Control Your Reactions to Stress

Overcoming our Reactions to Stress



by Roland Trujillo
   

   Our problems in life begin when we become angry, resentful, and upset.  When we are angry--emotion clouds reason and we say or do the wrong things.
   Next we become upset at our upset, angry at our anger, and resentful at our resentment! All this does is add another layer of wrong reaction.  And when we are resentful, we are even more cut off from reason and calmness.
   Soon we find ourselves lost in the imagination and there we become even less in control of our actions. We react to our tricky imagination and then do or say something foolish, only to scurry back into the imagination to hide from another round of upset and failing.
   Once we become emotionally out of control, we start to experience more and more physical symptoms, such as tension headaches or upset stomach. We might try to change jobs or take pills, but because of conditioning, we find ourselves becoming more and more upset all the time and then suppressing symptoms. We push them under the carpet and try to distract ourselves with nice thoughts (but we are still reacting underneath and continuing to deteriorate physically).
   We might also try “working on ourselves.” Buddhists, New Age, Jewish and Christians who want to improve themselves all begin with self examination, but end up struggling with negativity, selfishness,  and hostility. The problem is that trying to deal with our fallen nature in this way only adds another level or struggle, tension, frustration, and denial.
   We can’t change our own nature. We can only pretend we are nice, hide from the world, try to blank negative thoughts, or suppress symptoms.
   It’s just another trap. If there is a devil (and I think there is), he will be glad to play the game with us: encouraging us to struggle with negative thoughts and emotions. He knows that we will eventually either give up and abandon ourselves to feelings or walk around deceiving ourselves that we have changed ourselves.
    The reason these self-help and positive thinking projects don’t work is because they are another egotistical effort to make ourselves good. In other words they stimulate pride. And pride is our downfall.   
  The real answer is to stop reacting emotionally and resentfully. Many of us would like to, but we don’t know how to. We think, for example, that we should be nice to people by trying to be nice (which produces more tension), or by becoming a people pleaser to avoid being upset. But this only tempts others to take advantage. We think we must try to not be upset, but trying is an act of will that only adds more tension, repression, and guaranteed frustration when we become upset again.
   Actually the first step to being a better person is learning the discipline of not becoming upset in the first place.
   If you do not become upset in the first place, you won’t have to repress emotion or try to make up for guilt in the second place. You will be free to be calm and reasonable.
   If you don’t become upset in the first place, you won’t have to go overboard in being nice to people to make up for the guilt.
    If you don’t become upset in the first place, you won’t have to reach for pleasures and material things to make up for what you lost when you became resentful or angry.
   Many of us also recognize that another step toward being a better person is to be more forgiving. This is true. Unfortunately, once again we tend to think that being forgiving means being nice to everyone. We can be run ragged by doing for everyone else. Or we think being nice is pushing down our true (angry) feelings.  
   The true way to be more forgiving is to not judge or resent in the first place. Learn to overlook. This does not mean pretending not to see error or wrong. It means seeing the error—just don’t hate the person for it.
  And for those you already have resented—simply see that your resentment is wrong because it is hate and judgment. Watch for the next opportunity to drop the resentment you already have. Watch for it, and let it go.  The accumulated physical symptoms will be manageable once you have gotten past the resentment.
    Learn the simplicity of meditating properly, and you will be free to be the self you were always meant to be. Meditating teaches you to be the observer of your own wrong reactions from a calm perspective. Meditating properly teaches how to nip reactions in the bud before they have time to grow, take root, and spread.
   The other reason why proper meditation is so critically important is because it teaches you how to deal with the symptoms of prior falls. Many of us, because of suffering, begin to soften and have a more forgiving attitude. Being mellower permits us to somewhat deal with new occasions where previously we would have become angry or resentful. But we keep getting tripped up by surfacing buried emotions from prior upsets.  
   Proper meditation teaches you how to stand back from emotional thoughts and feelings due to past failing. Proper meditation teaches you how to stand back and observe your own wrong reactions without over-reacting to them. In essence, it teaches you how to be more forgiving with yourself.
   It is critically important that any new desire to be more forgiving to others also include the technique of dealing with what has already gone wrong within us, otherwise we flounder and become discouraged because we don’t know how to deal with what we see about ourselves.

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Bullying and its Victims--the Role of Resentment, and the Little Known Intimidation/Stress Connection



A Primer on Stress and the Solution



  



  Basically anything we react to becomes a stressor and causes stress. Dr. Hans Selye, the father of stress research, said there are two types of stress: so called “eu-stress,” or pleasant stress, and “dis-stress” or unpleasant stress.

   We are all familiar with unpleasant stress and the toll it can take on our body. If you eat something tainted, it stresses your body to react. Cold, wind, rain, or excessive heat stress the body and elicit a response.

