Is there “life after stress?”

Today, we are going to witness a few different levels of stress. We will explore the relaxation, stress, distress, and many things in between. We will frequently focus on the alert, focused state that is between total relaxation and stress.

We will observe that different patterns of  behavior reliably produce different results (in terms of stress levels). The first behavior that we will focus on is the use of language in communication.

As for the different results that we will witness, those will range from what we categorize as a normal level of stress on up to elevated stress , distress, paranoia, and total panic. We will also notice the extremes of withdrawal, exhaustion, resignation, and denial.

So, we will study a variety of things that are not the alert, focused state between total relaxation and stress.  In short, those sub-optimal states can be called “being out of focus.” Then, we will explore that contrasting state, which some have called “being in the zone.” That state is famous for it’s efficiency, it’s precision, it’s coordination, and it’s giant leaps in productivity, creativity, and innovation.

On our journey, after we establish a foundation of radical clarity about the nature of language, then we will also encounter a rich history of similar explorations which have been led by some of the most famous personas in the last few thousand years. Through the entire process, we will notice various levels of sub-optimal stress in others and in ourselves, then return over and over again to the simple alertness of a child. We will also explore how we can assist others in experiencing the focused, alert state that some people have referenced as “the straight and narrow gateway that leads to the realm of heaven.”

Here are a few examples of different patterns of language:

1) However you are could be very interesting.

2) However you are is not as interesting as how you should be and, by the way, you are not how you should be… at least not yet.

3) However you are is generally irrelevant except for the inevitable fact that you are how you should not be.

These different statements can correspond to different levels of stress. In particular, the statements can correspond to the perception of a threat by another person. If someone says any of these things to you, how you experience their statement could depend on who they are and how you relate to them.

If a small child that you have never seen walks up to you in public and then points directly at you and says in distress “you are not how you should be,” then turns and runs away while giggling, you would probably be moderately curious at most. That is probably not a familiar experience to you, so you might wonder what is going on with the child. But would you feel threatened in any way?

What if you receive a bulk email in which some sender that you do not recognize sends to dozens of addresses the message of “you are not how you should be and so, because you have not met my expectations, I am never going to email you again!” Would receiving that email in any way upset you?

People in their interaction with you are displaying whether they are actually attentive to you or to some extent are fixated on their ideals and expectations. This can be useful to know.

If someone says “you are how you should not be,” then that is a language pattern that we could call rejection. In many cases, the consistent rejecting of others corresponds to a pattern of linguistic self-rejection: “I am not how I should be.” We could call that shame or the state of hell. It is a highly stressed state.

How would someone shame another? When someone says to another person that “you are not how you should be,” that is a language pattern that MIGHT be what is called shaming. When someone says “I am ashamed of you,” the first three words of their statement are “I am ashamed.”

Next, if someone says “you are not how you should be… not yet,” then that is a language pattern that we could call “purgatory.” If someone frequently relates to other people from behind a “wall” of fixating on ideals of “how people should be,” that pattern may also correspond to a state of moderate stress. They may experience their life as “not how it should be… not yet” and if that is how they identify their life, then they could also identify themselves as “not how I should be… not yet.”

How do they typically identify others in that state of moderate stress: “not yet how they should be.” This is actually a state of being “out of focus” or inattentive. It is naive. By focusing on some ideal with desperation, we can notice a few things about someone and then anxiously presume that, because of a few details or events that fit our ideals, then they SIMPLY MUST BE a perfect fit for some set of ideals that we already had about “that special person who would make our life change from not yet how it should be to finally being how it should be.” When we find out inevitably that the reality of that person is not a perfect match for those ideals (that the ideals are not a perfect match for them), then we may react with a sense of terror and cover our recognition of our prior naivete with accusations of betrayal.

Of course, it is also possible that someone intentionally misled us about being a perfect match for our ideals. Maybe they did deceive and betray us. Have you ever noticed that, in purgatory, people often say things like “people should never deceive me?”

Did one specific person alter my language patterns from purgatory to hell? Did they stop me from saying “I am not yet how I should be” and train me to say “I am how I should not be?” There is an entire culture or sub-culture of people who worship ideals in ways that correspond to a shameful rejection of themselves for any contrast between their experience and whatever ideals they have been programmed to worship.

snake eating itself

Note that the focus is not directly on the actual reality of anything itself, but only through the filter of the ideals.  Ideals do not need to be used in that way. That is relating to ideals from idealism (from a state of stress).

Further, there is even some functionality to relating to ideals from stress (or a highly cautious state). When a small child is taught a few ideals about “what kind of people are safe,” then it is okay to have a set of ideals ready so that we can test whether others behave in ways that we will categorize as “presumed safe” or “presumed dangerous.”Ideals and presumptions are very useful. That is why they exist. However, it is most useful to know that presumptions are always presumptive. Sometimes, our initial presumptions might be established as currently inaccurate (and maybe never were accurate).

So, ideals can be related to just as values or preferences, such as “I especially value people who ____.” That is not “stressful language.” That is not distress.

Distress can also be useful. For instance, through distress we can come to notice the contrasting quality of alertness (and to greatly value alertness).

Only after coming to appreciate the rarity of calm alertness would one consider the possibility of investing time in to developing attentiveness to the relationship between various patterns of linguistic behavior and the experience of calm alertness. Who is further along that path of clarity that might assist you in promoting calm alertness?

If you are reading this now and recognize the clarity demonstrated in this presentation, you can request additional assistance. How can you create relationships and a lifestyle that promotes relief from stress and distress as well as the developing of calm alertness?

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