By Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj
Life is challenging. Every day people face situations that can make one feel stress and anger. Modern science has proven the affects stress and anger have on the health and wellness of our body and mind. Is there any way that we can deal with stress and anger so that it does not create stress-related illness of our body and mind? Is there a way that we can face the tension of life in a way that we maintain calm and equanimity physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually?
The combined wisdom of the saints and mystics from ancient India and the current research by scientists, medical doctors, and researchers point to the same answer: we can reduce stress and anger and maintain optimum health and wellness through the practice of meditation.
As life has become more complex, we interact with many people in the course of the day. Any one of these can result in stress. Whenever there are disagreements between two or more people, or things do not go the way we expect, this can lead to anger. In the past, when people lived and worked on a farm or from their homes, there were fewer interactions with others. However, today, we have many opportunities throughout the day in which we meet and interact with others. People have stress on the job. When we are raising a family, there is stress over the health of ourselves or our loved ones, their schooling, their financial difficulties, or living in a household with multiple people. With the economic difficulties of modern life, we have financial stress. As students, either in a school or college, or in training for our career, we have to worry about our grades in school and our test scores. We worry about whether we will be accepted into a school or training facility, and once there, whether we will pass so we can get a job in our chosen career. Once we have a job, there is stress about keeping it with the stiff competition workers face, or we worry what will happen if we lose the job? The terminal illness or death of a family member or loved one creates tremendous pain and stress in our lives. There is also stress caused by interpersonal relationship problems. From morning until night, we face one or more of these situations that cause stress or which makes us feel angry.
The good news is that there is a solution to dealing with stress and anger. From ancient times, saints and mystics have taught meditation as a way to remain calm and peaceful. In the past few decades, the practice of meditation has gained popularity in countries all over the world. While people have been practicing meditation because they recognize how good it makes them feel, there is the added bonus contributed by medical researchers and doctors that prove why we feel so good when we meditate. These medical studies bear out the positive effect meditation has on the health and wellness of our body and mind. The most beneficial gains from meditation are that it reduces stress and anger, which in turn reduce our risk for stress related illness. Numerous diseases have been linked to stress, such as cancer, stroke, heart problems, digestive problems, circulation problems, migraine headaches, skin problems, and others. By reducing stress, we can minimize our risk for these problems, prevent them, and mitigate them if we already have them. Spending daily time in meditation contributes to our health and wellness.
Two meditation techniques we use in Science of Spirituality—Sawan Kirpal Ruhani Mission are simple to do and can be practiced by anyone of any age in their homes or wherever they like. It does not require difficult postures or asanas, and can be performed anywhere at any time. One is the Shabd Meditation, or Meditation on the Light and Sound. This provides us an inner connection to a source of happiness, peace, and bliss within us. It is like having an internal retreat that we can visit anytime we want to recharge and refresh. The second is an introductory technique called Jyoti Meditation, which involves sitting quietly, focusing our attention within, and experiencing the peace and calm within us. For more instructions, many resources related to meditation can be found at www.sos.org
A few other factors can help us reduce our stress and anger. New research is showing the value of a vegetarian diet. By eating plant-based foods, we also can reduce our risk of many diseases. Illness produces its own stress not on only our body, our families, our work, but also on our finances. If we can remain healthy through healthy eating such as a vegetarian diet, we can also reduce stress.
Selfless service to others also reduces stress. When we are a contributing member of a community, we are calmer and happier. This reduces tension and stress. By being of service to others, we create a joyful life for ourselves and make life better for others. When we think of others first, it helps take our attention away from our own problems.
As a byproduct of meditation, we realize the same light within us is in all others. We realize that at the level of soul or spirit, all humanity is one. We begin to develop love for all and treat others kindly as members of one family. As we become more loving and calm, we eliminate much of our stress and anger. We replace stress and anger with love and tolerance for all, making our own lives and that of others more peaceful.
Here are some easy tips to help us when we feel anger arise in our daily lives:
Tip 1: We can remove ourselves from the situation and go somewhere to quietly meditate. This gives us a break from the situation so we can calm down, slow down our heart rate and brain waves to a calmer state, and then return with the equipoise to deal more peacefully with the situation.
Tip 2: When we return to the stressful situation after meditating, try to talk things over. Listen calmly to what the other person has to say and see if there is any truth to it. If so, we can apologize if we have done or said something to hurt them, and resolve to refrain from repeating that action or those words. After the other person has felt heard and that we truly listened, they may be more open to hear things from our point of view. We can then share our side of the incident, so they can understand us as we have tried to understand them. We can then discuss a way to have a win-win solution or compromise. In this way, we can use conflict resolution to work out a problem without resorting to anger and violence.
Tip 3: We can look at the source of our anger, which is often ego. We get angry when things are not going our way. It could be that we want to control others, have power over others, or make others do what we want. If we can step back and find ways to make things work out in a way that is mutually beneficial for all parties, we are happy, others are happy, and we have made the environment peaceful.
Through daily meditation, leading a calm, peaceful life becomes a habit. Over time, a habit turns into our nature. Day by day, we transform ourselves into peaceful, nonviolent, and calm people and radiate that to others. The ripple effect of our calmness and equipoise spreads and it will not be long before we have a peaceful family, community, and world. Peace begins with each of us.