Power Of The Mind
( Originally Published 1927 )
During the Victorian Era the tendency among scientists was very materialistic. Physical and chemical actions were given as the real causes of vital phenomena. The laboratory was elevated to the position of high judge. Tradition and superstition had long held sway over the human mind, and this wave of materialism had beneficial effects in clearing away much dry rot that was impeding progress. But a multitude was carried away to the point where they said that all is matter, which is a proposition that can only be defended by those who are mentally keen, lingually dextrous, and anxious for controversy.
Close students of life who are looking for the truth will not long hold the exclusively materialistic point of view. Phenomena arise every day that cannot be explained by any material laws so far understood by man. These are the phenomena of the mind, and of the spirit, or the soul.
Many intelligent people do not realize the influence of the mind on the physical being. Many do not know that with correct direction the mind can help to produce health and prolong life; and that, conversely, the mind can aid in producing disease and shortening life. It has been my privilege for years to deal with individuals who rank mentally above the average, but many of them are astonished when I first give them a mental pointer to help them to regain their health, youth and good looks. The other day I told a lady : "You must stop worrying because it never helps you, but in your case it produces indigestion. It tenses your nervous system, stops the full flow of digestive juices, and as a result you manufacture gases and acids in the digestive tract. Some of these poisonous materials are absorbed by the blood, which carries them all over the body. When your nerves are bathed in this too acid blood the reaction is pain, which in your case is known as neuritis (nerve inflammation)."
"Can the mind possibly have anything to do with my neuritis?" inquired the astonished woman. It was to her an entirely new idea, yet she is a woman of fine mentality. I assured her that the mind, wrongly directed, can and does help to produce any kind of disease, business failure, unhappy family life, premature aging and untimely death. I asked her to think back and see what depressing thoughts and emotions had done to her in the past.
Three days later she returned. ‘q have been thinking about what you told me, and you are right. It has given me a key to many of my troubles, and it is now so clear to me that I am surprised that it did not occur to me before."
To some there will be nothing new in this chapter, but many do not know how to turn the mental processes to their own advantage. For their benefit we shall show how the mind can be directed so that it will aid in producing success, health, youthfulness and long life.
For centuries man has been studying man. Psychology is an old study. The ancient Hindu sages showed keen insight into the human mind. Socrates was wondrously wise. Plato wrote splendid passages. Seneca was wise in both physical and mental matters. But never have the masses taken advantage of the storehouse of power in the human mind. William James referred to human beings as untapped reservoirs, meaning that we are still in the mental kindergarten. A little study and a little understanding will give us possession of vast mental wealth, beside which material opulence pales into insignificance.
But in studying the mind and learning how to make it a servant of man, please remember that we also have bodies. One unfortunate human trait is narrowness. Some forget the body as soon as they discover the mind ; others f forget the mind in their discovery of the body. Let us use all of our powers, all of our faculties, all of our resources, and thus gain and give the best in life.
For the purpose of study the mind has been divided into two parts: The conscious or objective mind; and the subconscious or subjective mind. Please note that there are not two separate minds, but that the conscious and sub-conscious are two manifestations of the same mind.
The conscious mind is the directing part of the mind in our waking hours. It is the reasoning, thinking, planning, judging mind, It is the intellectual mind, and a part of it is the will power, which is the ability to initiate and accomplish things.
True, nobody has yet been able to explain in full the manifestations of this conscious mind of ours; no mortal has as yet traced it to its beginning, nor measured the length and width of the mental manifestations sent forth by any one individual or group of individuals. That the influence is great we know, for. the world is largely reacting to-day to the influences liberated by four great teachers, centuries ago: Jesus of Nazareth, Gautama Buddha, Mohammed and Confucius. But we have a vast store-house of knowledge, some of it many centuries old, which we can use for the benefit of humanity. If you want your share of this benefit ac quire a few of the fundamental facts and incorporate them into your life. No other person can do for you what you can do for yourself. An outsider can indicate the way, but you have to do your own traveling.
