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Annie Payson Call (author)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 164 pages of information about Nerves and Common Sense.

This emphasizes the good natural quiet in your brain and so makes you more sensitive to unquiet.

Gradually you will get the habit of catching yourself in states of unnecessary excitement; at such times you cannot go off by yourself and go through the exercises.  You cannot even stop where you are and go through them, but you can recall the impression made on your brain at the time you did them and in that way rule out your excitement and gain the real power that should be in its place.

So little by little the state of excitement becomes as unpleasant as a cloud of dust on a windy day and the quiet is as pleasant as under the trees on top of a hill in the best kind of a June day.

The trouble is so many of us live in a cloud of dust that we do not suspect even the existence of the June day, but if we are fortunate enough once or twice even to get to sneezing from the dust, and so to recognize its unpleasantness, then we want to look carefully to see if there is not a way out of it.

It is then that we can get the beginning of the real quiet which is the normal atmosphere of every human being.

But we must persist for a long time before we can feel established in the quiet itself.  What is worth having is worth working for—­and the more it is worth having, the harder work is required to get it.

Nerves form habits, and our nerves not only get the habit of living in the dust, but the nerves of all about us have the same habit.  So that when at first we begin to get into clear air, we may almost dislike it, and rush back into the dust again, because we and our friends are accustomed to it.

All that bad habit has to be fought, and conquered, and there are many difficulties in the way of persistence, but the reward is worth it all, as I hope to show in later articles.

I remember once walking in a crowded street where the people were hurrying and rushing, where every one’s face was drawn and knotted, and nobody seemed to be having a good time.  Suddenly and unexpectedly I saw a man coming toward me with a face so quiet that it showed out like a little bit of calm in a tornado.  He looked like a common, every-day man of the world, so far as his dress and general bearing went, and his features were not at all unusual, but his expression was so full of quiet interest as to be the greatest contrast to those about him.  He was not thinking his own thoughts either—­he was one of the crowd and a busy, interested observer.

He might have said, “You silly geese, what are you making all this fuss about, you can do it much better if you will go more easily.”  If that was his thought it came from a very kindly sense of humor, and he gave me a new realization of what it meant, practically, to be in the world and not of it.

If you are in the world you can live, and observe, and take a much better part in its workings.  If you are of it, you are simply whirled in an eddy of dust, however you may pose to yourself or to others.

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