As we expand mentally, disagreeable brain-impressions, that in former contracted states were eclipsed by greater ones, will be keenly felt, and dropped at once, for the mere relief thus obtained.
The healthier the brain, the more sensitive it is to false impressions, and the more easily are they dropped.
One word by way of warning. We never can rid ourselves of an uncomfortable brain-impression by saying, “I will try to think something pleasant of that disagreeable man.” The temptation, too, is very common to say to ourselves clearly, “I will try to think something pleasant,” and then leave “of that disagreeable man” a subtle feeling in the background. The feeling in the background, however unconscious we may be of it, is a strong brain-impression,—all the stronger because we fail to recognize it,—and the result of our “something pleasant” is an insidious complacency at our own magnanimous disposition. Thus we get the disagreeable brain-impression of another, backed up by our agreeable brain-impression of ourselves, both mistaken. Unless we keep a sharp look-out, we may here get into a snarl from which extrication is slow work. Neither is it possible to counteract an unpleasant brain-impression by something pleasant but false. We must call a spade a spade, but not consider it a component part of the man who handles it, nor yet associate the man with the spade, or the spade with the man. When we drop it, so long as we drop it for what it is worth, which is nothing in the case of the spade in question, we have dropped it entirely. If we try to improve our brain-impression by insisting that a spade is something better and pleasanter, we are transforming a disagreeable impression to a mongrel state which again brings anything but a happy result.
Simply to refuse all unpleasant brain-impressions, with no effort or desire to recast them into something that they are not, seems to be the only clear process to freedom. Not only so, but whatever there might have been pleasant in what seemed entirely unpleasant can more truly return as we drop the unpleasantness completely. It is a good thing that most of us can approach the freedom of such a change in imagination before we reach it in reality. So we can learn more rapidly not to hamper ourselves or others by retaining disagreeable brain-impressions of the present, or by recalling others of the past.
The triviality of trivialities.
Life is clearer, happier, and easier for us as things assume their true proportions. I might better say, as they come nearer in appearance to their true proportions; for it seems doubtful whether any one ever reaches the place in this world where the sense of proportion is absolutely normal. Some come much nearer than others; and part of the interest of living is the growing realization of better proportion, and the relief from the abnormal state in which circumstances seem quite out of proportion in their relation to one another.