During the hours of sleep the conscious mind abdicates, and its place is taken by the subconscious mind. Sleeping or waking, the subconscious mind is always with us. We get glimpses of it at times, when we are half asleep, at moments when the passions gain the mastery, or when the emotions rule. The subconscious mind is the mind of our dreams; it is the store-house of racial memories it is the seat of our instincts; it is the mind in control of the vital organs and the so-called involuntary actions of the body.
Have you ever in your dreams seen wonderful birds or beasts that you never thought of in your waking hours? Have you found yourself in caverns or craters surrounded by primitive beings that your conscious mind never imagined? Have you traversed dangerous stretches of great forests, fields of ice, or been in danger of devastating floods which have never entered your reasoning mind or your thoughts or your real experiences?
Or have you watched a boy grow up, going through the stages of (1) hypercredulity, in which no tale is too wonderful for belief ; (2) cave dwelling, in which secret hiding places make a strong appeal to him; (3) hunter stage, when he goes forth with bow and arrow to slay the animals lurking about; (4) combativeness, in which he arms himself for romantic adventures against human foes, or lacking this outlet of racial expression makes life miserable for his family and maybe the neighbors ?
If you have observed these things, or if you have had some of these unpremeditated dreams, I have not the least doubt that you have caught a glimpse of the working of the subconscious or racial mind, as handed down to us through the ages, from the infancy of the race to the present time. It gives us a flash of that quality of the subconscious mind which we call instinct. This is a racial inheritance, strong in animals, strong in uncultivated minds and primitive people, but weak in those who have cultivated the conscious mind. But there is no reason why we shall not benefit by the racial self-protection called instinct. All we have to do is to harness the concious mind to the subconscious mind, and make this team work for us.
We have inherited many fallacies from the past. But we have also been given reason and judgment , if we use these, we can eliminate the false. Robert Louis Stevenson said that we are governed by catch words and catch phrases. This is true only to the extent that we refuse to think. As soon as we face the fact that a certain racial belief is false and refuse to abide by it, it loses its power over us. Take the fatal belief that man's span of life is, or ought to be, only seventy years. It has killed its millions, because the millions believed it. The truth is that man and woman can be strong of by and and keen of mind at seventy. Let us change the ideal to "fine and fit at seventy" and thus alter the fatal belief into a health- and life-giving idea. Whether Doctor Osier said that a man ought to be chloroformed at forty, I do not know, but the report of this saying has done much harm. Human beings who give them-selves good care cannot possibly be as fine and valuable to the community at forty as they are at fifty and sixty. There is no limit to our mental growth except the limits we set our-selves. Let us remove the shackles which bind us and limit us; let us get firmly in mind that we can be well, if we live so as to deserve health; let us remember that with good health we can easily double the duration of life; let us remember that nobody to-day knows how long a man can live in possession of physical and mental strength because no one with great knowledge has tried it out ; let us remember that based merely on animal analogy a physical organism should live about five times as long as it takes to reach physical maturity, which would extend human life to 125 years or more; let us further remember that we are equipped with a keen analytical mind, by the use of which we can add many years to life; and let us further remember that modern knowledge tends more and more to show that we have no sure basis for limiting life.
Our greatest possessions are imponderable they are of the mind and the spirit. Some of the animals have bodies superior to ours. It requires ages for a race to develop judgment, wisdom, mental balance and poised intellect. These are among our great treasures. Do we appreciate them? Not as much as we should. We live so that the average individual dies near the age of fifty, soon after going through his acquiring stage, before his mind is ready and ripe to give to the race its fruitage of experience. If we wasted base coin or other material possessions as lavishly as we fling away life and mentality, some of our loving heirs would ask the courts to declare us incompetent to handle our own affairs. Still there is no material thing to compare in true value with our mental wealth.
