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Summary of the work

Achieving Peace of Heart  

by

Rev. Narciso Irala, S.J. / Lewis Delmage, S.J. 

(Summary created by Sinner505 <peccatio505@yahoo.com> on pureofheart.informe.com)

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This is a 100% Catholic book about achieving personal satisfaction, contentment, happiness, etc.,
within Christ. It addresses problems which bother almost everyone to some extent. I will attempt to
provide some of the essential guidelines. My summary will necessarily be incomplete.

Happiness comes when we put self aside, preferring that which is noble, that which is our duty, as well
as virtue and the good of our neighbor. Happiness has tremendously to do with mind/thoughts,
will/action, and emotion. This book attempts to help the reader to improve in all these areas, giving
specific instructions for outgrowing flawed habits in these areas. He calls it "mental re-education".

Living in the present moment is essential. The future and the past must be left to God's mercy and
providence.

Many people experience antipathies, repugnance, attractions, and inclinations that obsess them
and distract them from duty [and happiness]. Mental re-education is possible and can help us overcome
these difficulties. Wanting a healthier mental life is laudable. It is achieved by strengthening and
governing our bodies, feeding our minds (good hard work), gaining/keeping custody of heart, and by
improving our ability to use our will.

It may be a surprising idea, but many people actually have few clear sensations. Those who are
emotionally disturbed [which seems a general term without clinical presuppositions -- in other words,
those who are bothered by some thought or problem] live in a subjective world.

Exercise.
Look at a landscape or some detail of interest. Apply passive attention to it for 10-20 seconds. Don't
think of anything else. Let the object enter within you as it is. Relax the muscles of your head and face.
You can do something similar to this with hearing and touch. At first you may find yourself thinking
about the process but soon you will be able to separate the pure sensation from other thoughts. Then the
exercise will give you joy. By all means, don't do the exercise in a spirit of tension or strain. Just give it
a try, and let it work.

To continue this notion of an exercise: we are trying to learn "conscious sensations". This relates back
to the fact that people often don't perceive sensations clearly, and furthermore, as he'll discuss in time,
try to handle multiple thoughts at a time. Hence the phrase, which I take for a signature for now, Age
quod agis. Do what you are doing. Attend to what you are doing. To expand the exercise: several times
per day, for five minutes, experience perhaps five conscious sensations per sense. After some days, you

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will have greater peace and joy. One thing we learn from this exercise is to thwart the tendency of our
unconscious mind to take over and dominate our higher nature. One of Fr. Irala's objectives, as we'll
see, is to rebalance production and reception within the person or within the mind. He argues that we
receive very poorly, and produce excessively, both in the sense of producing more than we receive, and
in the sense of producing multiple things with near-simultaneity.

Exercise.
Fr. Irala recommends tracing geometric figures in the air with your fingertip, simple ones at first and
then more complex ones (figures comprised of various geometric shapes). Follow the fingertip
attentively. You can do this several times per day, for several minutes at a time, again, without a sense
of strain or worry. Increase the complexity of the figures as your distractions lessen. You can also trace
letters in the air. This exercise improves concentration. Eventually you can do it without your fingertip,
just tracing mentally. An auditory equivalent can be had in repeating the sound of a clock ("tick, tock"),
with perfect concentration, for increasing periods of time, e.g., ten seconds, twenty seconds, then thirty
seconds. This improves auditory concentration.

Exercise.
Concentrate on your movement, walking slowly, feel the shifting and motion of the legs, etc.

Exercise.
While reading, concentrate on what you are reading until a period. Then, rest with some conscious
sensations. Read through the page this way. Do this several times per day. This aids concentration and
relaxation, and is important in re-education of the mind, in part because it works against anxiety and
fatigue.

Fr. Irala has also written a book titled Mental Efficiency without Fatigue which I have ordered and will
presumably discuss as well. Very exciting, you're right about that!

Relaxing technique.
Loosen the muscles of your forehead, those around your eyes, mouth, hands, and feet. Feel the weight
of gravity. Let your breathing be natural, deep, and rhythmical.

Fact: the mentally weak or sick have no true concentration when they work or study. And when they
rest, they try to continue thinking about work or worries. Sleep is often not restful for them. Mentally
healthy people have equilibrium. We must learn to concentrate on work at its proper time and conscious
life at other times. Healthy people effectively obey the maxim, age quod agis. [Note that "mentally
healthy" and "unhealthy" isn't intended as a clinical distinction. To draw an analogy, we might have
'unhealthy bodies' if we have let ourselves go a bit. Our bodies operate then at less than ideal efficiency.
This book is for the mind what a physical exercise program would be for the body--except that the
mind is probably even easier to fix than the body.] [I think a corollary of the preceding proposition is
that a lack of proper concentration is an instance of mental weakness, which is itself quite curable by
means of some effort.]

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We want to be able to switch from work to rest easily and efficiently, and to have a balance between
production and reception over the course of a day, including sleep. Fr. Irala includes a chapter about
how to rest, including how to rest while awake, and how to rest better during sleep or at least in bed if
sleep doesn't come. Healthy people have good equilibrium, and can switch between production and
reception easily and quickly.

Exercise.
Imagine the hand of a clock on the "12". Then, say "Twelve O'Clock." Concentrate on the hand on the
"12". Now, rest with a few conscious sensations. Shift the hand to "1". Go through the circle of the
clock in this manner, perhaps over one or two minutes of intermittent concentration. This exercise can
be done three times per day, and will give practice at alternating between concentration and healthy
rest.

Fr. Irala assures us that prior to practicing these exercise we won't understand how very useful they are.
He emphasizes that we must avoid letting anything about these exercises upset us. They are teaching us
to take more joy in the present, and to have greater mastery of ourselves. It is healthy mental sport, he
says.

The Will

The will is the greatest of our energies and can cure us. An interesting new word I learned: abulia. It
may have some sordid clinical applications now. Nevertheless it may refer in part to an inability to act.

We must learn to channel [i.e. direct] our will. People who have become mentally weak have lost the
sense of their will. A sense of our will can be regained by doing exercises. First, these are not good
examples of will:

※ passive desire (merely to observe an ideal suffices)


※ vague intention (no details, no plan etc.)
※ impulse (indeliberate and chaotic)
※ velleity (mere wishing, without execution)

Production is an important concept. Fr. Irala references a theory by a Dr. Vittoz, that a graph of
pulsations reflecting mental activity, in the case of a person producing several ideas with near-
simultaneity or rapid alternation, or who is experiencing disturbances of some kind, would show erratic

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squiggles, whereas rest would be represented by a low-amplitude rhythmic curve or wavy line, and
perfect concentration would be represented by a rhythmic curve or wavy line with greater amplitude (I
think that's the term).

[I think that if we are honest, we will admit that we are frequently not able to concentrate very
effectively, that we permit distractions of various kinds. There are no doubt people who don't have this
difficulty, but they may have stumbled upon peace through accidental means, and it may be only the
peace that the world gives. We aim to live in Christ, in the fullness of Christian truth, and in the
Christian understanding of Truth. We want methods that will heal us, so we can be more effective

disciples. People without a love of that truth, who may have the peace that the world gives, may be
very poor trainers in the area of interior peace. Fr. Irala's book is free from such difficulties.]

A true act of the will is described next.

