Worry and stress are closely interrelated. They are like parent and child. One cannot exist without the other. What works for one works for the other as well. However, given that stress is considered the biggest destroyer of health in today’s world, it is worth going into more depth on this subject.
Four hundred years ago Rene Descartes declared, ‘I think, therefore I exist.’ This has formed the basis of modern thinking. Billions of people in this world have followed Descartes* for generations believing that unless each one outthinks the other they cannot succeed in this world. Descartes was right, and he was wrong. He was right in that that the human system does not know how to live without its mind, without thinking. As a result human beings become slaves to their minds. They live in bondage.
Many centuries before Descartes, a vedic sage declared that man does not begin to exist till he stops thinking. Adi Shankara, at the age of eight, faced his future master across the waters of the holy Tungabhadra river. The master asked him, ‘Who are you?’ In response Adi Shankara- said ‘I am not the mind, I am not the intellect, I am not the ego and I am not the senses. I am beyond all that. I am pure consciousness.’
We are merely a bio-machine as long as we think we are mind and body. We are just a shade better than the animals we ascended from as long as we allow our senses to guide us. But the true potential of human beings is not merely to think and prove that we are superior to animals.
The purpose of human life is to transcend the mind and ascend to a higher state of consciousness.
In that state we are truly in the divinity that we descended from. Till we reach that state of unity with what we truly are, we are in turmoil. This turmoil, this confusion between our true nature and what we pretend and strive to be is what we call stress or tension.
According to Vedic psychology, we are not disturbed. We are indeed the source of that disturbance. Understand this well, you are not tensed but you are tension. You are not stressed but you are the source of stress. There is a big difference between the two. Let us look deeply into it. Then you will understand. You are not in tension. You are the tension.
There is a very big difference between ‘you are disturbed’ and ‘you are the disturbance’.
A group of reputed and experienced scientists, after doing research for many years, have now come up to say this. They say, we cannot make man responsible for his actions unless we teach him how to manage his emotions by managing what is happening inside him. Whatever the vedic scriptures said five thousand years ago is the same thing that the modern scientists are saying now. These scriptures also provide the solution and answer for this age-old problem. They can bridge the gap between the Western psychology and the vedic psychology.
Western psychology continuously gives us the hope that we can be brought back to normalcy, retaining I as I. For example, if we are feeling hot in this room, we can fix the air conditioning and make it cool to be comfortable. But we forget an important factor. The moment we bring air conditioning into this room, we need to maintain it. That brings additional tension. That brings additional problems. Now we need electricity, we need to pay the bills and for all these facilities we need money. When you go out to work, you no longer enjoy this room. The room and its air conditioning exist, but you are elsewhere working to pay the bills for the air conditioner!
We forget an important factor. You as you are, is a disease.
The concept of mind, according to Western psychology, is a machine. According to Vedic psychology, it is a process. Mind is not a machine but a process. It is constantly happening. The word ‘manas’, which is the Sanskrit word for mind, means a constant happening, something that is not passive and dead but something that is dynamic and alive.
Western psychology insists on this one idea that the mind is a bio-mechanical machine. We all believe unconsciously that mind is matter, a thing or a machine. That is why constantly we connect all the past happenings of the mind as a chain, and start believing our mind is a solid thing.
Let me give you an example.
The low mood that you experienced ten years ago, the low mood that you experienced nine years ago, the low mood that you experienced eight years ago, the low mood that you experienced seven years ago and the low mood that you experienced yesterday are completely unconnected and independent incidents. All these happened for different purposes, different reasons, at different times and situations. You connect all these unconnected incidents and say, ‘My life itself is a depression.’
The low mood that you experienced years ago, months ago, weeks ago or days ago are all unconnected and independent incidents. Fifteen years ago, you would have felt the low mood and felt depressed because your toys were lost. Nine years ago, you would have felt depressed because your girlfriend was lost. Few years ago you would have felt depressed or disturbed because your son was not listening to you. The reasons were different, situations were different, and the causes were totally different. However, when you connect all these low moods and decide, ‘My life is full of depression,’ you have created hell for yourself! The moment you start believing that your life is depressed, your life indeed becomes depression.
Please understand that it is only what you believe to be your past that you will reproduce in the future. We all know that we can’t fly from our past experience. How can we believe that we can start flying from tomorrow onwards? No, we can’t.
Whatever we believe to be our past, only that we will believe can be our future. So once we start believing that our past was filled with depression, we have created the unconscious faith that our future will also be depression.
When we believe that the mind is just a thing, a bio-machine, we have created hell for ourselves. Fortunately for us, the mind is not a thing. There is hope. The truth is that mind is not a thing as we all have been taught, it is a process. It is not a noun but a verb.
When we believe the mind is a thing, we create problems that do not exist. Understand, the moment we start believing that the mind is only a machine, we become helpless. No psychiatrist can help. No psychoanalyst can help. No other method can help, because the basic belief is wrong. The moment we bring a wrong belief, whatever is built on that has to go wrong. It cannot be the truth. We need to understand the basic truth that the mind is a process; we are not in tension but we are tension.
source: Living Enlightenment