Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Stress: A Type of Attachment

Today is Tuesday, November 12, 2013.

Stress is an alarm clock that lets you know you're attached to something that's not true for you.  –Byron Katie

In order to understand this quote, you have to know that an attachment is anything you think you can't live without.  Now, consider the causes of stress.  For you, they may include your job, your responsibilities at home as well as at work, your financial obligations, chronic illnesses and injuries, fears about the future, and traumatic events such as theft, rape, death or a loved one, divorce, job loss, or natural disaster. 

Wait, you say. I can't live without my job.  That's not an attachment, that's reality.  Well, it may be true that you need an income, but do you absolutely have to stay in the particular job you are doing right now?  Of course not.  You could be in a job with a much more understanding and supportive boss, one that pays better, has better working conditions, and one that challenges you in ways that are healthy.  Or it might just be that you are doing a job just to support the lifestyle that you are attached to.  If you got a job that you enjoyed much more, might you also be willing to accept a simpler lifestyle with fewer possessions and fewer social perks? 

What about your responsibilities?  Are you taking on too much?  Do you absolutely have to say yes to every request?  Aren't there others who could do the job just as well?  Is it necessary for you to control every outcome? Is it necessary for you to do the job all by yourself?  Are you attached to getting all the credit for a particular job?  Couldn't you accept some help and share the credit with someone else?

Are you attached to your financial obligations?  Do you really have to live in a large house in an upscale neighborhood, or a fancy apartment in a high-rent area?  Do you truly need all that room and all those things you have stored in your closets?  Did you have to buy that big car, that exotic vacation, that set of golf clubs, that high-end perfume, or the latest tech gadget?

What about your physical condition?  If you have a chronic illness, what is it about your lifestyle that causes it?  Are you attached to eating foods that don't agree with your body?  Are you attached to a sedentary lifestyle?  Are you attached to caffeinated or carbonated beverages?  Do you eat a lot of sugary and salty junk foods?  Are you attached to drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, or using prescription, non-prescription, or recreational drugs?   Are you attached to an emotional issue that keeps you from losing weight?  Are you attached to eating for emotional reasons?   Does your body fat protect you from having to deal with other issues? 

Do you worry a lot about things that might happen?  Are you attached to being able to control outcomes?  

And finally, why do you think you pulled a traumatic event into your life?  Did you sign up for the experience to learn a Soul lesson, or are you just attached to drama because it makes you feel important, needed, or sorry for yourself.  

Whatever the cause of stress in your life, try to view it from the point of view of an attachment.  How would your life change if you were to let go of that attachment?  Might it be possible to feel that you are living a productive and meaningful life even if you were not under constant stress?  

Think about it.  :-)


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