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Thirty-four Steps to Happier Living
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Published by TRAIL GUIDES
Altamont, TN 37301 USA

The Avenues of the Soul

1: When God formed man, He kept in mind the importance of communication with him. What would it have been if the human body had been made up of all the wonderful processes and mechanisms and there had been no means to communicate with the world around us and with God, our Maker? We could have been only a collection of intricate systems and mechanical wonders. In order for man to communicate with God and His other created works, man has been created with what we call our special senses. These are five in number; hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting and feeling. I want you to take just a few minutes to consider two of these marvelous senses.

2: The first avenue to the soul is the eye. Our eyes bring us the best understanding of what is going on around us. They have been called the "Windows" of the soul. Because of these wonderful sense organs, we recognize shapes, colors, and motion. We see the faces of our friends. We enjoy nature. We are able to read and thus to learn. Eyes receive sensations from great and small distances.

3: We can see the sun which is one million times as bright as a page of white paper. When our eyes are rested we can see something in the dark only one millionth as bright as a page of white paper. At night, we can see the light of a match several miles away.

4: Visible light is a very small part of the electromagnetic field which is all around us. A picture shows the wave lengths of visible light are only .0004 : .0008 mm. long. Then, there are the infra-red rays and the ultra-violet rays which our eyes cannot see, but which we can photograph easily.

5: In many ways our eyes are like a camera. The light passes through a transparent protection (cornea), and goes through a hole (pupil) which becomes larger or smaller, depending on the amount of light entering just like a camera shutter. It then passes through a lens and is focused on the film (retina) at the back of the eye. In a camera, the film has to be removed in order to develop the picture, but the retina of the eye contains special nerves which telegraph the picture to the brain instantly, and we "see".

6: The special cells are called rods and cones, and there are so many millions of these in the retina. The rods help us to see in dim light, thus, we are able to see even at night. The cones give us the ability to see best by using our peripheral vision, in other words we can see better in dim light by not looking directly at the object but to one side.

7: In normal eyes, as the light enters the eye it is focused by the lens so that the image of what we are looking at falls exactly on the retina.

8: But if the eyeball is either too long or too short, the image does not focus properly. Such persons are nearsighted (the eyeball is too long), or farsighted (the eyeball is to short). Wearing proper glasses corrects the focus so that the image falls exactly on the retina, and sends an accurate picture to the brain. The lens of our eyes help focus pictures sharply. The lens becomes thick when we look at objects that are close, and thin when we look at distant objects.

9: The rods and cones in the retina are connected to the brain by means of the optic nerve. The fibers come together from all parts of the eye and leave the eye at one spot. Since this spot does not contain rods and cones it is called the "blind spot." Because the blind spot is on the right side of the one and the left side of the other eye, we do not notice them since the two eyes focus from two different positions.

10: Our eyes are protected in many ways. They are continually washed and lubricated by tears which come from a gland behind the upper lid, on the side away from the nose. As we blink, the tears are spread evenly over the surface of the eye. Another example of economy in the body is that the tears after being used in the eye drain into a tiny canal (tear duct) from the corner of the eye into the nose and are there used as mucous in the nose. The eyelids also keep out strong light. The eyelashes act like screens to keep out dust and dirt. The eyebrows jut out over the eyes and help to protect them from blows.

11: In spite of such good protection, great care should be taken of the eyes. Redness, watering of the eyes, twitching of the eyelids, swollen eyelids, headaches, may mean eye strain and indicate the need for an examination by an optician.

12: To avoid passing eye infections from one member of the family to another, each should have his own towel and wash cloth. Eyes are very sensitive to bright light and it is possible to burn them by looking without protection at the sun or at a bright welding arc. Our eyes are very valuable and deserve the best care.

13: The second avenue to the soul is the ear. Very much like the electrical impulses that combine to form light by which we see, are other electrical impulses in the air all around us. The sounds you hear are what the special organs of hearing are able to translate from the vibrations in the air about you. All sound travels by means of invisible sound waves, which if we could see them, would remind us of the ripples caused by dropping a stone into a pond of still water. How high or low (not loud or soft) a sound is, is determined by the number of "ripples" (vibrations) every second.

14: The more vibrations there are each second, the higher the pitch of the sound is. Most of us can hear sound with between 40 and 18,000 vibrations per second.

15: How do sounds that begin as air vibrations reach the part of the brain that identifies them? You may well be amazed at the answer to this question as you follow the many steps. First of all, vibrations are caught by the outer ear and a funnel-shaped tube (canal). This canal is lined with hair and glands which produce ear wax for ear protection.

