THE mighty silence of the great open spaces, the soft warm calm under the palms out on the sands, the cold stillness of the silent frozen worlds, the majestic grandeur of the sunset in the West, the weird influence of the soft light of the moon, the story of the ages in the cold gleaming of the star worlds in the sky, the lure of the lonely vastness of the sea, the soothing cadence of the melody of music in the cars, the silent touch of tender memories, the thrill of a soul in the presence of love—these and kindred of the great primal forces are the real influences guiding the motives and powers of human life.
Our lives are modified, more than we know, by these constant, active influences. Not only are our minds molded, obeying unconsciously these silent orders; but our bodies and organs. There are serious chronic nervous diseases which have no found cause in any change of tissue structure, and which are modified or cured by emotions and impulses. Emotions and impulses are actually only automatic reactions to impressions which are often not even possible to discover. It is established that emotions cause specific changes in many of the body functions: the action of the heart and lungs, the tension of the blood vessels, the conduct of muscles and even tendons. In normal healthy bodies muscular tremors have been demonstrated by laboratory instruments, produced by arousing mental conditions such as curiosity, or fear, or anger. And it is common to find tendon reflexes modified by similar emotions, or even by ordinary excitement. And just such mental conditions are present as the cause of many abnormal physical conditions such as constant eyestrain, indigestion, insomnia, and even distinct diseases with muscle spasms and mental disturbances. And above all, the brain itself with all its nerves, is dominated by the same impressions from the world it lives in, and is molded like the softest clay.
Suppressions, conscious or unconscious, increase these abnormal conditions of tension, and we are constantly suppressing. And worst of all, we are thoughtlessly allowing abnormal and harmful influences to suppress the natural normal functions of our subconscious mind, and mislead us into complexes that are the causes of many diseased conditions.
It is possible to relieve these abnormal conditions by the simple expedient of securing a state of relaxation of the muscles of the body. Without muscular relaxation there never is mental relaxation. And when the muscles are relaxed mental relaxation is always present. There are different methods and varieties of technique by which this muscular relaxation may be secured. But they all must depend upon the same laws of psychology and physiology. It is necessary to enlist the cooperation of the subconscious mind. This can be accomplished by occupying the conscious mind so completely with some carefully chosen impression that the subconscious mind is also fully occupied with the same thought and purpose for a period of time. This method has been proved. It is scientific and successful. It requires, however, that the patient be receptive, earnest, and confident.
The story in this book is founded on these truths. Vision is the most precious of the senses which feed the life and the happiness of the human. That vision should be allowed to degenerate into a crippled dependent upon a mechanical device is an ominous threat to the future of the race. If the mind can be roused into a consciousness of its loss, the recovery of the natural power of the eye will be the smallest of the glorious achievements that will come with the new life.
It has been interesting to try to imagine the mighty spirits of the past contemplating the modern hosts that are helpless without their pieces of glass. How could those independent souls understand this new habit? How long will it be before the minds of children, who are beginning their lives, will be taught to use their own eyes, with the freedom and the power which belongs to them, and which will give them a new fullness of life?
W. B. M.