There is a popular belief that stress can be eliminated by putting the stress-inducing problem out of our mind; that we can utilize certain techniques that distract our thinking from our current anxieties, and that once the problem is ‘out of mind’ it can be forgotten.
But the fact of the matter is that such action (or inaction) does not work. What it does is give the illusion that the stress has been eliminated when, in actuality, the stress has been ‘deferred’ until a later date. Not only that, when it comes back again it is likely to be even more severe.
Stressed? Then a few beers at the club after work; a hard game of squash; listening to relaxing music; sexual release; jogging; Tai Chi’ the leisurely swim; these things temporarily relieve stress. And that’s good. The immediacy, the urgency, the presence of the problem is ameliorated. But the stressful problem is not solved.
What actually happens is that the problem does not go away. It sinks into the subconscious mind. It does not cure itself. It does not go into nothingness. It actually continues to grow and to built itself, unmonitored by our awareness, only to manifest itself as an even stronger, more unpleasant emotional problem at a future date.
Also incorrectly believed is that our problem is the cause of our stress; that it is the situation itself which creates the feeling or emotion we find so unpleasant. Things happen outside of us over which we have inadequate control or no control, and we find that very difficult to live with.
What’s causing the stress?
But is it an ‘outside of ourselves’ situation which really causing the emotion, thus causing the stress?
If we ponder this, and are honest with ourselves, we eventually realize (at the intellectual level, even though we are still incapable of accepting it at the emotional level) that the problem is not external to us. We may rationalize that it is, but, actually, the problem lies within.
It is inside us. It is not outside at all. What is outside is simply the stiumlus, the trigger. The emotion,which is the direct reaction to our thinking on a particular problem, lies within our own psyche. The agony is internal. It is our emotion which is hurting us, causing the pain and anguish. Or, more specifically, it is our automatic reaction at the mental emotional level which is causing the stress.
How can we overcome stress? Changing the outside circumstances might temporarily alleviate it. But soon another problem will arise to take its place. Life appears to be an ongoing project of overcoming problems of one sort or another.
In overcoming problems we have to pick, in many instances, the lesser of two evils. If we pick according to what we believe in our hearts to be right, then the decision will rarely come back as a stress problem. But if we don’t, if we push it below,sweep it under the proverbial carpet, we add to the stockpile of subconscious stress we already possess.
But how to get rid of the stockpile of stress held within us? For nearly all of us are filled with neuroses and phobias and hang-ups of one sort or another. How can we get rid of these?
We can’t change the outside world so that we have no more problems. That is impossible. It wouldn’t matter if we had the power of a national president or an emporor, or the genius of Leonardo de Vinci or Albert Einstein. All we can do is change with world within us.
And change the world within us we can. Ways have been found. And as far as the alleviation of stress is concerned, there is an excellent way. It is called Vipassana Meditation. You probably won’t find the word in an English Language Dictionary. No matter. It is a technique which goes right to the heart of the matter. Practising it, dilegently, regularly, persistently and patiently will gradually, oh, so gradually, release from the traumas, hangups, fears – along with all of its stress.
Still stressed? Why not find out about it? Then take the steps we all need to take to enable us to lead happier lives.
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Enjoy the read.