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HOME > Science Fiction > The psychology of sleep > CHAPTER XI THE GIFTS OF WAKEFULNESS
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 But,” you say, “I am not full of uncharitableness towards my fellows and I am willing they should live their own lives; I am greatly worried about my own affairs and all my cares come trooping back to me as soon as I lie down. I cannot sleep for worry.” Yes; but is not that only another form of selfishness? A subtle form, but none the less disturbing. Moreover, it is shortsighted, as is all selfishness, for it is a boomerang. If the worry is about business, we shall need a clear brain and a steady nerve to face the condition that is causing the uneasiness; and worry at night will not give us these. On the contrary, it will destroy what remnant of we may have.  
The solution of trouble is not found in worry. Just recall how often you have said yourself, or heard somebody say, “After all my worrying it came out all right; it is strange that I never once thought of that way.” Worry prevents clear thinking, or, indeed, thinking of any sort. We go around and around in a circle un52til we grow giddy and faint with , while all the time we might have peace if we but looked at life aright, to see that, in the words of the old Book, “it is all very good.” When a mechanic is putting a machine together and finds that the parts do not fit, that they do not “go right” or harmonize, he will reach one of two conclusions. Either the did not know his business, and so did not make the parts to fit, or else he, himself, is putting them together in the wrong way. If he wants to put that machine together so that it will work well, he will look into the matter carefully, examining each part, all the time keeping in his mind a conception of the complete machine. He will probably find that he has been trying to fit two unrelated parts together, or has reversed their position, misunderstood or only understood their uses, or has done something through carelessness that may easily be corrected. Of course, if he is a stupid or foolish workman, and not a skilled mechanic, he may persist in his wrong course and fail to get the machine into working order. But that is not the fault of the maker, nor does it prove that the machine would not do perfect work if it were rightly understood and intelligently controlled. So it is with the , the orderly world, which will go right for us if we do our part right.
The first step towards knowing how to get anything is to have a clear idea of what it is that we want; for development is not thrust upon us, nor dropped upon us by our parents. It is desire that creates function; the creature that wants to swim is the creature that learns to swim; the bird that does not want to fly will lose the power; before we can rise higher, we must look higher.
“When the ideal once alights in our streets,” says Edward Carpenter, “we may go home to supper in peace, the rest will be seen to.” But, if we enjoy worry as the countryman’s wife “enjoys poor health,” we shall continue to have it, for we always get what we most want, if we set about it in the right way. And if we do not want worry, we need not worry. If the trouble is unavoidable or unchangeable, it were wise to use our powers to adjust ourselves to the . If it be a curable trouble, the only thing is to discover or devise a cure. As soon as we start to work we cease to worry, because worry and effective activity cannot exist at the same time. Man, at least, is such a creature that any real action looking towards a definite end brings him pleasure; and, though the action may have been by pain, yet the pleasure he finds in the action , if it does not destroy, the pain.
If the original cause for the worry lies in our own ignorance, selfishness, or thoughtlessness, the anxiety may teach us to repair the ill so that we may not have to get the same lesson again. But worrying will teach us less than a cheerful acceptance of the facts—or than that courage which says,
“And still the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid”—
and one of the best aids to cheerfulness is sound, sleep. If w............
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