. Every day she would rest for three hours; she said to herself, “I will rest an hour on my left side, an hour on my right side, and an hour on my back.” And she did that for days and days. When she lay on one side she had a very attractive tree to look at. When she lay on the other she had an interesting picture before her. When she lay on her back she had the sky and several trees to see through a window in front of the bed. She grew steadily better every week—she had something to rest for. She was resting to get well. If she had rested and complained of her illness I doubt if she would have been well to-day. She simply refused to take the unpleasant sensations into consideration except for the sake of resting out of them. When she was well enough to take a little active exercise she knew she could rest better and get well faster for that, and she insisted upon taking the exercise, although at first she had to do it with the greatest care. Now that this woman is well she knows how to rest and she knows how to work better than ever before.
For normal rest we need the long sleep of night. For shorter rests which we may take during the day, often opportunity comes at most unexpected times and in most unexpected ways, and we must be ready to take advantage of it. We need also the habit of working restfully. This habit of course enables us to rest truly when we are only resting, and again the habit of resting normally helps us to work normally.
A wise old lady said: “My dear, you cannot exaggerate the unimportance of things.” She expressed even more, perhaps, than she knew.
It is our habit of exaggerating the importance of things that keeps us hurried and rushed. It is our habit of exaggerating the importance of ourselves that makes us hold the strain of life so intensely. If we would be content to do one thing at a time, and concentrate on that one thing until it came time to do the next thing, it would astonish us to see how much we should accomplish. A healthy concentration is at the root of working restfully and of resting restfully, for a healthy concentration means dropping everything that interferes.