Stress arises from one thing and one thing only: a fight with what is, also known as wanting things to be different than they are. The gap between “What is” and “What I want” is what causes emotional pain, frustration, anger, the whole lot. We know this is true, so we usually try to make life change to better match our desires, we try to shape the world to suit our preferences. So if you believe that everyone should believe in your religion, you set out to convert the world, turning those who believe different into fools, sinners, whatever. “But I’m not religious!” you say. Sorry, but we all have our religion. Maybe yours is Christianity, or maybe it’s that “teenagers shouldn’t hang around outside the library”, but we all have a belief, or a set of beliefs that we start bashing people with if they don’t agree. It could be a political party, a football team or a style of music, but those who see it different to you are clearly idiots.
The problem is, everyone who believes the other thing (the idiots) think you’re an idiot, because they’re convinced that they’re belief is right! So what happens? Well you know what happens, just watch the news, check Facebook or raise a controversial subject over dinner. People get pissy, that’s what happens. Marriages end, world wars begin and we all get our knickers in a twist, all over a bunch of thoughts we identified with. Not the truth. Not fact. Just a bunch of thoughts.
“But my beliefs are true!” I hear you screaming in disgust and outrage. Nope, they’re not. Sorry. Your beliefs are just a bunch of words that got stuck in your head. The next person has a different set that are also apparently “true”. Beliefs are an anchor, they pretend to give you guidance and direction, that without them you would be a savage, but actually they do nothing but create rigidity, stress, angst and world war. Big call huh?
For me this isn’t theory though, it’s not a big call because I see it in myself every day. How when I believe “she shouldn’t…” or “if only I had a bit more…” it causes stress, cravings, frustration. How I treat others poorly when I believe they should be different than they are right now. I also know from experience that when my mind is clear, when I’m not lost in my thoughts, I live well, with kindness, compassion and a sense of humour. When I don’t treat those beliefs as “the truth”, I can see things for what they are and things are ok, actually. When I live in this way, I know that everyone is doing their best, and that they’re exactly as they should be.