To Please Others
by Friends of Godwin
I think a reason why there can be stress in our lives is because of the idea of doing things perfectly. We fear to make mistakes and this itself, the concern and preoccupation we have not to make any mistakes, can also create a lot of stress. And another factor perhaps related to this is, we have become very conscious of what others think of us. We have given such power to other people, and sometimes what others think of you can create your own happiness or unhappiness.
Sometimes I meet people who are always trying to please other people because, as I said, what others think of you has become extremely important, and this aspect of trying to please others can create a lot of tension and stress. So what has happened is that for different reasons which are related to the modern way of living, a lot of stress and tension has been created.
Perhaps another factor that comes to my mind is that with the advent of consumerism and materialism in the modern world, we have become extremely dependant on external things. Because of this dependency, again our happiness and our unhappiness are dependent on these external things. I like to see it as using toys. In the modern world, human beings have created a lot of toys to please themselves, to excite themselves, to get over their boredom and loneliness. So sometimes it’s a case of changing one toy for another and still they cannot get any satisfaction. The reason is that they have something lacking in themselves, so that whatever happens to them, whatever they get, is not good enough, something different should happen. So most of the time, or even all the time, people are dissatisfied.
So I see meditation in a way as learning to be our own toy. So if we can learn to really enjoy our own company, if we can be really happy with ourselves, if we can be really contented with ourselves, this would be a way of becoming independent of external toys. And in this way, stress can be reduced a lot.