The sense of exhaustion comes from being overwhelmed or lack of balance in life. Most of us cannot leave suddenly and escape our responsibilities. Does it mean that we are trapped into a chaotic world where we feel everything is out of control? It doesn’t have to be that way.
It is a priority to prioritize. Robert Sapolsky has studied stress all his life. He accumulated a wealth of data on this phenomena. After 25 years of intense study, he realized could bring balance to his life through prioritizing.
A powerful insight dawned on Robert while he was observing baboons in the Serengeti National Park. He saw that they were reacting in a very different way to the same potentially stressful event. Baboons like us establish an order in their society, a hierarchy. They will naturally defend their place and even try to improve it. Each individual baboon can achieve this depending on their personalities. He saw that when a dominant baboon sat in the shade on a sunny afternoon, a lower ranking baboon moving closer to him. There were two possible reactions:
- The leader might see this as a challenge and fight the lower-ranking baboon.
- The leader doesn’t see this as a challenge, but a natural behavior where the lower-ranking baboon tries to protect himself from the sun on a hot day.
Once Robert observed these different behaviors, he took a blood sample from each of the leader of the groups. The baboon had no reactions. It considered this action to be a non-aggressive gesture. He had low levels of cortisol. Cortisol measures our stress level. Robert was measuring the baboon’s sense of priority. The baboons who saw danger in non-dangerous behavior experienced much more stress.
What lesson can we learn from that?
Hard-working mothers can lighten their burden through prioritization. If you feel that you are overwhelmed in life, it could mean that you consider everything a priority. Identify what really matters to us. Look for what is REALLY important and let go of the rest. We simply have to admit that we can’t do it all. We will have to let go somehow. Once this humble activity is achieved, we can reestablish a sense of balance in our life. It will take humility. We are only human not super human.
About the Author
Pierre Gagnon practised concentration and insight meditation intensively from 2010 to 2012, then went on to study meditation at Wat Suan Mokkh with the venerable Ajahn Po from 2013 to 2015. As well as his own practice, he has coordinated meditation retreats in the south of Thailand which were attended by more than 1,000 people.
Having a great passion in the field of neuroscience, he likes to integrate these concepts into meditation practice. He believes that much of our life is lived resisting and defending against internal and external experiences that people perceive as threats. Through the development of concentration and meditation, we can insightfully see that all experiences are harmless and there is no need to defend of contract around them. Pierre has experience coordinating concentration and insight meditation retreats, teaching the relationship that exists between Buddhism and neuroscience.