Triggers could be any — news, social conditioning, mental loops, perfectionism, immaturity, compulsive mental projections — but the fact is its pretty difficult to decide, work or think freely when we are plagued by worries.
We worry about kids’ future, job security, not-yet-occurred illnesses, get affected by past traumas, disturbed by mental projections, and stressed by constant background thinking.
Sometimes we worry or overthink about things which we could have decided with a toss of a coin as every choice thrown at our face doesn’t need to be best in every way. Too many choices and overthinking create decision fatigue and inability to discern between what is significant and what’s not.
Information overload and half-cooked motivational content may add to the pile of brain-impressions about the need to thinking only positively, and consequently, we develop forcing mental patterns and our mind to spin around those patterns. But the habits are die-hard things and fundamentally we cannot drive out negative thoughts completely through such forceful practices. Furthermore, bringing the mind back to desired patterns over and over may cause mental fatigue. The constant struggle with negative thoughts is not only needless but stressful too and affects the ability to work in flow.
Let’s reflect on worry from various angles, definitions, scenarios, losses, and also on solutions to help us drop it or rise above it.
Few definitions or scenarios for clarity on worry structures
- Worry is an attempt to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.
- Worry-state cannot be overcome by even perfect solutions to projected problems because every solution remains imperfect until applied. And because of this unrest, one keeps searching for more and more solution in worry-mode. One has to accept after a point some degree of uncertainty for future.
- Many of us after facing the challenges and undesired events realize that preceding worries were more torturous than the event itself. Worry can also be called horrendous and over-sized-projections of actual events. This may lock many of us in stuck mode and comfort zone, prevent from having greater vision and experimenting, taking calculated risks and having deeply satisfying life experiences.
- Sometimes we stick to old patterns too much and don’t edit those with awareness to tackle the situations spontaneously with courage and run-time intelligence. Thoughts like— “why to leave any stone unturned”, “let’s plan to control the outcome to utmost precision”, “let’s choose the best thing from an e-commerce site, avail all possible offers and discounts so that we get the value of money” will steal away our precious time and energy. This drains, add to the momentum of overthinking and quite possible to start from thinking about something and end in worrying.
- Knowing clearly that it’s futile to worry due to high improbability but can’t avoid thinking about it due to deep-seated-habit of worrying.
- Negative and recurring thoughts constantly terrifying with imagined helpless situations in future, as if the whole universe is planning to avenge against us. This may also land one in worry state.
Underlying causes of worry
There are few common patterns of weaknesses that accelerate and sustain worries:
- Irrationality — not valuing learning coming from our own experiences, insights, and observations. Not approaching rationally to any perceived problem. We all are aware of how much energy was lost the last time we were withdrawn in worries, and things didn’t happen at all or were not too bad as we imagined. In most cases we got the sufficient courage, ammunition from inside or outside to handle situations when those really occurred. Just little reasoning in the right direction, little movement into action-mode takes us out from worry-mode, but unconsciously, we continue to suffer and condition our minds for future too.
- Lack of trust — Not fully trusting in destiny or Self or the Existence. We don’t trust anything completely leaving some space for weaknesses to find a living space in our heart and brain. Though trust and worries cannot coexist, because of lack of it, we don’t leverage the power of trust.
- Compulsiveness — It is the habitual aspect of humans, the momentum, the unconsciousness, the conditioning, the grooves and piles of impressions formed in the brain due to entertaining million times wrong ways of thinking and incorrect approaches to life challenges.
- Controlling outcome patterns— We all are driven mostly by desires and fears. Desire is not problematic until one gets attached to the outcome of actions. Attachment is suffering and rigid stance for future possibilities. That means interfering with the Universal intelligence to orchestrate the results as per our judgment of what-should-happen, which anyway keep changing and could change to exactly opposite after a period. From rational angle too, no matter how hard we try and how much dedication we show to achieve something but there is always an uncertain element regarding future, and outcomes remain in the uncontrollable periphery. Moreover, attachment to outcomes does no good to our ability to accomplish more, rather, it wanes our focus on process — which is the worse thing to happen to anyone. Bottomline is, we have to focus on what we can do and leave what we cannot control, though we can learn from outcomes and put in integrated effort next time, but have to accept what-is-already-there, and stay open to all possibilities future may bring to us.
Disadvantages of worrying
This list is endless, giving few which I myself experienced or observed closely in others:
- It soaks our nascent energies.
- It cripples us from thinking freely.
- Makes us wear a negative outlook towards the wondrous and ever alive Universe.
- Under worry-influences, we forget we are here to live totally, celebrate and learn from every event and situation. We adjust in our goals and negotiate into much less than what we deserve.
- In worry mode, we don’t recover soon nor able to have quality rest which is crucial to meet challenges of life with zeal and vitality.
- Worry is kind of fire that burns a living being leaving him boring and dead, but only apparently alive.
- Under worry influence, not only we fail to make new progress but also hamper existing grasping power and capabilities.
- It accelerates aging and worry-prone persons generally look older than their biological age.
