In this lesson Bernard speaks of how he overcame his own nervous disposition and related illness. He encourages us with ideas of how to Get Rid of Fear, suggests we use an simple affirmation in Father Show Me and offers us a way of Handling Nerves,
LESSON EIGHTEEN: STRONG NERVES AND HAPPINESS
My dear Student,
This is a subject which will interest many of my readers for so many are in search of an elusive happiness and so many are suffering, these days, with varying forms of nervousness. I came from a “nervy” family. Almost everyone was full of fears, nervous weakness, queer, unexplained ailments and the like. So looking around at them all, I made up my mind to do something about it.
The first thing I did was to get my body more healthy, for I was a frail, illness-ridden creature in those days, and very timid, too. But as you have already had suggestions for Health in these Lessons I need not go further into that.
The next thing I realised was that “nerviness ” comes mostly from fear, either known or hidden. Nervy people “just haven’t the nerve” to face the world, the people in it, their job, their responsibilities, their life. I had had a very severe shock about that time. Life seemed too big for me and utterly impossible. Subconsciously I must have thought that the only way I could escape from it all was to be ill, for I began to get ill. My mind, with the mind’s creative powers, must have created for me this way of escape and so I did escape.
But suddenly I saw where it was leading me and I resolved to build a new personality of power and fearlessness. And this is just what I did do. Where I tended to panic, I forced myself to act calmly and speak calmly and presently I began to feel calm. Where I felt sorry for myself, I began to feel sorry for those who had to look after me. I began to laugh at myself and I well remember the astonishment of passersby who once saw me being propelled rapidly downhill in my invalid chair while my “nurse” and I were engaged in hearty laughter over some private joke of our own!
It took me two years to do, but I made myself over. I did it through casting out self-pity and being happy. People tell me how calm I am now; but even now, I have little inward struggles to keep my nerves under control. But I do, and so can you – by getting healthy and being happy.
So to the very nervy people, I say: “Smile, relax, laugh”. Life is not the difficult, dismal affair it sometimes seems to you. You are just one of millions in the world and it does not matter in the least whether you do anything that may seem foolish in public. Hardly anyone will notice and even these will completely forget all about it in a few minutes. You see, people are so very busy living their own lives and grappling with their own problems. They have no time to notice and criticise and remember. Just relax and smile.
Another thing I have noticed is the warm popularity of people who act naturally, and are not always wondering what people are thinking of them. They may make mistakes, but they laugh with those who laugh, and everyone is drawn to them because of it and loves them for it.
Believe me, there is no need to settle down to a kind of half-life of ill-health, no matter how old you are. There is always something to he done about it, but remember it must always start with the mind. If we do not think properly, if we expect to be ill and to grow increasingly so as the years advance; if we want to be ill in order to escape from difficulties, or to get more notice from others, then whatever we do, we shall be ill. And if we are determined to be well, we shall be well, even if it takes a long time to reach that happy state.
Get Rid of Fear
Let me outline a sort of “drill” for you to follow, to summarise, as it were, what has gone before in these Lessons. The first thing to do is to get rid of fears. Cease to think fearfully; cease to speak fearfully and cease to write fearfully in letters to your friends. You have within you the Creative Spirit of God Himself, and so you really and truly create by your thoughts. Think of the Biblical words: “Thou shalt also decree a thing and it shall be established unto thee.” (Job 22, 28.)
So that when you think: “How frightened I am.” Or: “How ill I feel.” Or: “How weak I am growing, but then, I am getting old so it can’t be helped”, and such-like negative things, you are actually creating these very conditions and establishing them in your life. Never delight, then, or get release from explaining all the details of your illness to others. The only time to give details is when you are asking some Health Expert to help you to a cure. People don’t want to hear. It is all very mournful and uninteresting and they try to avoid the person who will talk about illnesses, either of the self or others.
Be firm with yourself from now on and start to think about health, strength, joy, friendliness and helping others and such-like constructive and useful things. If you do, I guarantee that you will start to look younger within a few weeks and people will exclaim about you and ask what has happened because you are looking so much better
The next part of the “drill” is to be tolerant and forgiving. We have all made mistakes in our lives and done and said things we were sorry for afterwards, so be generous and forgive. It’s a wonderful tonic. If you have been brooding over something, take this opportunity of throwing it right out of your life from this moment – you will throw a few aches and pains with it.
Now if you are not as yet able to move about very freely, start to do all the most active things you want in your head. Image them vividly; it will send a healthy flow of blood to all the muscles you are “using” in your imagination. This is a known and proved fact.
Father Show Me Exercise
Next, start to think of all the things you have wanted to do in life, but have never actually managed to do. Enjoy yourself by writing down what you want. Get the whole thing very clear and plain and detailed. Then, relaxing for a moment in the Love of God, say inwardly: “Father, show me how“. Repeat this often, expecting and watching for ways and means to unfold to you. You will find that they will.
