FEELING ANXIOUS YET POWERFUL
Today, May 30, 2009, one of the last days of May, is making me a little anxious. Like a very large number of people in the USA, I have had a lifetime problem with anxiety. Even now, after doing many things to work with my fears and anxieties, and now as a teacher of Holistic Lifestyle, I find that I still experience anxiety from time to time. Why? Because even now, I am still attached to past events and possible future outcomes; because even now I still feel pain.
The greatest masters of life often talk about anxiety as a feeling of pain. Pain is not something that can be eliminated from life. Pain is a part of life. Pain is a teacher. A goal of life is not to completely eliminate pain, but to learn to manage and tolerate it. Pain is a necessary part of any true growth. Some pain will always happen with growth, perhaps in the form of fears and anxieties we may have as a result of wondering if we will be a success in our newly taken on tasks and goals. Contrary to a popular cultural way of thinking, feeling anxious and afraid does not make one a coward. It is that kind of thinking that causes many, me included at times, to try to hide our fears and anxieties. For to admit to them, others may think we are weak and a coward. But in my opinion which I have adapted from the study of the teachings of many great masters, it is not feelings of fear and anxiety that make one a coward. It is quite the opposite. Not putting oneself in the face of fear and anxiety is what perhaps a closer definition of a coward. Like an individual who has been sheltered from all life’s challenges as a child and spoiled rotten, this kind of individual may laugh at the fears others are feeling while they take on new challenges. But these kinds of individuals never accomplish things in life. They never learn how to tolerate fears and anxieties and thus make progress in life. As a result, a person who doesn’t challenge themselves in these ways lives an empty, hollow, and thus very unsatisfying life. Those who choose to feel the anxiety and fear and still continue with new endeavors will eventually learn new things as long as they include a bit of wisdom along with their endeavors. We must learn that sometimes, if not practically every time, we learn new things, we will fall down and fail. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, failure is a necessary part of achievement. For example the first time a baby chooses to try to walk, they will fall down. They often cry but they still get up and keep trying until they master the art that we call walking. This tells me that to keep trying to learn to do something, no matter what happens, is a natural thing.
Why is it, then, that as adults we think we can just pick something and it must be perfect the first time we try it? Why is it that some of us laugh at the fears and failures of others so smugly? Is it not because we are afraid to identify with our own fears? Is it not because we are afraid that we too would be laughed at by others if we revealed our own fears and anxieties that many, especially those “laughers” (and those are often the bullies that are so tolerated in our society) would find out? Sadly, these are cultural things in many of the societies that exist now in the world.
But our world is evolving, changing at a very rapid pace. We as a people, in the world, throughout the world, are learning more about what love and peace is about. And yes, we are all still learning and falling and feeling fearful and anxious at times. And yes, there still exist those smug individual bullies who laugh at us who make the effort to try new things. And of course there are the angry, hostile, violent people in the world who will stop at nothing to enforce what they want.
But those of us dedicated to peace, love, and sharing we prevail in the end. We have learned the patience necessary to do so. And we have learned that our fears, our patience, our anxieties, are signs of our courage and our strength. In love, in kindness, in acceptance, we are strong and we will prevail.
And back to my opening thoughts, today’s date, May 30, 2009, my plans last year, the year before and 5 years before were for me to be doing something other than I am doing now. But I am realizing what John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens while you’re trying to do something else.” So as I continue with my life, my strivings to “get somewhere” to finish the goals I have set for myself, I continue with my life and take pleasure in joy, love, sharing and kindness, knowing that indeed I am a strong and powerful person. How about you? What makes you happy and strong? Have you allowed yourself to fear those fears? Remember how strong they will make you. And remember that it all makes for a happy and fulfilling life, instead of the emptiness the foolish “laughers at others” feel. They will end their life realizing the joke was always on them!