What is this constant strain we feel we are under? What is causing the constant tension and pressure of living? Why does living life and managing life feel dull, boring, hard-going and monotonous? And will it ever end? Can I find a way of living in society without experiencing this constant strain?
There are many handy tips to relieving the tension that go with my daily living: First things First, How Important Is it? Set manageable chunks, Learn to say No and when to say Yes, Put your efforts into what you do best and let the rest be good enough and finally Are you really that Indispensable?
But, the last two are the only ones that are really responsible for my constant strain. My mind seeks the pleasure it receives in being perceived as knowledgeable, getting things right, not making mistakes. My parents, teachers, friends, bosses, loved ones applaud me, congratulate me and make a fuss over my achievements and I take glory in them. This pleasure gives me security, a sense of safety and a place in this chaotic world. But behind this pleasure lives fear too. The fear of making a mistake, getting it wrong, being humiliated and embarrassed and losing that sense of security and applause. And so with the pleasure comes too this constant strain, this anxiety and low-level fear. The positive self-images need protecting, need nourishing, need security to ward off anything that may challenge them, negate them or destroy them. And with this comes constant strain. The images feel Indispensable. The images feel like the crux of who I am. These images give me security and a sense of positivity in self. But these images bring a sense of constant strain in sustaining them. Over many years, I have accumulated many images, positive and negative and I live my life enveloped in the glory of the positive and running and escaping from the negative. And this is my life. This is how I am living. My self-will is the active ingredient in keeping me secure and safe. And this self-will protects the positive self-images and finds escapes from the negative ones. Otherwise, without this self-will, life would be overwhelming. And so this life is a constant strain and my only solution seems to be managing it daily, to the best of my ability using my goddamn self-will.
What would happen to my life and living it, if I let go of these self-images and self-will? Try it just for one day. Just out of curiosity. Just a life’s experiment.
Could it be there is a beauty to living. Could it be that there is a freshness in the way we see the world. Could it be that life holds an exciting unfolding feature, something not yet experienced. Could it be that life is simple when attending to living it? Could it be that we can get on with tasks, assignments, and work because we aren’t drained by this inner strain?
When any of one of us drops even one image that we hold so dearly of ourselves what happens in the dropping of that image? Is it that the thinker, the beholder, the protector of that image is no longer there warding off the fear behind the image. Could it be the dropping of that one pleasure releases me from that fear too. Could it be that in the absence of a self-image, there is no reaching out, no reacting, no gaining and no concern for protecting the image. Could it be that when the mind is quiet then there is no constant strain.
We cannot glimpse what is beyond, when we are afraid of even dropping one of the self-images we most want to sustain.
Today’s Writing is Inspired by: p184 Handling Tension- Stepping Stones to Recovery for Women; p407-408 – Inward Revolution by J.K. Krishnamurti