Naval: In some ways, modern life is more hectic than prehistoric times. Our sources of stress are more chronic.
Let’s define stress. In physical terms, stress happens when something wants to be in two places at one time. If I apply pressure to both ends of an iron beam, I create stress on the beam because one part wants to be north and the other part wants to be south.
Stress is an inability to decide what’s important
In mental terms, stress is an inability to decide what’s important. You want two incompatible things at once. I want to relax, but I need to work. Now I’m under stress.
When you give up on something, it’s no longer stressful. When you accept that something’s out of your control, there’s no point in getting stressed about it.
The mind constantly creates stress, making you more paranoid or angry than situations warrant.
You want to find peace from mind. You aren’t turning off your brain. You can’t suppress the mind or force it to do anything. If I say, “Don’t think of a white elephant,” you’ll think of a white elephant. Rather, you want to develop tools so your mind can calm down on its own. Then, stress will go away naturally.
How do you do that? How do you end up with a more peaceful mind?
Peace is happiness at rest
Here’s a phrase I like: “Peace is happiness at rest; happiness is peace in motion.” Someone who’s peaceful at rest will end up happy when they do an activity. While a happy person sitting idle will be peaceful. The ultimate goal is not happiness, even though we use that term a lot. The goal is peace.
So the question becomes: How do you get to peace?
The first problem with attaining peace is that no activity will get you there. Fundamentally, peace is inactivity; it’s a sense that everything is fine.
If everything is fine, you’re not doing any physical or mental activity to change it. You’re also not wishing you were doing something to change it, because that creates stress.
You cannot work toward peace, only understanding
You cannot achieve peace directly or even work toward it. Rather, you can work toward understanding. There’s an old Sikh saying, “The name of God is truth.” When you understand certain things and they become a part of you, you naturally become a more peaceful person.