   Spraining your ankle or falling off your bike is a stress that elicits response. Being mugged, robbed, or mauled by a dog cause us to react and undergo stress.

   We also know that divorce, losing a job, or being betrayed by another are unpleasant stresses. 

   These negative or unpleasant stresses cause a variety of bodily responses and changes, both localized (like swelling at the site of injury) and nonspecific (affecting the whole body). These changes take energy and ultimately take their toll on the body. Stress is cumulative, in that it gradually uses up our life force.

   Yes, some stresses are part of life (like a rain shower, a hot day, or a brisk windy day). They can’t really be totally avoided (except the excessive ones). They are invigorating and without them we would stagnate. Just bear in mind that in our egotistical worried ambitious state, we generate unnecessary stresses upon ourselves. We also live unreasonable and chaotic lives, falling into traumas and accidents brought about by our lack of awareness.

   But Dr. Selye discovered that so-called eu-stresses such as going to a party, attending an exciting ball game, or starting new job are stressful too.

   These stresses may be pleasant, but they also take their toll on the body just as much as obvious unpleasant stresses do. 

   Dr. Selye is not saying that we should avoid new or fun situations. They are part of life and have their place.

   But what he is saying is that we should be aware that any stress ultimately wears us down. Too much stress, either dis-tress (like a divorce or being fired) or eu-stress (moving to a new house) will wear you down.

   More stress wears you down quicker than less stress. And stress is cumulative.

   Stress takes its toll. It may be invigorating, but it also drains us of life force. And our over-reactions (to whatever is, by definition, the stressor) lead to all manner of symptoms.

   Bottom line: we must find a way to take things in stride, both good and bad. 

   In other words, over-reactions are not good.  Look at all the over-reactions which are at the physical level: asthma, allergies and auto immune disease—where the body’s extreme responses are more harmful than what the stressor is doing. In other words, pollen cannot really hurt you, but an over-reaction can. Anaphylactic shock is a big over-reaction that can even kill a person. 

     But how about all of our emotional over-reactions: anger, rage, irritation, hostility, hyper excitement on the one hand and hurt feelings, disappointment and frustration on the other? These emotions are reactions that are stressing us (and ultimately killing us if we don’t learn to be less emotional). 

   Many people love to over-react and yell and scream at ball games, for example. Or they love to moan and groan and play the “poor me, what have I ever done to deserve this” game. They are actually adding stress to their lives through these unrestrained feelings.

   People argue and quarrel all the time because they react angrily. Others react angrily and suppress it, but their reaction is still stressing their body.

   Many people get irritated at others, and they secretly enjoy having something to complain about. They feel they have a right to judge others and complain. But their daily bouts of irritation take a toll on the body.

   Some people party, study too much and stay up late, depriving themselves of sleep. They are unnecessarily subjecting their body to stress. No wonder they feel drained the morning after the night before. No wonder people come back from a vacation more drained than before they left. We may get away with it for awhile, but sooner or later we pay the price for long term stress.  

   Just as partying and then cramming for a test are unnecessary stresses which we inflict on ourselves, so are our angers, secret hostilities, and impatient frustrations.

   Another example: take work for instance. Of course we have to work. But we should be able to work without becoming angry and upset at our work.

   Life will throw things our way. But we should be able to go through life without reacting to everything.

   What I am saying is that some stress is unavoidable.

   But too much stress is not good for us. And most of us heap an extra layer of stress on ourselves through our emotional reactions. 

   Many of us are experiencing huge amounts of stress unnecessarily because we are indulging emotions all the time, especially anger, hostility and resentment.

   Work is one thing; working angrily is another. Encountering a traffic jam is one thing; becoming upset at it is another.

   Here is the key to eliminating undue stress from your life. Let go of resentment.

   Go back and take a look at the examples I gave of situations that we react to with negative emotions.

   You will notice that underneath the anger, rage, irritation, hostility, frustration, and dejection can be found resentment. In other words, resentment is the common denominator for many of our negative emotions.

   Another thing: when we get upset, angry and frustrated, we also experience negative, hostile, and destructive thinking. Resentment is what initiates and sustains the negative thoughts.

   There is a vicious cycle involved. The negative thoughts then spin more negative emotions, and so on.

   Resentment is the “little” reaction that begins the cascade of negative thinking and unnecessary stress reactions that lead to misery and suffering. You must learn to watch for it, and let it go.

    I am seeking to make you aware of the role of resentment in exacerbating your emotional issues, and why you must let it go.

