How To Eliminate Unnatural Stress

>> Sunday

MEDITATION CAN COMPENSATE or substitute for the tranquility you would experience in a natural setting (like being in the woods, in the mountains, or on a deserted beach). The sounds and appearance of natural settings are soothing and comfortable. A natural environment is, of course, the environment we have evolved to live in.

Change a human being's environment to buildings and cars and strangers and time pressure and polyester and lots of extra mental and emotional stimulation from music and television, and your body is out of its element. And it reacts by feeling stressed. Cortisol and adrenaline start flowing. And they keep flowing without a break.

In a natural setting, it would not be all peace and harmony, of course. There would be times of great danger, of fear and anger. But those moments would be brief. And in between, the body would have the opportunity to settle down again and rejuvenate.

That's what meditation provides for a city-dweller. Meditation is a way to compensate for the unnatural setting we live in. And it works.

If you don't get enough moments of calm, you suffer. Stress has a thousand ways of showing up. And each one of those ways can be seen as a symptom of a "calmness deficiency." Like a vitamin C deficiency, the body can cope for awhile, but then the deficiency starts to show its negative impact.

If you can't take plenty of walks in the woods, or if you don't live near a quiet desert, or if you don't live out in the wilderness, you can compensate for your unnatural situation (and fulfill your need for a feeling of calmness) with meditation.

A lot of research has been done on the stress-reducing effect of meditation. Read more about that here. The results of the experiments show plainly that the symptoms of stress were caused by an insufficient number of moments of calmness and peace.

You don't have to be peaceful all the time to satisfy your need for calm. You just need enough of it. Daily meditation can provide that for you.

Learn how to meditate here: Gently Returning.

1 comments:

Adam Khan 1:45 AM  

Imagine talking to a man who is very angry. He is highly agitated.

Let's say you're trying to reason with him about something. Can you see he would not be able to reason very well? Or make sensible decisions? Or act in his own best interests, let alone the best interests of those around him?

Can you see that he would have fewer abilities than he normally has?

In other words, the same man when he is angry does more stupid and regrettable actions than he does in his normal state. In that sense, he is less intelligent when he is angry. Less sane. Less reasonable. He might be more capable in a violent encounter, but in all other ways, he is LESS capable.

Now imagine the same man deeply relaxed. Imagine him profoundly non-agitated. Imagine he has just finished meditating and feels totally at peace. Can you see that compared to the deeply non-agitated state, the man's normal state seems agitated, self-centered, and unhappy?

"Normal" would seem less reasonable, less able to make sensible decisions, and less capable of acting even in his own best interests.

The tranquil state of mind, in other words, would be as exceptionally better than normal as the angry state would be worse than normal.

I was reading The Accidental Buddhist, the story of Dinty Moore and his adventures going to various Buddhist meditation retreats.

One of his retreats was with the author of one of my favorite books on meditation (Mindfulness in Plain English), Bhante Gunaratana. Dinty noticed Bhante was very compassionate and kind and exceptionally at ease. Not all the meditation teachers he encountered were like that.

And Dinty also noted that during the sometimes very long meditations during the retreat, Bhante did all the meditation sessions with the students. Not all the teachers did that either.

So here is a man who meditates a lot, and he seemed as far ABOVE normal as an angry man is BELOW normal.

This gives us a glimpse of what is possible for someone who is willing to take the time to meditate.

Would you like to be exceptional? Would you like to be the kind of person you always knew you really were? Deep non-agitation is the way.

And the most reliable de-agitator is meditation.

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