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Other Forms Of Rest

Categories: Uncategorized
Sources: Power Through Repose

DO you hold yourself on the chair, or does the chair hold you? When

you are subject to the laws of gravitation give up to them, and feel

their strength. Do not resist these laws, as a thousand and one of

us do when instead of yielding gently and letting ourselves sink

into a chair, we _put_ our bodies rigidly on and then hold them

there as if fearing the chair would break if we gave our full weight

to it. It is not onl
unnatural and unrestful, but most awkward. So

in a railroad car. Much, indeed most of the fatigue from a long

journey by rail is quite unnecessary, and comes from an unconscious

officious effort of trying to carry the train, instead of allowing

the train to carry us, or of resisting the motion, instead of

relaxing and yielding to it. There is a pleasant rhythm in the

motion of the rapidly moving cars which is often restful rather than

fatiguing, if we will only let go and abandon ourselves to it. This

was strikingly proved by a woman who, having just learned the first

principles of relaxation, started on a journey overstrained from

mental anxiety. The first effect of the motion was that most

disagreeable, faint feeling known as car-sickness. Understanding the

cause, she began at once to drop the unnecessary tension, and the

faintness left her. Then she commenced an interesting novel, and as

she became excited by the plot her muscles were contracted in

sympathy (so-called), and the faintness returned in full force, so

that she bad to drop the book and relax again; and this process was

repeated half-a-dozen times before she could place her body so under

control of natural laws that it was possible to read without the

artificial tension asserting itself and the car-sickness returning

in consequence.

The same law is illustrated in driving. "I cannot drive, it tires me

so," is a common complaint. Why does it tire you? Because instead of

yielding entirely and freely to the seat of the carriage first, and

then to its motion, you try to help the horses, or to hold yourself

still while the carriage is moving. A man should become one with a

carriage in driving, as much as one with his horse in riding. Notice

the condition in any place where there is excuse for some

anxiety,--while going rather sharply round a corner, or nearing a

railroad track. If your feet are not pressed forcibly against the

floor of the carriage, the tension will be somewhere else. You are

using nervous force to no earthly purpose, and to great earthly

loss. Where any tension is necessary to make things better, it will

assert itself naturally and more truly as we learn to drop all

useless and harmful tension. Take a patient suffering from nervous

prostration for a long drive, and you will bring him back more

nervously prostrated; even the fresh air will not counteract the

strain that comes from not knowing how to relax to the motion of the


A large amount of nervous energy is expended unnecessarily while

waiting. If we are obliged to wait for any length of time, it does

not hurry the minutes or bring that for which we wait to keep

nervously strained with impatience; and it does use vital force, and

so helps greatly toward "Americanitis." The strain which comes from

an hour's nervous waiting, when simply to let yourself alone and

keep still would answer much better, is often equal to a day's

labor. It must be left to individuals to discover how this applies

in their own especial cases, and it will be surprising to see not

only how great and how common such strain is, but how comparatively

easy it is to drop it. There are of course exceptional times and

states when only constant trying and thoughtful watchfulness will

bring any marked result.

We have taken a few examples where there is nothing to do but keep

quiet, body and brain, from what should be the absolute rest of

sleep to the enforced rest of waiting. just one word more in

connection with waiting and driving. You must catch a certain train.

Not having time to trust to your legs or the cars, you hastily take

a cab. You will in your anxiety keep up exactly the same strain that

you would have had in walking,--as if you could help the carriage

along, or as if reaching the station in time depended upon your

keeping a rigid spine and tense muscles. You have hired the carriage

to take you, and any activity on your part is quite unnecessary

until you reach the station; why not keep quiet and let the horses

do the work, and the driver attend to his business?

It would be easy to fill a small volume with examples of the way in

which we are walking directly into nervous prostration; examples

only of this one variety of disobedience,--namely, of the laws of_

rest._ And to give illustrations of all the varieties of

disobedience to Nature's laws in _activity_ would fill not one small

book, but several large ones; and then, unless we improve, a

year-book of new examples of nervous strain could be published. But

fortunately, if we are nervous and short-sighted, we have a good

share of brain and commonsense when it is once appealed to, and a

few examples will open our eyes and set us thinking, to real and

practical results.