tree by blue sea at dusk
black pool
gravel beach and sea
"Victor Daniels'
perspectives on meditation
fit well into this exemplary
author's understanding
..of life itself."
--Erving Polster
". . .And so too do Kooch's."
      WHAT IS STRESS? It is your own mind-emotion-body (psychophysiollogical) response to events outside you in your physical, social, or natural environment, or inside you, such as a disease or injury. It includes muscle tension, your body's internal chemical & electrical responses, and your thoughts about whichever of these matters (stressors) is troubling you. The stressor is the event to which you respond with stress. Stress is a necessary and desirable response to dealing with threats and emergencies -- but many people also feel great stress when they do not need to, and that wears on your mind and body. Your mind can seldom control the stressor, but it has great potential ability to control your stress. For instance, one person may go into a road-rage stress response when cut off in traffic (high stress), while another shrugs her shoulders, shakes her head, and is not much bothered (low stress). It is, of course, possible to be highly stressed but to deny it to yourself because that doesn't fit your self-image of being "cool" or "in control." The cells of the matrix teach you numerous meditative practices to reduce unnecessary stress.    
    WHAT IS TENSION? It is the condition of having your muscles contracted or stretched tight. This may be conscious or unconscious -- a masseur or masseuse may find that a client calves, for instance, are hard as rocks, but the client may not have realized it. Tension may also be momentary or chronic. Wilhelm Reich, who founded mind-body psychiatry and psychology, called chronic tension "muscular armor" which can serve the function of keeping unwanted feelings and emotions out of consciousness. There is also mental or emotional strain, as in the dictionary's line, "a mind that is affected by stress or tenson cannot think as clearly." Finally, there is a strained political or social state or relationship. In all these, the body is usually affected and involved. Chronic tension is bad for your health. The opposite of tension is relaxation, which is generally good for the body and mind, and which allows tensing appropriately in response to environmental conditions that call for it.    
    WHAT IS ANXIETY? Psychiatrist Clarence Rowe defines it as an unpleasant uneasiness, apprehension, uncertainty, agitation, or dread that stems from an unidentified anticipated danger." In other words, you're afraid that something bad might happen but are not sure what it is. In our own experience, sometimes you know and sometimes you don't. If you know, then you're not sure whether it will happen or when. If you don't, it's probably part of your habitual way of meeting the world, and may fall into the category called "anxiety disorder." In either case, meditation can usually help you feel less anxious -- either about a situation or in your general approach to life. Like stress, it is a mind-emotion-body response. Trying to work on it only mentally, or only physically, is likely to have very limited results. The Matrix of Consciousness gives you methods of working with all three of these dimensions of yourself to reduce your anxiety. Anxiety is different from fear, which is a response to something immediately present or almost present. (Since we can't always draw a sharp, rigid line between fear and anxiety, in the Matrix of Consciousness you'll find ways to work with both.)