At breakfast in a hotel dining room, one man complained of a sleepless night. He had tossed and turned and was about as exhausted as when he retired. To overcome this condition need Peaceful Mind without any doubt. “Guess I’d better stop watching the news before going to bed,” he observed. “I tuned in last night and got an ear full of trouble.”
Another man spoke up, “I had a grand night. Of course, I used my go-to-sleep plan, which never fails to work.”
I prodded him for his plan, which he explained as follows: “When I was a boy, my father, a farmer, had the habit of gathering the family in the parlor at bedtime and he read to us out of the Bible. After prayers, I would go up to my room and sleep like a top. But when I left home I got away from the Bible reading and prayer habit. For years practically the only time I ever prayed was when I got into a jam. But some months ago my wife and I, having difficult problems, decided we would try it again. We found it a helpful practice, so now every night before going to bed she and I together read the Bible and pray. I don’t know what there is about it, but I have been sleeping better and things have improved. In fact, even on the road, as I am now, I still read the Bible and pray.
Last night I read the Twenty-third Psalm out loud. He turned to the other man and said, “I didn’t go to bed with an ear full of trouble. I went to sleep with a mind full of peace.” Well, there are two cryptic phrases for you—“an ear full of trouble” and “a mind full of peace.” Which do you choose? The essence of the secret lies in a change of mental attitude. One must learn to live on a different thought basis, and even though thought change requires effort, it is much easier than to continue living as you are. The life of strain is difficult.
The life of inner peace, being harmonious and without stress, is the easiest type of existence. The chief struggle then in gaining mental peace is the effort of revamping your thinking to the relaxed attitude of acceptance of God’s gift of peace. As a physician said, “Many of my patients have nothing wrong with them except their thoughts. So I have a favorite prescription I write for some. It is a verse from the Bible, Romans 12:2. I do not write out that verse for my patients. I make them look it up. The verse reads: ‘Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.’ To be happier and healthier they need a renewing of their minds, that is, a change in their thoughts. When they ‘take’ this prescription, they actually achieve a mind full of peace. That helps to produce health and well-being.”
A primary method for gaining a mind full of peace is to practice emptying the mind. At least twice a day, empty your mind of fears, hates, insecurities, regrets and guilt feelings. To prevent unhappy thoughts from sneaking in again with Peaceful Mind, immediately fill your mind with creative and healthy thoughts. At intervals during the day practice thinking a carefully selected series of peaceful thoughts. Let mental pictures of the most peaceful scenes you have ever witnessed pass across your mind, as, for example, the silvery light of the moon falling upon rippling waters, or the sea washing gently upon soft shores of sand. For Peaceful Mind Such peaceful thought images will work upon your mind as a healing medicine. Repeat audibly some peaceful words. Words have profound suggestive power, and there is healing in the very saying of them.
To get Peaceful Mind use a word such as “serenity.” Picture serenity as you say it. Repeat it slowly and in the mood of which the word is a symbol. It is also helpful to use lines from poetry or passages from the Scriptures. A man of my acquaintance who achieved a remarkable peace of mind has the habit of writing on cards unusual quotations expressing peacefulness. He carries one of the cards in his wallet at all times, referring to it frequently until each quotation is committed to memory. He says that each such idea dropped into the subconscious “lubricates” his mind with peace. One of the quotations he used is from a sixteenth-century mystic: “Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing frighten you.
Everything passes away except God need Peaceful Mind. God alone is sufficient.” There are other practical ways by which you can develop serenity and quiet attitudes. One way is through your conversation. In a group when the conversation takes a trend that is upsetting, try injecting peaceful ideas into the talk. To have peace of mind, fill your personal and group conversations with positive, happy, optimistic, satisfying expressions. Another effective technique in developing a peaceful mind is the daily practice of silence. Insist upon not less than a quarter of an hour of absolute quiet every 24 hours.
Go alone into the quietest place available to you and sit or lie down for 15 minutes and practice the art of silence. Do not write or read. Think as little as possible. Throw your mind into neutral. Conceive of your mind as the surface of a body of water and see how nearly quiet you can make it, so that there is not a ripple. When you have attained a quiescent state, listen for the deeper sounds of harmony and beauty and of God that are to be found in the essence of silence. Saturate your thoughts with peaceful experiences, peaceful words and ideas, and ultimately you will have a storehouse of peace-producing experiences to which you may turn for refreshment and renewal of your spirit. It will be a vast source of power.