Modern life is full of stress and strain. Therefore relaxation is a necessary ingredient of happiness. By understanding the causes of stress and by regulating these causes, we can live calmly even in the midst of strenuous activity. Hard work without tension never killed anyone. Why is it then that some people always work anxiously and feverishly? Generally, such a person is driven by craving, by intense desire. He wants to achieve his goal so eagerly, with such avidity, that he simply cannot rest until he gets it; or he is so fearful of losing something he prizes that he cannot relax and enjoy the present moment; or he is driven by resentment against those who obstruct his thirst; or he is constantly hankering after power, position, and prestige on account of some irrational need to prove his worth to himself and others. If a person wants to avoid stress and strain, then he will have to train his mind to view everything he encounters — persons, objects, events, and experiences — realistically, as transient phenomena, dependently arisen through conditions. He should reflect upon them in terms of the three characteristics — as impermanent, unsatisfactory, and without a self. Doing so will help to reduce the investment of self-concern in these phenomena, and thereby will reduce the craving and attachment for them. He should also avoid anger, anxiety, and pride — the thoughts of “me” and “mine” — since such emotions are productive of stress and strain. When one adopts this attitude to life, one will discover greater detachment, deeper calm, more durable peace of heart even amidst the same situations that previously produced nothing but stress and worry. The key to managing stress is through the disciplining and mastery of the mind. One can also reduce stress by forming good work habits. One should confine oneself to doing one thing at a time, since attempts to juggle multiple tasks only lead to poor results in all of them. One should keep work and leisure separate. One should work in a relaxed frame of mind, repeatedly reminding oneself during the course of the day that one can accomplish more work and better work if one works calmly and intersperses one’s routine with breaks.
The following additional disciplines will also be helpful in combatting stress and tension:
1. Keeping the Five Precepts conscientiously. The feeling of guilt increases stress. By observing the precepts, a person leads a blameless life and thereby enjoys freedom from the nagging sense of guilt that harasses one who violates the basic rules of morality. A guilty conscience is a vexing companion during the day, an uncomfortable bed-fellow at night.
2. Sense control. The mind is constantly attracted to pleasant sense objects and repelled by unpleasant objects. Wandering recklessly among the objective fields, it becomes scattered and distraught. By guarding the sense doors, this wasteful agitation is checked. The mind becomes calm and settled, and as a result one experiences an unblemished happiness.
3. Meditation. Meditation, or bhavana, purifies the mind. As the mind is gradually cleansed, one can see with greater clarity the true nature of life. One then becomes increasingly detached from worldly things and develops an equanimity that cannot be shaken by the fluctuations of fortune.
4. Cultivating the four sublime attitudes. The four sublime attitudes (brahmavihara) are lovingkindness, compassion, altruistic joy, and equanimity. These are enlightened emotions that reduce the stress and strain of daily life, improve interpersonal relationships at home and in the workplace, promote racial accord and amity, help in the development of an even mind, and increase calm and inner peace.
5. One final piece of practical advice: Time, energy, and funds are limited, while wants are unlimited. Therefore a person must have a sense of priorities. A lay Buddhist, in particular, must be able to discriminate: to know what is really essential to a wholesome life; what is desirable but not urgent; what is trivial and dispensable; and what is detrimental. Having made these distinctions, one must pursue what ranks high in the scale of priorities and eschew what ranks low. This will enable one to avoid unnecessary waste and worry, and help to promote balanced, frugal living.
Excerpted from “A Simple Guide to Life” written by Robert Bogoda.
(from jdarling @ tumblr)
which reminds me;
arrivederci, i miei amori!