We should maintain that if an interpretation of any word in any religion leads to disharmony and does not positively further the welfare of the many, then such an interpretation is to be regarded as wrong; that is, against the will of God, or as the working of Satan or Mara.

Buddhadasa Bikkhu, a Thai Buddhist Monk

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Modicum of Peace

Stress and the anxiety that comes from stress are not objective realities that can't be controlled.  Stress is our response to certain situations.  Anxiety is also an inner response and a handmaiden of stress.  This not to say that at appropriate times we should not feel stress and anxiety.  One thinks particularly of abusive situations or ones of real physical danger.  There are times when we experience or observe injustices.  In our love for another, we can at times feel anxiety for situations they face.  We are equipped with the feelings of stress and anxiety for good reason.

That being said, it is important to recognize as a spiritual reality that we are frequently, sometimes habitually the sources of our own stress.  We create the stress we then feel as a supposedly objective reality.  We breed our own anxiety.  Spiritual practices such as prayer, meditation, & devotional reading can help us discern the stress and anxiety we create, and they offer the possibility of decompressing without adding the stress and anxiety of knowing we create a good deal of stress and anxiety for ourselves and then feeling guilty or anxious about our anxiety.  Spiritual practices offer a gentle way out.  They offer a modicum of peace.