1) It must be concrete. Detailed, vivid images have force. Low will power often is rooted in a lack of
concreteness in the image that reflects the intended action. People with emotional disturbance [e.g.
people who are worried about something, or who may suffer from consequences stemming from a
chronic sin of some kind] have trouble controlling the flow of their thoughts. They must consider:

※ What am I going to do?


※ When? How?
※ Conditions for execution.

The Will requires precision to get past mere desire or velleity.

2) You must feel the possibility of execution. This is akin to the way an athlete feels whether or not he
has the strength needed for a play or move. The Will requires a sense that the intended action is actually
possible.

3) You must have a motive, which should have an objective and a subjective component, must have an
emotional component, must be premised on your ability, and must be recalled at the time of action.

4) You must make a sincere decision. This converts a plan into reality. You make your 'yes' or 'no' true
and certain. To truly will is to release energies, which is possible even by weak organisms. If immediate
action is possible, take it without further intervention of consciousness. Once you have excluded the
opposite idea, never discuss it at the time of execution. Simple example: if you have set the alarm
clock, when it rings, don't debate whether or not to get up. The decision has been made. Jump out of
bed.

Once you have decided properly, don't think further prior to execution. Don't think about an act for

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longer than you need to reach a decision. Then execute it blindly, automatically.

[These kinds of details could be worked on deliberately, I presume, while one is learning, and over time
perhaps they would become somewhat automatic.]

Dealing with Feelings

Feelings can resonate within us and affect our understanding. They can alter our physiological rhythms,
and influence our muscles and our hormones. We must strive for normal development. Where
nutritional content has been deficient, the remedy is dietary fortification. So with emotions: starvation
must be healed by a prolonged injection of positive emotions.

Emotion is in our ego, not in the supposedly causative event. We give interpretations, using our reason
or our imagination. We can classify our reactions according to "I", "He", and "It". That is to say, we can
fuss about what we think we truly deserve, how we think someone should have behaved, or what we
think reality should be. 'I don't deserve such-and-such.' 'He is such a ___.' 'It is entirely unfair that ....'
Etc.

Emotions have an organic effect, as mentioned. Hormonal and muscular issues can become chronic and
lead to ill health, and make it more difficult for us to live as God intends. Indeed not infrequently
physical pain is actually psychic pain translated into a physical domain.

By reasoning, we may discover that the event really doesn't have the weight we have attached to it. But
frequently we give way to our imagination, which in turn demands our full attention, as it parades
before our mind's eye every possible disastrous outcome. We may develop an obsession, a fixation, or
an exaggeration. Or, we may transfer a stimulus to some other target, also effectively blocking good
mental functioning. We may, in short, develop a neurosis, in which, rather than our will being respected
as the queen of our faculties (around which all sensations, ideas, reasoning, etc., should gravitate),
some other center of attraction interferes such that we are no longer obedient to our will.
Disequilibrium results. Strong emotion overtakes us, or a fear we cannot master, etc. Finally, the free
will accepts the interpretation of events given by imagination. At this point we are victims of a kind,
and will produce excess hormones that would ordinarily be intended to protect and preserve us. Excess

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stress hormones (e.g. STH, ACTH) circulating beyond true need result in all kinds of problems, in
health and emotion.

Obsession. E.g., sexual thought, scruple, or fear. Conquer by giving less importance to the imaginary
eternal loss, recalling that we merely have an emotional illness without consequence. Divert our
attention from the thought which produces the emotion. Treat the thought with disdain. [More details
about overcoming difficult feelings in a bit.]

Fixation. Unpleasant thoughts engraved and fixed by repetition. Despise such thoughts, rather than fear
them. Break them while they are just starting.

Exaggeration. React with a deliberately chosen attitude of joy, knowing that the cause of the fear is in
fact insignificant.

Transfer. Also called false transference. Has origins in a stressful incident. Our imagination can repeat
and strengthen negative feelings, and actually induce illness. Minor emotions (stemming from smaller
stresses) repeated often can have this effect. [Presumably this would apply to more than just
transference.]

A haven of love, and/or a sincere spiritual life, counterbalance these kinds of pains. In prayer we are
having an interview with Infinite Wisdom, Goodness and Power. This gives us great satisfaction. Also,
in our duties we know that we are doing the noblest and most useful task that anyone could accomplish.
This, Fr. Irala assures us, can give us hours of emotional fullness to immunize us against these kinds of
emotional problems.

So, what to do about bothersome emotions or feelings?

※ Avoid the occasion of the disturbing idea. In the case of certain sins, this is morally obligatory
anyway.
※ Pay attention to other things. For example, practice conscious sensations. Engage in attractive
occupations and pastimes. Pay more and better attention to what you are actually doing [Age quod
agis!] and less to your subjective thoughts.
※ Change how you evaluate the stimulus. Look for the good in seemingly negative events. [Ideas like
these can be considered exercises. Work is probably involved, before they can become second nature.
Perhaps a specialized prayer session.] Prompt yourself for thoughts that are pleasant and opposed to the
negative ones. True sorrow, humiliation, failure, etc., may be meaningless apart from considerations of
God and eternity. Religion brings us peace. Tribulation brings us glory. Religious education makes it
easier for us to understand these matters. Temporal afflictions are meaningful in the context of eternal
life. Suffering is the caress and mercy of our Heavenly Father.
※ Change the disturbing idea. Change its content, perhaps by making conscious the idea behind it.
Clarity of understanding can often weaken conditioned reflexes. Change the reason for it: with therapy

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we may be able to come to an understanding of how a feeling came to be [Fr. Irala was also a
psychiatrist, or perhaps a psychologist, I don't recall which. This book is not intended to resolve all
mental problems; some may need therapy according to the book. But ordinary issues with mental
inefficiency or wandering, overwork, worry, insomnia, lack of self-control, can be helped with the ideas
and methods in this book. My personal opinion is that therapy is overrated, and that people can make
much more progress than they realize using sound spiritual advice.]

Change the force of the idea: the more concretely an idea is represented, the greater its immediacy. The
more associations an idea has with experiences, feelings, and other ideas, the greater its influence. The
longer an emotion, fear, or sadness remains, the greater its power. So: strip the troublesome idea of its
sensible counterpart, its importance, and concrete details. Break its links with other areas of your
experience. Substitute it for contrary thoughts and feelings. Search for contrary ideas that appeal to
your senses. Pass these replacement ideas through your mental field so they will gather associations.

※ Change the negative feeling or tendency to the opposite. Perhaps we have changed the idea
[sometimes he talks about "ideas" as if he means "feelings" or "emotions" and at other times as if he
means the 'underlier' so to speak.]. Yet we still suffer the fear or discontent. The feeling is rooted in the
subconscious in this case. Keep the mind busy so the feeling will atrophy. More directly, implant the
opposite idea. Oppose negative impressions by other thoughts and positive feelings. Implant the
opposite. Don't feed the negative feeling with thoughts, conversations, actions, and attitudes. [More
examples of the effort required by his approach. But I think this is why the initial exercises are given:
they help inculcate better mental habits in the abstract, and help rebalance production with reception.]
Love and empathy counteract hatred. Insecurity and fear are counteracted by heroic decisions, acts that
reflect positive values, and trains of thought that imply security. We counter sadness by repeating ideas
and attitudes that are joyful.

