|In modern life we see
that there is much material progress and comfort. At the same time
humanity experiences great stress and strain. There is comfort, but
there is also stress. When there is stress comfort is no comfort at
We generally hear that there is too mush stress,
strain and tension in our day to day life. In business we have cut
throat competition. There may be strain within the family or in
social relationships. Within ourselves we may find disintegration.
This stress and strain is experienced by us as anxiety, worry, fear,
How do we overcome these various
stresses? Some people try smoking and drinking. Others seek change,
a vacation. Thus, we adopt various temporary escapes from tension.
Some of these are tamasik (inactive) such as the drinking, or
rajasik (serene) such as attending a spiritual retreat; that can
also be an escape if we do not make right use of it. How do we know
whether it was an escape? If, after the retreat, we are afraid of
diversion, then it did not solve our problem. When we gain a new
vision at the retreat, we should become more dynamic and fearless,
ready to face all challenges.
certain kind of stress is normal, physical and objective. Therefore
I will call it Objective Stress. Such a stress is experienced when
we face a challenging situation -- a lot of work has to be
accomplished within a short period of time. If we have a tight
schedule of engagements, even though we may be efficient, we feel
stressed out because the time is limited. In such circumstances we
must "keep cool" and not get overexcited. And figure out how our
work can be accomplished in a short time. This is called the science
of time management. For example, if I have to write ten letters in a
short time, I should write only a few lines in each letter. Thus, we
can see how the maximum work can be accomplished quickly.
One method of overcoming stress in the objective field is to
become more disciplined and organised. The discipline of getting up
earlier can make our lives smoother. When we hurry we try to do
things quickly and often make mistakes, but with planning and
discipline we can act with greater efficiency and less strain.
Another kind of stress is
Subjective Stress. In the outer world there are only situations; in
the physical world there is no stress, no tension. The strain that
we feel, which is so exhausting, is not because of the outer
situations but because of our inner reaction to the situations.
When does the outer situation become a problem, a
threat? Worry and anxiety arise from our inability to face a
particular situation and to deal with it effectively. This is the
stress that we feel in many forms and we try to find relief in many
ways. Anxiety comes when we are unprepared. If a student has studied
well, is the examination a problem for him? No, because he is well
If the student who has studied well goes to
the examination and is still anxious, there may be other reasons,
such as personal ambitions or higher expectations from his parents
which make him think, "I must do really well. I must get an A." The
stress and anxiety he experiences comes from an insistence upon a
particular fruit of action, "This and this alone should happen."
Thus, expectation, ambition, or desire, instead of being a
motivating force, can become a dissipating factor. Stress can be
created by expectation. Desire and ambition should inspire us to
work, but if too strong, they cause only perspiration, not
When there is insecurity in the job or
emotional insecurity, a strained relationship within the family, or
any other type of insecurity then there is always stress. At every
moment there is fear. The only certain thing about the world is that
everything is uncertain. Accepting the fact that nothing is certain,
that all is unstable, itself relieves tensions and stress.
The most effective method of avoiding subjective stress
is to have faith -- call it faith, devotion, or surrender. Faith is
the clear understanding that the one Lord is taking care of us. Is
He not running everything? And still we are worried? That is why in
the Bhaja Govindam it is said, " O fool! Why worry...? Is there not
for you the One who ordains, rules and commands?"
we travel by plane, the plane flies, we only eat and sleep. We know
that the pilot is taking care of us; we have faith in him. When we
are seasoned travellers, we are not afraid of anything. We are
We should have the same attitude in the voyage
of life, remembering Lord Krishna's promise: "Rest assured .
Remember Me. I will take care of you. Those who remember Me with
single - pointed attention I take care of; I take care of their