In Eastern traditions, the mind is said to be the cause of our bondage and the cause of our freedom. Henry Ford put it like this, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” It’s in the mind that the entire world of spirituality plays out. Some say the mind is where everything plays out. Everything in your world is perceived through your mind which presents the world as you envision it to be. But, many aspects of the mind are not considered a necessary part of its functions; worrying is taught to be one of the lowest things we can do.
Worrying has changed many lives. It has prevented great success and has robbed many of their joy. To stop worrying is tough, but not impossible. As I have made my way through life, I have learned to stop worrying about most things and just let the world unfold in front of me. Yes, I still have moments of worry and still must deal with the voices and demons in my head. The more I let go, the more I can silence the voices and demons in my head and the better life gets.
I have found that by adopting a few lessons on worrying from Buddhists, an astounding change can take place in your life.
Here’s how you do it!
In India, a common analogy used for the human mind is a monkey. Monkeys love jumping from one tree to another, like how our mind jumps from one thought to another. This also, reminds me of the movie Up. In the movie there is a dog going about its daily business of being a dog when it sees a squirrel. The dog’s head comes up over the hedge and the dog yells, “SQUIRREL.” The dog forgets about what he was doing and begins chasing the squirrel. People do the same thing. They are working hard when in a snap their thoughts change, they drop the work they were doing, and they are off chasing the new thought. When something attention-grabbing comes up, the mind naturally wants to think about it. The only problem is that it easily slides right into worrying which requires awareness to stop it from happening.
The more you worry the more you tend to become agitated. We get wrapped up in something that may not even exist except for in our mind. The important thing is to take a step back and get out of that energetic ‘space’ by letting go of that thought pattern. Walk away for a bit. Many things used to trigger my fight or flight response. When something would trigger my response, most times I was ready to stand and fight. A person acting a certain way, wearing certain types of clothing or saying certain things could trigger my response. When I got help, the first thing I was taught was to walk away. It’s very hard to do, but it works in big ways. Walking away helps you to see things from a different perspective and with a more objective eye.
Over many years I have now come to understand that in of itself, worrying doesn’t help anything. In many ways, all it does is take your life slowly away from you. Think of all the times you worried about things in the past. Did it help in any way? Did it change anything in any way? Notice how you are in the present moment with your current state of worry. Ask yourself if it will be any different if you stopped worrying? Ask yourself if I continue to worry will it make any difference to the outcome? Chances are the answer to both questions will be NO. Now ask yourself why you spend so much energy on worrying?
We worry because we feel out of control in certain situations. When I am in crowded places I feel I can’t watch everyone which makes me worry about my safety. I don’t feel in control. We’re searching for a way to regain control which causes our worry. This searching and uncertainty can be hard for the ego to accept. Over the years I continue to learn that instead of fighting that uncertainty, learn to embrace it. I have learned that what is meant to happen is going to happen regardless of how in control I believe I am. The bottom line is you can’t control everything, and the universe operates on change. This is a hard truth, but one that defines our life whether we want it to or not.
When we are mindful, we allow things to fall into place. When we live only in the present moment, a part of us deep inside is detached from the outcome. This detachment gives us a sense of peace and contentment. Things flow easier when we don’t push them to happen or try to control them. Life becomes easier and more fulfilled.
An old man was asked what had robbed him of joy the most in his lifetime. He replied, “things that never happened.”
Stop your worrying and get on with living your life.
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