Trigger warning: this post contains strong language, which I felt was necessary when dealing with the onslaught of worrying thoughts.
There comes many points in life, when you've been hiding from some difficult truth or realisation, head buried in the sand for so long that your jaw is tense or you've developed a background anxiety that comes from your fear of your own shadow - the unknown! That part of yourself that you're not prepared to look at, because you think it is going to be very uncomfortable or reveal something very shameful.
I’ve found, even though I have skilfully self-enquired and resolved this many times before I forget and anxiety still persists. That's because I’m actually still resisting, deep down and: resistance breeds persistence. But don’t worry, because when you've REALLY had enough that means you're ready to ACCEPT and start trying to trust yourself and say the magic words (inspired by the book by John C Parkin):
“Fuck it! I don't care any more.”
The cause of your anxiety is not really your laziness or your indecision, but it is that you have given too much meaning to the things that your deeper wisdom knows are not important - the trivial things like:
To your conscious mind (ego) these things matter. They are what your mind is full of. Clutter and Bullshit.
...So DON’T MIND-FILL!
The truth is that you do CARE but you just DON'T MIND. You know these flitting thoughts and judgements don't really matter!
“I think we all have a little voice inside us that will guide us. It may be God, I don't know. But I think that if we shut out all the noise and clutter from our lives and listen to that voice, it will tell us the right thing to do.” -- Christopher Reeve
TRUST YOUR INTUITION
Your gut, your sense of when things feel right to you, but seems irrational. Don't mind if they are not perfectly rational - that's just ‘pride’ fucking with you. You're going to go through a barrage of self doubt and judgement. Is that worse than the anxiety? Does it matter that it's harder in the short term?
Discomfort is useful. Making mistakes means you're out there, taking risks. Feeling guilty? Good, that means you're challenging yourself and pushing at the edges of your comfort zone, stay with it, be mindful of your feelings, thoughts, desires. Watch them, study them through your senses and trust that your body knows what is best for you and for the world. Trust that things are happening as they are, they are unfolding perfectly and all you really need to do is:
Pay attention and ride that wave. This is mindfulness. Playfulness and presence.
So ask yourself - would you rather be rational and 'right' (if so then follow society's morals closely and sacrifice part of yourself for that) or would you rather happy (have-peace). You'll know when you are ready for that. Until then enjoy the tension and anxiety with the deep inner knowing that you are sacrificing your spiritual and emotional health to fit into the society created for you. This is working from the egoic sense of you - who you think you are - and it's really quite fun! It's also full of suffering, doubt, anger and sadness… All the things that make life rich!
“The suspense is terrible. I hope it will last.” ― Oscar Wilde
Life is challenging. Sometimes you will have an easy wave to ride, other times it will be a pounding, adventurous, challenging and even painful wave. Trust that what doesn't kill you will make you stronger (eventually). And if it kills you? Well then you're dead.
I don't know what happens after that but there is probably either more life of no more life, either way it doesn't matter. No need to worry or rush ahead. Some people may scoff at this because obviously it’s not a great strategy to die, but that’s not the point. The point is that we can get so fearful of making mistakes that we forget to really live. And the worst thing to do in life, in my opinion, is to get to the end and feel like you missed the point, like you didn't allow yourself to live, learn, lust, love and lose.
Personally - I try not to mind mind-fill (and I don't always succeed, there is a lot of silly junk up there in my noggin!) But I don't mind. I don't layer worry on top of worry any more. I don't care about fitting in - I say fuck it. If death is coming (which it is) I want to be there, making love, not arguing. I want to be doing something that I'm passionate about - making MY positive difference in the world. Or want to be there enjoying a nice relaxing bath, rather than chasing deadlines for money-focused clients. When death comes knocking I want to be like:
“Oh - Come in, would you like some tea? I've had such a lovely time in life and I'm curious to see what the next adventure is, death.”
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!” ― Hunter S. Thompson
For some people it's even more than this. It's about their legacy. We all know we are going to die and to give our lives meaning we seek to leave something of ourselves behind - fond memories, teachings or discoveries, physical treasures, offspring (more human beings!) or perhaps just a digital footprint - photos and movies.
Human being need meaning, according to fantastic books like ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ by Viktor E Frankl. It makes sense of the suffering we sometimes endure. But don't forget that you live in a country where you get to choose your belief system. We have physical freedom, because we have a rich and abundant society. But western society has forgotten about spiritual and mental freedom.
If you are anxious and spending your days resisting reality, then you have allowed yourself to be mentally caged by the very things you see as 'important'. What seeds are you actually sewing for yourself and for the next generations?
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” -- Albert Einstein
So - are you ready? Is it time for you to wake up and free yourself from those constraints so you can rediscover the beauty of an uncertain life? Or do you want to play the ego game a little longer? Personally, I’m not quite ready to let go of my ego, I quite enjoy it - so here's what I tell myself, while I enjoy life and wait for ego-death:
I don't mind. Life can feel good, no matter what.
I say bring it on, life!
"Tomorrow do thy worst for today I have lived, fully" - Horace
Neil Morbey is a meditation teacher, group facilitator and inspiration guide for Positively-Mindful.com