    Here is another important point. Temptation drains us. When we respond to temptation, we lose energy to it (and often money too). Temptation is a demand for energy. Remember, people who tempt have no independent life source of their own. They have fallen to and have become dependent upon draining the life from others.

   Now you know why you feel drained around certain people or tempting situations (like parties or even the typical office setting). Now you know why you feel more tired and drained when you come back from a vacation. The people at the resorts are there to drain you of excess tension energy and of your money.

   We are surrounded by temptation and when we respond, we give up our life to it. You may be living with someone who is draining you. Women are particularly good at this. She almost cannot help but play the temptation game, and when she lies down with their man, he gives up energy to her. She becomes dependent on his life, and when it cannot be seduced from him, she nags and irritates. His response of resentment to her unnecessary irritations siphons off his life force. He dies before his time and she lives on to perhaps find another man to drain.

   That is why you must meditate for mental distance and so you can seal yourself off from temptation and its demands. You must learn how not to react with resentment and upset. You must learn how to deal with naughty people around you.

   Many people tempt unconsciously. Some tempt for energy. If you don't watch out, they will drain you and live off of you. You can even give up your life to a sick mother for example, who irritates you and then when you feel guilty for resenting her, you give your all—even your life to her. You are actually feeding her sickness and enabling what is wrong with her. Her sickness grows and she gets worse. Meanwhile you deteriorate also. It would be better to meditate for distance, and then stand back and no longer respond to her clamoring for your life and substance. It would actually be doing her a favor, as she would have to look at herself and take responsibility for her own illness and faulty life, instead of using you to sustain her denial and her sickness. By coming to her aid, you are actually harming her.

   Understand also that many people around you are not evil. They are just naughty. When you respond with excitement or with anger and resentment to their errors, they can then judge you. They thus do not have to look at themselves. Better to remain neutral and distant. Instead of responding to the temptation in them, hold up the light. If someone tells an off color joke, then instead of laughing or going along sheepishly, do not respond at all. Let them have egg on their face. It just might wake them up to see their error. If they welcome the correction, they will be grateful.

   People often act out and tempt us because they are actually tempting for correction. They would like someone with love to stop them. But what they usually get is use or anger. Kids often act out. They are looking for love. Women usually catch their man with the temptation game. He responds with lust and excitement to her naughtiness and wiles. She is hoping that he will become the night in shining armor, but as the years go by he becomes dependent on he for the support of his ego. He gets the illusion (that he is a real man), whereas she get the judgment food (judging him for using her). She also gets the spoils of nagging the life out of his carcass.

   Some women are permanent man haters. But most women really want to be corrected from the role they have been required to play. They want a real man, who has love, wisdom, understanding, patience and longsuffering to be there for her without falling for her temptation. Men, your wives and your children need you to become more fatherly—correcting with firmness and patience their ego excesses.     



Over-Reacting is a Way of Life for Most People





    Having dealt with the purely natural stress reactions, let us direct our attention to the other aspect of the stress reaction, namely our ego attitude and emotions. These emotions have to do with our ego and its pride, faithlessness, lovelessness, and stubbornness. Let’s talk about the interconnection of our attitude, emotions and stress.

  People actually complicate, increase, and sustain stress reactions because of emotional overlay.

   There is story that illustrates the above concept. A man was driving on a country road and got a flat tire.

   He did not have a jack (which he needed to put on the spare tire), so he began to walk to find the nearest farmhouse so he could borrow a jack there. 

   As he was walking, he thought: “I hope there is a farm house around here.” He walked some more and then thought: “What if there is a house but no one is home?”  He walked a few more minutes and thought: “if someone is home, what if they don’t have a jack.”  He kept walking and then thought: “What if they have a jack but won’t lend it to me?” The man kept walking and getting more and more upset. Finally, he saw a house. He walked up to the front door and knocked.

  When the owner came to the door, the man said: “you can take your lousy jack and go to hell!”

   This story illustrates how we work ourselves into an emotional state through negative thinking.  But what throws us into the negative thinking? It is resentment that wipes out patience and faith. 

  There is no reason why a slow grocery store line has to irritate you, let alone make you angry. Yet many people do get irritated or angry at someone in line who is slow.

   Why? Because our impatience feeds judgment. We can get a little high by judging the one who is delaying us. We can feel the resentment, which leads to more impatience, more judgment and hostility. The suppressed hostility leads to dis-ease and perhaps a headache or tummy ache. We can revel in blaming the person for our discomfort, and resent the person even more. Then we can use the discomfort and tension as an excuse to down some pills, smoke marijuana, or go to the bar!

   When we become irritated or angry, we cause the purely biological type of stress, outlined earlier in this chapter, to begin to run its course. We literally make the person who is driving slowly or holding up the line into a threat and into a sort of ego enemy, to which our body must react.

