I had met a young colleague yesterday over coffee. He has just quit his job and is going into independent practice. Looking for clients, the regular rejection, the travel etc has its own pressures and the young man was very stressed. It set me thinking on what stress is, and why we experience it.
I looked at it logically. The human body, despite being the most fabulous machine in design, has evolved in a wild environment. The primary threat to humans was physical and not mental. Humans could get attacked by wild animals. Humans could get attacked by other humans too! So while the terrain was difficult, it was not complex, i.e. the situations were simple:
If a smaller animal attacked me, I would fight. If a tiger attacked me…then flight!
So the human body and mind were primarily conditioned for two responses: Fight or Flight.
Here, there is zero stress. Only action!
So ‘stress’ is simply this: Stress is the Gap between Fight and Flight.
As human society evolved (?!), the situations the human body and mind find themselves in is infinitely more complex. Things like insults, bullying,abuses, boss venting his anger on you, mother-in-law taunting you, someone falsely accusing you of something etc, are common place these days. But the human body/ mind does not know how to handle these ‘exceptions’ to its programming!
For example, your boss is berating you (rightly or wrongly), you can neither Fight (beat him up), nor can you turn tail and run (Flight). Thus at an instinctual level the body is being forcibly held right in between the only two responses it knows.
This is stress.
The only way to rid us of this stress is to move the operation of the psyche from the instinctual to the conscious. This is possible only through yoga, whether kriya or classical yogasanas, learnt and practiced the right way. This was my prescription for my young friend.
Thought I’d share this with my readers. Take what you like, discard the rest.:)
I credit this post to my Guru without whose inspiration I could not have written this.
Pic Credit: Wiki