KEYWORDS: motion, stomach, lord, mind

Motion Sickness--Ch 4: It's Mind over Matter

David Berg


1. WHATSOEVER THINGS ARE GOOD, whatsoever things are of a good report, whatsoever things are beautiful, think on the good things. (Phil.4:8.) Get your mind off your stomach, get your mind off the rocking motion, if it doesn't like it, and get your mind off the writhing horizon and get your mind on whatever is good.

2. THE BEST THING IS TO GET YOUR MIND OFF EVERYTHING BY GOING TO SLEEP. I have spent the first one or two days of some voyages in my bunk—only leaving my bunk for meals, that's all‚ and going straight back to bed and trying to relax or sleep. It's the very best thing you can possibly do until your stomach finally gets adjusted to the new motion and settles down to it.

3. IT IS PARTLY PHYSIOLOGICAL, BUT IT IS MOSTLY A PHYSIOLOGY THAT YOU CAN CONTROL PSYCHOLOGICALLY WITH YOUR MIND‚ with mind over matter. If you make up your mind to control your stomach, "Now listen here stomach, behave yourself‚ quit cuttin' up"—just like you'd talk to a little child.

4. "STOP MAKING SUCH A BEEF ABOUT NOTHING! There's nothing to it and you ought to enjoy it. It's good for you. Forget it, go to sleep!" So just exert a little will power over your stomach. Praise God! As I said, not only don't read, but keep your eyes shut as you're lying there in your bunk.

5. YOUR STOMACH, YOUR BODY CAN FEEL THE RHYTHM OF THAT MOTION BETTER THAN YOU CAN, and what it has to do is to be able to anticipate the motion so it isn't surprised or shocked or made afraid by some unusual unexpected motion. Your body has to figure out the rhythm of your particular vessel, the way it goes up and down and around and around.

6. YOU'LL FIND OUT THERE'S A REGULAR PATTERN TO THE MOTION, and if you can finally adjust your mind and body to that pattern, your body and your stomach will just gradually slip into that pattern, until it just seems perfectly normal and perfectly natural and it just feels real good.

7. WHEN I FINALLY GOT OFF THE BOAT IN NASSAU I FINALLY HAD ADJUSTED to that pattern. So that now all of a sudden with my feet on solid ground, it felt like it was still going around and around, and having my feet on solid ground almost made me seasick!

8. THE CHANGE IN THE PATTERN OF MOTION, WALKING DOWN THE STREET, I ALMOST FELT DIZZY! I almost staggered down the street! That's why they accuse sailors of being bow-legged and staggering all the time. It's not always because they're drunk on shore, but it's because they have developed that motion from being on shipboard so long, that being on shore feels more like they're tossing and rolling than being on the ship to which their body's adjusted.

9. LIE THERE WITH YOUR EYES SHUT TOTALLY RELAXING, TRYING TO GO TO SLEEP AND TRY TO SENSE AND ANTICIPATE THE DIRECTION OF THE NEXT MOTION, just like you would if you were in a swing or in a hammock. You know you're going to go up, backward and down‚ and up, frontward and down, and up, backward and down.

10. IT'S JUST LIKE YOU CAN ANTICIPATE THE DIRECTION WHEN YOU'RE DRIVING ALONG IN A CAR. If you're looking ahead you know you're going to go down or you're going to go up or you're going to go to the right or to the left. That way your stomach is warned ahead of time which way it's going to go‚ and it doesn't get excited and worry about it. It prepares itself for that direction.

11. BELIEVE IT OR NOT, YOU CAN FIGURE OUT THE PATTERN OF THE MOTION OF THE SHIP. And you find out almost always it is a very regular pattern, up and down, and around and around, and so on. It goes up and down from end to end, and round and around, back and forth from side to side.

12. USUALLY IT'S A SORT OF A SPIRAL MOTION: It'll go up and lean leftward up on a roller, and it'll go down and lean rightward down on the next side of the ground swell.