   The body does its job of responding with hormones and various changes, as if it were facing some sort of real threat. By being irritated, you are literally forcing your body to react, and in the long run—after years of daily bouts of irritation—the damage to the body breaks out in serious illness. We tire and damage ourselves through our indulging our emotions. In other words, we are literally killing ourselves a little at a time. 

   Sooner or later many people are told that stress is killing them. How much better it would be if they had seen the light many years earlier.

   Is it really worth the wear and tear on your body, and the decreasing control (with or without painful suppression) just to get a little high from judging and resenting someone who makes a little mistake?

   Some people will say “I don’t get angry or impatient at a slow line.” Maybe not, but how about traffic, your boss, your kids, your husband, your neighbor, bills, your mother, or yourself? 

   The body is able to repair itself, if you could learn to be less emotional about things, so that the body has time to recover from past over-reactions and fewer new stresses to deal with. Remember--it is resentment that separates you from faith and patience; and without patience and faith, the body is compelled to comply with the resentment and compensate with fight or flight stress reactions. 

   “Change your attitude, change your destiny” is literally true, especially when it comes to emotions, because of the stress reactions that emotions contribute to.

   We can't help having natural biological reactions. We can’t stop ourselves from being startled if someone says “boo” behind us. But you do have control over whether you become resentful when they startle you. If you find yourself becoming angry or irritated at them (or at yourself), I guarantee there is resentment behind it.

   As I will discuss later in this chapter, we can learn to have an attitude which is less emotional and resentful-- so that our body is not compelled to react to stresses that we create for ourselves. We can learn not to add emotional reaction to the purely physical ones. 

   We are all aware that becoming angry at slow lines, irritated at a traffic jam, angry at our husband, impatient with our children, or irritated and frustrated over money issues are harmful to our bodies. We are all aware of headaches and tummy aches from being upset.

   But many of us are not aware that these and similar symptoms are just the tip of the iceberg. Underneath the obvious surface symptoms are thousands or millions of subtle changes down to the cellular level.

   So consider carefully whether indulging anger and resentment at someone's mistake is worth a trip to the hospital or an early grave.



 The Intimidation-Stress Connection



   Here is something else that you probably aren’t aware of: the role of intimidation and frustration in debilitating stress. Becoming aware of and understanding this connection may literally save your life. Here’s the story.

   When you think of negative emotions, what comes to mind? Probably such emotions as anger, rage, hostility, unhappiness, anxiety, sadness, bitterness, resentment, depression, fear, misery, feelings of hopelessness, despondency, or dread.

   Now notice that there are aspects of intimidation in each of these.

   If you are suffering from chronic bouts of negative emotions, something in the environment, past or present, is intimidating you; and your emotion is a reaction due to the sustained intimidation.

   In other words, instead of the world being subject to us, we become its subject when we react emotionally. Some circumstance, memory, a notion, or a person is dominating us: we are their subject.

   If a memory keeps bothering you, it is continuing to intimidate you. Something about it continues to upset you; something about it you can’t accept or let go of. In other words, unfinished business is intimidating you. Soon the inability to get closure or cope leads to frustration, despondency, despair and so on.

   The main component in the lack of closure is resentment, which keeps the memory alive.

   It is resentment, doubt, and lack of commitment to what is right that lead to intimidation. Resentment is even more treacherous because it leads to ruminating, and additional emotions (such as depressions) which sustain the intimidation and lead to chronicity.

  Resentment is the mechanism by which we are intimidated.

   It matters not whether it is a bill, a delay, a challenge, a tease, a setback, what someone said, a mistake you made, a memory, a mental notion, a suggestion or even a mental image—resenting it sustains the intimidation.

   What happened 40 years ago can still bother you (intimidate you) because you are still resenting it in real time.

   There are just too many possible situations to list them all, but I’ll just give three or four examples. You will have to see the principle—how resentment reinforces and sustains intimidation—and then see how the principle applies to what is bothering you.

   Here’s one example. A young lady resented her dad because he was never there to go to the father-daughter dance or other activities with her. She felt that he did not love her. She resented him. But she felt guilty and tried to deny her resentment--especially when he always had a plausible excuse, such as "having to work late, being tired," and so on. She could not accept that he didn’t love her, but she felt that way anyway. She resented him, but tried to cover it up.

   Later in life, she wanted to tell him how he had hurt her. But her resentment prevented her from being able to speak up. So she was intimidated by an idea she did not want to admit, a feeling she did not want to admit, and the resentment that prevented her from clearing the air.

   Fortunately, when she got older, she became aware of the truth: he did not love her. He was like so many other dads: half way decent, but something was missing. He was prideful and compensated, and just did not have the kind of agape love she needed. 