We need to develop a spirit of responsibility, so that each individual will say : "The race educated me at great expense, and it is my duty and privilege to live so that I can repay with interest."
The influence of the mind is so great and powerful that many are carried away and become enthusiastic. This we must guard against. Enthusiasm is a fine servant, but a poor master, for overenthusiasm deprives us of good judgment.
It is difficult, as we travel through life, to stay on the straight way. The by-paths of error beckon, for in the mysterious depths far from the road surely there are lovelier flowers, loftier trees and finer scenes, we think.
The truth is the straight way which leads to the right destination. But sometimes the de-sire to believe something else is so strong that it becomes an overpowering urge to those who are careless. This is true in the material realm, but even more so in the imponderable mental kingdom. Perhaps you remember that in the fall of 1914 when the Germans were pressing the English army toward the Channel, an Englishman, Mr. Arthur Machen, wrote a piece of fiction called "The Angel of Mons," which was first published in the "Evening News." In this story it was related that St. George and his angel bowmen fought against the Germans, on the side of the English. Soon after the story had been published reports came from many men telling that they had seen this army of angel bowmen. Psychic investigators have quoted this fiction as a fact, and before me in a book of psychic stories it is offered as a fact. Many of the distracted soldier boys took comfort in believing that the Lord was on their side. It also brought comfort to English homes. They wished to believe it ; nay more, they were determined to believe. So this figurative tale will go down through the centuries with its millions of believers. Mr. Machen is no more at fault than any other fiction writer, for he repeatedly denied that the story is true.
Keep the mind open, but do net force it to believe lies. Only a short time ago a lady of standing made this remark: "The mind is all-powerful; it can do everything; why, I have seen it fill big dental cavities over night." Needless to say, the lady could not show us any of this mental dental work.
Great and powerful is the mind. It is so wonderful in its manifestations that there is no need of becoming so enthusiastic about it that we travel into prevarication.
Some students of mental phenomena make the assertion, for instance, "that all ills can be overcome through the proper direction of the mind." This is not true at our present stage of development. It has taken ages to develop a human being, and we cannot upset the laws of nature—the laws of being by taking thought for a few minutes. With the right use of body and mind we can prevent disease. But once disease is developed, if it has run a certain course, it will end in the extinction of the individual. There is a law of compensation or balance running through life, which can be roughly stated to be that our rewards are according to our deserts. If we live so that our vital organs deteriorate to the point where they cannot function we deserve physical extinction and it will come prematurely, even if we make a mental reformation. Let us illustrate:
Some years ago a man went to a western city to regain his health. He had been suffering from tuberculosis for some years. Under medical care he grew worse, so when he went west he joined a metaphysical cult. He developed hope and faith; he was sure that he would long live a well man. One day he had a pulmonary hemorrhage, and dropped dead on the sidewalk while on his way to mail a letter. In this letter he had written that he was completely healed and well. His faith and his hope and his determination did not save him, be-cause he had traveled so far in physical degeneration that the old law of compensation, or the law of deserts, had determined that he could no longer live.
Several years ago three diabetic ladies came under my observation at about the same time. All three of them had taken metaphysical treatments for a period running over one year but they had continued to grow worse. They were told to maintain hope and faith and to look for health and perfection; but in addition they were instructed to eat and drink correctly and to give themselves such physical care that the blood would become alkaline again and the other body fluids sweet and pure. As a result they made good recoveries within a few months. They had learned to think about normal matters, and to get the mind away from the abnormal (disease), and this is always helpful in making a recovery. But the body and the mind are two of the parts that help to make up a whole, and it is necessary to use both to get ideal results.