16: As the vibrations go down the canal, they strike against the ear drum. This is a skin-like structure stretched tightly across the canal. O n the inner side of the ear drum are three tiny, delicate bones, called the hammer, the anvil, and the stirrup. These bones are stretched across the cavity of the middle ear, and they pass the vibrations from the ear drum to the fluid-filled inner ear. This is done by the ear drum vibrating the hammer (which is attached to it), and the hammer in turn pushing the anvil. The anvil moves the stirrup, which in turn vibrates the liquid of the inner ear. But the end is not yet! The liquid now activates small hair-like processes much like the hammers strike the strings in a piano, making sound. These, in turn, stimulate nerves which carry the impulses to the brain and we hear sound. And all this happens in a fraction of a second. The strings of a piano number 88 and supply a range of seven and a half octaves. The "strings" of the ear (the hair-like processes) number 24,000! Again we are amazed at the marvels of these bodies of ours.

17: These senses of ours are called the "avenues of the soul." This is very fitting because it is communication through the senses plus experience and knowledge that enables our minds to make the judgments and decisions of life. No wonder God has encased these in the protection of the skull, for these avenues must be carefully guarded. But this skull is not enough protection. For the use of sight and hearing can lead either to our own destruction or to great enrichment of our personal lives and the making of us to be a blessing to our fellow men. How can we know what to see and hear?

18: Satan knew that the way to destroy man was to attack his mind first. He knew that the way into that perfect mind was through the wonderful avenues we have mentioned. So he chose the most beautiful creature (sight), spoke in melodious voice (hearing), chose most attractive fruit (smell-taste) and gained entrance (touch). So there are the five avenues of the soul.

19: The study of God's word and prayer are avenues which are a means of guarding us against Satan. Some one has fittingly said, "No prayer, no power, less prayer, less power, more prayer, more power." Satan trembles when he sees a child of God on his knees.

20: While the Word of God can be compared to our food, prayer can be compared to breathing. Our spiritual life cannot exist long. without prayer which is said to be the breath of the soul. This is the reason why God says, "Pray without ceasing." We have to be always in the mood of prayer, when we stop praying, we stop breathing and start dying. When we become spiritually dead then we fall an easy prey to sin.

21: An inspired writer has said, "Prayer is a key to open the store house of heaven." Through prayer men have gained victories over bad habits. The sick have been healed, the dead have been raised to life, demons have been cast away, captives have been freed. Prayer can do the impossible. Prayer is talking to God our Heavenly Father as a friend talks to his friend. Tell Him of your successes and failures, your desires and do not hide anything from Him.

22: When asked how to pray. Jesus gave a pattern of prayer for His disciples. First of all, we are to remember that we pray to God, our Heavenly Father, and so we say, "Our Father." We address all our prayers to Him

23: Jesus as a man spent much time in prayer, praying to His Heavenly Father. At times, He used to spend the whole night praying. He was tempted like any of us. He could have easily consented to sin; but prayer was His strength and it always kept Him a victorious person. Realizing the importance of prayer, Jesus himself said, "that men ought always to pray, and not faint." Luke 18:1. At another time, He said, "watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation." Matthew 26:4 1. If it was so important for Jesus, how much more important it is for us!

24: We address our prayer to our Heavenly Father, and after giving Him our praise and thanks for His goodness and mercies, we ask Him to help us in our life's experiences. Then we close the prayer in Jesus' name. He has assured us of hearing if we pray in His holy name.

25: Another very important thing we are to keep in mind if we want an answer to our prayers is found in 1 John 3:22, and it says, "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. Again in Psalms 66:18 it says, "if I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." This means in order to receive an answer to all our prayers, we ought to live our lives according to His will.

26: There are different kinds of prayers: individual prayers, family prayers, public prayer. All have their important places but individual prayers are very essential for our spiritual living. This is the time when we can come closer to our Maker. This is when we can really pour out all our secrets to Him.

27: Next to individual prayer, family prayer is also very important. Some one has said, "The family that prays together, stays together." By prayer we can keep a guard around our family circle.

28: There is no special place for prayer. We can pray anytime and anywhere and under any circumstances. We can pray aloud and we can pray quietly. God will hear and answer sincere prayer that is sent to Him.

29: All power of heaven and earth is given to Jesus and it can be ours if we faithfully and sincerely pray to Him always. His ears are eager to hear our prayers. This is how we can protect the avenues of our soul from defilement and can keep it spiritually sound. God grant that we pray to Him without ceasing.

Here is additional information on prayer:

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." James 1:5.