Modern management theory suggests stress can be good for people, and in part that is correct: people do work harder when under a certain amount of pressure, so there is a positive side to stress. But such pressure also creates agitation in the mind and where there is such agitation, one can never truly perform at ones peak.
While external pressures certainly play a role, the more fundamental cause of stress and anxiety in our life is our own insistence that the results of our actions be exactly as we expect them. It is this attachment to the fruit of our actions that causes mental agitation.
Motivation and dynamic action are buzzwords of today’s competitive age. But they represent only one side of the coin. In fact, far greater things can be achieved when we perform with a calm mind. That way we also don’t have to pay a heavy price in terms of stress and undue anxiety.
My Guru, Swami Chinmayananda was a brilliant orator. With his powerful voice and sharp wit he could hold hundreds of people enthralled for hours on end, without the aid of a microphone. But despite his high-octane performance, he never tired. He knew how to regulate his energies so they were not dissipated and were always available when he needed them.
Underlying his dynamic performance was always a quiet acceptance of whatever life threw at him. No matter how many there were in his audience, whether two or twenty, two hundred or two thousand, he gave his best without worrying about the numbers or compromising on his delivery. Such an open spirit left no space for doubt, disappointment, fear or any other form of agitation to pervade.
Many people believe success is synonymous with hard work. The idea that hard work is a sure-fire route to success, however, is a myth. While some people seem to be perpetually busy, practically working themselves into the ground, others appear to do hardly any work and yet they achieve greater success. It is not a matter of luck.
The remedy is for us to go ahead and work for the results we seek but also strive to remain always accepting of the final outcome. When we learn to do this, our mind enjoys a degree of clarity that not only allows us to work intelligently, but also experience a stillness in which the mind is at its most productive and satisfied.
– Swami Swaroopananda
Swami Swaroopananda will be conducting six evening talks on the topic ‘Success without Stress’ at the Sattavis Centre in Wembley, London from 11-16 May 2014. Join our Facebook page for the latest news and inspiring posts from Chinmaya Mission UK.