A young man who had contracted a severe case of tuberculosis will furnish an illuminating illustration:
Mental means had been tried for eighteen months, but he continued to fail, in spite of the fact that I have never seen anybody more determined to live than he was. At the time he came under observation everybody connected with him thought he had only a few days to live, but he himself said, "I am going to get well there is absolutely no doubt about it." Faith and determination he had in full measure, and when he learned how to take care of his body he made a remarkably quick recovery. I have never seen any one else with such severe symptoms of pulmonary tuberculosis recover. Mental means alone did not suffice, for he had tried them. I have never seen material means alone bring such results. But in his case material means harnessed to an active, compelling determination brought victory.
On the other hand, I could give numerous instances where material means failed to bring health until mental methods were added. For instance, I remember two cases of serious acidosis (hyperacidity) with acid indigestion in which the sufferers were convinced that they had cancer of the stomach. They were given the right physical care, but did not respond satisfactorily until they were convinced that they had no gastric cancer. Then they made quick and permanent recoveries. These in-stances show how the wrong mental attitude can prevent recovery and eventually aid in producing premature death Let us give both the body and the mind their due.
We have reason to tell us what is right. We have the will, which enables us to initiate and finish projects. With these two faculties we are able to direct the mind to good advantage. The will may be weak. If so, we can train it and strengthen it, as we can train and strengthen a muscle, by exercising it. One good exercise for a weak will is to do each day something that we are not compelled to do, but which we feel that we ought to do. An-other way is to do promptly those things which we have been in the habit of delaying. Every time we exert the will we make it stronger. Every time we temporize and procrastinate we make the will weaker. Every individual has will power, and every one can cultivate it.
With normal will power we need the knowledge to guide the mind aright. What is the right way of thinking? And what is the correct way to direct the emotions?
There are two main methods of expressing thought and emotion. The correct way is positive or constructive; the wrong way is negative or destructive. The first way leads to success, health and long life. The second or wrong way leads to failure, disease and premature death.
Let us consider the negative aspect. Such emotions as worry, anger, fretting, envy, spite, jealousy, hopelessness, cowardice, fear and all other depressing emotions are negative. They tense the body, waste its energies, and upset the equilibrium of the physical structures. Violent depressing emotions actually produce poisons within the body. I have seen individuals who suffered much from indigestion because they allowed bad temper to master them. Sensitive persons may suffer a week or more because of one fit of anger.
The influence of fear was accidentally called to my mind while writing this chapter. About three blocks from my office the clerks in a shop decided to play a joke on an absent clerk. When he arrived in the morning, he was feel-:rig fine, but clerk after clerk greeted him something like this : ` `What is the matter with you You look ill this morning." At first the victim of the joke replied, "I feel all right." But after they had finished their joke he said that he felt very badly; in fact he felt so ill that he was unable to walk one block to the street car. He called a cab and went home. He was made ill by suggestion, oft repeated, and fear. Let us hope that soon the public will learn not to go about offering depressing suggestions, such as, "How bad you look!" or, "You look terrible, you must be sick!" It is little short of criminal to scatter such thoughts, for some per-sons are so easily influenced by suggestion that it keeps them ill. There are cases on record that have been killed outright by adverse suggestions.
Suggestion is a powerful guide, and it can be used to build power, plenty, health and long life. Those who understand the mental workings can do their own suggesting, called auto-suggestion. The proper way to do it is to relax the mind, and then suggest to yourself those things that you desire. From time to time bring that thought back into the mind, and it should always be a positive, helpful thought. Suppose a person is fearful of failure. He can then start to build courage by suggesting to himself that, `I have every faculty that leads to success. My body is sound and my mind is keen. I have all the time that any one has. The future will be as kind to me as to the rest, if I do my share. I can and I will lead a successful life."
Suggestions like those, often repeated, will change the mental outlook and fear will vanish. But the individual must use his will power to start himself on the road to success. Merely thinking, or suggesting brings no results. The individual must act. Suggestion and mental direction clear the way, but after that a person has to act, or exert energy, or all thinking is vain.
Suggestion is direction and its power is due to the fact that our thoughts guide our actions.
