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Nothing to get stressed about...

KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest?Europe Veteran

Recently I've been examining all the sources of stress in my life, looking at them carefully in meditative spaces. I've found my burdens getting lighter and lighter as I did so, because each time I've looked at things to get stressed about they've turned out to be shadows of other things, which are turning out to be less and less important.

  • not having access to all my money: this is stressful only because I don't have a job
  • not having a job: this is stressful only because I need to earn a living
  • needing to earn a living: this is stressful only because I don't want to be homeless
  • not wanting to be homeless: this is a source of stress only because I'm not wanting to die
  • not wanting to die: this is the great unknown, but there seems to be an afterlife, and either way it's inevitable

So in fact, there is nothing to be stressed about...once you accept the fact of your eventual death, it all turns out to be illusion, smoke and mirrors that society holds you should care about. Life just carries on. I don't have any dependents, am in reasonably good health and have much to be thankful for.

I find the lives of the Thai Forest monks such an inspiration. They live off their alms with hardly any possessions, if they can do so so can we after all. Life just carries on, regardless of your state or location.

Similarly there are other things we can come across that we don't need to fear. Bosses and stressful situations at work, public speaking, aloneness, discomfort, even the lack of food all become minor hurdles when really examined carefully in the light of a Buddhist existence. The rat race is a devilish invention which speaks to our baser instincts, and dismantling its impulses is the work of years of meditation, but ultimately it becomes just another shadow.

lobsterVastmindBunkskarastiShoshin

Comments

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    Indeed. For me my problems come down to fear of leaving behind my children who already lost their father. My husband is fully capable of being their provider. But it doesn't stop me from being terrified of what will happen if I leave them, even though I have no reasonable reason to be concerned at this point. I can't control it anyways, if I die, I die, and they will have to figure things out. They'd have a lot of family support. So it's kind of a weird thing to worry about, as if I have control over it :lol:

    Most of my stresses come down to "how will I deal with this?" because my mind runs away from me when I get worried about something, like most people. But it's much better than it used to be, and continues to improve. I am grateful to have tools to cope rather than continue to sit in the rocking chair of worry, going no where. I was a worrier ever since I can remember, since I was a small child. Then, I worried someone would break in and kill my family. From the time I was 4 years old maybe. Despite growing up in a place where nothing like that has happened since before I was born. Once I got old enough to be on my own, I didn't worry about losing my family so much. Then I worried about losing my partner. Then my kids. It's just been a theme my entire life. But like I said, grateful for the tools to much better deal with it now.

    Last week I had a very minor procedure to remove a harmless cyst from my armpit. In my mind, I had cancer and was probably as good as dead and had already imagined through the entire process :lol:

    KeromeVastminddhammachick
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    You nailed it! Good for you.

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    When my ex starts working more regularly and earning more, I've started thinking about just working four days a week and spending the extra day at the Monastery / volunteering etc.

    One less day prostituting myself can only be a good thing right?

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    That depends. Would it jeopardise your financial responsibility to your children?

    Bunks
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    @Bunks said:
    When my ex starts working more regularly and earning more, I've started thinking about just working four days a week and spending the extra day at the Monastery / volunteering etc.

    One less day prostituting myself can only be a good thing right?

    Sounds like a plan. Internalising this kind of change can take a while though, I remember having the above thoughts for the first time years ago but stress did eventually return. It takes regular reminders until it really settles in.

    Bunks
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @federica said:
    That depends. Would it jeopardise your financial responsibility to your children?

    Good point. I certainly wouldn't do it if that were the case.

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    Apologies for hijacking your thread @Kerome. I'll shut up now. Too little sleep and too much caffeine make Luke a chatty boy ;-)

    dhammachick
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @Kerome your post reminds me of the following quotes on worry...

    "If you fear you shall suffer, you "already" suffer what you fear !"

    ~Michel de Montaigne~

    "I'm worried and I ought not be worried...But because I'm worried, I'm "now" worried because I'm worried" ( and so the self generating worry cycle continues...)

