I have explained on this blog that psychological stress is built upon an incorrect framework of understanding life. This incorrect framework includes the “If you are good, you will get” method of developing or controlling people, which sets up the “achievement model” for measuring personal development. But to really understand stress, we have to go deeper. We will have to cover the subject of cause and effect, and see where this takes us.
One of the most obvious things about the universe is that it is that it operates via a system of cause and effect. There is a process of action and reaction which we can witness everyday in the unfolding of our lives, and it is only by this process which events come to take place. Meaning if you believe you need some food, you must try and set in motion a chain of reactions (events) which would lead to you getting some food. Better go to the shop and buy some! So now, say you are at the shopping centre, and you start pondering this question: “How did I get here?” (we’ll pretend you’re not in any rush). Well the most obvious answer might be “I drove here”. But you start thinking that maybe that’s not all there is to it. How many other things played a role in how you got there?
“I drove here because I believed I needed more food”. But how did you come to have a car in the first place? “I have a car because I bought one, which was because I believed having a car was necessary for my work and hobbies”. But how did you get the money to buy the car? And why did you drive to this particular grocery store? “It was the closest big supermarket with cheap prices”. Closest to where? “My home”. But how did you come to live there? “I moved here because the lease ran out it the flat I was living in, and I wanted to live in a house. I found this place through an online advert”. But how did the place come to be available at that time? “Who knows”. And how did you come to live in this city anyway? And why did you believe you needed food? “The kitchen was empty when I was looking for something to eat”. Why was that? “I’ve been too busy to go shopping the last few weeks. I’ve been eating takeaway”. Why don’t you keep eating takeaway? “It’s too expensive”. Why is that only a priority now? “I have some spare time now”. Etc Etc.
I could go on forever, but I think you get the point. Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing and whatever event takes place, you can be sure that there have been trillions of factors have all come together to have caused it. You could trace the causal factors involved in any event or decision making process you find yourself in. If you really wanted you could trace it all back to “how did you come to be conceived anyway?” And you could trace that back to hundreds and thousands of years of cause and effect in action. How did you get to be at the shopping centre? You got to be there due to everything that played a role in how you came to be there. And so, let’s say you are so perplexed by this discovery that you start to ponder a different question. “Why am I not currently somewhere else? Hmmm.
Well, after some thought, you might realise that this question has the SAME ANSWER! The reason you are not currently somewhere else is because of everything which played a role in how you came to be where you currently are! Nothing can happen, without something playing a role in how it comes into existence. And, for everything that does happen, there first existed conditions that could have caused no other event.
But let’s say while you are pondering this, you receive a phone call from a family member saying they had an accident and are in hospital, and also receive a text from your boss asking you to come to work. And, as your mind considers these two things, you think “I believe it is more important to go to hospital and check up on the family member than it is to go to work. And so you drove to the hospital. The point I am making here is that even though there were different options to consider, the eventual action you took was governed by certain beliefs you held. There was a reason you went to the hospital, and it was the same reason you didn’t go to work. This is what it means to live in a world of cause and effect. You could even start thinking about WHY you believed going to the hospital was more important. There is really no end to it, and you won’t ever be in a position to have all the answers on how and why things unfold the way they do, but you can be sure that there is always a process of cause and effect governing it.