|"There is nothing either good or bad,
but thinking makes it so." William Shakespeare, Hamlet
Alternative therapies are good ways to eliminate stress. Yoga, self-hypnosis, meditation, t'ai chi and bio-feedback are just some of the ways we are learning to release stress. Now its time to move beyond and eliminate stress at the source.
Stress does not come from work. It does not come from relationships. It does not evolve from financial pre Color ssure. In short, it is not the result of things "outside" of us and beyond our control. Stress simply is the result of what we think about any of those things. Stress is the value we place on things and is the direct result of our thoughts.
There is no event in our lives that is inherently "bad" for us. We make it so by what we choose to think about it. It is our value that we select. It all revolves around our use of judgment, or rather, our decision to judge at all.
Isnt what irks us the most when the world doesnt work out exactly the way we want it to? Examine every source of irritation in your life. It is no doubt because something happened that is contrary to your own idea of how things should be.
You drive down the street and a traffic jam makes you late. You steam under the collar because some "idiot" misses the green light and youre left sitting there. Youre stewing in your own juices because you figure you should be three more blocks down the road right now. The question is, how exactly do you know that? How do you know exactly where you should be at any given time? You say youre on your way to an appointment and now youre going to be late. Dont you remember fretting over running late, maybe even losing your temper about it, and then getting to your meeting only to find a message that its been postponed? You worried and got angry for what? Only because you were so certain that getting down the road was so important. Was it really?
Or maybe you run late and your appointment does show up on time and youre not there and you "lose" the account. Now your anger is justified, right? Wrong. There is no such thing as justified anger, only a personalized belief that it is so. Anyway, how do you know that keeping the account is in your best interest? You dont. Your intellectual, conscious mind is great at making judgments and attaching value. But it doesnt know the future, it doesnt know the grand scheme of things and certainly is not aware of what is in the best interest of everyone involved. What you can be certain of, is that stressing yourself out about it right now is not going to be good for you.
"A healed mind does not plan." A Course in Miracles
Let go of judgment and you will be letting go of stress at the source. Behind all stress is the concept of judgment, thinking that we know above all else what is in our best interest. We dont. But we do have a chance to connect with a guidance system that is better at knowing what is right.
Call it what you want. People use terms like intuition, or inner voice, or the Universe, or even Fate or Holy Spirit. When we are in the flow with things, there is no struggle, there is no stress. When we are in tune with the way things are really supposed to go, not the way we think they are supposed to go, the world unfolds before us like a magic carpet.
Letting go of judgment on a moment-to-moment basis requires trust, trust that the inner voice we all have really does exist, really is speaking to us. It is said that it speaks only as loud as our willingness to listen. All we need do is let go of our certainty that we are so intellectually supreme in our judgment and let the Universe show us how wonderful it can really be. After all, we are part of it. We are not separate. Believing that we are is the only mistake we ever made.
Heartland Healing examines various alternative forms of healing. It is provided as a source of information, not as medical advice. It is not an endorsement of any particular therapy, either by the writer or The Reader. Access past columns at www.HeartlandHealing.com
East meets West
Stress. It is called the silent killer, implicated in almost every disease modern medicine can identify. And just think, its all in your head.
A friend went to the doctor, (an M.D.-type doctor,) a couple of weeks ago. He thought he was having a heart attack: he was short of breath and his heart was pounding; he felt like his chest was constricted and he was shaky. He even had some pain in his chest. So he called his doctor and met him at the hospital. After all, it could be good idea to go see a doctor if you think youre having a heart attack.
The doctor examined him and found no sign of heart attack. He wasnt surprised. My friend was only 24 years old. Not that its impossible for a 24-year-old to have a heart attack, but gee, it is rare.
The doctor told my friend what he already suspected. He was suffering from anxiety, stress. Work, school, home life it was all getting to him and he had better do something to relieve the stress before it did develop into a serious physical problem. A vicious cycle had begun and stress was making work harder, school more challenging and even taxing his immune system so the slightest irritation resulted in feeling terrible. The worse he felt, the more he worried about his health and the more stressed out he became.
Then the doctor did something most doctors dont: he didnt prescribe a drug. Instead, he told my friend to find a natural way to relieve stress. He recommended yoga, perhaps learn meditation or self-hypnosis, or find ways to take little breaks during the day, or maybe massage. These suggestions are unusual for a conventionally trained doctor.
This kind of consciousness for a medical doctor is laudable. It demonstrates an understanding that conventional medicine has very little, if anything, in its armamentarium to deal with stress. Being technology-based and pharmaceutically oriented, modern medicine offers mostly procedures and drugs, little to help a person remedy stress. Alternative therapies, on the other hand, often begin with stress reduction. Though modern medicine and scientific research acknowledge the serious role stress plays in disease, it remains an area of ignorance for them.
Spurred by public awareness, doctors are finally getting the message and recognizing the importance of classical remedies. Cardiologist Dean Ornish has built a nationwide program that reverses heart disease using yoga, meditation and vegetarian diet. Of course he couldnt get conventional medicine to give him the time of day until he packaged it, changing terms like yoga to "light exercise," meditation to "stress management," and vegetarian diet to "fat-free nutrition." But rest assured, the program is based on what Ornish learned from his guru, Swami Satchananda, during his second year of medical school in San Francisco. Thank goodness for marketing.
So the medical fraternity became acquainted with a natural way to reverse heart disease, something surgery or medication simply cannot do.
Yoga, meditation, hypnosis, breathing exercises all things that effectively help a person eliminate the negative effects of stress - were introduced to medicos not only by rack upon rack of magazine articles blaring from every supermarket check-out stand but also from one of their own, a respected, research-driven cardiologist who just happened to know about the yogic ways of doing things.
Joyfully then, we have doctors who are actually suggesting effective remedies for stress beyond the practiced norm of chemical sedation. The stumbling block seems to be that the Western mentality persists and people still labor under the yoke of the "fix-me-quick, I-want-it-now" paradigm. Still and all, the public in general is learning a better way.