2023-11-24-Gil-Attitudes (5 of 5) From Stress to Freedom
12:55AM Nov 28, 2023
Warm, warm greetings for the last, fifth and last talk of the series on attitudes. And today the topic is going from stress to freedom. And I want to propose that stress might be seen as a kind of attitude, in that it can be pervasive, it can be chronic, that we carry stress in our bodies and our hearts and minds. And it also kind of like a mood, in that it has an influence on us. We're not stressed, if we're stressed, there's no, there's a cost to being stressed is not without an impact that it has on us. And one of the impacts of stress can have especially ongoing stress is that it itself reinforces that ongoing stress is stressful, ongoing stress is uncomfortable. And then how we react to discomfort is sometimes with more stress. So if we are afraid, that stressful to live with chronic anxiety, and but that discomfort of that anxiety makes us want to somehow respond react to something that reinforces it. Because if we feel stressed around being anxious or the anxiety produces stress, that creates discomfort, and then we have more reason to be or more fuel for being anxious. Same thing with being angry and resentful or envious. Same thing with having full of craving and ambition. Same thing with being confused. There's a many things which feel very uncomfortable. And in that discomfort, there's a birth of stress, which makes us more uncomfortable, which gives birth to more stress. So for this reason, I think of stress as being like an attitude, we have an attitude of stress, almost as if we go into any situation at all. And the attitude is, this is going to be a challenge for me. And this is going to be uncomfortable. And so I tense up, I contract, I feel internal pressure, pushing, leaning forward, holding back, making myself small, and making myself big and assertive way to get what I think I need to do to protect myself forget what I think I need to have. So all these things is going to forcefulness stressful illness becomes chronic, and becomes kind of continually reinforcing a discomfort, which drives more of the same. The alternative is to search for the freedom in any circumstance or in the freedom from stress the freedom from reactivity, the freedom from pressure or tension, the freedom from straining and, or, or pulling back or making yourself smaller, or asserting ourselves that there's a freedom that comes from not asserting ourselves in some aggressive way. And not diminishing ourselves in any kind of way. A freedom of just being able to breathe as if you have complete permission, to be alive, to be present, to breathe, to be valuable and important that no one can take away from you. No one can take away your basic capacity to find that middle way between assertion and collapse, pushing forward pressure and pulling back and giving up and having maybe apathy even. Apathy is also kind of stressful in its own way, but that middle way of just like here I am. Here I am and I'm allowed to breathe, I'm allowed to have my eyes be relaxed and that straining or trying to figure something out. I'm allowed just to be relaxed and present in my body and a milestone or a tour. At any point in the practice of Buddhism and meditation is to have a visceral feeling of freedom, of an absence of stress of an absence of the mind straining or pushing or collapsing or pulling back. A sense of ease and just the simplicity. That is almost as if there's an absence of any demands on us. Absence of any demands we put on ourselves. We can still take care of things, we can still do things and accomplish things. But we do it without stress, we do it alone, a sense of demand, and a sense of should a sense of duty that is burdensome to carry with us, that we do it with freedom. Some people, that idea of free doing things with freedom means that we do it without expectations or measuring ourselves by the results. We do it because we do it completely, fully freely. And we deal with the results. When the results occur, whether they occur or not. It's in the doing in a free way that we find our joy or happiness. So at some point in meditation, there starts to be an inkling of a small, it's kind of like the, you know, that's just the beginning of light of the Dawn as a dawn begins to show a little inkling little hint of what it's like to be free, what it's like to be unattached or non straining, what it's like to be without stress. Maybe there's still stress in our system. But there's some place where some chronic stress is beginning to relax. Look at that, that's possible. And as that sense of non stress, non strain, non contraction, non pressure begins to get stronger. A point comes where this has becomes compelling. This becomes a reference point for how we live our lives. This becomes a kind of an attitude of freedom, and attitude, that is an orientation, towards the freedom that's always here, always available here and now. And maybe there you have, most of us will have more freedom in the moment, then we avail ourselves of for more freedom that we're living in, then we notice because the mind has a selective attention, where it's focused on what it's afraid of what it wants, what it doesn't like, and tends to be absorbed and then spin out and be caught up in its own little world. But at some point, there is an attitude that we live in a mood that we live in, or orientation or a view, that of freedom, of absence of strain of. And there's many things that come with a sense of freedom. Today, I'm thinking of contentment, kind of just a content just to be alive, just to be here just to do what we're doing. And we're doing it. And sometimes it comes along with a sense of love or care for the world around us. Not having stress does not mean we don't care. In fact, care that's done through stress is probably not done with love. But more maybe a sense of duty maybe. And, or something else. But the love that comes out of freedom, that joy, that contentment. So to go from stress, to freedom. Not just assume that the alternative to stress is being de stress, being without stress, de stressed but that the alternative to stress is a certain kind of freedom that gives us lots of breathing room or freedom that gives us a sense of fresh air for the heart or the mind. An openness of brightness, a peacefulness that's the what's available when there's when we figure out how to release our stress. As we become more relaxed as we living less stressful. Look further for Edom become, let lets freedom be recognized. So that it starts becoming the attitude with which we live.
An attitude of staying free, staying not caught up. And then so be in so doing, being wonderfully available to the world, as an emissary of freedom as a model of freedom as a is in a certain kind of way, a giving the gift of freedom, because we're not imposing our stress on anyone else. We're doing the opposite. We're input we're offering others space to be who they are. So thank you. Thank you for this week. And I hope that those of you in the United States appreciate this holiday that we have of giving thanks. And I offer my thanks to all of you and the chance to be together this way and to meditate this way with you and to be able to teach. And I look forward to beginning again with the new series on Monday. Thank you