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Nerves and Common Sense by Annie Payson Call

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implicitly, and to the letter, with all possible intelligence, you
cannot keep it healthy if the mind that owns the body is pulling it
and twisting it, and _twanging_ on its delicate machinery with a
flood of resentment and resistance; and the spirit behind the mind
is eager, wretched, and unhappy, because it does not get its own
way, or elated with an inflamed egoism because it is getting its own

All plain common sense in the way of health for the body falls dead
unless followed up closely with plain common sense for the health of
the mind; and then again, although when there is "a healthy mind in
a healthy body," the health appears far more permanent than when a
mind full of personal resistance tries to keep its body healthy,
even that happy combination cannot be really permanent unless there
is found back of it a healthy spirit.

But of the plain common sense of the spirit there is more to be said
at another time.

With regard to the mind, let us look and see not only that it is not
sensible to allow it to remain full of resistance, but is it not
positively stupid?

What an important factor it should be in the education of children
to teach them the plain common sense needed to keep the mind
healthy--to teach them the uselessness of a mental resistance, and
the wholesomeness of a clean mind.

If a child worries about his lessons, he is resisting the
possibility of failing in his class; let him learn that the worry
_interferes_ with his getting his lesson. Teach him how to drop the
worry, and he will find not only that he gets the lesson in less
time, but his mind is clearer to remember it.

By following the same laws, children could be taught that a feeling
of rush and hurry only impedes their progress. The rushed feeling
sometimes comes from a nervous unquiet which is inherited, and
should be trained out of the child.

But alas! alas! how can a mother or a father train a child to live
common sensibly without useless resistance when neither the mother
nor the father can do that same themselves. It is not too late for
any mother or father to learn, and if each will have the humility to
confess to the child that they are learning and help the child to
learn with them, no child would or could take advantage of that and
as the children are trained rightly, what a start they can give
their own children when they grow up--and what a gain there might be
from one generation to another! Will it ever come? Surely we hope


_A Summing Up_

GIVE up resentment, give up unhealthy resistance.

If circumstances, or persons, arouse either resentment or resistance
in us, let us ignore the circumstances or persons until we have
quieted ourselves. Freedom does not come from merely yielding out of
resentment or unhealthy resistance, it comes also from the strong
and steady focus on such yielding. _Concentration and relaxation are
just as necessary one to another to give stability to the nerves of
a man--as the centrifugal and centripetal forces are necessary to
give stability to the Earth._

As the habit of healthy concentration and relaxation grows within
us, our perception clears so that we see what is right to do, and
are given the power to do it. As our freedom from bondage to our
fellowmen becomes established, our relation to our fellowmen grows
happier, more penetrating and more full of life, and later we come
to understand that at root it is ourselves--our own resentment and
resistance--to which we have been in bondage,--circumstances or
other people have had _really_ nothing to do with it. When we have
made that discovery, and are steadily acting upon it, we are free
indeed, and with this new liberty there grows a clear sense and
conviction of a wise, loving Power which, while leaving us our own
free will, is always tenderly guiding us.

No one ever really believed anything without experiencing it. We may
think we believe all sorts of beautiful truths, but how can any
truth be really ours unless we have proved it by living? We do not
fully believe it until it runs in our blood--that is--we must see a
truth with our minds, love it with our hearts and live it over and
over again in our lives before it is ours.

If the reader will think over this little book--he will see that
every chapter has healthy yielding at the root of it. It is a
constant repetition of the same principle applied to the commonplace
circumstances of life, and if the reader will take this principle
into his mind, and work practically to live it in his life, he will
find the love for it growing in his heart, and with it a living
conviction that when truly applied, it always works.

Some one once described the difference between good breeding and bad
breeding as that between a man who works as a matter of course to
conquer his limitations--and a, man to whom his limitations are

There is spiritual good breeding and natural good breeding. The
first comes from the achievement of personal character--the second
is born with us--to use or misuse as we prefer.

It is a happy thing to realize that our freedom from bondage to
circumstances, and our loving, intelligent freedom from other
people, is the true spiritual good breeding which gives vitality to
every action of our lives, and brings us into more real and closer
touch with our fellow-men. Courtesy is alive when it has genuine
love of all human nature at the root of it--it is dead when it is
merely a matter of good form.

In so far as I know, the habit of such freedom and good breeding
cannot be steadily sustained without an absolute, conscious
dependence upon the Lord God Almighty.

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