E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Ill bring him to his bearings. Ill bring him to his senses. A sea term. The bearings of a ship at anchor is that part of her hull which is on the water-line when she is in good trim. To bring a ship to her bearings is to get her into this trim. (Dana: The Seamans Manual, 84.)
To lose ones bearings. To become bewildered; to get perplexed as to which is the right road.
To take the bearings. To ascertain the relative position of some object.