    ~Alan Watts~

    Or as Shantideva (thus have I heard) once said something along the lines of

    eggsavior
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    It may not make logical sense, but our fears rarely work well with logic. It didn't matter how many times I repeated that to myself (why worry if you can't do anything about it). I know that. I know it well. It didn't help. Keeping myself busy helped. Calming my breath helped. That probably helps the most, and I do it often. But understanding I shouldn't worry probably did as much to stress me out as the worrisome thoughts themselves. Kind of how insomniacs worry they can't sleep which makes them not sleep.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited July 17

    It's interesting when one thinks about "Worry"
    It seems to be something that some (perhaps many) people "think" they need ...I guess it was originally a survival trait/mechanism of sorts back in the days of early human development ...

    However I've found it's best to explore worry and it's antidotes when one is not worried, so when the mind starts to get hooked on worrying, those wandering thoughts can be nipped in the bud, by using the antidote ...

    "Laughter" is a good antidote to worry and anxiety ( I'm talking about for people who don't suffer from any major debilitating anxious conditions that they may require medication or therapy for )

    "Thus one antidote is to have a sense of humor and be able to laugh at ourselves"

    ~ Venerable Thubten Chodron ~

    Sadhguru sums up fear & death....

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran
    edited July 19

    I found this morning that worry almost seemed to arise out of the body... I woke up feeling tranquil, my mind then during breakfast settled on something smallish, and before I knew it I was experiencing worry again. While in the larger scheme of things it wasn't anything to get excited about. I went for a morning walk to the market instead, and felt better afterwards.

    It was like a bodily sensation, a kind of urge to do things, which went hunting for all the things I still had to do (and there are some I have been putting off), and then it set off the mind in worrying about the biggest thing it could find, and before I knew it my beautiful tranquil morning mood was sent spiralling down into something uncomfortable.

  • upekkaupekka Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    I found this morning that worry almost seemed to arise out of the body... I woke up feeling tranquil, my mind then during breakfast settled on something smallish, and before I knew it I was experiencing worry again. While in the larger scheme of things it wasn't anything to get excited about. I went for a morning walk to the market instead, and felt better afterwards.

    It was like a bodily sensation, a kind of urge to do things, which went hunting for all the things I still had to do (and there are some I have been putting off), and then it set off the mind in worrying about the biggest thing it could find, and before I knew it my beautiful tranquil morning mood was sent spiralling down into something uncomfortable.

    in other words, you were mindful, wasn't it?
    you could have checked exactly what the next command would be
    and
    then could have checked who would be giving the command, and how the command would be given etc.

    if you did those, then you would be with insight

    be mindful is the tranquillity meditation (sati)
    investigating the situation is the insight meditation (vipassana)

    atapi satima sampajano
    vineyya loke abijja domanassanam
    kaye kayanu passi viharathi

    (Four frame of reference)

  • SusannaSusanna Explorer

    I usually wake up with some degree of anxiety. But one morning last week I woke up feeling great! I decided to try some meditation (I haven't done any for months as it seems to make my anxiety worse). All went well for about five minutes, then the anxiety began buzzing. But oddly, it was as if the sensations started before the thoughts - as if my mind was casting around for something to fix on and be anxious about. I've never spotted this before.

    Jeffreykarasti
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @Susanna it's really common for sensations of various emotions to start as a feeling in our body somewhere. Once we start noting it, we can start doing things to mitigate it. It helps us to avoid the full-blown emotion taking over. What works, of course, differs for everyone. This is how my sister manages her anxiety, it took a couple of years of therapy for her to figure out what to do for various sensations. It's interesting because she is very hot-headed. Bad temper that has gotten her in trouble more than once. Her therapist has her literally cool her head when the anger starts to rise, and it actually works. She dunks her head in cold water, lol. You never know what you figure out! And there is nothing wrong with backing off the 5 mins, to, say, 4 mins. As your body realizes there is nothing to get anxious about, you might be able to increase the time slowly from there.

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