W. D. Wattles.

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healthy way, you must soon attain to perfect health. It is impossible to
devise a way in which you can perform the act of eating more
successfully, and in a manner more in accord with the laws of life, than
by chewing every mouthful to a liquid, enjoying the taste fully, and
keeping a cheerful confidence the while. Nothing can be added to make
the process more successful; while if anything be subtracted, the
process will not be a completely healthy one.

In the matter of how much to eat, you will also see that there could be
no other guide so natural, so safe, and so reliable as the one I have
prescribed - to stop eating on the instant you feel that your hunger
begins to abate. The sub-conscious mind may be trusted with implicit
reliance to inform us when food is needed; and it may be trusted as
implicitly to inform us when the need has been supplied. If ALL food is
eaten for hunger, and NO food is taken merely to gratify taste, you will
never eat too much; and if you eat whenever you have an EARNED hunger,
you will always eat enough. By reading carefully the summing up in the
following chapter, you will see that the requirements for eating in a
perfectly healthy way are really very few and simple.

The matter of drinking in a natural way may be dismissed here with a
very few words. If you wish to be exactly and rigidly scientific, drink
nothing but water; drink only when you are thirsty; drink whenever you
are thirsty, and stop as soon as you feel that your thirst begins to
abate. But if you are living rightly in regard to eating, it will not
be necessary to practice asceticism or great self-denial in the matter
of drinking. You can take an occasional cup of weak coffee without harm;
you can, to a reasonable extent, follow the customs of those around you.
Do not get the soda fountain habit; do not drink merely to tickle your
palate with sweet liquids; be sure that you take a drink of water
whenever you feel thirst. Never be too lazy, too indifferent, or too
busy to get a drink of water when you feel the least thirst; if you obey
this rule, you will have little inclination to take strange and
unnatural drinks. Drink only to satisfy thirst; drink whenever you feel
thirst; and stop drinking as soon as you feel thirst abating. That is
the perfectly healthy way to supply the body with the necessary fluid
material for its internal processes.




CHAPTER XIII.

IN A NUTSHELL.


There is a Cosmic Life which permeates, penetrates, and fills the
interspaces of the universe, being in and through all things. This Life
is not merely a vibration, or form of energy; it is a Living Substance.
All things are made from it; it is All, and in all.

This Substance thinks, and it assumes the form of that which it thinks
about. The thought of a form, in this substance, creates the form; the
thought of a motion institutes the motion. The visible universe, with
all its forms and motions, exists because it is in the thought of
Original Substance.

Man is a form of Original Substance, and can think original thoughts;
and within himself, man's thoughts have controlling or formative power.
The thought of a condition produces that condition; the thought of a
motion institutes that motion. So long as man thinks of the conditions
and motions of disease, so long will the conditions and motions of
disease exist within him. If man will think only of perfect health, the
Principle of Health within him will maintain normal conditions.

To be well, man must form a conception of perfect health, and hold
thoughts harmonious with that conception as regards himself and all
things. He must think only of healthy conditions and functioning; he
must not permit a thought of unhealthy or abnormal conditions or
functioning to find lodgment in his mind at any time.

In order to think only of healthy conditions and functioning, man must
perform the voluntary acts of life in a perfectly healthy way. He cannot
think perfect health so long as he knows that he is living in a wrong or
unhealthy way; or even so long as he has doubts as to whether or not he
is living in a healthy way. Man cannot think thoughts of perfect health
while his voluntary functions are performed in the manner of one who is
sick. The voluntary functions of life are eating, drinking, breathing,
and sleeping. When man thinks only of healthy conditions and
functioning, and performs these externals in a perfectly healthy manner,
he must have perfect health.

