The incapacity, owing to ignorance, to adapt to given circumstances produces stress. The body and the mind can comply to a certain extent, in their actual state, to a number of responsibilities. When these two, that is body and mind, go beyond that limit, stress ensues. Our day is composed of twenty-four hours, but the number of things that we want to do does not tally with the amount of time we have. The law of economy and commerce says, “Human wants are unlimited but the means with which to satisfy them are limited.” When responsibilities remain undischarged, fear and guilt crop in. Other emotional waves such as anger may also surge. The human mind has to cope with all these and when it is not possible, the brain fights to keep the balance. Consequently, stress comes forward. An easy but dangerous and foolish way is to escape the situation by having recourse to drugs and alcoholic drinks.
Ambition produces thoughts; by it the thought process becomes nearly chaotic. The brain is not at rest. Is it possible to achieve all things in life? Can all dreams become true? Of course, it is not bad to dream and to have ambitions. Are we ready to accept our failure? Where desires are strong, frustration is always waiting to manifest in case of failure. When religions say, “Shun desire”, it is not a moralistic principle, but the mystic knows that there is a plan behind everything. It is foolish to desire uselessly and load one’s mind.
Lower instincts such as greed, anger, lust and hatred should be studied. By saying that all these are bad, we have relegated them deep down in our mind to form our unconsciousness. Many illnesses, be it mental or physical, result from suppression of natural instincts. We have prevented our children and ourselves to grow by suppressing our nature-born qualities.
The following question may arise: is evolution, progress and the like possible without desire? To have a better living, a very comfortable life is important, but that is not the end of life. A comfortable living is good as it can create a suitable condition to seek eternal bliss. Desire is at the heart of man, but one should not be a slave of this force. It should be directed for a more sublime end. Life is not governed by straight lines. To fulfil a desire, one may have to go through innumerable miseries; there are also many obstacles. At times, in trying to accomplish a desire at all cost, one may have to go against many harmonious principles or against the laws of Nature itself.
Stress may never end if man delays to realise that his life consisting of body, mind, heart is meant for a higher purpose. By making our aims material, we have a chaotic world. Education should bring humility, peace, knowledge, discrimination and so many divine virtues. The CPE exam in our country is always here to prove that we are far from the right education. Knowledge should bring liberation of body, mind and heart. Intelligence will show us that life is much more than meets the senses, then seeking will develop. Only those who are seeking sincerely can be taught. The gist of spiritual education is that life is a gift. We are given a seed: seeking the proper soil, planting the seed and seeing to it that it grows to give flowers and fruits should be our prime concern. The absence of this knowledge has created boredom, ambition and thus stress. It may be difficult to accept the fact that we have been groping in the dark since aeons. But there is no way out – through acceptance only, a door will open. Therefore we will have to be brave, we should be ready to be deprogrammed and be prepared for the journey towards a higher life.
The immediate solution to the problem of stress is for the body to be released of its blockage and tension through exercises like jogging, swimming and walking in nature; complete body massage can be of much help for the body. The next step is to get relief from mental stress through breathing and other exercises under the guidance of an enlightened master or a psychologist. In our body, there are power stations that are stagnant or blocked by suppressed impulses. They have to be treated so as to release the energy locked therein. The best advice, of course, is sought from enlightened persons. Stress may be very deep-rooted, to such an extent that it may have touched the subtle bodies. In such a case, a master of yoga, here I do not mean physical yoga but yoga as a science, can help.
“Simple living and high thinking,” goes the saying. If this was followed, a stress-free society would exist. My own realisation is that education is that which starts by teaching who we are, what is our purpose and how to reach there. The whole of our life would be governed by the answers to the above questions. Very few people possess such education. Unfortunately, it is very difficult for them to voice their saying. If they succeed, then a cross or a sword is ready for them. They also become a laughing stock.