While you are waiting for life to unfold, read over what you desire every day, “live” in it a few minutes once or twice a day. Receive it in your imagination. Remember that we are told: “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” See the idea?
Life, you see, is not the useless, restricted, disappointing thing you imagined, is it? There are all kinds of possibilities opening to you. Seize them with two hands, happily, and start living an entirely new life from today.
When you get your “leading”, follow it. Be the victor from now on, as you were meant to be.
Here is an article about “Nerves”, which was published in a former copy of B.W.N.
In a Student Family of this size, there are bound to be people who have for years suffered acutely with nerves. These do not so much want instruction as contact with someone on whom they can pour out their troubles, past experiences, worries, fears, physical and mental symptoms and the like.
Again, such people often desire praise most ardently, but how can one praise people who write pages and pages of self pity, who describe every emotion and symptom in detail, or are convinced that God has forsaken them? Or that they are incapable, because of an unhappy past life, of gaining the victory? To praise a person in these circumstances would be, not only foolish, but very wrong indeed, for it would encourage that one to go on living in the same way, thus fastening the very miseries upon him that he finds so difficult to bear.
How, then, can I help such people? I have used a firm repetition of Truth, despite all denials to the contrary, a refusal to praise, soothe and flatter, despite all appeals – and also, what I call to myself “the cold water method “. It’s like this. Most people of this type are capable of sustained, intelligent thought – probably because they have spent so many years in thinking about themselves and their wrongs, troubles, handicaps, emotions and symptoms. Therefore if, by “shock” methods I can change the trend of that thought, I have won the victory for they will use their intelligent thought for benefit instead of detriment.
There was a Student I had once who had turned her thoughts into wrong channels, as I have described. It was an urgent case, I could see. Her whole life, and the happiness of this Student’s family hung in the balance. Would a “bucket of cold water” bring about a cure or send the Student from me? That was my problem. I knew that, such was the strength, intelligence and love-of-family underneath, if a cure could be effected it would be likely to be complete and permanent. So I risked it. I wrote my usual letter, then added these words (or something like them) : “If you still cling to your present way of thinking, I am very sorry indeed for your children. How unhappy they must be.”
It was a “bold stroke” but it was worth it. Back came a letter explaining that it was not like this at all. The Student loved the children (I knew this already) and never allowed their lives to be made miserable because of the existing troubles and despair.
Back went my reply. “Then you have proved to yourself that victory is possible, for if you can achieve it sometimes, you can achieve it always.”
That did the trick! Not once has this Student slipped back. As soon as the Truth (that complete victory was possible) was accepted, then it manifested and has done so ever since.
Before I end this article I will add these points for the help and deliverance of nerve-ridden people.
(1) It is possible to gain the Victory over nerves.
(2) To gain the Victory, one must:
(a) Accept the fact that Victory is possible.
(b) Be willing to enter into a stern phase of self-discipline.
(c) Cease to cling to the nerves as an excuse for various failures.
(d) Want the Victory ardently.
(3) Delving into the past and re-living wrongs and trials must be absolutely avoided.
(4) Absorption in the self, the emotions, moods, and health and worrying over the opinions of others must he abolished.
(5) Genuine interest in others and a true desire to bring happiness and help to all, must be developed always.
(6) Forgiveness and friendliness is essential.
If these six points are followed, anyone can gain the Victory.
I do urge those who have held (or do hold) the view that problems or hard work cause a breakdown in health, to ponder on all this and review their attitude to life, thoroughly and courageously. By so doing a new way of life will open; a happy, healthy, satisfying, joyful way.
On this Victorious note, then, we end this Section of the Course. Do go over it from time to time. You will find you get a little more from it with every reading, for as your understanding grows, so will the Lessons reveal more and more to you.
May God bless you and keep you; may you delight in Him, and in His Goodness, both receiving it and distributing it wherever you go. So shall you come, as Divinely promised, to the fulfilment of your heart’s desire.
I will not think of tomorrow;
I will live in the’ Here and Now’,
For Thou, my Lord, hast taught us
All things of earth will bow
To the trusting heart and the loving,
To the friendly heart and the free,
So I’ll lean upon Thy Heart, Lord,
From now to Eternity
Oh, if men but knew Thy Love, Lord,
They would smile and relax to Thee,
And leave their problems in Thy dear hands
While they live happy and free
To Thy Love I yield;
I, Thy willing child
And Thou My Rock and Shield
Give me Thy power
That, trusting, still and mild
And deep in inward peace
I yet may wield
Thy sword of Truth on high
To Thy wealth I yield;
Thou wilt supply
For every happy hour;
So shall my faith leap high
And all my questing cease