※ Change our physical expression. Our face and body will reflect our feeling. We should relax these,
and put on the contrary, healthy, expressions, and tone of voice, so as to give ourselves and others a
better signal. This means must be coupled by management of our spirit by arousing contrary thoughts
and emotions. Physiological control by itself is not good. [People who make physiological adjustments
without interior correction probably end up very fake, especially fake in the face.]

So, here is a practical method for overcoming deep-rooted feelings. We can live out in our imagination
the circumstances that so affect us, then: describe with conviction the emotional state in which we in
fact should be. The security of our tone will lead to a proportionate feeling that works against the
phobia.

When the emotions are under control, our body and soul will both benefit. Muscles relax, nerves calm,
hormones reach equilibrium. We attain to serenity and joy. Our lower instincts are more easily
controlled.

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Impressionability

A weakened, tense, hormonally imbalanced organism will be subject to exaggerated impressions. A


lack of health is one cause. Muscular tension is another. [Strive for health.] And look for odd moments
to relax several times a day. Muscular relaxation contributes to equanimity. If we often become
hormonally imbalanced because of our feelings, we will find that the glands become overactive. [This
contributes to problems in the area of self-control. We can avoid this outcome by learning to correct
problematic thinking. Our Will is supposed to be the center of our faculties. Everything else should
obey our will, not the other way around!]

We must see events in such a way that sadness, fear, desire, and worry, are counterbalanced. In this way
our negative emotions will not leave damaging traces. If we are full of positive ideas and feelings, the
shock we experience will not be so great.

Exaggerated impressionability is rooted in lower mental activities: self-preservation, domination, and


reproduction. But man is not just body, but spirit also. Our calling is to obey the will of God to enjoy
Him for all eternity after this life. This cannot be impeded by sickness, poverty, the ill will of others,
etc. To deeply understand this results in self-control. Also we must remember that our efforts and
cooperation bring a smile to the Infinite Being, so, we needn't lose time in thinking about ourselves or
others' opinions of us.

So: Through religious education, we must form within ourselves a correct understanding of what is
eternal and what is passing. The total good must rise above the partial good. We must strive to
appreciate and work toward our total good. Suffering is dignified by the ideal of bearing it as God's
will. We must love others in a disinterested fashion. We can meditate on higher goods and on the
virtues. [Mental prayer reference here. See how it is once again the underpinning.] The more we
strengthen our higher mental activities, the more immune we will be from the disorders of the lower
instincts.

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A true psychotherapy would be founded upon faith and the divine destiny of man. This would calm us,
and satisfy reason, feeling, the soul, and the nervous system. Freud disregarded what is spiritual and
supernatural in us, giving excessive importance to the instinctive aspects. We come from God. Our
insatiable thirst is the urging of our Heavenly Father to transform ourselves in Him and share in His
infinite happiness.

Ill health on the physical plane is often not from physical injury to organs, but from uncontrolled
mental activity, or chaotic subconscious activity. If a doctor agrees that your organs are healthy, then
you must convince yourself that the symptoms are owed to mental causes. Deliberately recall the
clinician's determination of your physical well-being, and feel that health. Realizing that the problem is
mental is half the battle. The rest is faith in the method together with time [presumably time invested in
appropriate mental re-education].

Help others. Be unselfish. This cures many a mental malady.

Practice singleness of thought. So often we deluge ourselves with multiple thoughts and worries,
including work processes and negative feelings or thought patterns. Think with St. Bernard who, upon
entering a church, would say, "Thoughts of Bernard, remain outside." [Don't forget the early exercises
by which we rebalance production and reception.]

Practice confidence. An obsessive idea is balanced by an intimate persuasion that everything in this
world passes. Fears are almost always out of proportion to reality in any case. Fear, in addition, never
put off problems; rather, it saps energy.

Talk less of your problems. The Confessional, and appropriately chosen specialists if necessary, are the
useful avenues. Accept suffering with confidence: this will weaken its ability to control you. Give
suffering to God.

Rest with conscious sensations when not at work. Use peaceful, easy attention. And while working, live
in the present. Age quod agis. Forget past, future, and self. This will be easy for a few moments at the
beginning, and will become easier. Our deliberate exercises, as described, attack the problem of evil
distracting us from our unconscious minds. They are deliberate, and give peace, joy, and mastery.

Keep busy. Let your undertakings be in the possible and practical order. They should be useful and
interesting. The imagination can only torture an unoccupied consciousness. Idleness and the absence of
an ideal lead to neuroses far more than work does! Study something interesting.

Foster joy and optimism. Busy yourself with thoughts, readings, and conversations that make the mind
happy and elevate it. Joy, health, and optimism stimulate circulation and accelerate nutritional
processes. Joy is curative.

Recall always that there is no injury to your will. Rather, you simply don't know how to use it. The
will, and the higher faculties, are marvelous. They can transform our mental activity. Through re-
education we can learn to avail ourselves of their benefits. Constancy and method are all we need.

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Rest

We need some rest while we are awake, and we need to rest properly when we are asleep, or at least
while in bed if sleep doesn't come to us.

While Awake. During peaceful attention (in simple concentration or conscious sensation), energy
discharge is slow. Violent attention, or fragmented attention, uses much more energy.

※ During the day seek to be a receiver of impressions from the external world, to displace interior
subjective thoughts and feelings. Let conscious sensations and voluntary concentrations serve as a basis
for mental re-education.
※ Seek amusement that arouses enthusiasm and displaces depressing memories.
※ Avoid inactivity. When consciousness is unoccupied, troublesome feelings have an easy time gaining
entry.

※ Sight. As a form of rest, look at an object, let it penetrate as it is, make no comparisons and do not
reason. Otherwise you will be producing. You can do the same thing with hearing, with touch, with
walking. [These exercises were introduced earlier.] Keeping yourself merely receptive for five minutes
several times per day helps enormously.

※ Make good use of leisure time. Change your occupation rather than merely stopping work. Find
hobbies that amuse and interest you.

※ Bodily rest. Try letting your muscles and nerves go limp. This will relax your mind. Begin with the
forehead, and work your way down. This may help you get to sleep as well. Try rhythmic breathing,
resting motionless after inhale/exhaling. Combine with resting the eyes and body.
※ Try palming the eyes. Cup your hands over your eyes, closed without any pressure. Think of the eye
as being without tension. Relax everything as much as possible. This exercise can actually help
improve vision. The key is to 'see' as black as possible, and to be as relaxed as possible. [I have heard
of a form of palming in which one keeps the eyelids open under the hands.] You may need to find a
way to rest your elbows. Also, try bathing your closed eyes with a bit of cold water.
※ Reading. Rest prior to reading, and read in a relaxed way. Rest often. [I'm not sure that this is really
a prescription for working slowly. I think he just means that we can do things in a somewhat more
restful way, especially as we improve the production/reception balance, and our ability to switch
between the two. Also as our feelings improve (see other sections) we will be less fragmented in our

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concentration.]

※ Sleep. Does sleep come with difficulty? Consider that sleep per se is not as important as rest is. If
sleep doesn't come, just rest in bed with absolute disinterestedness and mental peace together with
bodily relaxation. This will result in rest. So, never worry about insomnia. Worrying just ruins rest
anyway, whether we are trying to rest, or trying to concentrate [recall that concentration is basically
restful in its pure state, and, that we can take little breaks during work to rest; uncontrolled thought
processes will interrupt all of that]. Five hours of rest is sufficient to compensate for the fatigue of a
day. Just relax as much as possible while resting. Often when we can't sleep well, it is because we are
having uncontrolled thoughts, which leads us right back to all the other topics of this book.

