Stress is Part of Life
Stress is ubiquitous and unavoidable. Some stress is self-imposed due to our beliefs and actions, and some are imposed from outside, often beyond our control. Because yoga originated in India and spread throughout Asia, it shares many Buddhist beliefs and practices. Buddhism maintains that suffering is an inevitable part of life. Dukkha (suffering) is experienced in many forms. We are vulnerable to a multitude of human experiences that cause suffering, such as hunger, fear, loneliness, hatred, loss, and pain.
This is the first of four Noble Truths that form the foundation of Buddhist precepts. The second is the Truth of Craving. We lust after what we don’t have. In Judeo-Christian faith, a commandment is “Do not covet your neighbor’s wife.” It is also said, “Do not desire your neighbor’s house.” The urge to get what you don’t have is pervasive to the human condition. Craving causes stress because we can’t always get what we want. And often, if we get what we want, it doesn’t satisfy us; we want more, or something different.
If there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life.
Albert Camus, “Summer in Algiers.” The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays (1955)
Man’s freedom is never in being saved troubles, but it is the freedom to take trouble for his own good, to make the trouble an element of his joy. It can be made so only when we realize that our individual self is not the highest meaning of our being, that in us we have the world-man who is immortal, who is not afraid of death or sufferings, and who looks upon pain as only the other side of joy. He who has realized this knows that it is pain which is our true wealth as imperfect beings and has made us great and worthy to take our seat with the perfect.
Rabindranath Tagore, Sādhanā: The Realisation of Life (1914)