   He was a good provider and did have some good qualities, but he wasn’t there for her. He failed her because he did not have love. She hated him for failing her.

   Although this was painful to admit--now she could accept this fact. She forgave him by letting go of the resentment, making what happened long ago unimportant. It was easy to forgive him when she understood that he, too, was a victim. His dad had not been there for him. He was not being deliberately cruel.

   She saw that he could not give what he did not have.

   Next she was able to admit that she did resent him. Not wanting to admit her resentment had intimidated her. She wanted to be the good and perfect daughter and could not admit to having hated her dad.

  She saw that this resentment was understandable, but also wrong. She admitted it, then let go of it. Finally, having forgiven him, she was able to confront him. She told him, in a calm and not angry way, what he had done to her. She told him that she had resented him for it, but no longer did so. But importantly, she also told him that she wanted him to admit what he did, admit he was wrong and be sorry.

  Of course, he became angry, denied it, and accused her of being ungrateful. This was her next test. Were she to resent him for this (and for things not turning out as she had wanted), it would usher in more resentment and intimidation. Fortunately, she had spoken her piece, cleared the air, and had given him his chance to be sorry. "When you are ready to admit you were wrong and apologize and mean it, you know my number," she said. She walked away with her head held high and went on to lead a happy life.

   By confronting him, she spoke up for herself, telling the truth. This is important and it begins the deconditioning process. Now she become subject to the truth, and is no longer subject mind, body or soul to the tyrant. Confrontation must only be done, however, after you are sure that you have dropped your resentments against the one who hurt you.

   In the above case, now that she had dropped her resentment, she was able to confront the bully with calm detachment. Now her motive is to clear the air and to give him a chance to be sorry. The real daughter is confronting the parent with love—not an emotional false love out of guilty, but a true love based on wanting what is right to prevail and giving the offender a chance to repent.

   When the offender is confronted with the truth, by a another person full of love and not full of hate, this person has a chance to see the face of love and be sorry in his or her heart. If the person is sorry, it is good for him or her. And it begins a process of the soul's relationship with its Creator righted.

   If, on the other hand, which is what usually happens, the tyrant is unrepentant and refuses to admit he is wrong and be sorry, his life will go from bad to worse (unless he has a change of heart). But it is none of your concern which way the confronted person goes. You spoke the truth with love, and gave them their chance, and now it is between that person, conscience, and God. They now have a clear choice, perhaps for the first time in their life--admit their wrong and get better, or harden their heart and go from bad to worse.  

   Whatever you do, don't feel sorry for the person if he or she suddenly starts to cry and act pitiful (without being truly sorry). Should you rush to the rescue of his ego, you are interfering with the work of conscience and supporting what is wrong with him. Remain neutral and do not fall for the ruse. You cannot save a person. Only God can. It is typical for unrepentant ones to put on a show of misery, seeking to pull you back into your old role and getting them off the hook. Stand back and remain aloof. You are not really being mean. You are doing them a favor. You are giving them a chance to be sorry and be free.

   Understand this also. The person you are confronting may be possessed. Part of him or her may want to be sorry, but something in him won't let him. He is not free. In fact, the spirit of error that entered him or her long ago, perhaps coming from having hated someone who was cruel to him, is now in charge of him, driving him to do wrong.

  By not resenting the person, and speaking the truth with love, you holding up the light, are giving the real person a chance to  side with what is right, being give a real alternative and choice, perhaps for the first time in his life.

    Do you now see the importance of not hating the person? It is the evil in him or her that is driving him to commit wrong. Now you understand the meaning of the phrase "hate the sin, but not the sinner."

   Here’s another example. A man has some unpleasant work to do, but resents it. He fears doing a mediocre job and exposing his inadequacies. So he procrastinates.

   But every time he thinks about it, he resents it. Soon the work haunts and dominates his every moment. He wakes up during the night and starts to get a stomach ache thinking of the work.

   One day, he realizes that it is foolish to resent the work. He has a change of attitude about his work. Now he does the best he can but accepts the fact that he could have done better. He accepts reality, does his duty, talks his lumps, and finishes the job with a modicum of dignity. As a result, the work stops stressing him.

   To get you thinking along these lines, here are a couple more examples.

   The angry guy in the grocery store line is dominated by the situation. It upsets him and makes him upset. He reacts, and because there is nothing he can really do about it (other than run or make a fool of himself), he suppresses the emotion, holding it inside and does a slow boil.  

  So he stands there and becomes increasingly irritated and frustrated by a situation that makes him angry but he can’t do anything about.  His body is churning in conflict: part wants to run from the threatening situation, part wants to fight. Part of the body is building up fight or flight, while another part is repressing and suppressing the reaction which is going overboard. At the end of the day, he is tense and begins to fear even leaving the house because of his inability to cope with the small stuff without becoming resentful, angry and upset.