In eating, man must learn to be guided by his hunger. He must
distinguish between hunger and appetite, and between hunger and the
cravings of habit; he must NEVER eat unless he feels an EARNED HUNGER.
He must learn that genuine hunger is never present after natural sleep,
and that the demand for an early morning meal is purely a matter of
habit and appetite; and he must not begin his day by eating in violation
of natural law. He must wait until he has an Earned Hunger, which, in
most cases, will make his first meal come at about the noon hour. No
matter what his condition, vocation, or circumstances, he must make it
his rule not to eat until he has an EARNED HUNGER; and he may remember
that it is far better to fast for several hours after he has become
hungry than to eat before he begins to feel hunger. It will not hurt you
to go hungry for a few hours, even though you are working hard; but it
will hurt you to fill your stomach when you are not hungry, whether you
are working or not. If you never eat until you have an Earned Hunger,
you may be certain that in so far as the time of eating is concerned,
you are proceeding in a perfectly healthy way. This is a self-evident
proposition.

As to what he shall eat, man must be guided by that Intelligence which
has arranged that the people of any given portion of the earth's surface
must live on the staple products of the zone which they inhabit. Have
faith in God, and ignore "food science" of every kind. Do not pay the
slightest attention to the controversies as to the relative merits of
cooked and raw foods; of vegetables and meats; or as to your need for
carbohydrates and proteins. Eat only when you have an earned hunger, and
then take the common foods of the masses of the people in the zone in
which you live, and have perfect confidence that the results will be
good. They will be. Do not seek for luxuries, or for things imported or
fixed up to tempt the taste; stick to the plain solids; and when these
do not "taste good," fast until they do. Do not seek for "light" foods;
for easily digestible, or "healthy" foods; eat what the farmers and
workingmen eat. Then you will be functioning in a perfectly healthy
manner, so far as what to eat is concerned. I repeat, if you have no
hunger or taste for the plain foods, do not eat at all; wait until
hunger comes. Go without eating until the plainest food tastes good to
you; and then begin your meal with what you like best.

In deciding how to eat, man must be guided by reason. We can see that
the abnormal states of hurry and worry produced by wrong thinking about
business and similar things have led us to form the habit of eating too
fast, and chewing too little. Reason tells us that food should be
chewed, and that the more thoroughly it is chewed the better it is
prepared for the chemistry of digestion. Furthermore, we can see that
the man who eats slowly and chews his food to a liquid, keeping his mind
on the process and giving it his undivided attention, will enjoy more of
the pleasure of taste than he who bolts his food with his mind on
something else. To eat in a perfectly healthy manner, man must
concentrate his attention on the act, with cheerful enjoyment and
confidence; he must taste his food, and he must reduce each mouthful to
a liquid before swallowing it. The foregoing instructions, if followed,
make the function of eating completely perfect; nothing can be added as
to what, when, and how.

In the matter of how much to eat, man must be guided by the same inward
intelligence, or Principle of Health, which tells him when food is
wanted. He must stop eating in the moment that he feels hunger abating;
he must not eat beyond this point to gratify taste. If he ceases to eat
in the instant that the inward demand for food ceases, he will never
overeat; and the function of supplying the body with food will be
performed in a perfectly healthy manner.

The matter of eating naturally is a very simple one; there is nothing in
all the foregoing that cannot be easily practiced by any one. This
method, put in practice, will infallibly result in perfect digestion and
assimilation; and all anxiety and careful thought concerning the matter
can at once be dropped from the mind. Whenever you have an earned
hunger, eat with thankfulness what is set before you, chewing each
mouthful to a liquid, and stopping when you feel the edge taken from
your hunger.

The importance of the mental attitude is sufficient to justify an
additional word. While you are eating, as at all other times, think only
of healthy conditions and normal functioning. Enjoy what you eat; if you
carry on a conversation at the table, talk of the goodness of the food,
and of the pleasure it is giving you. Never mention that you dislike
this or that; speak only of those things which you like. Never discuss
the wholesomeness or unwholesomeness of foods; never mention or think of
unwholesomeness at all. If there is anything on the table for which you
do not care, pass it by in silence, or with a word of commendation;
never criticise or object to anything. Eat your food with gladness and
with singleness of heart, praising God and giving thanks. Let your
watchword be perseverance; whenever you fall into the old way of hasty
eating, or of wrong thought and speech, bring yourself up short and
begin again.

