When you clearly understand that you are part of the grand plan of Existence, no worry can take root in you. Existence is a live energy being. It has tremendous intelligence with which it runs the whole show. We are all part of it. The same intelligence that conducts Existence is available to us too. If we tune in to it, our actions will be fluid and spontaneous like the happenings of Existence. If we don’t tune into it, we will harbor worry and fear and remain closed.
There is so much to learn from Existence!
Take animals, for example. Have you ever heard of worried sheep or cows? No! They conduct their lives like you. They are born, they reproduce, they find food, and they face death, just like human beings. You may say, ‘They don’t have to face the challenges that we have to face.’ What about their other activities like reproduction, facing death, etc.? Are they worried about all that? No! But these things happen to them too. So understand that Existence is running this whole macrocosm. It can surely take care of you as well! Surrendering to the laws of Existence is the greatest relaxation from worry. Once you surrender, you start seeing that everything that happens is auspicious! Nothing causes you any worry. You find blessings in everything. Either there is surrender or worry, never both. Once you surrender, you see that Existence plans even the small things beautifully, only we don’t see it.
The Isavasya Upanishad*, an ancient vedic* text, says, ‘The one who sees all living entities as spiritual sparks, can never have anxiety on any account!’
Everything that happens is a spark of Existence. That is the truth. Whenever your mind suffers with worry, immediately be aware that somewhere you are interpreting the ways of Existence with your own ignorant mental setup. You will then stop worrying and start doing.
If you seriously analyze every worry that arises in you, you will see that ninety nine percent of your worries are baseless. But the problem is that the ego is not willing to accept that. The ego has invested too much in worry. Worry can’t be discarded just like that! Just try telling someone that his or her worries are not worth anything. They will get very offended. You would expect that a person would feel happy if you tell him his worries are not true. But it won’t be so! He will feel offended. The ego feels offended whenever its worries are not acknowledged with due respect.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says beautifully, ‘When living entity forgets the constitutional nature of his relationship with god, he is at once overwhelmed with external energy. This is the cause of his false ego, his identification with his body-mind system!’
Ego comes into play only when you lose your connection with Existence. The ego is what sustains the worry. The worry is created out of ignorance, but sustained by ego. Worry becomes an axis around which the ego revolves. If worry is taken away, the ego suffers. The worry of work and the worry of responsibility are classic examples of this.
Understand that the idea of hard work itself is a myth. Hard work is really just worry plus a little work, that’s all. Real hard work never causes worry. It simply rises and falls like a wave, with great dynamism and intensity. It will never dilute itself with worry.
The fuss is the worry. If you watch some people, they simply magnify their situation to prove that they have the greatest worries on planet earth! If you try to contradict them, they feel very hurt.
Even worrying about what others will say about us is a problem of the ego. The ego is constantly worried that its self-image might be spoiled by someone. It is because of the ego that we feel we want to be somebody special all the time. We spend considerable time just worrying about our self-image. Understand that the greatest blessing is being a nobody and yet being blissful. That is the greatest specialty. It is said that the most extraordinary thing about an enlightened being is that he thinks he is ordinary! So, understand that enlightenment itself is a journey to relax into yourself. You are someone special all the time, only when you drop worry and ego.
If you really want to come out of your worries, you will come out right now, without trying to justify any of your worries.
The thing is, our very worries become our comfort zone. We hide in them. Hiding and merely talking about them helps us to remain lazy.
Someone asks Mahavira*, an enlightened Jain master from India, ‘Who is the one who has worries?’ He beautifully replies, ‘The person who is worried.’
They ask him, ‘What is the cause of worry?’ He replies, ‘Laziness.’
Then they ask him, ‘Who ends worries?’ He replies, ‘Man himself.’
They ask him, ‘How can worry be ended?’ He replies, ‘By dropping laziness.’
If you drop laziness, you fall into right action. And when you fall into right action, you drop worry. Your comfort with worry can be understood even from the way you react to other people’s worries. If you keenly watch, you will observe that whenever a person talks to you about his worries, you first tell them, ‘What can you do… That’s just the way it happens…’ You never straightaway give a solution to them. When you do this, be very clear, you are not only encouraging them, but you are also encouraging yourself to remain comfortably in the worry zone.
Worry can never have an external cause. Externally, events happen. They continue to happen. But your inner space is what decides your response to them. If you choose to respond with worry, be very clear, somewhere within yourself, you are giving into the laziness of your comfort zone. This is where you can simply sit and worry without moving into action. Any external event can be handled with the right decision or action and handled immediately, or you can choose to speak endlessly about your worry. What you choose to focus on is purely in your hands.
We again and again seek out the same old worry! We love to worry and talk about it. It makes us feel that we are shouldering a lot of problems. It makes us feel important, like the world can’t make it without us to take care of it. Worry literally becomes ‘our row’! You are very comfortable with it although you claim you suffer because of it. If you really want to come out of it, you will come out immediately! The question is whether you want to come out of it or remain in the problem. When you see a problem, if you want a solution, you never dwell upon the problem even for a second. You simply switch to the solution, that’s all! In the same way, for every worry there is an instant solution. You only have to want it.
Most of the time, you prefer to stay in the comfort zone of your worry. It keeps you settled. For example, let’s say you are visiting your child at college. You see a few students keeping their rooms all messy or exchanging clothes and wearing them. You record the whole scene in your mind and assume that is the way of life in the dorm itself. You advise your child to keep her things neat and not to wear others’ clothes. Even if she tells you her things are in order and that she doesn’t wear others’ clothes, you will not readily erase or reprogram your recording. You stick with the earlier recording of what you observed.
There probably were many other beautiful things to record in the dorm like the joy of the students, the campus itself, etc., but every time you think of your daughter, only this one recording comes up and you worry about her. Not only that, anyone you meet, you talk about how things are a mess in her dorm and how everyone exchanges clothes and wears them! The recording itself is not the truth. But you choose to have it as your comfort zone. You reinforce it.
I often tell people that if you sit in your house and worry, you call it homework. If you sit in the office and worry, you call it office work. If you sit on the beach and worry, you call it vacation, that’s all! The mind is the same, only the location is different. You can’t experience peace just by changing the place!
You should change the slide in front of the projector to see a different scene, not the projector screen! Any projector screen will show you the same picture if you use the same slide. Trying to change your impression to beat worry is like trying to change the screen to see a different scene. If you really wish to see a different scene, you must change the slide.