   To be free of this stress and its symptoms, this man just needs an attitude adjustment. He must learn to take little delays in stride.

   A lady resents her husband. Her resentment renders her subject to the environment. She finds it increasingly difficult to be calm. She becomes increasingly sensitive to little things that before would not have fazed her. Worse, she finds herself becoming sensitive to little things her husband does (how he eats, how he puts his socks on the chair, how he coughs). Soon everything he does irritates her.

   She feels like she is in a pressure cooker.  Everything bothers her and she is now dominated by external stresses. She is no longer in charge of her world and in charge of her emotions. She is out of control.

   In this lady’s case, she became free of the oppression by letting go of judgment and resentment toward her husband. 

   A boy was playing baseball and struck out three times in one game. The last time he struck out, a teammate commented: “you’re a loser. You always find a way to lose.” The boy experienced a huge resentment toward the comment and the teammate.   He formed a memory that continued to haunt him for years. Every time he was in a situation where he had to perform (a speech, making a putt, or going for a job interview) the old memory came back, haunted him, and he resented it again.

   He became subject to that negative suggestion, and whenever things didn’t work out, it seemed to confirm the prediction. He even drew negative outcomes onto himself through the subconscious suggestion to fail (induced and sustained through resentment). It became programming. 

   And even when he could have succeeded, the nervousness and performance anxiety, struggling with the suggestion, make him clumsy and ruined his timing. All because he resented the comment.

   The solution to this dilemma came when he became aware of the resentment and saw the ego-resentment connection. He was able to let go of the resentment against the boy who made the comment and against the comment itself. He also had to see and let go of resentment toward himself and yes, even resentment and accusatory blame against God. 

   In new situations, he became aware of the tormenting thought. He stood back and observed it without resenting it anew. He bore the torment without adding more resentment, and let it pass.  In this way, he became free to do things without it becoming a matter of struggling against the curse. 

   The suggestion had been able to torment him because of his resentment. When he let go of the resentment, he could be more philosophical.

   In other words, he had to learn to bear the torment without adding resentment. He had to learn to make the outcome unimportant even if it seemed to confirm that the suggestion was true.   

   He had to see that he had a big hateful prideful ego, and he had to realize that his preoccupation was selfish. He has to be humbled, even humiliated, without resenting it. When he can do this, he will be free of the subjugating torment.

   



The Solution to Intimidation and Stress



   Either you are the master of the moment and the master of life, or everything is your master. Beware of resenting anything. When you are not resentful and when you don’t want something too much, you are close to your center of dignity and your powers.

   In other words, when you are not resentful, angry or ambitious, you are close to your Creator. But when you are resentful, angry or ambitious, you become separated from your inner ground, and thus stand alone, prideful, and inferior to what is intimidating you.

   And since no one can stand alone, a malevolent spirit comes to your “assistance,” feeding your mind with thoughts of glory or revenge. It supports you in your pride, and eggs you on to conflict even with God. It masquerades as you, and you think that its thoughts are yours.

   This permissive voice is in us all. It supports us in our ambitious thoughts and angers, and it generally tells us what we want to hear. It gives us suggestions, which we follow (thinking we originated the thoughts).

   These suggestions always turn out wrong, leading us into more error. It then consoles us and eggs us on to more emotion based actions to get out of our mess. Again we don’t realize these thoughts do not originate with us.

  When it has had its way with you and totally corrupted you with its guilt producing suggestions, it feeds you negative self destructive thoughts (you know, the old “everyone would be better off without me” sort of thing). 

   That is why you must learn to be objective to “your” thoughts, so that you can stand back and observe these thoughts without responding to them. The evil will see that the game is up, and feeling observed, it will leave you alone.

   Can you see that it was resentment that made you subject to this sort of thing in the first place? You had a big ego, and temptation found out your weaknesses. Now just let go of resentment; and learn to meditate for objectivity. Let what is not you be realized out of existence.

   When you want to do God’s will, when you are willing to forgo the pleasure of resenting or hating someone; and when you are willing to let go of what you want in favor of what is right, you are no longer subject to the world. You are subject to God. The world gets to you through what you care about the most. When you no longer care about the pride sustaining perks or material gain the world entices you with, you will be free. 

   Beware of challenge. The world will tease, goad, and challenge you to perform ambitiously. If you don’t go along, it will accuse you of being lazy or bad. It will call you stupid and tease you to rise to some challenge intellectually.