It is of the most vital importance to you that you should be a
self-controlling and self-directing person; and you can never hope to
become so unless you can master yourself in so simple and fundamental a
matter as the manner and method of your eating. If you cannot control
yourself in this, you cannot control yourself in anything that will be
worth while. On the other hand, if you carry out the foregoing
instructions, you may rest in the assurance that in so far as right
thinking and right eating are concerned you are living in a perfectly
scientific way; and you may also be assured that if you practice what is
prescribed in the following chapters you will quickly build your body
into a condition of perfect health.




CHAPTER XIV.

BREATHING.


The function of breathing is a vital one, and it immediately concerns
the continuance of life. We can live many hours without sleeping, and
many days without eating or drinking, but only a few minutes without
breathing. The act of breathing is involuntary, but the manner of it,
and the provision of the proper conditions for its healthy performance,
falls within the scope of volition. Man will continue to breathe
involuntarily, but he can voluntarily determine what he shall breathe,
and how deeply and thoroughly he shall breathe; and he can, of his own
volition, keep the physical mechanism in condition for the perfect
performance of the function.

It is essential, if you wish to breathe in a perfectly healthy way,
that the physical machinery used in the act should be kept in good
condition. You must keep your spine moderately straight, and the muscles
of your chest must be flexible and free in action. You cannot breathe in
the right way if your shoulders are greatly stooped forward and your
chest hollow and rigid. Sitting or standing at work in a slightly
stooping position tends to produce hollow chest; so does lifting heavy
weights - or light weights.

The tendency of work, of almost all kinds, is to pull the shoulders
forward, curve the spine, and flatten the chest; and if the chest is
greatly flattened, full and deep breathing becomes impossible, and
perfect health is out of the question.

Various gymnastic exercises have been devised to counteract the effect
of stooping while at work; such as hanging by the hands from a swing or
trapeze bar, or sitting on a chair with the feet under some heavy
article of furniture and bending backward until the head touches the
floor, and so on. All these are good enough in their way, but very few
people will follow them long enough and regularly enough to accomplish
any real gain in physique. The taking of "health exercises" of any kind
is burdensome and unnecessary; there is a more natural, simpler, and
much better way.

This better way is to keep yourself straight, and to breathe deeply. Let
your mental conception of yourself be that you are a perfectly straight
person, and whenever the matter comes to your mind, be sure that you
instantly expand your chest, throw back your shoulders, and "straighten
up." Whenever you do this, slowly draw in your breath until you fill
your lungs to their utmost capacity; "crowd in" all the air you possibly
can; and while holding it for an instant in the lungs, throw your
shoulders still further back, and stretch your chest; at the same time
try to pull your spine forward between the shoulders. Then let the air
go easily.

This is the one great exercise for keeping the chest full, flexible, and
in good condition. Straighten up; fill your lungs FULL; stretch your
chest and straighten your spine, and exhale easily. And this exercise
you must repeat, in season and out of season, at all times and in all
places, until you form a habit of doing it; you can easily do so.
Whenever you step out of doors into the fresh, pure air, BREATHE. When
you are at work, and think of yourself and your position, BREATHE. When
you are in company, and are reminded of the matter, BREATHE. When you
are awake in the night, BREATHE. No matter where you are or what you are
doing, whenever the idea comes to your mind, straighten up and BREATHE.
If you walk to and from your work, take the exercise all the way; it
will soon become a delight to you; you will keep it up, not for the
sake of health, but as a matter of pleasure.

Do not consider this a "health exercise"; _never take health exercises,
or do gymnastics to make you well. To do so is to recognize sickness as
a present fact or as a possibility, which is precisely what you must not
do_. The people who are always taking exercises for their health are
always thinking about being sick. It ought to be a matter of pride with
you to keep your spine straight and strong; as much so as it is to keep
your face clean. Keep your spine straight, and your chest full and
flexible for the same reason that you keep your hands clean and your
nails manicured; because it is slovenly to do otherwise. Do it without a
thought of sickness, present or possible. You must either be crooked and
unsightly, or you must be straight; and if you are straight your
breathing will take care of itself. You will find the matter of health
exercises referred to again in a future chapter.

