Sometimes, we humans are able to transcend worry, yet we don’t quite know how or why. Much of the time, it’s because we’re able to create a positive vision of the future to live into rather than “fearing into the future.”
Sri Chinmoy wrote: “Transcendence is a never-ending climbing process, a dynamic reality.”
To “climb” out of worry requires forward vision and a realization that, as Chinmoy says, we are engaged in a never-ending, ever-changing process. Worry is often based on a belief – and a mostly vain hope – that if we handle what we’re currently worried about, we’ll somehow reach a state of no-worry and everything will finally be okay.
Yet, experience teaches many of us that situations over which we could worry just keep on coming at us. Do you have a practice with which to meet difficulty that indulges very little in worry? If so, how reliable is it and what makes it work for you? If not, what is the likelihood that you have a pattern of worry in the face of life itself that you may want to work on?
“Now it seems to me that love of some kind is the only possible explanation of the extraordinary amount of suffering that there is in the world.” Oscar Wilde
Is there any other area of life that has produced as much worry and suffering as love? Must love produce suffering, or is the suffering a product of a combination of love with something else . . . like fear of loss and / or regret?
If so – if suffering is unnecessary with pure love – it’s because love is unconditional and to create suffering because of what one “feels” is love is to create needless suffering.
Have you ever worried over love and turned the experience into suffering? How did you transcend it? What role, if any, did fear play in your experience of suffering? Wilde says “love of some kind” plays a role in all suffering. What other kinds of love besides romantic love, if any, have contributed to your suffering in your life?
Worry is irrational, when you think about it, because worry falls into two basic categories: things we can’t do anything about and things that we can.
For the things we can’t do anything about, worry is needless suffering. When we can do something about what worries us, we can take action. Of course, this is a simple approach – but it makes sense. Sometimes, the hardest thing has been to do what makes the most sense.
Worrying is a habit that we most likely were taught by powerful role models in our lives. Like most habits, it can be changed with focus and attention.
What have you been worrying about that you can’t change? Can you give up at least that worrying?
What have you worrying about that you can change? What actions can you take to address those issues?
The world can be a scary place, and there are endless reasons to be concerned. Yet, meeting those concerns with worry generally produces no worthwhile result. Most often, worry causes needless suffering.
Dorothy Thompson said:
“Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.”
Consider that worry is a form of fear. Worry can range in degree from mild to completely debilitating. Fearing the unknown and creating movies in our mind about what can go wrong is a bit like focusing on having an accident while you’re driving: not the smartest, safest or most effective thing to do.
What has been your relationship to worry? Has worry ever truly served you? How do you manage worrisome thoughts when they occur?