A question came in from a friend of The Peaceful Minds Center in Pakistan. He writes:

Hello Sir,

It’s unfortunate that so many people in modern society deal with stress on nearly a daily basis. Stress has become an unquestioned part of life for many people. It’s almost been normalized. It’s not normal. It’s not healthy. And, it’s not necessary. Fortunately, stress is not something put upon us. It’s something we create for ourselves and as such we can stop creating it.

Stress is an internal reaction to external stimuli. In life, there is a Karmic unfolding that we have very little control over. Each moment stands on the shoulders of all moments before it and those moments are interrelated. So, why things happen can be difficult discern. The why is not important as it does not change what’s happening. What is important is that things happen. Many times things we don’t want to happen, happen. We don’t control that. What we do control, whether we realize it or not, are our internal reactions to what happens.

When you experience stress, where do you experience it? It’s in your mind and body. It’s inside you. And, it being inside you, you can be clear that you must be creating it for yourself. You are doing this unconsciously – because there is no way that you consciously create this state for yourself. So, we must bring consciousness to the creation of stress in order to see it clearly.

As we consciously investigate the way our minds creates stress for us, the first thing we will notice is fear. You must realize that your mind has developed and evolved over hundreds of thousands of years. You have primal instincts and old wiring that was once necessary for survival that you really don’t need in modern society. This wiring can get triggered and activate fear where there is really nothing with which to be afraid. A fearful internal state is a very stressful internal state. If you look back on your life and compare the times you were feeling fear versus the time you were not, the effects of fear are quite evident and highly undesirable.

In the distant past, the fear was for your survival. The world was a very dangerous place. The fear that we experience in modern times seems just as scary although typically it’s not life threatening. That’s just our old wiring showing itself again. The discomfort is disproportionate to what’s happening yet we still feel it like its real.

Our modern minds are highly creative. The mind creates enormously scary stories about what is happening. And by and large, it is not what happens in life but our thoughts and stories about what happens that we suffer. The stress comes from the mind and what the mind is imagining. The mind will imagine scary futures that are not actually happening and very unlikely to happen yet live like they are real!