If we suffer from insomnia: Bedtime is not the time to look for answers to problems. Just close the
thinking mind for business. Decide to wait until tomorrow. If you are suffering from a fixed train of
ideas, interrupt it with conscious sensations [or, presumably also, fill your mind with opposite thoughts
that are well connected with desires, favorable or positive images, strong positive ideas, and the like].
Certainly do not become worried about not sleeping. Fr. Irala actually proposes the opposite: when you
have not been able to relax, will not to sleep for a fixed period of time. [That last clause may not parse
for some. It means, 'use your will to determine that for a fixed period of time, you will not sleep'.] This
converts a problem into an exercise of will! It removes anxiety, Fr. Irala assures us, and, our productive
power no longer struggles with the idea of trying to get to sleep. Note that it is not clear that a certain
number of hours is necessary for sleep.

About noise at night: a good way to conquer the problem of annoyance at hearing noise is to will to
hear the noise.

Fr. Irala offers numerous pages about not tiring the voice prior to sleep, but not many people are public
speakers, so I will ignore this section.

Development of the will can occur in many surprising and small ways, which is wonderful news, given
its importance, and true role, as the queen of our higher faculties!

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About Will

Intense mental acts remain within us. Even forgotten, they influence our personality by making related
acts easier and unrelated acts harder.

The whole should prevail over the part:


※ We are dependent upon food, rest, and appetites, but when these take over, the part is governing the
whole. The lower is governing the higher. This decreases our mental lucidity and our chances of
heaven.
※ If we have tics, fears, exaggerated disgusts, habits related to vice, a tendency to be concerned about
what others will say, then our true, higher liberty will suffer.
※ Emotion must not guide our thinking. Uncontrolled imagination and excessive daydreaming, fears,
sadnesses, hatreds, etc., deform reality in our minds.

The objective must prevail over the subjective.


※ Egoism is a reflection of a morbid mental pattern [and mental patterns can be changed through
mental re-education].
※ The child lives in his personality. As we mature, we recognize objective social values and norms of
action.

Development must be continuous.


※ If we give up self-conquest and mortification, we will go backwards.
※ False asceticisms such as stoicism, buddhism, spiritism, laicism, point toward a closed personality.
Christianity points us toward an open personality. Objective asceticism harmonizes with normal mental
life.
※ Mental education helps us tend toward our higher goods easily, freely, and efficiently.

Education of the will is necessary.

To be abulic means to suffer loss of will power because of not making true acts of the will. It means to
have lost the internal consciousness or feeling for acts of the will. ["Acts of the will" does not here

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mean what we are talking about in mental prayer. Here the term has a broader scope. Sometimes in
ascetical theology "acts of the will" in relation to mental prayer are termed "affections" but this term
risks misleading people into believing that how we feel is important, that feeling is important in prayer.
That, in turn, risks encouraging an erroneous piety, sentimentality or pietism.] [I am not sufficiently
aware of the history of the term abulia, but I suspect that in modern clinical contexts, it has taken on a
more sinister meaning than is meant here. It has probably come to signify brain injury. Also I don't
think modern clinicians understand the will as a faculty and so forth. The material world has displaced
the "immaterial" world.] [I think that in a world in which entertainment is more important than work, in
which eating is more important than movement, in which the least effort induces a glazing of the eyes,
and in which sins are normalized and encouraged, abulia must be 'normal', creating considerable
confusion among many.]

What we must do: We must practice simple acts which are thoroughly willed. In this way we can
recapture the internal feeling of a will act. We can then progress to more difficult acts.

Vice and sin lead to abulia. The will is the queen of faculties [colloquially speaking of course]. When
feelings, thoughts, etc., do not revolve around the will any longer, but rather are permitted, by will no
less, to 'force' will to revolve around them, then we are not thinking properly and this makes self-
control very unlikely. Through re-education we can reclaim our previous vigor [or indeed we can claim
vigor and truth if we have never had them: this is God's will for us]. Here is a simple program of will
acts to do 10 times per day.

1. What needs to be done, when, and how is it to be done? Answer should be concrete.
2. Is it possible? Get to feel the feasibility by making affirmative, positive replies. Of course it should
be within capabilities as well. Recall that we start with simple acts, for the purpose of reclaiming our
sense of what a will act is like.
3. What are my motives? [More on this in a moment.]
4. Given the forgoing, shall I will the act or not? Will it internally, setting aside the contrary.

One lad was transformed within 16 days. He recovered his ability at scholarship, and he went to
confession to be reconciled with God. This system can be used by all, to increase efficiency. [Recall the
parable about the talents. The master scorned the servant who didn't bother to invest. Recall also the
teaching by Fr. Gabriel, that we are to be effective so that we can be more capable in building the
kingdom of Christ.] We start with easy acts, and then progress onwards. A good time to do this is
whenever we face distraction by fear or uncomfortable ideas. Just decide to use this four-step analysis
to undertake a definite act of the will.

Motives. The will needs a motive or a value. It is a rational faculty. Objective values are real and true
values, good in se, in themselves. They can be temporal or eternal. Subjective values are keyed to
personal capacity. For children, these might be largely sensible [i.e. to do with sense]. For adolescents
and older, subjective values should be spiritual and supernatural if possible. They should be reinforced
as well by imagination and feelings. [I think you will agree that when we are distracted or in a bad

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mood, we are in effect investing a lot of imagination and feeling into our 'effort'.] Fr. Irala proceeds to
give an example in which a person was presented with a motive that they were able to understand. We
can adapt this idea for ourselves.

Then there are actual values to consider. These are present in our minds at the moment of
decision/execution. We can write these down, and review them periodically. The lack of these is a
frequent cause of failure, Fr. Irala writes. He gives the example of children growing up and leaving the
Mass. As children, their attendance was not motivated properly. They themselves were not making an
act of will to attend. So, when they were allowed to choose, they left it. They had no motives when the
time came for their own action.

Action. We have seen that we can educate our will by adjustment of motives. We can also educate it by
action. Our goal is to be able to say 'yes' when we are going in the correct direction, and 'no' without
concession or wavering when we must choose away from something.

If we are not accustomed to making true will-acts, we will have no idea of them. We must cultivate an
interior experience of such acts. We must exercise them, starting with exterior acts that are not
demanding but which are mentally perfect. They must be concrete, we must feel their possibility, and
we must produce the mental energy needed for their execution.

Something we can do along these lines is to dramatize our will. First we have the contestants. What
shall I will, and what reject? Next, discuss the struggle between the contestants, in terms of advantages
and disadvantages. Then, feel the possibility of giving victory to either side. Finally, let one win, and
leave it as master of the field of consciousness. Imagine the details of how you will proceed. If you are
taking as an example arising from bed, banish the very thought of staying in bed, and imagine the way
you will jump out.

The education of our will is not a matter of avoiding evil. We must not have a merely negative
education. We should strive to propose good to be attained. Here we will find joy, enthusiasm, and
value.