   Misguided authorities will even challenge you to be good. But if you are good to please someone, avoid their criticism, or for perks, you are not really good. Right action must flow from within, from seeing what is right and doing it out of the goodness of our heart. Compulsory or ambition inspired goodness is not really goodness.

   Never take the challenge. Never rise to a dare. When under pressure, stand back and silently inquire of God.

  Move in your own time and space toward what you realize is right. If you don’t know what to do, then wait until you do know. Flow from intuition not from external tease.

   The Good Lord wants you to prosper and have the good things of life; just remember “Put first the Kingdom of God and His right way and all other things will be added unto you.” The world is always pressuring and challenging you to do the opposite. And when you go after a goal (which is not really your goal but one that was suggested to you), you set yourself up for guilt and frustration.

    If you don’t attain the goal, you are frustrated, and then strive even harder, throwing good money after the bad. And should you happen to be successful in this goal driven willful way, you will feel guilty and will not be happy with what you get.

   That is why you must set no goals for yourself, other than doing what you know is right in the moment.

   Dr. Hans Selye, the father of stress research, found that animals that were frustrated developed ulcers. He also found that long term stress suppressed their immune system and depleted their adrenals.

   Beware of resentment because resentment will cause something to stick in your craw and intimidate you. When you are intimidated you are not only subject to that which is intimidating you, but you are also subjecting yourself to long term frustration, the result of being intimidated over and over by the situation, the person, and the memory of the situation.

   If you keep reacting to a negative suggestion, it is because it is intimidating you in your mind. Look alike situations come along, and the memory of the original fall comes to mind. Resenting the memory anew, it becomes an intimidation. Remember—resentment will make you subject, and when you are subject you are intimidated. 

   Intimidation (by way of resentment) is the little talked about component in frustration, depression, worry, and feelings of inferiority. 

   Dr. Selye’s mouse will escape from the frustrating circumstance. The mouse will quickly forget the whole thing. When it encounters a look alike setting, it will flee and then quickly get over it. But the human being, who resents some circumstance or suggestion, will carry it around as a memory (just like the mouse does). But the difference between the man and mouse is that the man resents the memory. The new situation triggers the memory and a new round of resentment.

   Each time something triggers the memory, he resents it over and over again. And thus the memory is reinforced and made stronger through its being renewed over and over.

   Even lying in bed at night, he may awaken to resentment, anxiety, worry and quiet rage. The resentment means that the memory is intimidating the person. And so the memory becomes a source of frustration. Thinking about it over and over with no way of dealing with it (other than resenting, repressing, or running) leads to frustration, mental anguish and physical stress.

   I will say it again: resentment is the emotion that underlies frustration and the kind of long term stress that saps our strength and demoralizes us.

   In some of my other writings, I emphasize the importance of speaking up, rather than resignation and suppression. It is also important to meditate for mental distance, and then to go through life with a care-free spontaneous attitude. If you meet each moment properly, there is nothing to resent or stick in your craw.

   When you become frustrated, it is a sure sign of having risen to a challenge, and it is a warning that you are in danger of making the situation into a long term issue and source of frustration.

   Nothing should frustrate us. It is only when we make something too important or when we respond angrily or resentfully to criticism that we set ourselves up for frustration.

   When people are bitter, morose, absorbed in worry or dwelling on the past—more often than not they are intimidated and continue to be intimidated in their mind through resentment of some long ago event.

   When the memory arises, and they resent it anew, it now contaminates the present.

   Nothing should irritate us in the slightest. Irritation is a sign of anger, hostility, resentment, and impatience. It means that our ego is involved. We wish our will to be imposed, and when our will is not done, we become angry, resentful, and then frustrated.

   When you become irritated because you are resentful, you make yourself subject to the environment. No longer a noble soul with potential powers for good, you become an animal, and a resentful one at that.

   I am trying to make you aware of how resentment leads to subjectivity and then intimidation, through repeated reactions of resentment. And intimidation is akin to frustration, and long tern frustration leads to suppression, physical symptoms (such as the mouse’s ulcers) and exhaustion.

   There are many negative aspects of intimidation I could mention; but for now I just want you to see how resentment leads to long term intimidation, frustration, and stress.

   If you can learn to not resent—to observe a painful circumstance, memory or haunting suggestion, without resenting it--then it remains out there and it cannot harm you. If you do not resent it, it cannot make you act or feel inferior. Learn to watch tormenting, teasing thoughts without reacting and resenting. Stand back, get some metal distance. Watch from the neutral zone until it goes away. It cannot harm you.

   When you are not standing in the wrong place, you are standing in the right place. If you are not resentful or preoccupied in worry or trying to wiggle out of something, then you are close to intuition and the center from which the power to deal with things comes.

