But all this has been with relation to the body, and it is the mental and moral dust of which I am writing. The physical work for quiet is only helpful as it makes the body a better instrument for the mind and for the will. A quiet body is of no use if it contains an unquiet mind which is going to pull it out of shape or start it up in agitation at the least provocation. In such a case, the quiet body in its passive state is only a more responsive instrument to the mind that wants to raise a dust. One—and the most helpful way of quieting the mind—is through a steady effort at concentration. One can concentrate; on doing nothing—that is, on sitting quietly in a chair or lying quietly on the bed or the floor. Be quiet, keep quiet, be quiet, keep quiet. That is the form of concentration, that is the way of learning to do nothing to advantage. Then we concentrate on the quiet breathing, to have it gentle, steady, and without strain. In the beginning we must take care to concentrate without strain, and without emotion, use our minds quietly, as one might watch a bird who was very near, to see what it will do next, and with care not to frighten it away.
These are the great secrets of true strengthening concentration. The first is dropping everything that interferes. The second is working to concentrate easily without emotion. They are really one and the same. If we work to drop everything that interferes, we are so constantly relaxing in order to concentrate that the very process drops strain bit by bit, little by little.
An unquiet mind, however, full of worries, anxieties, resistances, resentments, and full of all varieties of agitation, going over and over things to try to work out problems that are not in human hands, or complaining and fretting and puzzling because help seems to be out of human power, such a mind which is befogged and begrimed by the agitation of its own dust is not a cause in itself—it is an effect. The cause is the reaching and grasping, the unreasonable insistence on its own way of kicking, dust-raising self-will at the back of the mind.
A quiet will, a will that can remain quiet through all emergencies, is not a self-will. It is the self that raises the dust—the self that wants, and strains to get its own way, and turns and twists and writhes if it does not get its own way.
God’s will is quiet. We see it in the growth of the trees and the flowers. We see it in the movement of the planets of the Universe. We see God’s mind in the wonderful laws of natural science. Most of all we see and feel, when we get quiet ourselves, God’s love in every thing and every one.
If we want the dust laid, we must work to get our bodies quiet. We must drop all that interferes with quiet in our minds, and we must give up wanting our own way. We must believe that God’s way is immeasurably beyond us and that if we work quietly to obey Him, He will reveal to us His way in so far as we need to know it, and will prepare us for and guide us to His uses.