Have you ever noticed a low level of anxiety constantly gnawing away inside you? Do you find yourself clenching your jaw, grinding your teeth, fidgeting, seeking meaningless distraction, anything just to handle the stress or get away from the tension you feel just being you?
Yoga calls this DUKHA. It means suffering, imbalance, despair, anguish, anxiety, irritation, uncertainty and more. You get the idea.
If you feel Dukha you are not alone. Despite the fact we have more comforts and material possessions, more freedom and more mobility than any people in modern history Americans are awash in Dukha. As George Carlin put it, “the paradox of our time in history is we have more….” See below.
Dukkha impacts us on all levels:
1. Physiologically – arises from overtaxing our nervous systems, constant fight or flight response. Think of our ancestors: they might have to run away and deal with hardships in staying alive but they also had a lot of time to lie around and do nothing, to completely relax, moving from high level activity fight or flight to calmness and relaxation. Our adrenals get overworked, agitated, we get tense, uptight, on the edge of fear or anger and don’t have time to relax deeply
2. Psychologically – this comes from always REACTING to life. We have a fantasy vision of what our life should be like and how each day should go. When the reality we experience proves different form our fantasy we often react with inappropriate sadness, anger, fear or frustration. We are unable to accept reality and act skillfully when it challenges us. This happens in simple and big ways. Getting stuck in traffic, or unreal expectations of how your beloved should live their life.
3. Spiritually – When we are caught up in the physical and psychology of dukha we lose contact with who we truly are, and what we want to manifest in our lives. This is known as Purusha or Atman.
The remedy to dukha is sukha. Find the sweetness in life. Love more.
Here is one of my all time favorite pieces of Life Advice. It is from George Carlin
“The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up to tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been alltheway to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor.We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things.
We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight,or to just hit delete…
Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever. Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent. Remember, to say, “I love you” to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it.