Another thing we can do is to make our will action concrete. Fr. Irala gives the example of a lad who is
ill-behaved in school. He was unable to make an act of will to remain quiet. So, he was instructed to
bite his tongue lightly while moving from classroom to classroom. He thus made the option of being
quiet concrete in his field of consciousness. And as often as he fell, he had to kiss the Crucifix and
promise not to fall the next day, to being noisy. He rapidly improved. We must be creative at finding
ways to make our own necessary choices concrete.

The greatest foe of will power is indecision. The abulic do not know how to grant victory to one
contesting choice and then end the 'discussion'.

Fr. Irala cites the Ignatian exercises as soundly built upon similar ideas. I don't know if there is
anyplace one can go these days to experience these. I don't think it's a great idea to do it oneself,
because I think it's rather difficult. But, it may be worth a look. Fr. Irala explains that the Exercises
propose motives that are founded on Christ and subjectively felt.

Fr. Irala then mentions the benefits of the particular exam, which is developed e.g. by Fr. Dion, as I

16
summarized in the BSM thread. He says that it is a control and stimulus to the will and helps us to feel
the potential of will-acts.

The Sexual Instinct

Try to associate healthy mental images with women or girls, such as the dignity and honor of being
mothers of children. Consider the sublimity of the Blessed Virgin as an exemplar along those lines.

Consider avoiding comfort. The saints often rejected comfort as a distraction. Consider it not in a
negative light, but as a positive sacrifice for the love of God, to love and please Him, and imitate Him.

To learn control of motor faculties, practice simple acts that give you the experience of concrete acts of
will. For instance, you might command your feet to not tread a certain place, or your hands to remain
crossed for a certain amount of time. This will strengthen your character by making concrete the act of
controlling your movements.

Feelings

Don't change course on the basis of feelings. Have a motive other than 'feeling like it'. At least, don't let
that be your norm of action. Likewise, don't let the notion that something is a bother be the basis for not
carrying it out. You lose a chance to develop your will if you decide things so sloppily.

Our feelings will tend to exaggerate the intentions of those who happen to bother us. We may assume
the worst about certain situations. In these and other cases it is possible to lose control of our feelings.

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※ We must convince ourselves that the real situation is actually much better than we imagine.
※ Recall the fact that the feelings themselves will pass anyway. Joy will return.
※ Try to do the opposite of your feelings-based inclination.
※ Do not voluntarily stay with fear or sadness.

※ We may need some help from our confessor. If we face a moral quandary, a practical doubt, a matter
of indecision, or an uncontrollable fear, a prudent friend or spiritual guide as well as confession can
root out the poison.

※ We should expand the love in our lives. We can always find new friends to love, people to help,
souls to help save, and we can always love God more. The object of course is not to eliminate feeling,
but to avoid dwelling on any feelings that weigh us down and make us inefficient.

※ Avoid useless confidences. Don't be impetuous about whom you confide in. Don't console yourself
by recounting your troubles. Offer your suffering to God instead. The momentary consolation that
comes with confiding unnecessarily in others risks the unfortunate side effect of making you a slave to
your problem, and to your feelings about your problem.

Anger

※ Don't let hatred sink into your soul.

[ Psalm 4:5 Be ye angry, and sin not: the things you say in your hearts, be sorry for them upon your
beds.
Eph 4:26 Be angry, and sin not. Let not the sun go down upon your anger. ]

Prolonged anger causes chronic nervous system response involving hyperactivity of glands and so
forth. It becomes easier to feel disgust and antipathy. We should try to avoid the excitement and cut the
time short that we spend on thinking about it. The body actually becomes poisoned in some sense when
we experience prolonged anger. Digestion is disturbed, muscular tension limits circulation, etc. The
goal is that the disturbance should pass quickly without effect.

※ We can ponder the I/He/It aspect, mentioned above, to arrive at a contrary, more sound judgment. If
it is an I matter, think how you actually deserve the insult you have received. If it is a matter of an

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apparently offensive person, imagine Christ disguised in his defects. If it is the world at large that is
bothersome, think of how it is not really so burdensome or dangerous. All the goods of the world are as
nothing compared to our reward for suffering well.

※ We should control the concrete judgment and make anger subordinate to reason, rather than to
passion.

※ Cultivate an interior posture of love and sympathy, and exhibit related physiological relaxation and
expression of joy and happiness. [Remember not to limit yourself to just altering your physiology. The
interior must be altered as well, otherwise you could develop a fake expression. Some people do that.
They smile, but you can tell that they aren't really smiling.] Treat people who bother us as if they do
not. Pay respectful attention, help them, pray for them. It isn't just them we're helping in this way, but
ourselves also: we are learning self-control and to be better witnesses to the peace of the Lord.

※ When we are at peace, foster that peace. Do good and kind things. Exercise gentleness.

※ When we become disturbed, pray, "Yes I did fall from tranquillity there but I shall endeavor to be
more careful, and I am sorry Lord." Have patience!

※ When someone irritates us, think about some aspect of him that doesn't irritate. Or receive
impressions from the environment generally.

Fear

Strong impressions of fear or anxiety leave a residue in the subconscious, causing a tendency toward
insecurity or anxiety. When our minds are idle, they can then be filled with related images, leading then
to physiological changes. Fear is more difficult because the motives can be unknown or unconscious.

※ Act. Fear tends to limit action. We conquer fear by acting.


※ Make our fear explicit or concrete. What are we afraid of, and why? Write it down. Fear viewed
objectively is destroyed.
※ Reason about the probabilities of what is feared. What are the odds? Would it be so bad?
※ Face it. Others have probably done what we are afraid to do. Even if we were to die from taking the
necessary action, we can perceive that eternity will be happier in any case. [Obviously this doesn't
apply to most fears!] We can sincerely accept what evil could occur and seek a human or divine

19
solution for it. Thus we will be victorious over fear.
※ Avoid the stimuli that excite us. Have conscious sensations or a more happy train of thought.
※ Inculcate contrary judgments. "There is no special danger. The probability is small. The damage
would be trivial." Etc. [Use a confident tone of voice and work it numerous times until it feels and
sounds correct. Fr. Irala has made similar points elsewhere in the book.]
※ Foster contrary feelings, such as of courage or security. For example, make acts of courage, or recall
peaceful times and places. Speak courageously.
※ Associate the peaceful and courageous times with the situation that you feel anxious about. Imagine
yourself in control, and speak appropriately about it.
※ If we feel tense, we can relax muscles with breathing or stretching.
※ Assume facial expressions consistent with how you want to feel. Breathe in a relaxed way.

Feeling that we are inferior.
Sometimes fear has to do with feeling inferior. Such a feeling may be rooted in a past experience of
failure most probably exaggerated a million-fold [Fr. Irala actually suggests a hundredfold but you and
I know it's more than that!] by wounded self-love. Sometimes a true shortcoming is exaggerated in our
imagination, to the point that we suppose it is applicable to many areas beyond its actual limits. In
some cases our ambition may be too high.

※ God obtains what He desires not through our action but through our sanctification.

※ Learn to laugh at yourself. Laughter is a fountain of health [though recall that the fool laughs
excessively: Ecclus 21:23 A fool lifteth up his voice in laughter: but a wise man will scarce laugh low
to himself. --Still, we can trust Fr. Irala, and we know what he means].

※ We mustn't compare ourselves to others. We must give to God an account of what we did with what
He gave us.

