Pressure is a part of life. The trick is knowing how to overcome the mental pressure and negativity of life so you can just, you know, enjoy your days here on this third rock from the sun.
The most enlightened people know that negative thoughts and mental pressure are a part of life. But by teaching your mind to put negative thoughts aside you can enjoy a positive mind.
So let’s just face the reality of the situation.
There will always be pressure. If you want happiness you need to learn how to overcome mental pressure.
If today’s society there will always be pressure.
Society has led people to separate themselves from the outside world. We are becoming more and more a society of people desperately trying to “Keep up with the Joneses.” We have a clear idea of the sort of people that we want to be—rich, successful, popular…—and a clear idea of the people we don’t want to be–poor, unsuccessful, unpopular…
But instead of guiding us towards happiness and success, our ideas of what is right and what is wrong are imprisoning us. And most of us don’t ever break free because we don’t know how to overcome the mental pressure.
I can honestly say for myself that I wasted years of my life trying to be what I thought I should be, rather than being who I truly am. Years I wasted living a lie. Because I too did not know how to overcome the mental pressure.
When I say I was a “lie” I don’t mean I was intentionally being false to myself or misleading people. What I mean is that it was so ingrained in me that I should be popular, that I should be working a 9-5 job, that I should be doing this that and the other. I had a ton of mental pressure and I allowed that pressure to hammer me out of shape.
I was trying to live by what society told me I should be. The vast majority of people are in the same boat. They’re trying to be what they think they should be, rather than what they truly are.
But I do need to be what society dictates, to a degree: I need a job, I need friends. And here’s where we have to face another truth.
Some of the social pressures and mental pressures are there for a reason.
Some of the pressure life puts on us is there for a reason.
It’s true that we should have money (if not riches at least enough to survive) and friends, and that we should be contributing towards society. There certainly are realities of living, and sure, we all have to pay rent, or a mortgage, or the bills. That’s reality. But here’s where things get convoluted. H
ere’s where the mind gets confused. Our minds are led to believe that having money means having a 9-5 job. Or that being popular means fitting in, being like other people…
The mind makes associations at the drop of a hat, and most of the time they are not true.
You do not need to work a 9-5 in order to have money. In fact, there are millions of people out there who would make more money if they ditched their safe 9-5 jobs and worked towards their passions, towards the thing that they truly think they should be doing, but which they are afraid to try.
Social pressure will always be in your life
How do you stop social pressure from making you basically go crazy?
Social pressure effects everyone.
Consider rich people.
It’s wrongly believed by many that crime and drug abuse is higher among the poor. But in truth, levels of both crime and drug abuse are higher in the wealthy than in the average individual. Psychological problems are common in the wealthy elite too. Self-injurious behaviour like cutting and burning are common too.
The problem with the elite is that they expect constant reward and constant success. They expect to excel at school and at business almost without effort, as though it is par for the course. This constant demand for reward can lead them to substance abuse. That’s why they constantly claim “We work hard, we play hard” even though the average wealthy elite works less hard than those on minimum wage.
These demands for rewards and success don’t just exist in their own minds. They’re part of peer pressure too. Whether its kids and school or adults in business, the elite expect each other to succeed, and that social pressure can build and can lead the elite to act in wrongful ways. A millionaire employee, for instance, might cheat his employees to line his own pockets simply because he looks bad compared to his friends, who are even wealthier than he is. And really, unless the average person makes frequent contributions to charities they’ve little right to complain (for you, yourself, are probably a lot richer than many other people, and yes, you probably think you deserve that, but the wealthy elite think likewise, and that is the entire problem).
The wealthy elite are also constantly close to achieving their lofty ambitions. Take Donald Trump. He’s very close to becoming president. Okay, polls suggest he won’t make it. But he is close enough to taste it. And that temptation can make him act wrongfully to secure his ambition, even though to you and I he has no reason to want any more success than he’s already achieved.
These constant pressure for the elite are precisely the same as they are for the average person, which likely includes yourself. What makes you occasionally do the wrong thing? What makes you sometimes act in selfish ways? The usual culprits. Trying to keep up with the Jones’s. Trying to achieve those ambitions that are currently just out of reach. It’s the same deal for you as it is for the wealthy elite.
So how, then, do you change these things. How do you take control of all those pressure in your mind so you can act in rightful ways despite the pressure?
Meditation helps you to take control of your mind and to see past the social pressure. When you meditate you are able to see the inner workings of your mind more clearly.
Imagine being one of the wealthy elite. Even though they are so privileged, they still feel the pressure to keep up with their friends who are even richer than they are. They don’t realise that social pressure has a grip on them. So they act wrongfully. If they meditate they will see the pressure and will be able to step away from it. They will then gain control of their minds and will be able to act in rightful, moral ways even when the pressure is on. That’s the answer to curing greed in the rich. That’s why we are teaching meditation to people all around the world, including the wealthy elite.
Thankfully you can overcome the mental pressure. You can take control of your mind. And you can have mental freedom.
In my experience one of the best ways to have mental freedom is to practice mindfulness.
When I was 27 I went through a time of intense stress and ended up going to therapy. And the one thing that helped me more than anything else was mindfulness.
So let me lead you through a little spot of mindfulness. I think you’ll find this elucidating.
TAKE FIVE MINUTES right now and ask yourself: what am I? What profession is me? What should I be doing to make money? What is my perfect job?
