The Truth about Stress.
Nothing to DO, Something to SEE
The Inside Out Understanding
The old model of stress has us believe that our stressed state comes from the circumstances, people, events outside of us that cause us to experience discomfort. You may have heard of the Stress Test which determines how much stress you are suffering from, based on the circumstances you have experienced. Whether that be a new relationship, moving house, loss of a loved one and so on. Each type of stress is given a score and you add them up to determine your level of stress
The old model suggests that we pick up stress from these circumstances, people, events.
The old model also suggests that different places have less stress, such as out in nature or undertaking a yoga class.
And once we are back in the stressful environments the stress comes back. We are taught and learn to change, control, fix, escape the circumstances. This may be a temporary until we find ourselves in another circumstance that causes us stress
Trying to change our circumstances or environment is exhausting because it is never ending. There are so many variables involved.
What if it was simpler than that?
No amount of strategies is going to help permanently.
But don't believe me. See for yourself.
What if there is an innocent misunderstanding about stress and how our human experience works that no one ever showed us?
What if our experience is NEVER coming from outside of us. How could that change life for us?
What if our experience is 100% of the time coming from our own thinking about the event, person, job, circumstance and that the discomfort we identify as stress is actually coming from the feeling we have about our thinking.
Let me give you an example by asking:
How is it that several people can get onto the same plane and some will have an exciting experience, others will have a neutral experience and others will be fearful and anxious the whole flight? Some passengers may even be feeling anxious for days leading up to the flight - even though the plane is no where in sight.
How is it that some people can find a particular person at work completely irritating and stressful and yet others' don't even notice them?
How is it that we can be aware of a spider or mouse in the room and some people will scream and run out the door and others' will either leave it be or pick it up and release it?
How is it that we could easily walk across a plank that is on the ground and just as easily walk across it if it is lifted 20cm off the ground but feel completely paralysed if it is lifted off the ground by 10 m?
The plank hasn't changed, your feet haven't changed, your ability is the same. The only thing that has changed is your thinking about it, and what it means. Your thinking about it has changed and your mind/body feels that different thinking.
What if 100% of the time, our human experience of life is always coming from our personal thinking about the outside world,
and that we feel our own thinking about it.
What if we are actually experiencing our THINKING about the flight, the person, the spider, the plank? When our thinking is fearful we feel those fearful thoughts and when our thinking is neutral so is our feeling. The biological machine that is our brain, does not know what is real or imagined so responds according to what is focused on.
When we understand where our experience comes from, we can see our experience for what it really is. So that when we feel anxious, scared, lonely, bored all it means is that we are having anxious, scary, lonely or boring thoughts and experiencing the feeling of those thoughts. Its such a relief to know that people, situations or events are not actually creating our uncomfortable feeling.
Here's another common example: Your friend tells you - "So and So makes me feel guilty (or angry or sad or frustrated or ....)"
What if it is actually your friend's own thinking about "So and So" that is making them feel this way - that they are creating this experience of "So and So" internally by their personal thinking. Realistically, how does "So and So " make your friend feel that way? Do they get into your body, do they inject you with a substance that your body responds to ? Or it simply that they are feeling the thinking they have about "So and So"?
Lets just pause here while you take that in.
The great news is - we can chose whether to engage with those thoughts or whether to dismiss them. Just as we are dismissing 100's of other thoughts that flow through us every day. We don't even notice most of them, we give them no attention, and they continue to move through.
Its like we are identifying with a dream or engrossed in a TV show, as if its real. When we come back to the NOW, (whats physically real infront of us - the couch the TV , the curtains,) we can wake up from the dream. Coming back to the NOW means we drop out of our personal thinking. In the NOW - look around, and notice that there are no problems. It's only when we go back up into the movie of thought that looks and feels real that the problems come back.
Uncomfortable feelings are a great alarm bell to wake us up that we are temporarily caught up in some form of uncomfortable thinking about the past, or made up thinking about how the future will play out.
Thoughts are like watching a movie about us. We can have movies about the past or movies the mind makes up about how the future might look. Neither are solid or real, just as you cant go into a movie or into the TV and change what happens with the characters,
So what does this mean for us?
When we see our experience for what it really is, we can relax - there is nothing to do, and everything to see.
If 100% of our experience comes from our felt thinking, then surely all problems, habits, stress come from thinking too.
Seeing that thinking is a process not a solid object, is such a relief.
When we understand how our own experience works and that it is universal - to every human, its easier to see it in others' too.
We can see an angry person is having angry thinking that THEY are feeling.
See if you can notice how thinking comes before a feeling and thought/feeling comes before a behaviour or habit or action/reaction.
Don't take my word for it - see what you notice for yourself. Id love to explore this with you further.
Freedom comes from experiencing the understanding for yourself. No strategies required.
My Experience with the Inside Out Understanding
I used to think that as I moved through life, everyone else was experiencing and seeing exactly what I was.
That my feelings of frustration, anger, resentment, bitterness, mistrust, loneliness etc where coming from my children, my parents, or the weather, the farm animals I was working with, the people I was encountering at the time or from my husband. I would innocently blame other's or my circumstances, for how I was feeling.
As I got older I learned calming techniques, (that worked in the class) avoided stressful situations and people. I felt my world get smaller as the fear of events and people followed me around.
I searched for what was wrong with me. I got really really low as my world closed in and felt helpless to control my world.
In my search I started to hear a theme that kept calling me back. That I was not broken or needed fixing. I already had innate health, peace and calm inside me. The message was pointing me to my suffering coming from my own thinking. And that I was more than my thinking. My thinking was not ME. I kept searching and seeing more.
When I woke up to the the fact that I was not experiencing these people or circumstances outside of me, but rather my own personal thinking about them, it changed how I saw my experience. It allowed me to see that when other's were upset, that they were innocently caught up in their own thinking that THEY were feeling - and that I didn't need to take it personally. Not taking it personally meant I didn't need to react to them OR keep thinking about what happened.
This was such a relief! It completely changed my experience of LIFE!
Just because a family member or friend was in a low mood, meant nothing about me. It said everything about their OWN thinking THEY was feeling in that moment. I saw that thinking kept changing and so did the feeling that came with it.
I didn't get caught up in any of my own insecure thinking about what their mood meant about me.
I noticed that because I stopped reacting to them, their mood passed quicker too. I wasn't feeding it back.
If I was upset about something someone had done, and something needed to be said, I waited until MY mood improved as it does, and had a conversation from a better state of mind.
From this calmer place, natural common sense and wisdom resulted in a better outcome.
I also noticed that I stopped reacting to other people and circumstances, with the new knowledge that I was simply feeling my thinking about them.
This in turn meant that I was a nicer person to be around. My reality of the outside world and life in general, improved.
This understanding of how our human experience is universal, overflowed into other areas of my life.
I started to see that using food or alcohol to temporarily fix and escape feelings of discomfort was simply repetitive conditioned thinking that had become a habit.
Knowing that thought and the corresponding thinking is constantly changing and its happening inside me, allowed me to seeing it for what it was. A pause was often all it took. And to drop out of the movie of my thinking that felt real, back into NOW.
I had to see this for myself for the habit to fall away on its own, and all areas of my life improve.
Insecure thinking, problems and fear of the future cannot exist when you are present in this moment. See for yourself.