Timidity can be an expression of pride. True humility, by contrast, would raise up up toward God, and
give us confidence in Him. We must use our liberty well, and must not be discouraged, but rather profit
from failure.

※ Remove exaggerated deductions from our thinking. Write about your timidity and show it to your
director. [We can probably benefit from doing this even without a director.] We must realize that in our
specialty we are in fact superior. A mark of genius is to cover up our deficiencies and deploy our
strengths. [Nobody knows everything!] Derive some helpful formulations of these ideas, and repeat
them. [For any helpful ideas in this book, verbal formulations could be derived and repeated.]

※ Attack your emotional difficulties starting with the easier ones. Repeat a phrase that touches upon
the point. They should be positive, not negative. Not, "I'm not going to fail" etc., but "I'm going to carry

20
out my plan." [Something like this isn't going to work, I don't think, without his many other ideas,
especially the exercises and the practicing of the will-acts. A congruency of physiology and speech with
plans and thoughts is important, but by itself I think it won't work.]

※ Remember your triumphs. The timid tend to invest more in recalling their failures and forgetting
their triumphs. Don't think voluntarily about past failures.

※ "I can do all things in Him who strengthens me."

※ Remember that if we go on when we feel timid, we are greater than those who do the same things
without feeling hesitation. [It's harder to do what we're afraid to do, and if we do it, that's more of an
accomplishment.]

※ Physiology again: practice a sureness of gaze ['I whistle a happy tune!' -The King and I], and
practice sports that tone the body. If looking directly at someone bothers you, try to be relaxed about
looking between their eyes [I think this may seem a bit awkward but anyway Fr. Irala suggests it].

※ Live in the moment. Don't make the future present, for that disfigures it. The past is gone. Recall the
Hail Mary: now and at the hour of our death.

※ Patience is the secret of perfection. No night is without a lamp somewhere. No failure takes away
optimism for eventual success. Defeat can be transformed into strength.

Sadness.

Sadness saps our vitality in many ways. Long term health effects are possible. Boredom and tepidity
follow in the wake of sadness, and virtue will seem implausible. We will seek after luxury. [In every
instance of the Douay-Rheims text, the word "luxury" has a negative connotation and is frequently
associated with drunkenness.]

We may have become perfectionist, making excessive demands that then plague us. We may invest
time in recalling our weaknesses and problems, forgetting our victories and joys. We may enjoy being a
victim. [We may actually have to learn to be happy.] We may have a hunger for appreciation that comes
from childhood anxiety for affection. We may be averse to suffering, likely to see only evil in it.

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※ Accept our limitations and aim not at so much attention from others.

※ See how wonderful it is that the thorns protect the rose, not how sad it is that the rose is burdened
with thorns.

※ Deliberately feel the infinite love of God for ourselves, and make a return of love to God. [Mental
prayer helps with orientational and educational things like this.]

※ God only permits the sufferings that we are able to bear. And the sufferings we anticipate almost
never materialize anyway.

Sadness is caused by a present thought of failure, lack, loss, or evil.

※ Evaluate the ideas that cause us sadness. Make them concrete, analyze them, correct and control
them. Find an opposing truth to balance our negative thoughts.

※ Don't expect human gratitude for our good acts. It is often lacking in any case.

※ Our illnesses shouldn't depress us with the notion that we are a burden. Patience and prayer are more
effective than our human initiative and activity. Illness is a grace, a chance to offer sufferings for souls.
Illness is a chance to be a missionary.

※ Difficulties borne well are a check drawn upon the bank of heaven. We must suffer well the thorns of
life.

※ Deliberately foster joyful thoughts and happy memories. [I think sad people do the exact opposite,
yet they are in fact very good at fostering thoughts and imaginings!]

※ Recall to mind the goods all around ourselves that help us attain heaven.

※ Simplify life. Simplify tastes, expectations. Be modest. Many a child is happier in simplicity than
many a millionaire.

※ Find enjoyment in your work. And recall that idleness is never joyful.

※ We must make our life one of continual satisfaction and positive feeling. Look for, and cooperate
with, the good in all things. When something seems to bother us, write down the good and bad features
of it. It may surprise us to see the balance weighted in favor of the good.

※ Physiology again. And repeating appropriately phrased formulations that counter the sadness.

※ A vague and persistent idea of loss or danger often is found in those with weak or intermittent faith.
We must seek appropriate religious education, and recall what we do possess, now and eternally,
naturally and supernaturally.

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How to Be Happy!

Happiness is within [like the kingdom of God]. It is not dependent upon what we have. The worldly are
content with, and good at, hiding their lack of happiness.

Suffering is not an obstacle to true joy. Suffering should be converted into joy. Shift our gaze from the
uncomfortable aspect, and look to the bright side. We can do this with the skills we learned in mental
re-education, especially the re-education of concentration discussed earlier. [We practice these skills so
we can give our will its truly central position, avert and fix runaway thought processes, and focus on
what we will to focus on.] Joy in suffering is integral to Christianity.

Dejection and sorrow in the face of failure is natural. In sick or nervous people [those needing mental
re-education, basically] these become constant thinking patterns, inducing persistent sadness or
distraction, harming peace and joy.

※ Express your feelings in consultation, to a director or confessor. Tell of the burdens and indecisions.
This will help resolve your internal conflicts.

※ Live in the present. The present is a fount of joy. Attend to the present. The pleasure of the scholar
doesn't benefit from disturbance by other ideas and distractions. We seek fullness and unity of mind and
feelings.

※ Age quod agis. If you are doing what you are doing, fear and sadness can't reach you.

※ Voluntarily concentrate on other matters. Select a study that pleases you. Concentrate on something
opposed to your pain. For instance if you suffer from fear, concentrate on images of peace, control, and
vitality.

※ Cultivate a habit of joy. Reinforce these with acts of satisfaction [mental and day-to-day acts, I
should think] until the habit of joy becomes stronger.

※ Practice appropriate will acts. Talk and work as if you felt no stress. [Perhaps the modern tendency
to be indiscreet, let it all hang out, and advertise our troubles constantly, works against peace of heart.]

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※ Suggest happiness to yourself using appropriate verbal formulations, perhaps prior to bed and when
getting up.

※ Live more modestly. Be content with what God has given you.

※ Perceive the beauty of nature.

※ Appreciate the beauty of intellectual truth. Certitude, elaborated with analysis, synthesis, research,
and study, is a source of joy.

※ Practice will-acts as in previous exercises. [When our will exercises its rightful control as the center
of our faculties, we will be happier.]

※ Feel your kindness influencing others, and diffused around yourself. Each passing moment is a help
to you and to others.

※ [The exercises in this book revitalize our intellect and will, which in turn give us joy and happiness.]

※ Re-education of control is presupposed: now we apply our understanding to the truths of God. [Here
Fr. Irala explicitly states that many of his ideas require the work of the exercises. This makes sense.
Our faculties must be trained to work properly. His book is unique in providing an actual procedure one
can follow to heal the imbalance or faulty relationship between faculties.] Realize that God is present in
all created things. He is present in the Eucharist, and we possess Him there, as human as we are.

We are the workmen, and we do not see the blueprint.

※ Christian charity makes us joyful.

Vision for One's Life

An abstract ideal can be the goal of our actions. Strip the goal of defects and adorn it with good
qualities. Our ideal becomes our tendency, a detailed picture of our permanent desire.

