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HOME > Science Fiction > The psychology of sleep > CHAPTER VIII WAKEFULNESS
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 And Sleep will not lie down but walks Wild-eyed and cries to time.
“Ballad of Reading .”
Oscar Wilde.
The fact that we confound rest and sleep makes us regard wakefulness as an evil. We go to bed to sleep, and, if sleep does not come at once, we begin to and to toss and we try by every means that we know to force ourselves to sleep. We never accomplish anything that way, because it is opposed to the nature of sleep. Sleep, to be , must be complete of mind and body, and that is not gained by striving. Natural sleep is merely “letting go,” which is just what so many find hard to do. The course is so simple and plain that “the man, though a fool, need not therein,” but he often does err in spite of its ; and sometimes, perhaps, even because of its simplicity.
Naaman, captain of the host of Syria, went to the Israelitish prophet, Elisha, to be cured of his leprosy. As he was a great man with his master, he expected some special ceremony done for him. Imagine his surprise and when bidden to wash in the River Jordan.
At first Naaman went away in a rage; such advice ill-befitted his ideas of his needs. If it were enough that he should bathe in a river, why in Jordan? “Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel?” Why not wash in them and be clean? And Naaman turned and went away.
But his servants questioned him and said: “Had the prophet bid thee do some great thing, wouldst thou not have done it? How much rather then when he saith to thee ‘wash and be clean’?” Then Naaman yielded and was made whole.
This story is a picture of our own ways. We despise the remedy that is simple, and we feel sure that, had it been some great thing, we should have found it easier to do. We are to accept simple, natural explanations of our difficulties. We feel so because we think so highly of ourselves. We forget that the greatest things are often the simplest, and, if the natural things are too hard for us to do, it is because we lack that true greatness which sees and welcomes directness.
If man understood his life better, he would cease to think of anything as an “accident” without a cause. He would know that nothing can occur to him that does not signify something to him in relation to his share in the plan of the Universe. He would understand that so simple a thing............
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