But animals on the other hand, are better in this respect. For instance, if an animal is attacked by a hunter it tries its best to save its life by running away/ escaping. Other animals which live by killing smaller animals do not brood if they are unsuccessful in catching their prey. They forget their failure immediately and try again. Suppose a deer is hurt and feels pain, it does not stop living to avoid the pain. It continues to graze peacefully in spite of the dangers around.
But human beings seem to have lost this instinct for self-healing. Suppose we are ill and are hospitalised. Instead of taking rest in hospital we waste all the time worrying about what is happening to the family in our absence. We seem to be incapable of getting rid of anxiety which even animals are capable of That is what Dr. Wicks pointed out in her analysis.
In the course of her lectures Dr. Wicks was once asked whether religion helps in overcoming mental tension. She said, "Yes, of course, it does, if we subscribe to some religious faith and if it is genuine." Then it does help in overcoming mental tension.
Thus, the first point of Dr. Wicks's three-point formula is "acceptance." We should be able to accept what we are, to meet any situation or difficulty without losing our balance. I am reminded of some lines by the American poet, Walt Whitman. They emphasise the point that unlike animals we often over-react and do not know the technique of avoiding unnecessary anxieties.
The lines of the poet are:
I think I could turn and live with animals,
They are so placid and self-contained,
They do not sweat and whine about their condition.
This is only to underline the fact that failure is a part of living. In spite of our sincere efforts we may not always be successful. Let us accept this situation gracefully. But it should not be mere passive acceptance. We should accept with joy. Genuine acceptance teaches us how to triumph over adversity and rejoice.
In the beginning this seems impossible. Suppose a person is in great difficulty, or pain, critically ill in hospital and knows that he is going to die soon. Is it possible to accept such a situation gracefully? It is a situation which tests our power of reconciliation to the maximum and a person who cannot reconcile himself to the inevitable has to suffer from tremendous anxiety and tension.