What is Stress?

TENRIKYO PEARL CHURCH SERMON 2003 December Service

Good morning! I would like to thank you all for your kind support and sincere offerings. I am confident that God the Parent and Oyasama are pleased that you are present here today.


WHAT IS STRESS?

We hear about stress a lot, but what is stress?
A restaurant owner, who lived in the back house, worked long hours leaving his house at 3am in the morning and returning after 10pm at night. He and his mother were the perfect neighbors, because we hardly saw them except on Sundays, when he closed the restaurant. One day he mentioned that his legs were swollen and his veins were showing and he had a hard time standing. He said that his doctor told him that this is due to stress due to standing for many hours.

In another instance, a person was told that she got asthma because of stress.

Where does this stress come from?

I would like to share a book titled, ‘Stress Nurtures People,’ written by a brain surgeon, Dr. Yoshishige Nagaseki, who is a devout Tenrikyo follower and whose father is a Tenrikyo church minister. He wrote that stress comes from the condition in which one is not in a calm or peaceful situation, but when one is irritated, too careful, too tense, disturbed, confused or entangled in a dispute with someone. For example when your boss asks you to do extra work and you complain to yourself why you have to do this job. This is taking on a negative attitude and then you have more stress. On the other hand, when you accept the extra work with a positive attitude, you will have less stress. Which attitude will make the people around you happier? Depending on which attitude you take, you will have more or less stress.

Dr. Nagaseki found that people with a constant negative attitude experience stress and have blood vessels that are constricted and blood flow is reduced causing blood waste to collect and further restrict blood flow.

What kind of stress do most people suffer from nowadays in our modern society? Dr. Nagaseki believes that most people nowadays suffer from relationship problems. When relationships between people aren’t going smoothly, it will eventually cause any of a variety of illnesses. So he believes that illness comes from stress.

Our Foundress, Oyasama said that illness comes from the way we use our mind in our daily life. We tend to use mental dust. They are the eight mental dusts: covetousness, miserliness, greed, arrogance, anger, hatred, self love and holding grudges. In addition, She warns us against falsehood and flattery. These uses of mind will turn into stress and cause illness according to Dr. Nagaseki.

Originally, human beings’ souls are transparent, like a crystal. But when we accumulate the mental dust, the crystal becomes clouded and eventually this turns into illness. Stress causes illness, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, stomach ulcers, and asthma and so no. Of course they are other factors contributing to illness, such as genetically transmitted diseases, environmental situations and personal hygiene, which is not necessarily from stress.

Then how should we handle unexpected stress? How should we understand and face this problem calmly? Illnesses or whatever problems are shown to each of us depending on our different situations. God gave us these illnesses and problems to give us opportunities to reflect and grow. It is up to us to figure out how to overcome our negative situation.

Definitely, God is not trying to make us suffer. But rather God is trying to encourage us to change the direction of our minds towards God’s teachings. We are taught that through saving others, we are saved. This means that we should pray for others who are suffering. We should love other people and we should learn to forgive. And we should then sweep away our mental dust in our daily prayers. That is, we should sweep away the stress that accumulated in our minds. Our minds will then become calm and peaceful and this will stimulate blood flow in our body.
During this holiday season, I’m sure some of you may be going through a lot of stress going shopping, cooking and going to parties. But please remember to be positive and enjoy this happy season.


Announcements:

1. The Hawaii Young Men’s Association and Young Women’s Club will hold their joint General Meeting this Saturday at 1pm.
2. Also, this Saturday, we will be having a garage sale from 7am to 12noon. Proceeds will help cover the costs of renovations which are required by the zoning variance.
3. The Dendocho November Service will be held next Sunday at 9am.
4. The Dendocho Nioigake Day will be held on following day, Monday, at 9am.
5. The weekly service practices are held every Thursday night at 6:00-7:00pm.
6. The Pearl Church New Year’s Day Service will be held at 7am.
As always, I encourage all of you to take advantage of these opportunities for further spiritual growth, which is the path of the joyous life.

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