354 THE MONTESSORI METHOD
child who is left to his own devices. True rest for muscles, intended by nature for action, is in orderly action; just as true rest for the lungs is the normal rhythm of respiration taken in pure air. To.take action away from the muscles is to force them away from their natural motor impulse, and hence, besides tiring them, means forcing them into a state of degeneration; just as the lungs forced into immobility, would die instantly and the whole organism with them.
It is therefore necessary to keep clearly in mind the fact that rest for whatever naturally acts, lies in some specified form of action, corresponding to its nature.
To act in obedience to the hidden precepts of nature — that is rest; and in this special case, since man is meant to be an intelligent creature, the more intelligent his acts are the more he finds repose in them. When a child acts only in a disorderly, disconnected manner, his nervous force is under a great strain; while on the other hand his nervous energy is positively increased and multiplied by intelligent actions which give him real satisfaction, and a feeling of pride that he has overcome himself, that he finds himself in a world beyond the frontiers formerly set up as insurmountable, surrounded by the silent respect of the one who has guided him without making his presence felt.
This " multiplication of nervous energy " represents a process which can be physiologically analysed, and which comes from the development of the organs by rational exercise, from better circulation of the blood, from the quickened activity of all the tissues — all factors favourable to the development of the body and guaranteeing physical health. The spirit aids the body in its growth; the heart, the nerves and the muscles are helpful