Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Stress and our highest intentions

"A Cheerful Message"  Collage by Lani and textures from FlyPaper
Author Andy Douglass was listening to the Indigo Girls speak on "On Being".  There was some questioning of where the great protest songs of this era are? It's not like we don't have things to protest, that's for sure.  "We Shall Overcome", "This Land is My Land," and so many classics are sung at rallies, and Andy wondered about contemporary songs that touch the collective spirit. He asked his FaceBook friends why we don't seem to have strong protest music like earlier generations had.  Why aren't we writing the songs that tell the stories that are happening to us now?

I gave the question some thought, and started wondering about  our high speed, noisy, cluttered, over-crowded lives.  Could it be that we are so stressed, we've lost our collective spirit?  Stress is so chronic, so pervasive we may be increasingly self involved and less capable of the kind of empathy required to participate in affiliative experiences. It's those affiliative, collective experiences which give rise to that feeling of a common spirit, a wish for justice for all, and of course classic protest music.

We have all experienced the physical response to stress, how our heart beats faster, how our breath gets shallow, and how our blood pressure rises and that's all pretty easy to talk about.  But stress also means self absorption, a heightened sensitivity about internal and external stimulus, and a need to keep the "self" safe.  This may be a little trickier to observe if we are under stress. 

But just think back to a stressful day (you may not have to look far).  Don't you find people drive like lunatics, seem to be the most rude and unkind when you are under stress?  In situations like that, or even in the normal day to day bombardment of life, how can we best notice that we are a part of a whole?  How can we remove a little less stress from our lives?  How can we all learn to be more sympathetic,  more kind to our "selves" (all of our selves, not just "me")?  Perhaps with some reduction of stress around us, we can become more affiliative, which further reduces stress.  We can be more open, we can hear the stories around us, and we can start to align our thoughts, our words, and our actions with our highest intentions, and we can write the songs that so badly need to be sung.

Here's a little example of collective spirit, affiliation and light in a dark place.  "Here comes the sun."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Who couldn't grin hearing that? What a wonderful way for "officialdom" to help with the stress that their "clients" are dealing with. Get on board, say I.