Stress & Desire
What is the relationship between stress and desire?
Whenever we feel a constant, chronic, low level sensation of being not-right, not-well, or incomplete, we respond by constantly wanting to be better, feel better, seem whole. This is the underlying condition for chronic stress.
We are always reaching out, and never receiving what we perceive as totally corrective, because the external things we want and get only have the power to act as temporary patches, distractions from the low level, deep inside feeling that goes on no matter what we accomplish. The external will never complete the internal.
Stress comes naturally from the process of feeling inner incompletion. The desire arises again and again, and we experience rounds of acute stress as we strive to obtain what we want, quickly. When those subside, we are left with a temporary low of rejection/failure or temporary high from succeeding/accomplishing. We bask in that energy then the return to baseline of chronic, low level, wanting something else, something more.
In this state of stress, fluttering between acute and chronic, our minds are overwhelmed with thoughts, feelings, tasks. We are flooded with plans and reflections, learning and strategizing how to get more of what we want. Busy, the mind is unable to settle into the present, to relax into quiet appreciation.
When we feel whole, complete, well, then we naturally relax. There is nothing to stress or strive towards; our center is strong. From this perception, our minds and bodies release the chronic tension that build up from habitual wanting-getting-high-low cycles.
How do we come into a state of relaxation? We first consider, then realize and embody, the truth that the present moment includes incompletion. We feel that there is a difference between the feelings that arise within, and the conditions that we create around us.
Within us, we have thoughts/feelings/beliefs that are required, and others that are unnecessary. Around us, we have what we need to work towards our purpose, and we have what we gather and seek as distractions.
To live a life of simplicity, where it is easy to feel whole and sure of our time and energy, we need to release the unnecessary thoughts, beliefs, desires. The outside life will change naturally: we will no longer feel distracted by our wants to fix/change/finish ourselves. Our path will open clearly and we will have the fresh energy needed to do, feel, make, and give what is needed.
Until we create this strong, light tone in our appetite and our senses, we continue to feel the chronic sense of incompletion, a stress that creates a sense of desperation. We feel able to devour, indiscriminately, indefinitely. The overconsumption that comes from getting so much of what we want is stressful in itself.
Where does desperation come from, why do we reach so hard, so far, for what we want? It comes when we feel a need, as well as a lack. They could be real or imaginary, and often a real need or lack will lead us down a rabbit hole of imaginary needs, because we spend so much time/energy in imagining what we want, how we will feel when we have what we want, and returning to imagining what is currently wrong, and forward to what will fix our problems.
Achieving what we want gives us a temporary reprieve from the desperation and desire, and we drop, sometimes, into a wrong relaxation.
When we clear space, gather potential energy, but do not have direction or we do not reserve/direct energy in space towards our purpose, we do not feel relaxed but over-spent, exhausted, drained. We need more than ever.
Energy without direction, plus space-time to spend, leads us to feeling ravenous, wasteful of our inner resources.
What is correct wanting? When we are clear and have direction, when we are steady in the “why” we do what we do, then we can want without stress, working with our relaxed state of body-mind, sure in our actions and our purpose.