I get a kick out of Marcus Aurelius and his unwavering stoicism. He wrote that to be human is to be stressed; it is normal so how can it be a bad thing? Well, it is not a bad thing if it is counteracted with some easy practices, such as meditation, music, dance, positive thoughts, creative outlets. Nothing like gardening to ease the mind or just watering the plants. Point being, we have the means and the power to deal with stress. The trouble is, so many people just allow it to be present and do nothing about it other than perhaps medicating themselves.
The other problem is engaging in activities that are meant to help but which can cause even more stress if we are competing with someone or even with ourselves. Why is it so hard for us to relax? Do we think we are more responsible if we worry about tomorrow or how we are going to solve a problem? Do we judge those who seem to be oblivious to the state of things? Or are they perhaps operating on a higher level than we can imagine?
In the Eastern mystical teachings, the running theme in many of their parables has to do with an “Ah, so” attitude. No matter what is presented to that person, good or bad, lovely or terrible, they respond with “Ah, so.” Our western “can do” attitude would likely find that unreasonable, but attached to that response is a subtle belief that Life is trying to hurt us, or is the enemy, or that we need to be on guard all the time, lest we lose.
Perhaps a mixture of each is a better way to approach stress. “Ah, so” here is this situation. I think I will sit in silence for a few minutes and allow my mind to relax into creative mode.” Or, “I will do a few chores to lessen my fear and then give this some thought.” A spiritual practice is meant to be woven into our daily lives. Stress is inevitable but it is never as powerful as our mind. No situation can actually make us victims unless we succumb to it.
Stay tuned in,