Are We Choosing Stress?

Image of man at the beach with an Eckhart Tolle quote “Stress is caused by being ‘here’ but wanting to be ‘there’.”

I saw this Eckhart Tolle quote two days ago and saved it. “Stress is caused by being ‘here’ but wanting to be ‘there’.”

It’s okay to be in a blizzard (here) wishing you were in a calmer and warmer climate (there). It’s when we try to CONTROL our minds to think entirely or mostly of ‘there’ that we can get into trouble. Think about what your mind and body undergo when you obsess over things you can’t control and neglect to see the information, lessons, and growth built in the ‘now.’

Yesterday, I sat in a group session with a Buddhist Monk. Are you shocked? If you truly know me, then you shouldn’t be. 😉 Anywho, he basically said (as I’m paraphrasing), “…the past has already happened; it’s gone and can’t be reclaimed or changed, the future is a dream yet to be determined, and just like our minds are impermanent, the present is an impermanent moment that is subject to change.”

As I type this, I think of the Bible study plan “Cover to Cover: The Story of the Bible” (by Renew Devotionals, available in the YouVersion Bible app), and Day 49 covers “The Supremacy of Christ: Colossians.” The author of the plan reflected on how we pray to God (often begging for a change of our present circumstances), and instead of waiting and trusting Him to intervene on our behalf, we rush to fix and control things, then we panic when we blunder, and THEN we say “Okay, God I trust and wait for You.”

We’re not willing to sit in the present. We’re too busy struggling to get to the future or the impossible past. We claim we want vision, discernment, clarity, and patience but then panic and freak out when we see what we can’t control.

Business Mentor Darren Hardy often speaks of humans craving “more more more,” always seeking bigger and better, never being satisfied with what we have, later regretting our decisions, and then pining for a past that we can no longer have.

Taking in these perspectives and the Eckhart Tolle quote and running with these insights, what choice will you make?

  1. Will you CHOOSE to be present and aware, even uncomfortable, in your moment, knowing that circumstances are subject to change in the next moment (the future)?
  2. Or will you obsess over the possibilities of the future and/or yearn for a past you can no longer have?

Will you accept that your ‘here’ is now and possibly waiting to unfold and be shaped, and that ‘there’ is either gone (because it’s in the past) or it’s yet to be determined (because it’s in the future)?

Will you choose mindfulness or stress?