※ We need a concrete, constant idea, a purpose, clearly foreseen

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※ We must feel it, both sensibly and spiritually. It attracts like and repels opposites.
※ This permanent inclination influences our will.

A true, noble ideal gives unity, harmony, and vigor to life, and increases our perfection.

※ Try to perceive the ideal in your plans or direction. Perhaps we face an obligatory course. Assuming
it isn't inherently evil, this can help.

Singleness of thought is not fatiguing. We studied this before. It is double-thinking that depletes our
nervous energy. Our ideal makes us think steadily and is a source of rest and joy.

※ Choose an ideal that does not conflict with our end.

※ Choose an ideal that is consistent with our aptitudes.

※ Our ideal should be found outside and above ourselves. We seek to be transfigured by it.

※ Our ideal should bring us to the present.

※ Our ideal should be concrete and easily summarized and recalled to mind.

When Jesus Christ takes possession of us and reigns within us, our peace and happiness are like the
clear, calm waters of a quiet and deep lake.

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26
Worksheet for Fr. Irala, Achieving Mental Peace. 
This book teaches re-education of the mind. This implies action: study and practice. A worksheet may help to
summarize, synthesize, and organize one's efforts.

Exercises to do for brief periods several times per day.

These are described early in thread.

1. Reception practice: Look with tranquil attention. Use various senses in this way. Relax the head, eyes, and body.
Also called "conscious sensation" exercise. Walk consciously. These exercises help us to learn to age quod agis. These
exercises give peace and joy, and improve reception [reference to production/reception balance].

2. Production practice: External visual concentration: simple and then more complex figures drawn with a finger in
the air. Later, no finger movement, i.e. draw mental figures. Auditory: clock example. Preserve the sensation of touch.
An exercise using reading: read a sentence, then have conscious sensations. Relax.

3. Efficiently blending production and reception: Learn to pass easily from work to rest to work, using clock
exercise.

4. Exercise of the will, the queen of faculties: Practice simple mental and physical acts which are thoroughly willed.
Simple acts that are mentally perfect are the means by which we can effect mental re-education. Pose these questions.
a. What's up? What's to be done? Make the answer concrete.
b. Feel the possibility of execution. Feel the feasibility. Affirm the point with certainty.
c. Have a motive: objective, subjective, emotive, accommodated, recalled at time of action. The motive may be
no more than to exercise and develop our capacity for willing. That's a very important motive.
d. Sincerely decide. Do not discuss further. Only think as long as it takes to reach decision. Make the decision
internally. Set aside the contrary option.

More discussion of motives:


a. Consider the objective values. These pertain to objective reality and to temporal or eternal truths.
b. Consider the subjective values. These are personal, and should include some spiritual dimension, and be
reinforced by imagination and feelings. Also, premise motives on a subjectively sensed feeling of love for
Jesus Christ.
c. Write down your resolutions and their motives for recall at time of execution. Review them periodically.

More discussion of sincere decision:


a. Dramatize the battle. Observe the contestants. Discuss motives, for and against, harm and benefit analysis.
Feel the possibility of granting victory to either choice. Let one then be victorious, and feel its mastery over
the field of consciousness, imagining the result in concrete detail.
b. Make the matter concrete by introducing consequences which include particular exam and if necessary
confession and reparation.

Example progression: after three days of simple acts, using the four basic questions, a young man went on to more
difficult actions. Some days later still, he went on to exercise his will in acts which were contrary to his inappropriate

27
passions, e.g. willing [i.e. will-ing] to go to a place other than one in which he would be tempted. His will,
strengthened, grew according to a superior vision of what he should be like, and he was vastly improved.

As practice, starting with easy and progressing to more difficult, will mental events and physical events. You can take
advantage of your day to day activities, to practice willing.

Suggestions for daily practice: Outline what you intend to do at the start of the day, or the night before. Plan three to
five brief sessions. Think about the kinds of acts you wish to include in tomorrow's practice. At the end of the day
review how it went. Trust the method. Trust the theology and the Catholic understanding. The Will is the central
faculty. We must train the will to control our movements and our decisions. Thoughts will occur to us in any case, but
we will decide whether to follow a train of thought. Hapless exuberance as well as distress will be answerable to Will.
We will learn what it feels like to Will, by training ourselves, first in easy things, progressing to harder things.

Handling runaway thought processes of all kinds. Things to do when bothered.

In addition to keeping these in mind or reviewing them during difficult times, one could perhaps make a list of the top
five most bothersome trains of thought one tends to have, and work through this list of points, seeing how each train
of thought can be answered in all these different ways. In this sense it's an opportunity to work through the problems.

Not all of these points are applicable to all types of runaway thought process. A runaway thought process is
something that thwarts concentration by sapping energy, diverting it into sadness, anger, or even irrational
exuberance, and other things as well. When our will is in control, we will decide how to use our minds. We will direct
ourselves. This doesn't mean that our minds won't be free to jump to creative conclusions, but the will shall remain in
charge.

Some overlap is inevitable.

Reason about the distracting thought.


1. Reason about the event or alleged disturbance. See aspects that counter the fear or other inefficient emotion.
2. Re-evaluate the stimulus. Look for the good in what seems bad. Our faith makes this easy.
3. Evaluate the ideas that cause us sadness. Make them concrete, analyze them, correct and control them. Find
an opposing truth to balance our negative thoughts.
4. Ask: what are the probabilities of this or that occurring? Would the consequences be so bad? Face fears in this
way.
5. Make conscious the idea that is producing subconscious anxiety. Examine in detail.
6. Strip the idea of its sensible counterpart, its importance, and details.
7. Strip the idea of its associations with experiences.
8. We can always bring a smile to God, so why worry?
9. Appreciate what is lasting more than what is passing. Illuminate your instincts toward the higher goal.
10. Strengthen higher mental activities by understanding [by means of mental prayer].
11. Remember that everything in this world passes.
12. Examine your fears in writing. They will seem insignificant. The opposite thought will then be easy. [See
below.]
13. Your problem is that you don't know how to use your will. This can be learned. [See exercises above.]
14. Re-evaluate the I-He-It factors: We are sinners and deserve some trouble for it. Other people are Christ hiding
behind defects; disagreeable people should be treated as if they were congenial. Circumstances are rarely as
bad as they may seem in our imagination.
15. Write out fears objectively and concretely. This destroys fear.
16. Give less importance to the imaginary eternal loss. Realize that it is a passing emotion.
17. Accept our limitations and aim not at so much attention from others.

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18. See how wonderful it is that the thorns protect the rose, not how sad it is that the rose is burdened with thorns.
19. Avoid comparing yourself to others. God expects an account of what we did with what He gave us.
20. Recall to mind the goods all around ourselves that help us attain heaven.
21. [Focus on your sanctification, and think in those terms. Don't think first of your human success.]

Will as central to correct action.


1. Do not act under the influence of satellite faculties. These include feeling, imagination, and memory [I think].
2. Never change plans or resolutions on the basis of feeling or impulse. These are not the center of our faculties.
3. Practice appropriate will acts. Talk and work as if you felt no stress. [Perhaps the modern tendency to be
indiscreet, let it all hang out, and advertise our troubles constantly, works against peace of heart.]
4. [The exercises in this book revitalize our intellect and will, which in turn give us joy and happiness.]

