(Note: A downloadable PDF copy of this lesson is available on the last page.)
The body, host to the mind, can influence its invisible guest. I was reminded of this when traveling with a missionary friend in Africa several years ago. He was stricken with an attack of malaria. Over several days, this normally keen individual was frequently delirious. At such times it was impossible for me to discuss anything of a serious nature with him.
Most persons need a given amount of sleep or they become irritable. Induction of a narcotic or alcohol into the body decreases the ability to think straight. Even food can affect the mental process–ask any luncheon speaker who has seen part of his audience drift off to sleep.
Though the body can influence the mind and one’s emotional state, medical science avers that the mind holds even greater mastery over the body.
One day I encountered a highway accident just after it had happened. Three badly battered bodies lay motionless on the pavement. A survivor simply sat on the roadway and stared unseeingly at those who had been members of his family. Another who had lived through the crash stood beside the overturned car and screamed, “I killed them! I killed them! They told me to slow down. Why didn’t I listen?”
I walked away from that scene literally sick to my stomach. In driving off, I noticed that the muscles in my arms and legs were tense. I sighed frequently. My body had undergone distinct changes that were the result of my reaction to that bloody scene.
One day during counseling, Charles Reed spoke of his problem at home. Often he would arrive home in a good mood and would be hungry enough to eat a side of beef. Then his wife would begin to air her complaints. Perhaps he had slammed the door when he had come in. Or he might have been a few minutes late. So just before dinner was ready, his body would become tense and he would lose his appetite. His reaction to his wife produced drastic bodily changes.
A young girl reported she suffered from severe headaches. Investigation disclosed they always occurred when her fiancé failed to call when he said he would. A further look back through her life showed that her headaches started about the time something went wrong with her plans.
Eddie Bond sought counseling at the recommendation of his physician. “How can you help me get over a stiff neck?” he asked, truly puzzled. As he told his story, it became clear that life was to him one big pain in the neck. The tenseness of his neck muscles gave him the pain. He was tense because he approached the problems in his life as if he were a football lineman charging his opponent.
Mrs. Frick was a beautiful, cultured, well-educated woman. But in certain situations she was having difficulty swallowing her food, until I learned that these times of difficulty came in connection with appointments that her husband demanded that she make and keep. She resented his demands. She actually could not “swallow” them.