Worry is an unwanted legacy passed down from grandparents to parents to children. Children are like sponges. They simply absorb the body language and attitude of the parents. The parents are not even aware this is happening. For example, if a child hears the mother repeating a certain worry four or five times, the child simply internalizes the habit. He grows up repeating statements unnecessarily, which is one attribute of worry. Ultimately he carries the worry with him into marriage and then both he and his wife must deal with it, even though it was originally his mother’s concern. They will then hand it down to their children, unless they stop naming it and learn to live with what IS. When parents express constant worry, children grow up thinking life goes on only because of worry! Understand that life goes on not because of us, but in spite of us! This is how we are trained to worry!
The other day, I read a survey about worries. It said that forty percent of the things we worry about never happen, thirty percent are in the past and can’t be helped, twelve percent concern the affairs of others that are not our business, ten percent are about illnesses that are mostly imagined, eight percent are worth worrying about but they are also not worth the energy to worry. They can be overcome by simply putting faith into action. So really, zero percent of our worries are worth the effort!
People will believe anything that is said with statistics! So I am talking with statistics. Otherwise, just one line is enough: don’t worry, just do. Things will happen as they should!
The problem is that parents expect their children to worry! If they don’t worry, they brand them as uncaring. It is possible to care without worrying. Care is doing, worry is chattering. There is no use chattering. Chattering is like trying to cross a bridge before it comes.
There are two things to understand: chronological planning and psychological worry. Chronological planning is needed to set up a schedule for tasks or projects to be completed. For example, you decide, ‘I will wake up at six a.m., do my meditation, then take a shower at seven a.m., and leave for the office by eight a.m. I’ll finish work by five p.m. and return home by six p.m.’
This type of planning is perfectly alright. But before you come to each task on your list, you start creating anxiety about it. You think of the pros and cons of each, etc. This is called psychological worry! This is not needed. Chronological planning is fine, but psychological worry is not needed. It is like trying to cross a bridge before it comes. So much energy is spent worrying, and it is all of no use.
Understand that sensitivity is different from worry. You can be very sensitive to the moment, but not worry at all. If you see children, they are highly sensitive to you when you are sick. But they won’t worry like you do. As long as your child is sensitive to others’ needs, it is perfectly fine. He doesn’t have to worry to show it. In fact, be happy he doesn’t multiply the worries in the house!
You can clean the physical parts of your house like your carpets and floors, but what about the space inside your house? This space is the energy that circulates throughout your house. It captures all the thoughts you radiate. It sets the very mood of the house. Your worries rest like cobwebs in the space of your house. That is why when you enter your house, you experience a familiar pattern of worry. The patterns remaining in the space of your house grip you when you return to it. Understand that your mental setup settles into the space of your house.
By contaminating the space in your house, you subject others to the impure environment without their consent. That is the problem. Many people perform rituals in their homes to cleanse the energy, but that is not enough. After the ritual, you again start airing your negative thoughts in your space. Unless you break free from the mental setup or worry, there is no point in doing cleansing rituals in your home. Along with rituals, you must start airing positive thoughts, so the energy in your house will remain clean.
Worry is a deeply embedded pattern in us. It happens independently, without any solid, valid embedded pattern in us. It is an addiction like smoking and drinking. I read about some recent research conducted at the American College of Chest Physicians. It said that the proportion of people classified as highly nicotine dependent has increased by thirty two percent in the last eighteen years!
Any addiction happens because we want to maintain our patterns. The same is true with worry. You worry to maintain patterns. It becomes your nature.
Understand that the mind is like a piece of hardware programmed with the software called ‘worry’.
For example, let us say you experience depression, or worry, every morning at ten o’clock when thinking of all your unfinished office work. Ten o’clock gets recorded as a low mood time for you. Everyday at exactly ten o‘clock you will experience a disturbance in your mood. Many of you might have experienced this. The same low mood happens on Sunday when there is no office to go to. Then you tell yourself, ‘No, today is a Sunday. I don’t need to go to the office. I don’t need to think about those things.’ Then you have relief but the mind goes back again and again to the same mood, because our mind is programmed hardware.
The stress of suffering or worrying becomes part of our being. If the worry or stress is taken away from us, we feel lonely. We feel we are missing something. When we enter into old age, there won’t be much to worry about because no one will expect us to solve any problems. If you watch elderly people, even if their children are married, and sometimes even their grandchildren are married, they will sit religiously every day and read the ‘wanted bride and groom’ column in the newspaper! One more thing is that when we fall into this software, this worry, again and again, we often end up in dilemma.
What is a dilemma?
It is moving back and forth when making a decision.
The moving happens because there are so many thoughts inside you trying to put their signatures on your final decision! There is great conflict between these thoughts because they were recorded at different times and under different circumstances. So they conflict with each other when a decision has to be made. This conflict becomes your dilemma. For each person, the dilemma is different. There are no standards or rules for a dilemma.
The crisis is different for every person because the mind is made up of a unique set of thoughts for each person. When the thoughts are different, the dilemma becomes different. The worry becomes different. The big problem is that you become so used to your inner software that you end up like an island that is cut off from the fragrance of the mainland. You are cut off from the fragrance of Existence because of your worries. You miss the miracles of Existence that are continuously happening around you. You forget to appreciate and remember only to complain. You forget laughter and remember only anxiety. You forget bliss and remember only stress. Remembering these negative things becomes a mere habit. There are so many miracles happening around us! But all the time we are moving down the track of our own inner software, so we miss the miracles.
What is the solution to this distorted software of the mind?
Deep awareness is the solution. Deep awareness is like a benign virus, if such a thing exists! Once awareness enters your system, the more you work with the mind, the more the awareness gets into the worry software and destroys it!
Awareness is nothing but bringing our focus to exactly what is happening in and around us. It is witnessing. Anything that we watch with awareness will dissolve. That is the power of awareness, whether it is physical pain, mental pain, worry, or something else. When we watch with awareness, we stop the conflict somewhere within us. We start moving with the natural flow of things.
When we watch worry with awareness, we focus light on exactly how worry is created, how it exists. Once this happens, the worry starts to dissolve and clarity starts happening.
In life worries are the knots in the handkerchief. If we look at them with awareness, we will know how to dissolve them. We will see exactly how the worry was created and then know how to ‘untie’ it. The worry itself will teach us how to release it.
First of all, there is no need to worry.
Life itself holds all the solutions. It is a beautiful self-sustaining mechanism. We just need to allow it to function in its natural way. Then we will awaken to its higher intelligence and drop all our worries.
Not only that, when we witness, our mind slows down. Worry itself causes the mind to rush around in what you call anxiety. When awareness is brought in, the rushing slows down and things happen as they should. The teacher clearly means that hurrying is not going to help! When you are in a hurry, there is only anxiety. To really do something, you need only awareness, nothing else. When there is awareness, there is right action. When there is hurry, everything is blurred.
With awareness, anything becomes a blessing, including illness. Have you ever been joyful when you were sick? You can be if you become aware. There is no need to worry about sickness. Even sickness is a part of the flow of Existence. You can feel this if you become more aware of the bigger picture and what is happening at the cosmic level. Awareness simply relaxes you into deeper understanding.