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ATTENTIVENESS

In a large German sanitarium a special meteorological observatory was founded for the study of the effects of changes in weather upon sick organisms. This influence, extremely unfavorable, is at present regarded as definitely established, and the question remains only one of details. The University clinic in Freiburg notes that sharp deviations in the atmospheric pressure, connected with a special of wind  fohn  bring about an increased death rate among recently operated patients by causing a weakening of the heart action and embolism.

"Dr. Otterman, who is the head of the meteorological station, recommends that surgeons, when preparing for an operation, take into account the weather charts, and in any case place the patients to be operated in rooms having constant pressure, humidity, and temperature, so as to safeguard them from any harmful effects of weather."

"It is strange to read about these "new deductions," which it would seem have been known for many, many centuries. Even without mentioning the fact that the physicians of old and the folk healers long ago took into consideration all sorts of atmospheric conditions, we must note that in ancient medical books and manuscripts there are to be found many indications about the very same thing. Ancient medical science often not only puts conditions for successful cure upon definite locations but also mentions climatic and atmospheric conditions, good and bad.

Local physicians and folk healers often indicated in precisely what locality the medicines prescribed by them would be especially effective. They also suggested the best time of day and other quite carefully observed details about the taking of medicine.

An experienced physician, not only an Eastern one but also one of the West, will advise not to worry about anything at the time of taking medicine and even not to think about extraneous matters, but to try to accompany the taking of medicine with a good thought about it.

Talk with an experienced gardener and he will point out to you a multitude of curious details about different atmospheric and also psychic effects on plants. The well-known experiment of the effect of human thought upon a plant has been indicated many times in literature. Even people greatly removed from science observe at times that flowers and plants in contact with certain people may wither quickly, whereas when close to others they may even blossom and get stronger.

One can rejoice that even in contemporary observations, often made quite difficult owing to conventionalities, definite relations between man and nature become apparent. These observations lead to fine uplifting conclusions.

The French writer Maurois was unjustly ridiculed when he pointed out that a dead body showed a difference in weight. The weight of higher energy, the weight and evidence of the effect of thoughts, is also not a subject to ridicule but should be studied very carefully.

It is very easy to laugh, and it is also not hard to deride, but each application of tolerance will be one of the avenues of possibility of discovery. True, the laws of subtlest conditions, while immutable, are quite elusive in the earthly strata. We observe that sometimes even a simple film gives an unexpectedly refined and sharp photograph. But this "sometime" is almost impossible to define with a meager earthly dictionary. Many times there have been mentioned unusually successful photographs of the usually invisible world. Attempts have been made to establish the most fitting conditions for the improvement of these processes. And, as a rule, instead of an improvement, certain subtlest possibilities were disturbed. Attempts were made to make experiments with utmost cleanliness in seemingly least polluted places, and they were accompanied by best thoughts and wishes. Yet, instead of a successful improvement, the results disappeared altogether. One had a strange feeling that the more primitive conditions had apparently brought better results. It means that these conditions contained some details still eluding the investigator, which could not be maintained even during formal better conditions. True, a very anti-infection vaccine, it seems, can hold a deadly infection; and water poured over one's hands to wash them may be poisonous. There are not a few absolutely counteractive conditions which arise even during proper observation. And yet how many still unfathomable, most subtle, conditions exist and govern processes of extreme importance.

It is necessary not only to perform observations, not only to cultivate within oneself the greatest measure of tolerance, not only to acquire magnanimity, but also from the very beginning to learn attentiveness. One should acknowledge with justice that in modern education too little time is given to attentiveness. And yet, in any field of endeavor, could an inattentive man be successful? The inattentive man first of all sinks into selfhood and egoism and gradually loses sensitiveness of receptivity toward his surroundings.

But if from an early age attentiveness is nurtured in most attractive forms, then an unlimited beautiful power of observation will develop under any conditions of life.

With every new experiment observation will mount a new turn of the spiral  still more subtle, still more elevating, still more penetrating. And the power of observation is a threshold of possibilities. A man who has attained perception of possibilities will never become prey to disappointment, because the fascination of new searches is the most captivating and high joy.

Peking

January 20, 1935

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