Breaking the Stress Cycle is like breaking the leak cycle in your house where one leak follows another, and as. you fix one another starts. Like when you push down on a bubble in a waterbed, another bubble pops up. Not understanding the cycle, we can either destroy the water bed in our frustration or have a nervous breakdown and medication. This is the frustration of the Coyote trying to catch the Road Runner. You need an intervention when the mind is caught in a Leak Cycle.
Spiritual practices and most therapies are the ways we can intervene in the Stress Cycle, but therapy and the priest and medication, and even yoga and the like are external interventions. What I’m interested in is a portable intervention that does not depend upon external support. And that is Zen, if you will allow my wide angle understanding of Zen.
Zen intervenes in the stress cycles of our mind, and believe me, the operating system of our thinking mind is stress. Thinking creates stress. Thinking is the Ouroboros or snake devouring itself, the dog chasing its own tail, which we love to watch out pets do.
Stress and worry is a vicious vortex that is normal in our western culture, especially American. We even like stress because it goads us to action…but it’s the action of devouring ourselves.
The four ways I show here of intervening in the Stress Cycle of the mind is (1) RAIN (2) breath, (3) allow & Forgive, (4) yoga and I should add (5) meditation. R.A.I.N is a Zen practice of Recognizing stress as a feeling of pain, Allowing the feeling to be there, Inquiring into the feeling or exploring it, and Not identifying with the feeling as MY emotion, my story of stress.
Using Breath is a meditation technique for stabilizing the worry mind on breath because breath is not thought. Allow & Forgive would by a Christian path, and, of course, yoga is the intervention through the body itself, releasing the tension in the body through the body.
There are two ways of intervening in the Stress Cycle or Worry Cycle: after the fact and during the fact. Of course, the latter is more difficult because it works, while the former creates the condition where the real time intervention can at some point begin to spontaneously happen. One cannot by effort and will power intervene in the stress cycles, as the effort itself is the pushing down on the water bed bubble, which creates the stress one is trying to get rid of.
So the spontaneous intervention is not through effort, but through Seeing itself, and Seeing is not an act of the personal will. Seeing is impersonal. Awareness itself is impersonal, for it sees the personal, and the personal is the stress cycle.
One, therefore, first creates a practice of intervention, which creates the conditions where intervention happens spontaneously…ah…that’s when the rubber hits the road.