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Srinivas Arka's Blog

Understanding the causes of stress and depression

By Srinivas Arka

July 2017

Depression has its origin in having too many unreasonable expectations that do not reflect what we deserve. “No one should mistake me. Everyone should praise me, everyone should welcome me. Everyone should understand me.” That's where we need philosophical understanding, but we don't learn philosophy often. Philosophy is how things work, but we are busy in other subjects.

Stress arises when we have too many expectations, and also social pressure, peer pressure, mainly for youth. Competition: “If you have it, why can't I have it?” We cannot fix everything just like that. We need to really work on it. It's long-term plans and short -term plans. We have to work with it and not only within ourselves, but also with our neighbours, friends and family. In ancient times, Vedic times, in the Himalayan culture, they did have this concept and practise: Sarvejanah sukhinobhavantu. I used to wonder, since I studied Sanskrit, why rather than wishing well for yourself first, are you worrying about others' well-being. It doesn't make sense. What are you trying to do? This practice is actually so powerful.

You have everything well arranged in your home. Everything is good; everyone is healthy, everyone has a good job and there's no problem and everything is going very well. Now, you hold a grand family gathering, a dinner celebration. Your neighbours are having a fight and they have called the authorities. Can you really celebrate? No matter much you try to ignore the incident, it affects you. We are affected by circumstances and by the people around us. We are constantly influencing each other. That means we must pay at least partial importance to others' well-being. We should also try, whenever it is realistic, to help others around us, so if they're happy, we can be happy. If they are well, then we can be well. It's interrelated. This means that society is a community.

Do we think that we are living only in our bodies or are we living in others as well? Are we living in the world, having extended our consciousness, our inner self? That's a very deep inquiry; you have to do it on your own. We are affected by anything with a positive or a negative impact. Even if you are not involved, even if you have no connection with them whatsoever, with the incident or an event, but you are affected. Information has not gone in; however it can affect us. It's also our responsibility, as much as we try to look after ourselves, we should try to look after others as well, but not to the extreme that we are invading their homes under that idea that you want to look after them. It is caring about them, expressing your compassion and expressing your concern. “Are you okay?” and “Can I do anything for you?” When someone is in agony and sadness, don't you think when you give them a smile, they feel so happy? It means so much to them. There are people who don't get to see a smile from others during times of difficulty. Just a smile, a genuine smile. It means so much. Those who are going through stress, depression and agony know the value of that unconditional smile. Sarvejanah sukhinobhavantu.

When you talk about stress too much, you get stressed out. That doesn't mean that if you don't talk about stress, your stress is gone. It is due to having too much work that people are stressed? Not necessarily since someone who is at home and doesn’t have a job, he is also stressed out.

One of the reasons why we become stressed and frustrated is that our minds move faster than the speed and the rhythm of the body. We are faster than our bodies. The body has its own rhythm, beat and system. When the mind synchronizes with the rhythm of the body, you find peace, harmony, unity and strength. You feel so good about yourself. When the mind moves away from the rhythm of the body, we become more stressed and we are not able to cope. There is time, there is space. Everything should go with space, with the pace and the rhythm. If you are out of synchronization with the body, there’s no music. Tuning in with our breath, with your thoughts, with our emotions, with our communication. Tuning in means being fully there.


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