I’ve always wondered what living without worries and fears would feel like. I’ve always envied those who only worry when imminent danger is approaching, or in those moments when they need to act to protect themselves.
Part of me has always had worry or fear as a companion, and sadly it’s not something you can simply change easily. You can’t tell yourself to stop feeling emotions or thinking. The mind never listens to you, and it feels like that is its job to protect you. The mind exists for a purpose: to keep us safe, and that goes way back to our ancestors, who really had to live in a flight-and-flight mode in order to survive.
So when you feel safe, when you don’t have much to worry about, guess what happens. The mind reminds you that you have to think of something to protect yourself. It doesn’t mean to cause you any harm. It just wants to help.
Although we cannot change the content of our thoughts and the emotions we carry, we can change the way we approach them. Psychologists, spiritual teachers, monks have said it for decades: we have to learn to stay present.
However, for some the expression “stay present” can be an overrated concept. How can we stay present with suffering and fear without tearing our hair out?
The first step to experience real presence is acceptance.
By accepting that we are worry-heads and that it is okay to be like that, we are opening the door to liberate ourselves from the constant pressure that we have to change. I always have to remind myself of that, because when worry comes, I tend to instantly criticize myself for doing “that” again. By “that” I mean letting myself feeling trapped in incessant, useless worries.
Then comes the second step: becoming the observer.
I strongly suggest that you read “The Untethered Soul — The Journey Beyond Yourself” by Michael A. Singer. In that incredible book, Singer teaches us how to play the role of the observer. How to watch the emotions and thoughts by realizing when they come and they leave. I confess I had tried to do this before and it was very hard — but Singer’s book was really on point.
When you start becoming aware of your own thoughts and emotions, you truly see…