How do we dissolve worries? Stop misuse of powers available and channelize in right direction
There are three powers rendered to us by nature;
- Power to take action
- Power to learn
- Power to trust
1. Power to act
When we realize that this power to act is never meant to harm anyone nor it is to invest all in selfish motives and securing luxuries, then we can channelize where it should be. We engage in creative endeavors to express inner beauty and goodness through our unique talents and services. We all are uniquely different in the way we learn, our functional abilities, and expressions but have one thing in common — the direction of use of our strengths i.e. of cooperation and empathy.
Simply put, we all have a common purpose to help each other in evolution journey and live in togetherness and harmony. We are all inseparable moves and stances of eternal dance of the Universal power. If we realize this truth of interconnectedness with all then it becomes easy and natural NOT to harm anyone intentionally and do something that brings positivity and dispels darkness and differences.
Furthermore, in such a state of harmony, the Universal power makes us a medium to express impersonal and pure love, silence, joy, and creativity. Worry is dissolved completely when we realize the purpose of making life useful to all and align all our actions with this truth. Few important points that I learned from my masters which make our actions even more transformational, given below:
- Feel free to choose your work area as per interest, make and wisdom but don’t attach to the outcome.
- Don’t assume yourself as the whole sole owner of action. All that we can do is possible because of the support of nature and many unknown forces ever present in the background. If we don’t get this then we entangle our being in getting attention and credit for good works and feel discouraged and demotivated for lack of it.
- Don’t get dragged into the momentum of doing — we should have a balance between activity and rest for quality output and non-attached way of life. We shouldn’t attach to inactivity nor should we become workaholic. This aspect is called attachment to action. There are two categories of attachments primarily w.r.t. actions; attachment to fruits of actions, attachment to actions itself.
2. Power to learn
This power is primarily meant for
- Elimination of false in us
- Knowing temporary and fleeting as so and identifying what is lasting and worth knowing.
- Research and self-knowledge
- Continual learning from life experiences, mistakes, observations, and applying in life with all dedication and respect.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel or make all mistakes in your life for super-learning, instead, leverage from experience reuse. Reuse others’ experiences to save precious human-lifetime and limited energy. Learning is meant to go beyond all ill influences of the ever-changing world and learn the art to live fully and leave this world with no scars, no burden of guilt or repentance. Rather, add a unique signature to this cosmic space through our teeny-tiny creative and loving contributions.
The person who knows you the most is only you; false and fake behaviors, weaknesses, strengths, addictions, ego and secret desires i.e. every bit of you are exposed to only you. So, responsibility to deal with yourself, so that you can get rid off all the clutter and burden, is with you only. Most of it may seem unclear and difficult in beginning but becomes clear and doable as soon as we start step by step, and more importantly, stop misusing this power to learn in knowing faults of others and complaining of any sort.
Looking at others duty makes us overlook ours and leaks the wisdom and energy. As a result, we feel unclear and powerless to take due care of self in restraining from what we should not be doing. Power to learn is effective when we are always proactive in eliminating the false, the wrongs, the evils of us as judging from our own lenses. And we are hellbent NOT to repeat any mistakes.
We should very well understand that issue is not about we not recognizing the false as false, sin as sin, bad as bad. Because if someone uses us for their benefits, cheats on us then we feel agitated and want to teach them a lesson. This knowledge is inherent in everyone, nobody needs to be schooled for this kind of discerning power. The issue is that we don’t value the inherent knowledge packaged in our being already. We don’t apply what we know in our own life. Applying it in wrong place is precisely the reason for our failure to be happy, contented, wise and a loving presence to near and dear ones.
Applying power to learn to know our faults and eliminating those is good use while taking a negative interest in others, back-biting, pinpoint, nitpicking, fault-finding, evil-eying, feeling jealous, or also listening such accounts from others about someone else is a great misuse of learning capabilities.
Another aspect of power to know is to explore the real you beyond all changes and fleeting nature of world and desires. Neither the desires come to an end nor the satisfaction of desire fulfillment lasts long. One desire is followed by other endlessly keeping self in a waiting-wanting state forever — hungry for money, power and not learning from previous desire-fulfillment cycles. Useless desires, possessiveness to hoard more and more for security or show business, unexamined assumptions are three great obstacles to knowing the real nature of who you truly are.
We all instinctively know that some essential part of our identity is ever-present, changeless, while all things and actions of Nature are in constant flow and change. In midst of all changes who and what is this changeless consciousness, that gives us the feeling tone of sameness year after year? Recognizing the real Self clearly and with firm conviction is one of the most effective uses of learning capabilities.
To sum up all on learning capabilities, if we have used power to know what it is for then we would become non-possessive, non-resisting, non-reactionary, nonjudgemental, non-attaching and be clear on what is real Self and what’s false. This automatically drives out all worries, fears, and greed forever. And true freedom, peace, inner strength, restful awareness, selfless contributions, pure and unconditional love for all beings becomes part and parcel of our life in this very human form.
