Monday, May 10, 2010

365 Lessons-Lesson 124: Stress is Caused by You

Now I know some people would like to slap me for saying, "You cause your own stress." It's the last thing you wanted to hear, right? But it is true. Do you feel stress right now? Are you having difficulty balancing all the things in your life? Why do you do this to yourself?

Recently I read a book called Midnights with the Mystic. It's the story author Cheryl Simone tells of her conversations with Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, a yogi, mystic and visionary. The conversations take place at her lake house in North Carolina, where Sadhguru and his assistant stayed as guests. The book is called Midnights with the Mystic because most of the conversations take place around a fire near the lake at midnight. I was extremely inspired by this guru's words and particulary about his view on stress in America. I'd like to share these words here:

Cheryl: "Many people in this country are so stressed out and it is ruining their lives. What can they do about it?"

Sadhguru: "First of all, why are people becoming stressed? When I first came to the United States a few years ago, wherever I went, I noticed people were talking about stress management. I could not understand that. Why would anybody want to manage their stress? You want to manage things you value, don't you? Do you want to manage things you don't care for? I can understand that you want to manage your business, your property, your family, your money, things like that, but why stress?

It took me a while to understand that people have come to the conclusion that there is no way to live without stress. Stress is an accepted part of life here. But the truth is that stress is not a part of life except when you have lost your sanity. Stress is not happening because your job is difficult. It is happening because you are incapable of handling your own systems. You don't know how to manage your body or your mind or your emotions or your energies. If you know that, then nothing is stressful because you are no longer hijacked by external situations."

I say, why wait until the avalanche of stress causes your own demise? Why not make taking care of your body or your mind or your emotions or your energy your TOP priority. Otherwise, taking care of anything else will be futile. Don't make taking care of yourself a passing fad, like the diet of the day, or the workout of the season. Taking care of yourself is a lifetime commitment. Do something every day to nurture yourself. Whether it's yoga or meditation or praying or walking or just focusing on your breath. Now you may gasp when I say this, but you really need an hour or more of your day, every day, free for this. Five minutes is better than nothing, but you won't see much affect when you limit the time you have for taking care of yourself. "But I don't have an hour!" you shout. Oh, yes, you have 24 hours to be exact, and if it's your TOP priority, this taking-care-of-self thing, then you WILL find time for it.

DO IT EVERY DAY, not only when a crisis happens or you become sick. If you practice taking care of yourself and make it part of your life, when a crisis really does happen, you will be ready for it and you will most likely find that it is not really a crisis at all. By taking care of yourself everyday, you are untying the the Gordian knots caused by your own stress and you are making sure that new knots are not formed. You will also find that you don't get sick anymore, that you have boundless amounts of energy, that you can do so many things. Fill up your tank first and then you will find life much easier to live and you have so much more to give.

Also on my blog, Lessons from the Monk I Married, where I am writing 365 Lessons