All the negative emotions weaken the individual and impair health. The emotions are a part of us, and they cannot be driven out. In fact some of them are the most pleasing and beautiful part of our lives. But we can rid our-selves of the negative ones, or so master them that they cannot get the upper hand.
Let us take the most common negative emotion, worry. Though not the most violent, it seems to be the most deadly of all, for it is almost universal. The worm is very human, and exceedingly foolish. But the objection is almost always made, "I can't stop worrying."
Yes, you can, and so can everybody else with a little will power and the average amount of intelligence.
Let us say that you are a soldier in the vast army of worriers, and you have a strong de-sire to get a discharge. The formula is to face the facts, admit that you are at fault, use the power of suggestion to overcome this dis-graceful condition, and fortify the mind with positive emotions. The manner of reasoning would be somewhat along these lines:
`I have been worrying every day. Some things that I have worried about are beyond my influence, so I ought to have sense enough not to bother about them; some of them are conditions that will not change, so I ought to accept them as such; some of them are problems that I can solve with a clear mind, so I ought to solve them. Some of the things I have worried about are the little irritations that are a part of every active life, and common sense tells me that these are unavoidable, so I ought to accept them as such. Many of my worries have been futile, for I have looked ahead and borrowed trouble that never came. Worry never helped me nor anybody else. It always injures the worrier, for it makes him less efficient, deprives him of a part of his strength, depresses the vital functions, and in the end aids in bringing about disease and causing pre-mature death. This worrying is foolish and I shall stop it."
So far so well. You have faced the facts. Always admit that it is your own fault if you worry. Do not blame any one else. Looking the truth in the face helps to loosen the hold that worry has on the mind. You want to drive the culprit away, but you do not wish to leave the mind blank, so the next step is to strengthen the mind with positive, helpful, healthful, rejuvenating emotions, for the emotions are powerful in shaping the individual life.
The positive emotions are the expanding, up-lifting, constructive ones, such as kindness, good will, charity, happiness, hope, faith, courage and love. These emotions can be cultivated and made to grow until they displace the negative ones.
Let the worrier say to himself : "There is nothing to worry about; worry only distracts me. I shall keep my mind clear, and then I will be able to solve all the problems within my power. I shall try to do my best; no one can do more than that. Those things that I cannot change I shall leave to others. I shall face the future with confidence."
Thoughts like these presented by the conscious mind to the subconscious mind will soon sink in, and they will build hope, faith and courage. Good results will follow, no matter what the source of the worry may be-financial affairs, poor health, family affairs-if these thoughts are persistently used. Nearly all harbor at least one kind of negative emotion; let them try this formula, for it works as well with any depressing emotion as it does in cases of worry. A different outlook usually comes within a few weeks, or at the most within a few months.
How often should one practice such mental gymnastics? Every time that a negative emotion shows its head or hand. Make a habit of routing the negative emotions by supplying positive ones instead. A favorable time to use autosuggestion is when retiring at night. Forgive every enemy before going to sleep. Retire with the positive emotions uppermost, and carry in mind thoughts of kindness, faith, hope and love ; and paint a mental picture of success, power, health, youth and beauty.
Why especially at this time? Because the conscious mind will soon be in abeyance, and subconscious mind will have full sway all night. The subconscious mind will work for you, or it will work against you. If you use the conscious mind to direct the subconscious mind into positive channels, then you are giving helpful directions before the intellect abdicates for the night.
A good rule to make is this: When beginning to grow sleepy concentrate the mind on the constructive things you wish to accomplish in life and think of high ideals. After a few months—sometimes only a few weeks you will realize what strength and power you have gained.
Life is full of trivial irritations, if we allow them to be irritations. What should we do about them? We should rise above them, and treat them so that they do not irritate. There are disagreeable features in all active lives, but why concentrate the mind on the things we dislike? It is far better to face the unpleasant things, settle such problems to the best of our ability, and then turn the mind to upbuilding, uplifting matters and think of things of beauty and worth. In other words, direct the mind as you would travel. That helps to build success and health, and it aids in prolonging life.
