Humanity has always lived with stress. For eons it was mostly about survival, about food, about safety. Once agriculture brought people into villages and then cities, there were additional stresses. Will the crop succeed or fail? Then there was ownership of land or dwelling or stuff that had to be protected. Then there was the concern about getting on the good side of the gods, and the angst about getting back on the good side when natural disasters came, attributed as they were to the displeasure of the gods.
To deal with life, our ancestors had each other. For the most part, extended family lived and worked together and shared joys and woes. Humans are naturally led to community with one another. The shared life was the usual life.
Moving through industrialization and the fracturing of the extended family to the information age, we see countless new stresses. Few share their lives with the support of extended family living together. We find the new term, nuclear family, and many or maybe most of those are fractured. Divorce, mobility (you are free to move about the planet), technology, modern life itself, give people the feeling of facing it all virtually alone. Few know their neighbors, fewer and fewer are part of a church community, clubs and associations have fewer and fewer members. So many relationships are shallow and fleeting.
People worry about little things, about things over which they have no control, about the fear of failure or lack of statis. People are easily led into mental mobs, incited by this or that talking head on television or Twitter. Life is lived in the fast lane with minds racing here and there. More and more people are so insecure that they require everyone to agree with them on all matters, whether it be politics, religion or even what to eat.
Most of our fears and stresses are of own making, born in our minds and elaborated by our fears and wildly racing minds. We are overwhelmed. We have a zillion more things to deal with than those who lived in a simpler time. We're not doing too well with all of this as evidenced by the alarming rise of drug addictions, crime, estrangements, suicide, and murder.
An antidote I use and recommend is stillness. In the quiet of meditation and contemplation, in prayer, in the afternoon with a book, in the sauntering walk with a loved one, in the moments in nature, we can find our center. We can find others who also value stillness and be part of a community of simpatico beings. We can be healed of the franticness of this time. We can find peace and courage and freedom.
Lord, Divine Center, Presence, guide me out of the franticness of "modern life", into the welcoming arms of stillness. I take a deep breath and let go of false stresses, and I turn to You and Your Guidance. Lead me to my deep and true self. I let go and am free.