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I had a longer conversation with my friend Nirmala, which started about the various new stressors of our health in form of electro-smog through radio communication, high electric charges through new building material and the lack of electric grounding. This turned into a discussion of how we can deal with stress in general.
Stress is the result of forces that point in different directions or between different levels (potentials), which can occur on a mental, emotional or spiritual level just as in the physical energy field.
My friend is a follower of non-duality or adveita philosophy and I joked with him that Adveita denies duality as a dogma believing that this would take out the stress that the various experiences of duality create and he answered :
“I do not hold the idea that duality is somehow not real or apart from the oneness of all existence. Just as there are five fingers and yet also just one hand, the infinite dualities and variations in the universe are all part of the oneness. So I guess I am really a dualistic nondualist. These two are not really contradictory but complimentary in my view. And of course reality itself does not really care what I think…it just goes on being the way it is.”
So he is a dualistic nondualist while thinking that “reality does not care what I think” which is the Newtonian idea of a reality separate of us that we cannot change by our thoughts. This is certainly not Adveita that holds that everything is ONE and therefore effects of our mental processes on our environment “Action at a distance” is certainly not spooky as Einstein called it or paranormal but a normal everyday process and he responded as follows :
Perfect timing that you should write about this. I also am coming more and more to seeing the value of the stress in life including all of my own personal health challenges. It may be more important to grow from all of the struggles and to learn to be at peace within the stressful experiences than to reach some place of perfect balance with no discomfort or difficulty, so I do hold all ideals very lightly.
However, I do not see advaita as simply a philosophy or belief or a denial of life (although I do realize that many in advaita try to use it to deny much of reality), but as a description of oneness as the underlying nature of reality. And for me it includes everything: all dualities, Newtonian physics, quantum physics, bliss, suffering, struggle, sickness, health, etc. etc. So to suggest I give up advaita seems like suggesting to a bird that they give up the infinite sky they live in. But I think I get your point….to get too attached to any viewpoint limits me. When I said that reality does not care what I think, I was referring to this fundamental nature of reality – that does not change. Obviously my perspective on reality changes my experience of reality and even can change what happens within reality as everything affects everything else. But whether I am aware of the oneness of reality or not, it goes on being one.
As to how to reduce stress without denying it or overly resisting it and therefore “turning it into useless heat” (I love this metaphor!), I think it is mostly a matter of deep acceptance. No matter what arises, if we meet it with acceptance, that allows it to unfold its purpose and potential more fully. But the trick or art in all of this is that at many points along the way it also means accepting that you are denying, resisting, struggling, etc. When that is happening, then that is where you can accept instead of resist.
So often, especially for spiritually oriented people, when we are in resistance or suffering, we then resist our resistance, or judge our judgments, or suffer over the fact that we are suffering….which just causes more useless heat! If some layer of our conditioning is being triggered and we find ourselves grasping, desiring, complaining, trying too hard, etc, then the one thing we can do is accept that we are grasping, desiring, complaining, etc. Once we accept that we are in suffering, then we can possibly more fully see what is happening and this more complete awareness can transform our experience. Sometimes it transforms our experience by allowing us to see a solution. Other times it transforms our experience by simply allowing us to see the value and OKness of the experience as it is. I often say the deepest healing is realizing that there is nothing here that needs to be healed.
There is no end to how tricky this gets. If we are resisting our resistance or judging our judgment, then the next step is to accept that we are resisting our resistance and get curious about that – otherwise we end up resisting our resistance to resistance and that can go on and on and make you crazy! My favorite metaphor is that when you fall off of a horse, you do not try and get back on the horse where you fell off. You try to get back on the horse where the horse is now! So if you are resisting your suffering, that is where you get back on the horse by accepting that that is what is happening right now. We learn from all of our suffering and resistance, and we learn from every moment that we simply accept and discover the innate intelligence of being that sometimes seems to magically unfold in those moments of deep acceptance.
I also am impressed with Elon Musk and David Blaine. There were some researchers that measured the brain waves of spiritually awakened masters and found that they had all four frequencies going at the same time in a very particular pattern: strong peaks in beta, alpha, theta and delta simultaneously. They even created a biofeedback device to train people to create this brain state called the Mind Mirror. Later in their research and to the surprise of the researchers, they found the exact same pattern of brain waves in extremely successful business people and entrepreneurs – people like Elon Musk (and I would guess David Blaine also) probably have this ability to use more of their mind’s capacities. Even people who had no “spiritual” inclination still could have this increased brain activity.
Thanks for all of your perspectives. This journey of life is subtle and challenging, but in some ways it is also all so simple if we develop this deep acceptance. My teacher used to say that if only it was more complicated, we all would have figured it out a long time ago 🙂
I had said that Elon Musk was a great example on how to use opposition while Tesla was not – as he died penniless and without friends. Also David Blaine is showing to what degree the human body is able to deal with and even thrive on stress.
Stress is the common experience for all of us and I had told Nirmala that we can learn from physics that energy is always the result of differences in forces, either gravitational, electric, magnetic, movement a.s.o. Stress is potential Energy – it just can have different forms as e.g. in a battery, a tensed rubber-band, heat differences, pressure differences.
We can learn from physical machines that there are 2 ways of what we can do with stress or energy one is to turn it into useless heat or the other to use it for transformation. All machines are energy transformers only some have a lower efficiency, because they turn a higher percentage into heat rather than in the transformation process and the same can be said for people.
Ways of being less effective:
1. by turning much stress it into heat :
Shouting, aggression, Self-deprecation, Inner talk, blaming others or oneself, endless attempts of explanation and justification, creating some physical symptoms or diseases, thinking about ways to get out, nostalgia, cynism…
2. Addictions or extremes of :
shopping, being busy, making money, watching TV, sleep, meditation, fasting, talking…
3. ways to inhibit or release energy before stress can built up like :
making fun or excessive laughing, crying, sports, running away, philosophical systems that are based on dogma that allow only one side to exist, positive thinking, believing only light exists or believe systems that anything that could create stress like fear is only based on illusion
4. as Nirmala wrote :
the very attempt to get stress out of your world is not only futile but creates more stress.
So what is the solution to this dilemma ? Lets look again at the analogy of machines. The more directed and intelligent a machine the higher the percentage of energy that it will be able to us for transformation.
You can learn from highly effective people like Elon Musk or David Blaine on how they make use of opposition for creativity, physical endurance, business success.
I will write more about this topic,
I primarily wanted to show that stress=energy and as such inevitable for life – that the aim of life is to use stress and to use it in the most efficient way by becoming aware on how much life is commonly filled with activities that are only burning energy. TO REDUCE STRESS TO ITS MINIMUM BUT NOT FURTHER
The most important techniques to become a more effective transformer is A) to waste less energy by TURNING IT INTO HEAT by one of the above 4 activities, B) to bring an understanding to a situation of stress of what you want the stress to be used for – to the degree that this is clear and emotional it will make you more effective, C) though Eigen-resonance we can channel stress in the most benefitial direction & D) by living in a state of Dynamic Labile Equilibrium DLE we are open for guidance