Let us illustrate with the weather: We can't change it, so why be unhappy about it? Every phase of the weather has its beauty. Direct the mind to the beautiful aspect. Storms, heavy rains, snow, clouds—all have their fine points. Why speak of bad weather, or horrid weather? Many complain of gray days. Why not remember that gray is the most restful of all colors, even more restful than green, without the de-pressing effect of blue? With that thought in mind it is easy to enjoy a gray day with its soothing effect on weary nerves.
If you go walking or driving, you have a goal. You face that direction, and if the goal is in view you look at it. Just so with the goal you select as your life's work. Whatever you wish, whatever you desire to accomplish, concentrate on it from time to time. But thought without action gets one nowhere. There has to be determination and power of will behind the thoughts.
There are also things one wishes to avoid in life. No one cares to be an embittered, acidulous failure. Get the mind away from bitterness; do not allow hatred, rancor, ugliness, despair and allied emotions to occupy the mind. For as the mind—which is largely emotional -leads, so the body and the entire personality follow.
"Seek and ye shall find." Those who look for goodness, greatness, success, youthfulness and a life of beauty, will find them. Those who look for ugliness, pettiness, despair and failure, will be served accordingly.
Our spoken words give directions to our thoughts. So it behooves us to talk on the positive side. If we attribute evil qualities to others and habitually utter unkind judgments, we are developing in ourselves the- very things that we condemn.
When we appreciate, aid and praise the good qualities of others, we are automatically creating in ourselves the qualities that we admire.
So let us get away from the petty things that do not matter. Let us learn to see the beautiful things and dwell on them. Let us face each day with courage.
Before me is a success table based on the experience of a great insurance company. Summarized it is to this effect: Men must accumulate or succeed before reaching the age of fifty; between the ages of forty and forty-five 75 per cent of men lose their entire accumulation; be-fore reaching the age of fifty 95 per cent of men have lost all, at the age of sixty 95 per cent of men have nothing, but are dependent on their labor or on their children for support.
So far, the table is doubtless correct, but then it adds : "Only one in 5,000, after this age (50), can recover his financial footing." This is as false as any statement can possibly be. Doubtless very few "do" recover financially, or make a success in other ways, when a failure at fifty. But they "can" recover. It is the false teachings, the false mental attitude, the false racial belief, that keep men and women from succeeding after the age of fifty.
Rightly accepted, a failure is but temporary, and merely the stepping stone to success. Men can succeed at fifty, or sixty, or seventy, or older, provided they take the right road.
The formula is simple, but basically it is this : "I have had added experience these past few years ; I know more ; my health is good; I have many years of life before me! my physical and mental equipment is above the average. I can succeed and I am going to succeed in spite of any and every obstacle." Waste no more time, but go to work. When does lasting defeat or failure come? When one acknowledges defeat or failure.
This is no theory; it has been put into practice many times under the writer's eyes. Certainly, some have a hard fight to begin anew, but the greater the obstacle the greater the victory.
Let us have just one instance: In the fall of 1917 a flabby, gray, weakly, despondent gentleman of sixty came under observation. He was suffering from indigestion, and financial failure. He was so weak physically that he could walk only a few blocks, and he was so weak mentally that he was sure that he and his wife would starve. He talked failure and exuded failure. He had accepted defeat, and life had nothing in store for him. In his own words : "I was engaged in petticoat manufacturing. Then the styles demanded skirts so tight that the women needed shoe-horns to don them. They almost stopped wearing petticoats. On top of this came the war, which unsettled business, and left me with a large stock, which depreciated. I lost everything, and I have no strength left. My wife can't start to work at this time of life. I would not care so much if it was not for her. And here I have to watch her without the necessary food and clothes."
