Tranquility of Temperament
by Peter V. Ross
Temperament has as direct a relationship to health as it has to happiness. There is no mystery here, even when health is appraised as a bodily condition; for is not the body directed by thought?
Tensity of temperament restricts mental processes and retards organic action, while genuine tranquility expresses that unlabored flow of divine energy that shines forth in clarity of intellect and buoyancy of movement.
The stern, frightened, sorrowful attitude causes a tightened figure and obstructed activity, bringing permanent decrepitude over the years, if not remedied. Yet every individual has it within his power to cultivate poise, cheerfulness, charity, geniality. These make for action, not inaction; for virility, not infirmity; for life unfettered and uncontaminated. They speak in the elastic step, the beaming countenance, the generous consideration for others.
Mrs. Eddy reminds us, “A little more grace, a motive made pure, a few truths tenderly told, a heart softened, a character subdued, a life consecrated, would restore the right action of the mental mechanism, and make manifest the movement of body and soul in accord with God.” (Mis.)
Making a reality of evil develops a rigidity of disposition calculated to incapacitate the person. Christian Science insists that since divine Principle is omnipotent, evil is a false belief, an illusion of personal sense, not an actuality, not any part of true being. A person may make evil real in one of two ways: first, he may pursue a wrong course himself — in which case, he has only to change his purpose and act wholesomely, for sin is not a permanent thing. It is an error of thought, chastised so long as persisted in, forgiven and destroyed when corrected.
Secondly, one may get unduly exercised over the appearance of evil in others. But evil is not genuine. Why then get so noisy and intense about it? As Mrs. Eddy says, Why “stand aghast at nothingness”? (S&H) Delinquencies are to be silenced and corrected in the way Science provides. They should not furnish occasion for indignation, righteous or otherwise. It has been observed from old that the self-righteous dig pits for themselves.
The discerning man, realizing that annoying or exasperating qualities are but impersonal projections of evil into daily affairs, refuses to attach them to himself or to others, refuses to be provoked by them, refuses to dignify them with place or actuality.
An individual’s attitude towards externals makes a vast difference in their reaction on him. For example, a person in the quiet of his office, with little thought beyond his own personal interests, may be driven almost frantic by the noise of a nearby riveting machine in operation, while to his companion, awake to humanity’s problems, the jarring notes may take on a joyful sound, because they indicate business growth and prosperity.
So it is generally. One person may take in the chafing, fretful incidents occurring in daily affairs, until “the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.” Another, tempering his thought with love for mankind, and taking on the responsibilities of existence, may immunize himself to these distractions, as well as the selfishness of mortals, until he is scarcely moved by such aggravations. That man is equipped to make the world better.