13. THE THING THAT GETS YOU THE WORST ON A BOAT IS NOT EVEN ALWAYS A STORM, IT IS WHAT IS KNOWN AS GROUND SWELLS. These huge, big—they're not even waves—but they're just like a big rolling sea, and this will get a big boat almost even more than a storm—ground swells.

14. BUT THEY HAVE A PATTERN‚ REGULARITY, and if you can figure out the pattern and adjust your stomach to the pattern, anticipate which direction you're going to go next, up and down‚ around and around, then your stomach gets adjusted to it very quickly and you can relax.

15. SOMETIMES YOUR PROBLEM IS WITH ACTUAL FEAR OF THE SEA. Fear that the best vessel is going to sink or go down or be overturned in a storm or something. They're very foolish fears because, if you'll remember, men crossed the ocean in little tiny boats much smaller than the one you're on, like those little cockleshells like the Santa Maria and the Nina and the Pinta that Columbus sailed across the ocean!

16. MEN HAVE SAILED THE SEVEN SEAS ON MUCH SMALLER BOATS THAT YOU'RE ON without getting sunk or dying in a storm or of seasickness or anything else. So quit worrying about the ship going to sink or roll over, and this is where it comes in to trust the Lord: "Fear not!" (Isa.41:10.)

17. THE REASON THE PRONE POSITION IS SO GOOD FOR YOU IS BECAUSE IT RELAXES YOUR WHOLE BODY and this helps your stomach relax. Your stomach at this time is working very hard to try to get used to this new motion, so the more you relax your entire body, the more energy your stomach has to try to become accustomed to it.

18. IF THE SEA IS NORMAL, JUST PRAY THAT IT'LL STAY THAT WAY. If it's not, if you run into a storm, then rebuke the Enemy with "Peace, be still!" like Jesus did and ask the Lord for calm weather. You have power over these things, you can command the sea and the waves! Peace, be still!

19. SO JUST JOIN YOUR LITTLE PARTY TOGETHER AND JOIN HANDS AND REBUKE THE ENEMY AND REBUKE THE WEATHER. And if you're flat on your back in bed, too sick to reach each other's hands, just join together in prayer and ask the Lord to give you better weather and help you overcome the sickness. Amen? PTL!

20. MY SECOND TRIP TO THE BAHAMAS IN A LARGE OCEAN-GOING LINER, MY MOTHER AND I AGREED THAT THIS TIME WE WERE JUST ABSOLUTELY GOING TO REFUSE TO GET SICK! We were just going to trust the Lord to keep us from getting seasick‚ for she and I were both very prone to motion sickness. So while the rest of the party were still wallowing around in their vomit in their bunks, she and I were just having a great time and enjoying the ride, because we claimed the victory before we ever began. We asked the Lord to help us to get the victory over it, and we did‚ praise God!

21. JUST PRAY‚ THAT'S ONE OF THE BEST THINGS YOU CAN DO.—Just pray and trust the Lord. Fear is one of the greatest causes of this motion sickness, and to just rest and relax safe in the arms of Jesus is one of the best things you can possibly do. Trust the Lord!

22. JESUS IS YOUR CAPTAIN‚ HE OWNS THE OCEAN. He controls the boat, and you're in His hands, don't worry!

23. ALSO REMEMBER THAT FEAR IS A COMMUNICABLE DISEASE, others can catch it. If you're afraid, they suddenly get afraid too. Even your little children could get afraid if you're upset and fearful, and therefore it'll make them sicker too.

24. BUT IF YOU SHOW A REAL CALM ATTITUDE, no fear, relaxation, and soothe everybody's nerves and flustered feelings with your calm voice and your steady prayer and your reassurances, it'll sort of soothe their ruffled feathers and ruffled‚ troubled stomachs too. You could even maybe sing the old song,


Safe on His gentle breast.

Here no fears alarm me,

Here can my soul find rest."

It's amazing what singing a soothing gentle song will do for your ruffled spirits and your troubled stomach.

26. SAY‚ "LORD, THIS IS YOUR OCEAN, YOUR SHIP, I'M YOURS!" And persuade your stomach that it's the Lord's too, and it's really wonderful to roll around like that, you really enjoy it!