We educated this man out of indigestion and back into health. While so doing, we also showed him that there is plenty of opportunity to serve, that age has nothing to do with success, but that success can be won at any age, and that those who use their brains are far more fit to succeed at sixty than at thirty-five. Inside of two months the gentleman was earning a good living and he has been doing nicely ever since.
Quit talking failure, quit thinking failure, and direct the mind toward success, and go to work. Why talk so much about success? Be-cause it builds health and prolongs life.
One mistake that is almost universal is thinking and talking disease. There are gatherings where men and women will exchange ill feelings and symptoms by the hour. They talk of their own ills and operations not only, but they drag in the ills of absent friends and relatives. They allow their minds to concentrate on disease, and that is one of the reasons for the prevalence of ill health in this world ours. Get away from these poison circles.
Talk health, beauty, youth, helpfulness, kindliness, constructive books, fine paintings, advances in science; these are all constructive. Cultivate high ideals.
The great central fact in applying the knowledge we have of the mind to life is this : "As we direct our mind, so the personality develops, and so the course of life follows." We all want health, and strength, and success, and nobility of character. Very well, let us think those things.
No one wants disease, ugliness, failure and premature age. Let us quit thinking those things.
And by all means let us not be jealous of the success of others. Success is catching. If your neighbors are successful, you will be bathed in a current of success, and it will help to carry you along. The possibilities for human service and the possibilities of achieving are infinite, and we have within ourselves stores of energy that are almost undreamed of. The possibility of success is all around us. Opportunity calls, beckons, presents itself to us every day of our lives—how blind the man was who wrote that opportunity comes but once and then forever flits away ! There is no limit except the limitation we make for ourselves in our blindness and ignorance. The whole North American Continent is loudly calling for men to achieve. The greatest man developed on this continent was so poor and lacking in opportunities that he had no chance whatever ! Still the name of Abraham Lincoln will be remembered and revered so long as English is spoken and read.
You know that this is true, but it is not enough merely to know it—fully realize it; let it sink into the mind. And then you will be in position to say with Henley:
"I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul."
Almost invariably when I tell an individual that he must change his outlook, or that he must get from the negative plane to the positive one emotionally, there is the objection, "I can't stop worrying." Or, "It is hard to stop worrying." Or, " My father was quick tempered and I inherited it." Or, "I can't help resenting the injustice of those people." Or, "They have been so horrid that I can't help hating them." Or, "There are so many troubles that I can't help being depressed." These are a few samples taken from life. And unless these individuals are convinced of their folly, they keep on wasting their energy through the play of the negative emotions. There is nothing that robs us so of energy, there is nothing that can so quickly produce illness, there is nothing that destroys beauty and youth so soon as a riot of the negative emotions.
One of our faults is that we take ourselves too seriously. We overestimate our own importance in the great scheme of things. We are only important if we make ourselves so. The average individual hardly leaves a ripple when he quits this earth, and even the passing of the greatest produces no tempests or quakes. Not long ago a gentleman told me that he was unable to give himself the twenty or thirty minutes per day necessary to maintain good health because, `I have the most difficult position of anybody in the world." Naturally I began to think that I was dealing with a man of great consequence. It developed that he is the proprietor of a tiny eating house in a town so small and insignificant that it is not on the map. He is not the only one with inflated ego. We are only important when we greatly serve or when we largely influence the lives of others.
We have within us the power to live well and long, and to live successfully. In order to avail ourselves of this power we have to give our thoughts the right direction, and one requisite of health is to keep the mind fluid.
The following is a good formula to aid in maintaining health and prolonging life :
1. Select a period each day for physical relaxation. This period should be at least fifteen minutes in duration, though a shorter period is better than none at all. Either sit down or lie down in a comfortable position, so that every part of the body is relaxed. It is best gently to close the eyes.
2. After attaining physical relaxation, also relax the mind. That is, take the mind away from all business cares, from all family duties, from all the perplexities of life. In the beginning this is somewhat difficult but with a little practice it becomes easy.