Dealing with CrisisWhat is a Crisis?Stress is a part of our daily lives as we go about our normal tasks but when it becomes so much that we feel that we cannot cope, it constitutes a crisis. Such a situation can be at home or at work or in any sphere of our lives and can be triggered off by innumerable factors. However, it is important to remember that whatever may be the external circumstance the essential crisis is always within us. As the Mother remarks:People think that their condition depends on circumstances. But that is all false. If somebody is a `nervous wreck’, he thinks that if circumstances are favorable he will improve. But, actually, even if they are favorable he will remain what he is…it is not the circumstances that have to be changed: what is required is an inner change. We must, however, not also be harsh on ourselves when we are in a crisis mode because it is human to breakdown sometimes and to feel that it is the end of the world.Emotional and psychological crises are peculiar to human beings alone in the entire creation. Why do they happen? The Mother explains:It is obvious that what especially characterizes man is this mental capacity of watching himself live. The animal lives spontaneously, automatically, and if it watches itself live, it must be to a very minute and insignificant degree, and that is why it is peaceful and does not worry. Even if an animal is suffering because of an accident or an illness, this suffering is reduced to a minimum by the fact that it does not observe it, does not project it in its consciousness and into the future, does not imagine things about its illness or its accident.With man there has begun this perpetual worrying about what is going to happen, and this worry is the principal, if not the sole cause of his torment. With this objectivising consciousness there has begun anxiety, painful imaginations, worry, torment, anticipation of future catastrophes, with the result most men—and not the least conscious, the most conscious—live in perpetual torment. Man is too conscious to be indifferent, he is not conscious enough to know what will happen….
How can a problem be solved when one doesn’t have the necessary knowledge? And the unfortunate thing is that man believes that he has to resolve all the problems of his life, and he does not have the knowledge needed to do it. That is the source, the origin of all his troubles—that perpetual question, `What should I do?’ which is followed by another one still more acute, `What is going to happen?’ and at the same time, more or less, the inability to answer. How does a crisis get triggered of? We ourselves can do it or it may be people who are closes to us like our parents, siblings and friends that may do it knowingly or unknowingly. There may be outsiders whose opinion we value or who may be important to us. They too can cause us undue stress. Also, certain circumstances make us more susceptible to stress. High-pressure jobs or chronic ill health makes us vulnerable. Social, financial, professional or family problems can cause emotional disturbances of crisis proportions. But we have to remember that `failure’ or a sense of inadequacy is a part of human existence and not something to fall down upon:Physical exercise releases psychological stress and releases energy. Any physical activity is therapeutic at a time like this. It may be physical work at home, like cleaning of cupboards or dusting and sweeping. Or, it may be a long walk or exercise which is also a great stress buster. It prevents us from unhealthy brooding and generates energy which is life preserving. As the Mother says: “Unless you work hard you do not get energy; because in that case you do not need it and don’t deserve it.” Also, “A good material work not exceeding normal capacities is most useful in keeping a good physical and moral poise.”