Stress Management Techniques Not Needed
Shekhar Kapur: Is there a definition that we can assign to the idea of stress?
Sadhguru: When I first went to the United States years ago, wherever I went, everyone was talking about “stress management.” I really did not get this because in my understanding, we manage things which are precious to us – our business, family, wealth and children. Why would anyone manage stress? It took me a while to understand that people have concluded that stress is a part of their lives.
Manage yourself, not your stress
Stress is not a part of your life. Stress is just your inability to manage your own system. Stress happens not because of the nature of your work. The CEO is complaining of stress, the peon is also complaining of stress and in between, every other person is saying that his job is stressful. Those who are unemployed also find their situation stressful. You think that you are suffering your job. But if I get you fired, will you be joyful? No. Stress is obviously not about your job. It is just that you do not know how to manage your body, mind, emotions and energy.
You are functioning by accident, so everything is stressful. If you get into a car where if you turn the steering wheel one way, the car goes in the opposite direction, naturally you will be stressed. Right now, that is the kind of mechanism you are driving. Without understanding anything about it, you are blundering through life just by chance, so you will be stressful. Stress is not because of the nature of the activity that you are performing or because of life situations. Stress is simply because you do not know how to manage your own system.
Changing the Context of Your Life
Essentially, the quality of our lives transforms not because we change the content of our lives, but only because we change the context of our lives. If someone is living a beautiful life, it does not mean he is doing something different. When he wakes up in the morning, he also goes to the toilet, brushes his teeth, and does the same things. But somehow, his life is magical and beautiful because of the context.
This could have happened to people when they fell in love with someone. They fall in love and everything becomes different because the context of their life changed. But then once they fall out of love, the context of their life changes again and they become miserable. Changing the content of your life as you wish may not be possible because you need permission from the situations in which you exist, but changing the context is something that you can do willfully. You do not need anyone’s permission. It is not at all situational.
On a certain day, three men were working in one place. Another man came by and asked the first man, “What are you doing here?”
The man looked up and said, “Are you blind? Can’t you see I’m cutting stone?”
This person moved on to the next man and asked, “What are you doing here?”
That man looked up and said, “Something to fill my belly. So I come here and do whatever they ask me to do. I just have to fill my belly, that’s all.”
He went to the third man and asked, “What are you doing here?”
That man stood up in great joy and said, “I’m building a beautiful temple here!”
All of them were doing the same thing, but their experience of what they were doing was worlds apart. Every human being, every moment of their life, could be doing whatever they are doing in any one of these three contexts – and that will determine the quality of one’s life, not what one is actually doing. How simple or complex an activity is does not change the quality of your life. With what context you do it changes the quality of your life.
If you look at your ability to handle various situations in your life, is it better when you are feeling very happy or unhappy? When you are joyful, you are willing to take up any number of things and do it. When you are stressed, you do not want to do even the simplest things. It sets up a different kind of momentum within you. The first and foremost thing we need to work at is to make a human being peaceful and joyful. This will invariably happen if you do the right type of Yoga. Because Yoga is a subjective science, if it is delivered properly it will work like a miracle and make this happen.