It is essential, however, that you should breathe AIR. It appears to be
the intention of nature that the lungs should receive air containing its
regular percentage of oxygen, and not greatly contaminated by other
gases, or by filth of any kind. Do not allow yourself to think that you
are compelled to live or work where the air is not fit to breathe. If
your house cannot be properly ventilated, move; and if you are employed
where the air is bad, get another job; you can, by practicing the
methods given in the preceding volume of this series - "THE SCIENCE OF
GETTING RICH." If no one would consent to work in bad air, employers
would speedily see to it that all work rooms were properly ventilated.
The worst air is that from which the oxygen has been exhausted by
breathing; as that of churches and theaters where crowds of people
congregate, and the outlet and supply of air are poor. Next to this is
air containing other gases than oxygen and hydrogen - sewer gas, and the
effluvium from decaying things. Air that is heavily charged with dust or
particles of organic matter may be endured better than any of these.
Small particles of organic matter other than food are generally thrown
off from the lungs; but gases go into the blood.

I speak advisedly when I say "other than food." Air is largely a food.
It is the most thoroughly alive thing we take into the body. Every
breath carries in millions of microbes, many of which are assimilated.
The odors from earth, grass, tree, flower, plant, and from cooking foods
are foods in themselves; they are minute particles of the substances
from which they come, and are often so attenuated that they pass
directly from the lungs into the blood, and are assimilated without
digestion. And the atmosphere is permeated with the One Original
Substance, which is life itself. Consciously recognize this whenever
you think of your breathing, and think that you are breathing in life;
you really are, and conscious recognition helps the process. See to it
that you do not breathe air containing poisonous gases, and that you do
not rebreathe the air which has been used by yourself or others.

That is all there is to the matter of breathing correctly. Keep your
spine straight and your chest flexible, and breathe pure air,
recognizing with thankfulness the fact that you breathe in the Eternal
Life. That is not difficult; and beyond these things give little thought
to your breathing except to thank God that you have learned how to do it
perfectly.




CHAPTER XV.

SLEEP.


Vital power is renewed in sleep. Every living thing sleeps; men,
animals, reptiles, fish, and insects sleep, and even plants have regular
periods of slumber. And this is because it is in sleep that we come into
such contact with the Principle of Life in nature that our own lives may
be renewed. It is in sleep that the brain of man is recharged with vital
energy, and the Principle of Health within him is given new strength. It
is of the first importance, then, that we should sleep in a natural,
normal, and perfectly healthy manner.

Studying sleep, we note that the breathing is much deeper, and more
forcible and rhythmic than in the waking state. Much more air is
inspired when asleep than when awake, and this tells us that the
Principle of Health requires large quantities of some element in the
atmosphere for the process of renewal. If you would surround sleep with
natural conditions, then, the first step is to see that you have an
unlimited supply of fresh and pure air to breathe. Physicians have found
that sleeping in the pure air of out-of-doors is very efficacious in the
treatment of pulmonary troubles; and, taken in connection with the Way
of Living and Thinking prescribed in this book, you will find that it is
just as efficacious in curing every other sort of trouble. Do not take
any half-way measures in this matter of securing pure air while you
sleep. Ventilate your bedroom thoroughly; so thoroughly that it will be
practically the same as sleeping out of doors. Have a door or window
open wide; have one open on each side of the room, if possible. If you
cannot have a good draught of air across the room, pull the head of
your bed close to the open window, so that the air from without may come
fully into your face. No matter how cold or unpleasant the weather, have
a window open, and open wide; and try to get a circulation of pure air
through the room. Pile on the bedclothes, if necessary, to keep you
warm; but have an unlimited supply of fresh air from out of doors. This
is the first great requisite for healthy sleep.

