Majority of people accumulate stress and suffer in mind, body and relationships (1). They may not even be aware that the cause for their suffering is stress.
A small percentage of people try some traditional technique – Exercise, Yoga, Tai- Chi or Meditation. Rest of the people do not even attempt any practice. They continue to suffer, not even thinking “Is there something I can do to come out of this suffering?” until they reach a crisis in mind, body or relationships.
Even the few daring people who jump on to one of the above band wagons give up in a few days, months or years, with some sheepish explanation. They go back to their stressful lifestyle, pacified that there are many others suffering like them. Why do people who are otherwise smart, suffer like this, individually and as families?
The probable reasons
- We have great internal resistance to any change in our established habits of thinking, talking, responding and behaving. These habits are like giant elephants, ruling over our daily routine. Introducing the practice of a new stress management technique into our daily routine is like introducing a small bug in the same area ruled by the elephants. The elephants do not like this new tiny bug encroaching into their domain. At the earliest opportunity, they stamp on the bug and eliminate it.
- We get used to our suffering and continue the lifestyle that is causing it. It is like a person obsessively poking into her wound, in spite of the pain.
- Our daily life is already crammed with the current set of activities, leaving no discretionary time slots. We may be rich in money resource but may be poor in the time resource. Practicing any new technique requires curtailing or eliminating one of our current activities about which most people feel powerless.
- The stress management techniques demand change in our physical postures. Yoga demands that the body be held in unusual positions or move as prescribed. Tai-Chi demands that the body move in a prescribed manner in all directions. Meditation demands that we simply sit still for prolonged periods. We are not used to moving the body as prescribed or keeping it still.
- The teachers of conventional techniques stipulate that a beginner practice them regularly, to reap the most benefits. It sounds like ‘take it up full blast, or forget about it’. This is like asking a preschool child to wake up in the morning on time, by itself or sit still for 10 minutes!
With all the above hurdles one has jump over, it is no wonder most beginner-practitioners are scared away even before beginning. A few begin in all seriousness but gives up quickly in a few days or weeks, due to addiction to the old routine. How can we de-addict from our old hurting habits?
- We need a preschool technique that is easy to do on a daily basis and shows some impact in just a few days.
- We need a ladder of practices like grades, from kindergarten to college.
- The first step should be at a very easy level, enabling a practitioner to effortlessly take it up.
- The practitioner should have total freedom to continue practicing at all levels, as long as one likes, with no rigid rules.
- The practitioner should gain some tangible benefit at every level of practice in a few days. This creates the motivation to continue practicing. It has a chance of generating a desire to advance to the next level at some point of time.
- Any attempt towards changing the daily routine is a daring task, like trying to make major modifications to a multi storied building being used by crowds of people 24/7. Unless we adopt appropriate strategies, our attempts are doomed to fail, either in the beginning or at some future point of time.
- I believe from my personal experience and of my clients that all the above road blocks are addressed by the simple and doable techniques and equally important, the unconventional styles of practice that are presented in these pages (2).
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Parent page: ‘Relaxation to meditation’