For me it’s writing and teaching spirituality. Now, clearly, that is not easy. Most writers don’t make a packet of money. It would be significantly easier for me to just jack it in and get the 9-5 that society dictates I should have. But there’s also one thing I know for absolute certain: If I did that, and if I quit writing, I would be living a lie.
Are you lying to yourself? Is there something else you should be doing? Are you being 100% true to yourself? If not, why not?
If you take a moment to consider those questions, I’m confident you’ll notice one thing: that your mind creates a million reasons why you should be doing what society dictates, rather than what you know, deep in your heart, that you should be doing.
Your mind will create myriad thoughts, feeling and fears all of which keep you slave to your idea of “I”. Your mind is obsessed with the self, and that obsession prevents you from living your life 100% true to yourself.
You need to change that aspect of your mind. And to do that you need to know how to overcome the mental pressure in life.
Your mind is obsessed with the “self”. The self created mental pressure. And you need to beat that mental pressure if you want to be free.
Here’s a really simple test that you can do to discover just how powerful and how detrimental your “SELF” is: Choose one thing which is the complete opposite to you, one thing which you would never normally do, and try to do it.
- For instance, if you’re the type of person who spends an hour in the washroom making yourself look perfect before you go to the corner store, then go out without dressing yourself up—no make up, no hair gel, no fancy clothes.
- OR, if you’re the type of person who wouldn’t be seen dead in a bar watching a football game, go do that.
- OR (this is a good one) if you’re the type of person who is shy and hates public speaking, find as big a group of people as you can and speak in front of them.
- Choose one thing which is absolutely not you (in other words, it is opposed to the idea of your SELF) and do it. Or just try to do it.
- Please do this by the way. It’s really very important. Go ahead, I’ll just wait here…
Afraid of speaking in public?… Go do it!
Okay, done it? Good. If you’ve actually done the thing you said you never would do, you’ve already started to overcome the mental pressure.
So now we know that your mind creates a ton of mental pressure to try and force you to live up to your idea of your self. Great. What do you do about it?
When you did that exercise above you will have noticed two things.
Firstly, when you try to do the thing which is 100% not you, your mind goes nuts! It creates all manner of thoughts, all manner of reasons why you can’t possibly speak in public or go out without dressing up. Your mind becomes like a little baby throwing its toys out the pram. It creates so many negative thoughts and fears. And you either cave in to those thoughts, or you overcome them.
If you happened to overcome those thoughts—if you actually did the thing which was not you—then you will have found a powerful sense of liberation. You’ll feel free. You will have started to overcome the mental pressure. It will feel like you’ve taken a big breath of fresh air.
Because, in a way, you have taken a big breath of fresh air, or at least your mind has. You’ve opened your mind to new possibilities.
Your mind holds you in a prison known as the SELF. Whenever you tear down one of those self-imposed walls, you feel profound liberation. You feel a breakthrough, because you’ve become less about the self, less and duality, and more about non-duality and oneness.
I wasn’t able to complete the challenge: I had too many negative thoughts
If you either tried to complete the exercise but couldn’t, or didn’t even try, then welcome to the club. Because in today’s society, we’re all too afraid to venture outside of our selves for even a brief moment.
Your mind creates mental pressure for itself. It creates negative thoughts to try to stop you from ever do something that is not “you”
You probably noticed that your mind created all sorts of negative thoughts. If, for instance, you tried to go out without getting dressed up, you may have heard a voice in your head saying “I can’t let people see me like this” or “I look stupid” or something similar. Your mind actively prevented you from doing what you set out to do. And if that’s the case, you have clearly yet to master your mind, and the reason why is because your sense of self is overbearing.
You may notice that your mind even creates negative thoughts when you’re not doing anything in particular. You might just be walking down the road and hearing a voice in your head or seeing mental images. Really, though we like to differentiate our self from such people, we’re really not too different from people who “Hear voices in their heads.” The same people who are put on medications. The only differences are that we “healthy” people generally just hear one voice, we don’t feel a compulsion to act on what it says, and we don’t talk to it. We do, however, hear a voice in our head, and that voice interferes with our ability to enjoy the present moment, and our ability to feel oneness.
Thankfully it is possible to immediately begin to silence that voice in our head, to silence our selves and to develop our sense of oneness. The key is mindfulness.
Mindfulness: The state of being calmly aware and without judgment. Mindfulness, essentially, is seeing the present moment, without thought, without judgment, with total acceptance. this is the key to rewiring your brain.
The best way how to overcome mental pressure is to practice mindfulness.
The more we practice mindfulness exercises, the more we live in the present moment, and the less control our thoughts have on us and the more we are able to rewire your brain. Mindfulness enables us to develop oneness by simply accepting all that is there.
The next time you find yourself experiencing too many thoughts, simply sit back and be aware of your thoughts. Be aware of the person thinking those thoughts. Don’t judge the thoughts as good or bad (such judgments only strengthen your sense of I / THEM). Just accept the thoughts, be aware of them, detach from them, and simply observe them in the same way you would observe something that happens outside of yourself.
EXERCISE: The next time you experience too much thinking, imagine that you’re sitting by the sea. Your thoughts are the waves. Watch them coming and going. Don’t judge them or challenge them, simply observe them.
if you’re ready to rewire your brain, and you understand that mindfulness exercises are the key, start reading my new book, Journey To The Buddha Within.