Did you think you could have the good without the evil? Did you think you could have the joy without the sorrow? . . . . I have been thinking much about pain. How could I help it? . . . . Sooner or later, regardless of the wit of man, we have pain to face; a reality; a final inescapable, immutable fact of life. What poor souls, if we have then no philosophy to face it with! This pain will not last; it never has lasted. I'll think about what I am going to write tomorrow-not about me, not about my body.
Most of us have collections of sayings we live by. . . . Whenever words fly up at me from the printed page as I read, I intercept them instantly, knowing they are for me. I turn them over carefully in my mind and cling to them hard.
Suddenly it came to me, as a kind of new light, that I would no longer resist and struggle; I would accept the unavoidable. If it was in the nature of my disease, what else that was wise could I do? At first the torment, ravaging unrestrained, seemed even worse than before. It consumed me utterly. But I had a glimmering sense that I was at least playing a voluntary part in my own destiny; that, somehow, I was substituting reason for blind, involuntary, fear-driven resistance. This effort I continued through the greater part of one terrible night, failing often, unable to yield completely, driven by red-hot scourges into the old resistances. At dawn, in spite of the best medication the doctors knew, I was exhausted, but I began to feel that I was on the way toward what might be, for me, a new method. This I practiced faithfully and with increasing confidence for some time. I no longer resisted the inevitable! I am not sure that there was a great decrease in the actual physical suffering; I do know that the period of the paroxysm was reduced, since resistance seemed merely to prolong it. But the great reward was in the mind: in my own ability to command myself in the face of such a catastrophe; to preserve my equanimity; to rest securely upon reason when panic might so easily overwhelm me. I had moments in the midst of such paroxysms during the earlier nights when I was so secure in mind, so tranquil, that I felt it did not much matter what happened to my body. Nothing could touch me.