Theme: Student over exerting oneself to improve will cause physical and psychological damage. Reduction in physical and emotional energy. Nervous breakdown.
Reference: Stairway To Freedom – Pg. 138
Taking steps to improve one’s personality traits by removal of the negative destructive aspects and promoting those more positive attributes, would cause change to be wrought throughout the entire body and auras of the person undergoing change. The result of that change would, of course, be an improvement in the personality of that person which will bring light to him and to all who meet him but, whilst those changes are taking effect, there is danger of mental and physical breakdown occurring as voids are created in the energy levels of that person. Those voids will be filled with spiritual energy finally but, initially, the voids will cause a reduction in physical and emotional energy. Therefore, whilst the student is seeking to improve himself, it is important that he tries to carry out exercises in self-improvement at times when he is able to rest fully and at times when little demand is placed upon him by his employment or his domestic situation. This perforce slows down the rate at which he can achieve improvement but it is better to be slow and thorough rather than chase improvement and finish up damaged physically and psychologically.
The student should constantly monitor his progress and his state of mind and only seek to improve himself whilst he feels fit and well. Should he be prone to mental stress, he will recognise the signs soon enough and must cease to meditate and criticise himself forthwith until his body informs him that he may once again continue.
The mind should be considered rather like a muscle in the body. A muscle may be trained through steady exercise to perform great feats but, once strained, the muscle is torn and may never be capable again of the same feats. If you permit your mind to become strained resulting in nervous breakdown, it too will never be capable of quite the same feats. There will always remain a tendency towards breakdown.
Therefore, nurture yourself. Do not permit any excesses in your life either spiritual or temporal and you will become stronger and more capable of doing God’s work. God needs capable workers, not an army of cripples. Ensure that you are able to play your part to the best of your ability. God will appreciate that you are not a machine and require rest from time to time. If and when you do rest and take a break from your spiritual development and activities, inform your colleagues of your intentions and inform your spiritual advisors also. Then, rest without thought for man or God.
So often, the novice feels the need for spiritual rest and yet feels guilty about taking it. Therefore, he tries to rest and yet, because he does not relax, he becomes more tired and strained than he was before. Do not feel guilty about rest. You will need rest from time to time and you have a duty to refresh yourself fully in order to return to the fray able to work. Therefore, when you feel the need to relax, do so. Sleep all you need. Seek fresh air and the peace of the countryside. Do all that you can to relax and you will quickly become rejuvenated. After that, you will look forward once again to taking up the struggle to perfect yourself. You will be acting correctly and in the way that nature would act. Even trees, mighty and powerful things, rest in the winter. Make sure that you rest when you feel the need.
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