I’m always worried.
Me and my worries! [Source]
I wake up in the morning to worries hitting me from all directions. They continue during the day. They accompany me to bed at night. They don’t let go of me even as I try to sleep, tossing and turning on the bed. When I do manage to sleep, they continue their assault in my dreams.
Worries seem to be life’s super-glue.
Life is a worry. Day is a worry. Night is a worry. Youth is a worry. Married life is a worry. Spouse is a worry.Children are a worry. Children’s education is a worry. Children’s welfare is a worry. Being a single mother is a worry. Old age is a worry. Family is a worry. Relations are a worry. Siblings are a worry. Friends are a worry. Birth is a worry.Birthdays are a worry.Death is a worry.
The Job interview – worries to overcome [Source]
Job is a worry. Boss is a worry. Co-worker is a worry. Job interview is a worry. Job loss is a worry. Unemployment is a worry. Career advancement is a worry. Office politics is a worry. Retirement is a worry.
Debts are totally worrisome [Source]
Money is a worry. Making ends meet is a worry. Wealth is a worry.Poverty is a worry. Money in the bank is a worry. Money I don’t have in the bank is a worry. Debt is a worry.
“Do I look good?” worries [Source]
Health is a worry. Exercise is a worry. Lack of sleep is a worry. Physical appearance is a worry. Illness is a worry. Food is a worry. Food additives are a worry.Water is a worry. Water scarcity is a worry.
Recall this cartoon for a smile when caught in a traffic jam next time [Source]
Travel is a worry. Travel delay is a worry. Traffic jam is a worry. Waiting in line is a worry.
Religion is a worry. Gurus are a worry.War is a worry. Corruption is a worry. Mistakes are a worry. Regrets are a worry. Disappointments are a worry. Goals are a worry. Achievements are a worry. Failures are a worry. Being let down is a worry. Safety and security are a worry. Quarrels are a worry. Unfairness is a worry. Problems are a worry. Anger is a worry. Boredom is a worry.
“Keeping up with the Joneses” is a worry. Hypocrisy is a worry. Lie is a worry. Sense of guilt is a worry.
Certainty is a worry. Uncertainty is a worry. Decision making is a worry. Living with the decisions made is a worry.
I would love to run away from these worries. But they seem to be always one step ahead of me wherever I go.
To escape from worries, some people take to drinking. But drinking to decouple from worries is totally the wrong way to manage worries. It is both futile and vacuous. [Read more here]
Some seek professional counseling to reduce their worries. Professional counseling is after all a $ 15 B industry in USA, growing at 3.4 % per year. So,it must be fully capable of eliminating worries, right? Some others seek the help of “self-help industry”, a $ 10 B global business, to handle their worries. These industries thrive because worries thrive with them. My worries do not decrease despite all the professional and “self-help” counseling I get.
Recently, one day, I decided to just stop worrying about worries. Why not take the bull by the horn, I thought. So I met my worries head-on.
Then I learned two things:
Worries seldom come to pass. On the occasions they do, the happenings are almost always less severe and serious than what my worries had led me to believe.
When I focused on the worry itself – the “what” and the “what if” of it – the worry became lighter. If I looked at it long enough, the worry actually disappeared.
I realized that worries come when
- I want to control the happenings in my life. I want things to go according to my way, my design, my time-frame
- I resist the happenings in life. I’m unable to accept the unpleasant and the unwanted happenings in life and resist them. I’m also unable to accept the non-happening of a thing I wanted.
- I act against my conscience. Deception, hypocrisy, pride, anger, lust, greed, miserliness, jealousy, lies, cruel words, hurtful acts – all these produce worries.
- I do not accept life and its happenings as the divine gift that they truly are.
Life is a most valuable gift. What life gives, or does not give, is most precious. It gives the unique opportunity to make the paradigm shift from “my way” to “God’s way”, from “my design” to “God’s design”, from “my time-frame” to “God’s time-frame”.
This paradigm shift is the medicine for worries.
The medicine for worries – Prasada Buddhi [Source]
Bhagavad Gita teaches this paradigm as prasada buddhi. This, in essence, is:
- Everything happens per Divine Design. mayaa adhyakshena sooyate prakrutih sacharaacharam (9.10)
- Have total faith in the Divine, in your conscience. Surrender only to It. tam eva saranam gachcha ( 18.62)
- Accept everything with the clarity of what it really is – a divine gift. prasadam ( 2.64)
- Grab this “acceptance as a gift” mind-set and hold on to it firmly through steady practice. abhyaasena tu vairagyena gruhyate (6.35 )
- Do all your actions to the best of your ability and well. karmasu kowsalam (2.50 )
- Be unconcerned with what happens or does not happen. maa phaleshu (2.47 ) and do your actions unconcerned with the results. karma mukta sangah samaachara ( 3.9)
If I do all my actions well to the best of my ability, I actually enjoy doing it and feel good. If I do them unconcerned with the results (seriously), I feel relaxed, fulfilled and happy in a calm way. Results always follow actions. If I accept them as divine gifts – whether pleasant or otherwise – worries decrease.
Practicing this is easier said than done, but not that difficult really. The difficulty arises because I expect instant results from this practice. If my mind-set doesn’t become strong and resilient almost immediately, I get dejected and give up the practice.
To put this practice in perspective. Remember it takes more than 12000 hours of training to get a Grade 12 certificate, more than 16000 hours of training to get a bachelor degree, more than 25000 hours of training to become a physician and more than 30000 hours of training to become a neurosurgeon. I spend at least an hour on physical exercise every day to stay healthy. Even to get a mere driver’s license I need to take at least 76 hours of training here in Texas.
But how many hours do I spend training my mind to accept everything as divine gift? I’m too impatient and give this up in a matter of minutes, if not seconds.
Malcolm Gladwell writes in The Outliers that it takes about 10000 hours to master something. But Albert Einstein says,
“Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person.”
I must practice prasada buddhi undaunted. Not for 10000 hours but with all of me for one moment, for the present moment. I’m not worried about achieving mastery and eliminating all my worries. In fact I’m not focused on achieving anything at all but just on practicing it. This “doing” part itself generates tangible benefit.
The Bhagavad Gita says,
There is no loss of effort in this practice, no counter-result and no regression.
na iham abhikrama naasah asti pratyavaayah na vidhyate svalpamasya dharmasya [2.40]
Even a small step taken to embrace prasada buddhi leaves a permanent mark of that much progress.
I’ve certainly not mastered prasada buddhi and become worry-free. But I do practice it and that does lighten the worry load . And worry-lite life is a good thing.
Here’s to you, dear reader, for a worry-lite life!
[Source]the only way to become amazing at something