   If you do not resent and do not fall for the ruse, you stand under the authority of God. By not reacting and resenting, you are not subject to the suggestion. A deep spiritual principle is involved.

   You see, by not reacting and resenting, you remain obedient to the Creator Who instructs us to trust in Him and to not resent others. By remaining faithful and forgiving, you are obedient to His instructions. When you react, you are disobedient. And the error and evil operating in others knows this. It wants you to be disobedient to the good by resenting and reacting. And when you take the challenge it dangles in front of you, you are obeying its will. 



Here are some helpful reminders



1. Meditate for objectivity. Seek a slight mental distance, which proper meditation facilitates, so that you can stand back and observe thoughts and situations without reacting to what you see.

2. Admit the truth. Acknowledge truth whenever you hear it or see it, regardless of the source. Whether it be a friend, foe or even from a little child (“out of the mouths of babes”).  Acknowledge truth immediately when you become aware of it.  If you deny it or resent it, it becomes a threat and a guilt producer instead of a friend. 

   Later, in order to try to get rid of guilt, you might be forced to resentfully admit the truth or do so to placate the truth—this robs it of its magic.

3. Watch for and let go of resentment. Don’t resent others, don’t resent the memory, and don’t resent yourself. Don’t resent feeling helpless. Just see your helplessness, but don’t resent it.

4. Never rise to a dare or challenge.

5. When you find yourself getting emotionally involved and sucked into something--whether it be an argument, a movie, or a piece of music—stand back.  When you are made aware that you were pulled into something, just stand back and get your bearings.

6. Move at your own pace. Never allow others to rush or pressure you into moving in an untimely way. If others are pressuring you, just be aware of the pressure, but don’t respond.

7. Watch out for anger.   Realize that anger signifies an ego, a prideful person, who wants his or her will to be done. Also observe how resentment leads to anger and suppressed hostility. Resentment and hostility are weakness. See anger and resentment for what they represent: the emotions of a wrong trying to be a right.

   See that impatience is a petty tyrant’s way of condemning another and getting them to react. See resentment as the loser’s way of sneakily hating and blaming.

    Watch negative thoughts and see how they try to goad you into conflict with God. Observe them and they will flee.

8. Don’t try to be good or try to be a good person. If you do, you will be frustrated and resentful if you fail in some matter. Others will see what you want and perhaps try to frustrate you. Worse yet, they might rush in to praise and support you. And if you fall for this temptation, you will be cut off from the inner Ground of Good, and you will grow dependent on their support. Do not become upset over criticism and don’t take praise to heart. Let it go in one ear and out the other.

    Do what you can. If you can do a kindness, do so. If you can’t, don’t worry about it. Acknowledge good, but don’t try to be the good.

9. Understand that after a lifetime of being resentful and over-reactive, your ego life is composed of millions and millions of reactions, and during that time great stress has been put on your body.  So don’t try to change overnight. Meditate and live simply and quietly.

   Be grateful for the opportunity to calm down and begin to live with some equanimity. Give yourself time, lots of time.

10. Don’t become angry and frustrated at yourself. It’s just another round of resentment directed at yourself. It's also another way for the ego to try to rise above the situation without really admitting its wrong.

   Anger and resentment of self still takes the same toll on your body as being angry at someone else, and it keeps you separated from your center of dignity.

   Don’t loathe or become disgusted with yourself when you still see yourself reacting, getting upset or messing up. Just stand back and observe what is still wrong with yourself. If you resent yourself, it is your old ego way of trying to change things. Just observe and bear patiently with what you cannot change.

   If you are messing up, then just see that you are. That’s all. Wait for grace. The power to change resides in the objective state. In His own time and space, God will change you without effort on your part. Wait. You will see. 

 11.  Be ready to cut back on your commitments. If you have been overworking, then cut back. If need be, tighten your belt and live with less for a while. Take time to get to know yourself.

   Learn to bear torment without resenting it. Bear pain without resentment. In other words, feel the hurt, without the hate.  Learn to face life’s little delays and issues without resentment.

12.  Watch out for irritation. This is often a sign that you have judged someone or resented something. Watch for resentment and let it pass. Learn to observe another’s wrong or error without condemning them for it. In other words, observe the error without resenting the person. See the razor’s edge between discerning and judging. Discern error without adding a pinch of resentment.

   If you have no resentment or judgment, then any remaining irritation or tension is probably a hold over from the conditioning of prior resentful reactions. Just watch the irritation or tension and let it pass.   
   Learn to bear persecution without resenting it. If you are persecuted for righteousness sake, and you do not resent it, you are being persecuted without a cause. This permits you to demonstrate love. The persecution will actually permit you to grow in character and grace, if you do not resent it.