Live in the present moment. Age quod agis.


1. Pay more attention to what you are doing. Don't engage in double thought. Age quod agis.
2. Age quod agis. If you are doing what you are doing, fear and sadness can't reach you.
3. The present is a fount of joy. Attend to the present. The pleasure of the scholar doesn't benefit from
disturbance by other ideas and distractions. We seek fullness and unity of mind and feelings.
4. Get busy. Idleness and the absence of an ideal leave the mind open to trouble.
5. Act in the face of fear. Act, in the sense of avoiding deliberation. For more, see section about practicing will
acts.
6. Learn to laugh at yourself when necessary.

Improve reception.
1. Employ conscious sensations, as a remedy and as a form of practice.
2. Receive conscious sensations with peaceful attention. When working, work. No past, future, or self.
3. Perceive the beauty of nature.

Avoid occasions of temptation.


1. Despise a thought rather than worry about the thought. Important for especially aggressive temptations.
2. Avoid the offending occasion. Avoid the exciting factors. Avoid the alarming ideas. Use conscious sensation
or a substitute train of thought.
3. Recall that this emotional state will pass. Do not stay voluntarily with an inefficient feeling.
4. Live more modestly. Be content with what God has given you.

Oppose via the contrary.


1. Have a contrary thought/feeling or at least a different one. Find symbols to appeal to your imagination.
Affirm the contrary of the inefficient thought. Foster contrary feelings, by recalling better moments.
2. Substitute joy, peace, and sympathy for disgust and antipathy.
3. Implant feelings opposed to the inefficient ones. Avoid negative conversations, actions, thoughts.
4. Insist upon joy and optimism.
5. When you feel turmoil, pray, "Yes, I stumbled into turmoil, but I am sorry and will be more careful."
6. React to worry with a deliberate joy and peace, because the fear has no reason.
7. Seek attractive occupations and pastimes.

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8. Cover up [transmute, perhaps?] our deficiencies and deploy our strengths.
9. Remember your triumphs. Don't think voluntarily about past failures.
10. Difficulties borne well are a check drawn upon the bank of heaven. We must suffer well the thorns of life.
11. Simplify life. Simplify tastes, expectations. Be modest. Many a child is happier in simplicity than many a
millionaire.
12. Find enjoyment in your work. And recall that idleness is never joyful.
13. We must make our life one of continual satisfaction and positive feeling. Look for, and cooperate with, the
good in all things. When something seems to bother us, write down the good and bad features of it. It may
surprise us to see the balance weighted in favor of the good.
14. Pursue religious education [and mental prayer]. A vague and persistent idea of loss or danger often is found in
those with weak or intermittent faith. We must recall what we do possess, now and eternally, naturally and
supernaturally.
15. Voluntarily concentrate on other matters. Select a study that pleases you. Concentrate on something opposed
to your pain. For instance if you suffer from fear, concentrate on images of peace, control, and vitality.
16. Cultivate a habit of joy. Reinforce these with acts of satisfaction [mental and day-to-day acts, I should think]
until the habit of joy becomes stronger.

Physiological affirmation of the contrary.


1. Alter your physiology to match the appropriate helpful replacement feeling. Our expression should be
contrary to that which our inefficient emotion would suggest to us.
2. Relax muscles. Doing this regularly helps too.
3. Recognize that symptoms are rooted in mental causes. Feel your health and efficiency.

Vocal affirmation of contrary.


1. Speak with an affirmative and commanding tone about the circumstance that concerns you.
2. Describe with conviction the healthy emotional state.
3. Suggest happiness to yourself using appropriate verbal formulations, perhaps prior to bed and when getting
up.

Selecting an Ideal.
1. Want what God wants, and do what He wants.
2. We need a concrete, constant idea, a purpose, clearly foreseen, for our ideal. A true, noble ideal gives unity,
harmony, and vigor to life, and increases our perfection. Choose an ideal that does not conflict with our end,
that is consistent with our aptitudes, that is outside and above ourselves. We seek to be transfigured by it. Our
ideal should bring us to the present. It should be concrete and easily summarized and recalled to mind.
3. Feel your ideal, both sensibly and spiritually. It attracts like and repels opposites. This permanent inclination
influences our will.
4. Try to perceive the ideal in your plans or direction. Perhaps we face an obligatory course. Assuming it isn't
inherently evil, this can help.
5. When Jesus Christ takes possession of us and reigns within us, our peace and happiness are like the clear,
calm waters of a quiet and deep lake.

Reach out.
1. Help others.
2. Discuss with specialists or your confessor things that weigh our conscience, and other torments. This will

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soften mental tyranny. Give suffering to God.
3. Don't be impetuous or impulsive about confidences.
4. Do the opposite of what your feeling inclines you to do.
5. Expand loving relationships. Find more people to love. Love souls.
6. When at peace, exercise goodness and gentleness.
7. Pray. Prayer is an interview with Infinite Wisdom.
8. Deliberately feel the infinite love of God for ourselves, and make a return of love to God. [Mental prayer
helps with orientational and educational things like this.]
9. Don't expect human gratitude for our good acts. It is often lacking in any case.
10. Our illnesses shouldn't depress us with the notion that we are a burden. Patience and prayer are more effective
than our human initiative and activity. Illness is a grace, a chance to offer sufferings for souls. Illness is a
chance to be a missionary.
11. Express your sadnesses and quandaries in consultation, to a director or confessor. This will help resolve your
internal conflicts.
12. Appreciate the beauty of intellectual truth. Certitude, elaborated with analysis, synthesis, research, and study,
is a source of joy.
13. Feel your kindness influencing others, and diffused around yourself. Each passing moment is a help to you
and to others.
14. Christian charity makes us joyful.

Getting appropriate rest: while awake.


1. Concentrate simply and peacefully, to learn to avoid double thinking. Early-mentioned exercises are key here.
2. Choose an attractive occupation for leisure, perhaps contrasting with your ordinary work.
3. Relaxation and breathing during the day can help.
4. Various ways exist to relax the eyes, such as palming, cold water splash, and seeing without haste.

Getting appropriate rest at night.


1. Rest with absolute disinterestedness and mental peace, physically relaxed, if sleep doesn't come.
2. Get excitement under control before going to bed. Repel fixed ideas or heavy trains of thoughts with
conscious sensation or by dissolving thoughts with contrary thoughts.
3. Trying to solve problems in bed will also make sleep difficult.
4. Work on poor mental habits, because these, e.g. worries, double thinking, runaway emotions, during the day,
will tend to result in poor sleep.
5. Don't worry about not sleeping, if you have trouble. Will not to sleep for a time. This converts a frustration
into an act of the will.
6. Relax the muscles, of the head, eyes, body. Feel gravity. Breathe evenly, deeply.
7. If noise bothers you, will to hear it. [This doesn't mean that you have to pay attention to it.]

Handling the sexual instinct.


1. Associate noble images with women (or men, if applicable). Consider the Virgin Mary's nobility.
2. Do nothing 'to avoid sin'. You could well end up thinking about the sin.
3. Try to avoid excessive comforts. Do this to generously love and please God, not to avoid sin.
4. Learn motor control by willing and then performing simple acts with your body. For example, will your feet
to go in a certain direction, or will your hands to adopt a pose for a time.
5. Pray. Grace is never denied when we seek it with humility and confidence.

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