3. Trust in Almighty
Worries cannot exist in the heart that knows trust. Trust is not dependent on logic to give it more strength but altogether a separate stream of power we can use for our evolution. People who mix faith in knowledge and vice-versa are not actually using either power (reason or trust) effectively. Some may find it easy and empowering to choose faith and while others may find the reason more appealing in their approach to solving deeper life issues and know the truth. All depends on make and conditioning of that person.
Usually, this power is leveraged by people who can trust — easily and totally — and is primarily meant for Almighty or some Guru who can help them connect to the Almighty. Let’s look at some of the popular beliefs about trust in the God and their connotations if our trust is unwavering and complete.
- God exists everywhere — so, is here present in me as well.
- God exists at all times — so, is present now too.
- God belongs to all impartially — so, belongs to me too.
- God is all-powerful and all-loving — so, would nourish & protect me as ever.
If our beliefs about God point to super-summary that God is here, now, mine, all-powerful, and all-loving then why do we worry? Why do we feel lonely? This is only possible when trust is incomplete and wavering. If we surrender and merge our identity with HIM, trusting completely, then the worry-free and fearless state is nothing but obvious and natural to us.
Difference between seeker and believer: For a believer ignoring all bubbles of doubt is the key spiritual endeavor while for an explorer or a seeker, developing unrest and not tolerating any doubts, constant search and contemplation for answers is the way forward.
Q. If we trust totally and leave everything to God then we may become lazy, under-performing or an escapist?
Trusting completely is a great strength, it is not that easy as it appears. At times it is easy to work hard but quite difficult to drop everything and remain totally task-less even for few minutes. People who are able to trust fully are also blessed with the knowledge that whatever strength they have that is for the welfare of all. A true believer in God has the largest family and infinite connections, and such boundless love engages him/her in selfless and worthy contributions.
Laziness will usually happen to a person who
- Is driven by some kind of pressure and worries. He lacks good drivers to work and once pressure if lifted then he is not that sincere in work.
- Takes work as means to some selfish end. For such work becomes tiring after a point.
- Is not passionate about work which makes him disinterested and underperforming.
- Is depleted of quality energy in lazy entertainment like TV, internet etc., and feels normally stressed.
- Is not taking adequate quantity of sleep — under or oversleeping.
- Is prone to eat junk and suffers from unhealthy habits, and lifestyle issues.
A true believer cannot be an escapist who may somehow escape work but cannot escape worries and useless thinking about consequences.
The summary is, one may pretend to trust in God and resort to laziness or escapism from work but that is nothing to do with trust, actually, it is a pretense only, and pretense can take many forms, be it the misuse of trust or blame on others or environment to be hostile — but all these are false impositions.
Passionate or duty-driven approach to work
We don’t have to do anything driven by fear, worry or greed. That is binding and stressful. Rather, do it because you love it; you consider it useful and worthy for others and yourself; because it will solve some problem of society; because it is your passion.
Definition of duty is — this is a valuable thing to do and I have strength and abilities to execute it, and so I can and should do it.
Duty comprises of two elements —
- It is valuable and
- It is doable.
If something is valuable but not doable then we should not think about it, that only adds to the mental clutter. Leave it for now at least. The total focus should be only on two aspects of work; what we should do and what we can do in current circumstances.
Passionate or duty-driven approach to work keeps us away from laziness, procrastination, and sustains productive routines.
Worry is a hole in the heart which leaks all strength and inspiration to perform, learn and conceive heights. In worry mode, one cannot be wholehearted in anything, so should be dissolved fully by all means. Primarily, to dissolve worries, we MUST stop misuse of powers available to us and channelize those in most effective ways.
- Power of action is to help all as per our capacity. Whatever we can do, we must not save us from it. Wholehearted involvement into worthy and selfless projects will eventually relieve us of all attachments to the outcomes or actions. Or else that skin-saving from hard work will induce many weaknesses like laziness, procrastination, over-thinking, and indulgence.
- Power to learn is for attaining freedom of Self from all false and fake, wrongs, evils, and ignorance. It’s not for fault-finding in others, nor for succumbing to information overload and building great arrogance out of it, nor it is for the accumulation of money and security. Death is the ultimate reality of the human body and going to unmask all false layers of security and ego. Wise thing is to engage in self-inquiry with urgency and recognize the real nature of the Self.
- Faith is an independent approach to find fullness in life and is particularly for those who can believe simply and easily, yet firmly, on Almighty on the basis of Scriptures or divine experiences of great Sages. Without total and unwavering faith, its magic remains un-experienced in human life.
Once the worries are dropped fully by any means then spontaneous living is achieved without any further effort. Living spontaneously doesn’t involve any “how” or “process” or “any journey from A → B”, but it happens naturally as we drop overthinking and worrying about anything whatsoever. For spontaneity, you don’t need to depend on any method or process but are able to just be and rejoice being. You may choose to do at this moment participating wholeheartedly or totally dropping it and doing nothing. Just keep moving in and out of work with the totality of mind-body-soul, that will also empower you for a spontaneous living.
Hope we all gather strength to weed out all worries and find our life in its original unrestrained dimensions of peace, joy, freedom, and meaning.