The brain and nerve centers cannot be thoroughly vitalized if you sleep
in "dead" or stagnant air; you must have the living atmosphere, vital
with nature's Principle of Life. I repeat, do not make any compromise in
this matter; ventilate your sleeping room completely, and see that there
is a circulation of outdoor air through it while you sleep. You are not
sleeping in a perfectly healthy way if you shut the doors and windows of
your sleeping room, whether in winter or summer. Have fresh air. If you
are where there is no fresh air, move. If your bedroom cannot be
ventilated, get into another house.

Next in importance is the mental attitude in which you go to sleep. It
is well to sleep intelligently, purposefully, knowing what you do it
for. Lie down thinking that sleep is an infallible vitalizer, and go to
sleep with a confident faith that your strength is to be renewed; that
you will awake full of vitality and health. Put purpose into your sleep
as you do into your eating; give the matter your attention for a few
minutes, as you go to rest. Do not seek your couch with a discouraged or
depressed feeling; go there joyously, to be made whole. Do not forget
the exercise of gratitude in going to sleep; before you close your eyes,
give thanks to God for having shown you the way to perfect health, and
go to sleep with this grateful thought uppermost in your mind. A bedtime
prayer of thanksgiving is a mighty good thing; it puts the Principle of
Health within you into communication with its source, from which it is
to receive new power while you are in the silence of unconsciousness.

You may see that the requirements for perfectly healthy sleep are not
difficult. First, to see that you breathe pure air from out of doors
while you sleep; and, second, to put the Within into touch with the
Living Substance by a few minutes of grateful meditation as you go to
bed. Observe these requirements, go to sleep in a thankful and confident
frame of mind, and all will be well. If you have insomnia, do not let it
worry you. While you lie awake, form your conception of health; meditate
with thankfulness on the abundant life which is yours, breathe, and feel
perfectly confident that you will sleep in due time; and you will.
Insomnia, like every other ailment, must give way before the Principle
of Health aroused to full constructive activity by the course of
thought and action herein described.

The reader will now comprehend that it is not at all burdensome or
disagreeable to perform the voluntary functions of life in a perfectly
healthy way. The perfectly healthy way is the easiest, simplest, most
natural, and most pleasant way. The cultivation of health is not a work
of art, difficulty, or strenuous labor. You have only to lay aside
artificial observances of every kind, and eat, drink, breathe, and sleep
in the most natural and delightful way; and if you do this, thinking
health and only health, you will certainly be well.




CHAPTER XVI.

SUPPLEMENTARY INSTRUCTIONS.


In forming a conception of health, it is necessary to think of the
manner in which you would live and work if you were perfectly well and
very strong; to imagine yourself doing things in the way of a perfectly
well and very strong person, until you have a fairly good conception of
what you would be if you were well. Then take a mental and physical
attitude in harmony with this conception; and do not depart from this
attitude. You must unify yourself in thought with the thing you desire;
and whatever state or condition you unify with yourself in thought will
soon become unified with you in body. The scientific way is to sever
relations with everything you do not want, and to enter into relations
with everything you do want. Form a conception of perfect health, and
relate yourself to this conception in word, act, and attitude.

Guard your speech; make every word harmonize with the conception of
perfect health. Never complain; never say things like these: "I did not
sleep well last night;" "I have a pain in my side;" "I do not feel at
all well to-day," and so on. Say "I am looking forward to a good night's
sleep to-night;" "I can see that I progress rapidly," and things of
similar meaning. In so far as everything which is connected with disease
is concerned, your way is to forget it; and in so far as everything
which is connected with health is concerned, your way is to unify
yourself with it in thought and speech.

This is the whole thing in a nutshell: _make yourself one with Health in
thought, word, and action; and do not connect yourself with sickness
either by thought, word, or action_.

Do not read "Doctor Books" or medical literature, or the literature of
those whose theories conflict with those herein set forth; to do so will
certainly undermine your faith in the Way of Living upon which you have
entered, and cause you to again come into mental relations with disease.
This book really gives you all that is required; nothing essential has
been omitted, and practically all the superfluous has been eliminated.


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Online LibraryW. D. WattlesThe Science of Being Well → online text (page 5 of 6)