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The Guidance Of The Body
Source: Power Through Repose
THE literature relating to the care of the human body is already
very extensive. Much has been written about the body's proper food,
the air it should breathe, the clothing by which it should be
protected, the best methods of its development. That literature
needs but little added to it, until we, as rational beings, come
nearer to obeying the laws which it discloses, and to feeling daily
the help which comes from that obedience.
It is of the better use, the truer guidance of this machine, that I
wish especially to write. Although attention is constantly called to
the fact of its misuse,--as in neglected rest and in
over-strain,--in all the unlimited variety which the perverted
ingenuity of a clever people has devised, it seems never to have
come to any one's mind that this strain in all things, small and
great, is something that can be and should be studiously abandoned,
with as regular a process of training, from the first simple steps
to those more complex, as is required in the work for the
development of muscular strength. When a perversion of Nature's laws
has continued from generation to generation, we, of the ninth or
tenth generation, can by no possibility jump back into the place
where the laws can work normally through us, even though our eyes
have been opened to a full recognition of such perversion. We must
climb back to an orderly life, step by step, and the compensation is
large in the constantly growing realization of the greatness of the
laws we have been disobeying. The appreciation of the power of a
natural law, as it works through us, is one of the keenest pleasures
that can come to man in this life.
The general impression seems to be that common-sense should lead us
to a better use of our machines at once. Whereas, common-sense will
not bring a true power of guiding the muscles, any more than it will
cause the muscles' development, unless having the common-sense to
see the need, we realize with it the necessity for cutting a path
and walking in it. For the muscles' development, several paths have
been cut, and many who are in need are walking in them, but, to the
average man, the road to the best kind of muscular development still
remains closed. The only training now in use is followed by
sleight-of-hand performers, acrobats, or other jugglers, and that is
limited to the professional needs of its followers.
Again, as the muscles are guided by means of the nerves, a training
for the guidance of the muscles means, so far as the physique is
concerned, first, a training for the better use of the nervous
force. The nervous system is so wonderful in its present power for
good or ill, so wonderful in its possible power either way, and so
much more wonderful as we realize what we do not know about it, that
it is not surprising that it is looked upon with awe. Neither is it
strange that it seems to many, especially the ignorant, a subject to
be shunned. It is not uncommon for a mother, whose daughter is
suffering, and may be on the verge of nervous prostration because of
her misused nerves, to say, "I do not want my daughter to know that
she has nerves." The poor child knows it already in the wrong way.
It is certainly better that she should know her nerves by learning a
wholesome, natural use of them. The mother's remark is common with
many men and women when speaking of themselves,--common with
teachers when talking to or of their pupils. It is of course quite
natural that it should be a prevailing idea, because hitherto the
mention of nerves by man or woman has generally meant perverted
nerves, and to dwell on our perversions, except long enough to shun
them, is certainly unwholesome in the extreme.
Next: Perversions In The Guidance Of The Body