On a spiritual level, pressure can be defined as an external force acting on us divided by our ability to bear the force or resist it. Thus, force and resistance capacity are two variants in the equation of pressure. Everyone has different resistance capacities. Two people with different resistance capacities will experience different amounts of pressure on being subjected to the same magnitude of force. A feeling of pressure absorbs our freedom and gives us an experience of being ruled by an external entity. There are a lot of people who hold the belief that they can experience freedom only in the absence of an external force, which is almost impossible, since there is almost some force or the other exerted on the soul by ups and downs that takes place in the role that it plays through the physical body; which includes the physical body itself; profession; family; wealth, all types of relationships, etc. Even our own personality, thoughts, feelings, emotions etc. exert pressure on us at times.
Apart from the resistance capacity, the other variant in the equation of pressure is not only force but our perception of what the magnitude of the force is. This depends primarily on the beliefs that we carry. Two people will perceive the same situation in their role (as explained above) as forces of different magnitudes. While we hold the belief that life events, people and their expectations from us, are the forces that are the causes of our pressure, we will be able to do little to change the habit of being pressurized. It is we who pressurize ourself and allow the outside to pressurize us. We can either go through our life journey while experiencing feelings of being emotionally imprisoned, confused, rushed and hurried, or we can do the same with the power of faith and determination, at the same time remaining patient and maintaining our inner emotional stability. In some cases, some of us put pressure on ourselves, because we carry the belief that a bit of pressure is good in order to achieve what we want; it provides us with positive energy and motivates us. So this is an example of perceiving a force in our life, a force which does not exist. Such kind of pressure can deceive us and give us a feeling of being beneficial in the short term but it can have harmful effects on us in the long term. Some others might not experience this pressure because they do not carry this belief at all and don’t invite this force.
Can we experience freedom only when there is an absence of outside pressure? We feel pressured from many sides. At work, we feel the pressure to do tasks as per fixed guidelines of set systems and within boundaries of time, of keeping up our performance as per others’ expectations and as good as our compatriots. In relationships, we feel the pressure of experiencing success in them, of satisfying others and gaining respect from them. In studies, we feel the pressure of having to excel in them, not only because that is instrumental in building our future but because of the desire to be seen in a positive light by others. We feel the pressure of having to earn more and more wealth to satisfy the necessities, comforts and luxuries of the family and to maintain a certain image in society. In the face of problems, we feel pressure when we are not able to solve them quickly or in the way that we want. Failure or its fear, in any sphere of life, generates pressure in us. Sometimes we experience pressure because the mind is not functioning as per our desires or directions or we are not able to transform our negative personality to a positive one as much as we want. When we believe that something harmful can happen if we don’t reach our set objectives on time or in a certain manner, we feel pressured. Physical illnesses or their fear can also create pressure for some of us.
And so life turns into an endless amount of pressure crests, like speed breakers that appear one after the other, unsettling us and not giving us time to relax. When we feel pressured, it seems that the life forces rule our life and we do not feel free. In the long-term, this repetitive habit of creating feelings of pressure and carrying such baggage ends up leaving us exhausted on an emotional and spiritual level.
Sometimes the pressure we are carrying is related to the situation we are in, sometimes we even carry a pressure of one situation in another situation i.e. it is unrelated pressure. All this continues throughout the day, day after day. What all this pressure does is increase the quantity of thoughts that we carry in our mind, which in turn reduces our efficiency and discriminating and judging power. The words and actions coming out from such a state of mind are improper and lacking in power, conviction and clarity. To ensure that we do not carry pressure baggage on our emotional back, as per our pressure equation (shared in the first message of this series), we need to change the incorrect beliefs that we carry, which are the root cause of our pressure and at the same time increase our ability to bear the different life forces. We carry thoughts that are determined by our belief of what success is and what failure is, what winning is and what losing is. Although we perceive such beliefs to be true, they are not true; they are like a facade that influence our perception of reality and generate in us feelings of pressure. The truth, on the other hand, is deeper than beliefs.
While meditation will serve as an important tool to increase our inner power to tolerate or resist life forces; spiritual knowledge, understanding and wisdom will serve as an immensely important tool which will help us in correcting our beliefs. So in times of pressure, stopping yourself for a minute and assessing your thoughts, then going backwards, and checking the beliefs which are the root cause of the thoughts at that particular moment and then changing them requires strength and clarity, which we will obtain through the medium of spiritual wisdom. Once the beliefs are corrected, the thought patterns will change. Thoughts like – Maybe I won’t arrive on time or If I don’t finish this assignment successfully, I will lose my next promotion or If I lose my money in this financial investment, my family will stop appreciating me etc. which we create all the time – will be replaced by more positive thoughts of security, fearlessness, patience, peace, faith, determination, certainty etc.