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My Meditative Moments

Don’t Sweat the Stress!

by meditative - December 13th, 2014.
Filed under: Insights for Mindful Intelligence, Zen Henry.

The practice of mindfulness meditation strengthens our capacity to simply observe- and to the wisdom of our natural intelligence to remain focused, peaceful, and abiding with the stress and distress we may experience in our lives. Our simple yet challenging discipline of attending objects of awareness – taming, stabilizing, and recalibrating the spinning nature of our minds can prepare us to begin to work with the insight for seeing clearly– to shine the light onto things as they are, and to diffuse our fear, stress, and suffering by realizing the highly conditioned nature of our own minds.

When we can simply and openly abide our stressful situations, they tend to become more benign- more ordinary and transparent. With the observational distance we cultivate through mindfulness practice, we also begin to see the impersonal nature of our personal problems, difficulties, and afflictions. They become simply experiences arising and subsiding in the field of our awareness. Both wakefulness and confusion emerge from the same ground… it just depends upon where we are standing in the midst of what is arising. Ultimately, our vulnerability to what we are experiencing is conditioned by our state of mind.

As we have previously discussed, stressful situations can stimulate significant amounts of energy and effect in the mind and body. Our stress reaction is due to conditioning and habituation. As we begin to examine the reactionary process in our awareness, we start to diffuse the energy of its reactionary force (cause) and outcome (effect) simply through the realization that cause and effect are just states of mind- non-separate arisings in awareness. The direct, intuitive experience of our practice teaches us this- to focus energy that conditionally wants to scatter and fragment our being… it’s that simple.

As an arising in our awareness, we notice- we acknowledge- we let go and move on. We own our states of mind… and there need not be judgment or blame for our stress or our stressful situations. The operation of our stress function is simply part of the mental processing for our experiences. The only barrier between you and understanding your stress is you. We create it- and we have to take direct responsibility for it, otherwise we will never get to the root of its occurrence. We hold onto our stress because we cannot release a part of our “self” (e.g. beliefs, positions, etc.) in the process. With time and practice, we can build confidence as we trust our capacity to let go of what’s simply running inside of our heads- and consequently we may experience less stress and distress from sustaining this realization.

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