Oh, The Stresses of Life
Life is stressful. I don't need to tell you that. But will there ever be an end to stress? Will it ever stop?
If you didn't realize by now, life will never cease to stress you out. That is, until you realize where the stress is coming from, and how to work with it.
You see, wondering when the stresses of life will cease to exist is the wrong question. While it's not morally wrong to work towards a life with with fewer stress triggers, the truth is, it's just not effective at what you're trying to do, which is create a peaceful environment within.
Stress is an internal game, not an external game. And while you can certainly exercise some influence on your outer surroundings, such as how much money you have, who you spend time with, and where you live, that's really only a tiny sliver of influence. You'd be crazy to think you can control what happens to you. By now, I hope you realize that you don't have much control over your outer environment.
So what do you have control over? What can you do with stress, now that you know you can't really eliminate its triggers?
The first step is to realize why you're stressing. When you get stressed, you do what engineers do when they stress test a structure. They apply an opposing force, or resistance, to the material in question. By applying this resisting force, it creates stress. Without the resistance, there's no stress.
We humans do this stress test with nearly everything in our lives. Something happens, we don't quite like it, so we apply resistance. We either try to change the outcome, or if we can't do that, we try to change what we're feeling.
We apply resistance to the energies in our inner world by pushing them away, as if they don't belong. This constant opposition to what is, is what causes stress. Since we've been doing this all of our lives, we've now created a pattern that runs on its own. That's why you feel like you don't even cause the stress anymore.
It's a futile game trying to change what is, just like it's impossible to change an apple into an orange. You're better off seeing the apple for what it is, no matter how much you wanted it to be an orange.
When we look at stress from this perspective - as the doers of stress, rather than the victims - we can at least begin to work with it. It's true that if stress were fully caused by external circumstances and not by our own resistance, we'd be screwed. It would be beyond our control.
But working with stress as an internal occurrence that we're playing a major part in, actually helps us relate to it better. We can start to notice at which points we apply that resistance. When do we tense up and try to push our feelings away? What if in these moments, we instead welcomed the discomfort?
By simply noticing your resistance and allowing it to be there, in a way you've stopped resisting. You've gone beyond the lower plane of your mind, and are now watching it from above.
Life will always throw situations at you which, if you let them, will create stress. But this also means life will throw endless opportunities to practice letting go of your resistance.
You just have to decide, each and every moment, is this worth my resistance? Is this worth giving up the pleasant nature I feel within?
I think you know the answer. Now it's time to practice.
Live with substance!