Investigate your own stress .... and the consequences PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ven. Londonaye Dammagawesi Thero   
Thursday, 17 September 2009 05:12

If you take some time off from your day to day duties and just begin to ask yourself a few questions:

Do I like my job and do I want to continue?
How am I performing against my assigned objectives & responsibilities?
Am I coping with the expectations set by others?
Are others fulfilling my expectations?
Am I fulfilling my own expectations and maintaining my own standards?
Do others’ actions make me feel good or bad?
Are others obedient, or are they an obstruction to achieving my goals?
Are others as enthusiastic as I am or are they just laid back?
How do others measure my performance?
Are the perceptions of others of my performance fair & just?
Do I feel that I’m victimised & others favoured?
Am I happy with what I’m doing?
Are others happy with what I’m doing?
Who are the people I try to avoid and why do I try to avoid them?
Who are the people I hate and why do I hate them?
Who are the people at work I like that I don’t get to keep company with?
Do I feel that I belong to the team & the company?
Do I feel wanted where I work?
What do I long for at work?

These are some of the issues & experiences where stress is built. This is where the doubt & fear of failure come. This is where the blamelessness & blamefulness are justified; where the revenge & remorsefulness are gathered. This is where regret about the past and the restlessness of the future are articulated. This is where the selfishness & jealousy are built by the mere untold competitiveness & comparativeness that are within us.


This is just the cause of many a stress related illness. The illness becomes an excuse towards any blame on performance. We don’t like to be blamed, or our shortcomings to be identified. We fear failure, so against our own expectation we begin to measure our performance. We measure the feedback & the perceptions of another, and try to debate & argue every point to prove we are right. We try to have the last laugh. When we are not able to and others have seen through us, then we begin to build up all of the excuses as to why we failed. This is where we seek the sympathetic attention of others as the ‘Gap-filler’ of our failure; the ‘Gap-filler’ of the lack of praise; the ‘Gap-filler’ of the attention by the others; the ‘Gap-filler’ of the loss of fame, the loss of face, the shame of failure.

To overcome these unwholesome feelings, consider the following self-investigation:-

Be aware, and be watchful. Be mindful and alert. Listen to your inner thoughts. Listen to your inner desires, see the competitive & comparative nature within you. Without your conscious knowledge you get dragged into unnecessary comparative competitions. Just be yourself and be aware of this nature. Don’t get lured or dragged into unnecessary commitments where your achievements will be questioned. Stay within your objectives, perform at a steady rate, support as many people you can, work within your capability & ability, know where to go when you do not know what to do, admit things when wrong and get the necessary assistance & support. These are some of the things that people are shy to acknowledge as their ego & pride don’t allow them to admit failure or shortcomings. These are the people who get burnt up very quickly. Be steady and progress accordingly. Tell yourself often: Well done on your achievements.

As for the Dhamma, here are a few of the reasons as to why you feel the way you do:-

Jathipi Dukkā – to be born to this existence is suffering (having to exists when born)
Jarāpi Dukkā – The process of aging (the decay of this physical body & the reduction of life expectancy) is suffering (existing now that you are born)
Viyādipi Dukkā – The mere susceptibility of this body to being ill, unwell, sick, broken, obstructed, injured is suffering
Maranampi Dukkā – the certainty of death when born to this body is suffering
Piyehi vippayogo Dukkō – having to be away from things I like or not having the things I like when needed is suffering
Appiyehi vippayogo Dukkō – having to be with the things I don’t like is suffering
Sankiththena pancha Skanda Dukkā – Having to be with the five aggregates is suffering. The physical body that I cannot control, the way the likes & the dislikes are chosen, the perceptions I have, the way I live the outcome of all perceptions & my reasoning, and how I seem to remember all of these whenever I am conscious in a physical body, when alive, is suffering

It is all of these conditions that make me who I am, makes another who they are. therefore I need to learn how to accept another, be with another, accept their opinions, their judgments, not to blame them for what they are, see the benefit in their reasoning, their expectations of me, their likes & dislikes, their reasoning, their perceptions, their goals, their aims, etc ... only then will I be able to see myself and how others see me. This is the way to free myself from the clutches of another.

So take time to consider. See how you have come to being who you are; why you have become the person you are.

Bikku Dhammagawesi

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