27. AFTER ALL, GOD WAS THE FIRST ONE TO EVER BUILD A SHIP. He must have known something about the seas, He made them. He must have known you're going to roll around. I'm sure Noah and his whole crew must have rolled around, and his family and all those animals and everything. But I'm sure that just having faith must have helped them to keep from getting seasick.

28. CLAIM THE SCRIPTURE THAT THE WORD ITSELF PROMISED "THOU SHALT KEEP HIM IN PERFECT PEACE WHOSE MIND IS STAYED ON THEE"‚ and that includes your stomach! "Thou shalt keep his stomach in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee." You stomach is a part of you, that's you‚ so claim that Scripture!—Amen? (Isa.26:3.) Praise the Lord! That's the way to get the victory!

29. I ORIGINALLY DICTATED THIS TO MARIA WHEN WE WERE BOTH FLAT ON OUR BACKS and a little seasick on the first or second day of a long five or six day journey at sea. I was trying to tell her how I was beginning to overcome it. I hadn't completely overcome it yet, but I was beginning to, by these thoughts and these ways.

30. ALL FIVE OF US WERE IN THE SAME CABIN TOGETHER AND ALL FLAT ON OUR BACKS and most of us a little seasick. So I was giving this little message to the rest of the cabin, and myself as well‚ trying to reassure them and teach them how to overcome it. So I dictated a great deal of this to Maria as she was lying there flat on her back also seasick‚ but she with her little notebook, God bless her‚ took notes, and that's why I'm able to pass it on to you today.

31. I'M DOING THIS PARTICULARLY TODAY FOR THE SAKE OF SOME OF US WHO ARE GOING ON A TWO-DAY AND TWO-NIGHT VOYAGE tomorrow so that this will help them‚ I hope, praise the Lord. And if you'd see the size of the little freighter they're going on! I said to Maria, "That looks to me like a little tub! That thing is really going to rock around, rock and roll! If they want rock and roll‚ they're going to get it in that thing, no matter what!"

32. BUT LOOK AT THOSE CAPTAINS AND THOSE CREWS WHO ARE OUT THERE ON THE HIGH SEAS ALMOST EVERYDAY. Thousands and thousands and thousands of miles for thousands of years, and they have survived!

33. LET ME GIVE YOU ONE REASSURING THOUGHT, I'VE NEVER HEARD OF ANYBODY YET WHO ACTUALLY DIED OF SEASICKNESS! And most of the people who got seasick‚ very few of them ever actually sank with the boat, so don't worry. You'll probably make it, and if you'll just stop worrying and start trusting the Lord and start enjoying it, you'll probably be up and at it the second day, or at least by the third day, God bless you! Praise the Lord! Amen?


"Safe in the arms of Jesus!

Safe on His gentle breast!"

—See how it kind of fits the motion?

"Safe while my stomach is relaxing,

For in the Lord I rest!"

—Amen? Praise the Lord! God

bless you all! (Sings: )

"Rocked in the cradle of the deep‚

I lay me down, and go to sleep!"

35. I USED TO HAVE TO DANCE LITTLE DAVID TO SLEEP EVERY NIGHT because he was used to that motion, or I had to rock him to sleep in his buggy. He loved that motion, it just made him go to sleep!

36. SO CONVINCE YOURSELF IT'S A BEAUTIFUL MOTION, AND IT IS when you adjust to it and get used to it and just rock away! Hallelujah? (Sings:)

"Safe in the arms of Jesus,

Safe on His gentle breast.

Oh, how my soul enjoys it,

I'm going to get a good rest!"

Praise the Lord? Hallelujah! God bless you!

37. I LOVE YOU‚ EVERY ONE, AND I HOPE YOU'LL HAVE LOTS OF BEAUTIFUL SEA JOURNEYS, ocean voyages, Mediterranean cruises, and really enjoy them at a price that's even less than you can get room and board in the average hotel, plus transportation free! Maybe if you remember that‚ you'll enjoy it more! PTL! GBY! Bon Voyage!