Overcoming Nervousness; How to Obtain Calmness ~ SRF Monastics

Great Samadhi chair

“Master said that nervousness is a world disease, the most deadly disease of all.”

Causes of Nervousness

1. Change.   We live in a world of change.   Humans love change and seek it out, not realizing it may cause even more nervousness.   Look, for instance, at what we do for diversion or escape – TV, for example.   Compare TV shows of today with those 20 or 30 years ago – watch an episode of ‘I Love Lucy’, for example and it will seem so slow, seem to drag because nowadays TV is so fast paced.   People’s everyday schedules are packed full more and more, so it’s hard for them to ever relax.   People walk around all the time with a cell phone attached to them.

2. Fear. We are constantly trying to live in the future and in the present at the same time.  This causes a heavy load on us.

3. Guilt.  SRF devotees in particular, have set high ideals for themselves and we let guilt come in when we don’t live up to our highest ideals.

Some people seem to thrive on nervousness and tension.  Their motto is, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth over-doing.”

See also~ “Do the best you can”; Dealing with fear and anxiety ~ Sister Mridani

How to obtain physical, mental and spiritual calmness:

1. Physical calmness – regular exercise.  Once in a while check the body over for tension in meditation.  Tense and relax body parts.  Deep breathing 20/20/20 exercise, especially before Hong-Sau.

2. Mental calmness – affirm calmness.  Use Master’s affirmations.  (Br. quoted the one that said “I cast all mental burdens aside”)  Simplify life.  Make Sunday a day of spiritual renewal.  Practice silence.  Read spiritual books.  Listen to classical music, or music that relaxes you.  Music is a wonderful catalyst and may take as little as 30 seconds to help the body release endorphins.

I relax and cast aside...

3. Spiritual calmness – Hong-Sau.  Take a retreat weekend 2-3 times per year.  It doesn’t have to be a conducted retreat.

Homework: A planned relaxation weekend.  First get plenty of rest, but don’t sleep all weekend!  Let go, relax, don’t feel guilty or think you are wasting time.  Watch a funny movie…or read a good book to help erase the things you have been stressed about and put you in a good frame of mind.  Go out and play – walk outside, take fresh air, breathe deeply.  Practice seclusion in silence.  Listen to music, read.  Read Master for ½ hour each day – it will lift our consciousness.  Meditation – push yourself just a little, make your meditations a little longer – but don’t try too hard or try to make it too much longer or it may cause negative feelings – just extend your meditation time a little bit.

Master said, “Calmness is the state in which we should receive all life’s experiences.”

See also~ “Enjoying Life’s Challenges” ~ Brother Atmananda, excerpts

2002 SRF Retreat, Brother Atmananda and Brahmachari Dale,  from devotee notes



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