Anxiety and uncertainty are the natural companions of change. In fact it seems that anxiety and uncertainty are so deeply woven into our human experience that it would serve us well to understand them and develop some skills to deal with them in a healthy and effective way! Understanding how our minds work is a good first step that can set us up for choosing effective solutions.
Note: There are many reasons, types and causes of anxiety. In my practice I take a holistic view and assess the causes and proceed accordingly using appropriate interventions depending on the individual. In this post what I am referring to is the general type of anxiety that is experienced during times of change VS a condition that requires a more complex understanding and approach.
Choice, Anxiety, Resistance and Change
Einstein said that a problem cannot be solved at the level of mind where it was created. And yet we try! Over and over we turn in circles searching for answers to our troubles with our conscious minds only to frustrate, confuse and stress ourselves further. Why? Mostly I suspect it is habit, and lack of knowledge re: how our minds really work.In addition there may be resistance to change. Change can be scary as we think about living without familiar ways and facing the discomfort of the unknown. Some part of us believes that any angst we are currently suffering is probably better than what we might face if we let go.
The alternative to change is to sign up for a prison of sameness, clinging unwittingly to our own chains, and doing what we can to quiet a deep inner nagging that keeps trying to push us in the direction of increased growth and wholeness.
In times of great uncertainty, transition or change we can (understandably) go from day to day in varying states of fear and anxiety. We fear the unknown or of what might happen. We expend precious energy on worrying fearfully about things that haven’t happened but could happen. We end up putting more energy into what we don’t want and lose valuable time and energy when we could be learning to live more freely by cultivating the higher level skills that are available to us from our higher minds.
Admittedly it is hard to make this choice (change) anytime let alone when there is much uncertainty and chaos around. On the flip side when faced with intense change, stress and insecurity, it may be the perfect time to learn new skills! Our motivation is high and we can be more open to new solutions due to our discomfort.
Higher Consciousness is a source of great creativity, peace and happiness regardless of how things appear in the outer world.
Mind as a River
The mind is awareness on a continuum. Think about it as a river that flows and your experience of it is a function of where you place your attention. Whatever area you focus on becomes reality for that time with all its attendant resources and ecology. If you focus on the portion of the river that is congested with negative thoughts, unresolved feelings and dire predictions then that is what you have to work with. If you go upstream and contact the mouth of the river that flows out of pristine mountain streams, you have a different reality and resources to deal with. Just the power of the renewed flow headed downstream can help clear the blockages downstream. But even more powerful than that is the sense of renewal, shift in perspective and inherent power present in the point of origination of the river. And so it is with our minds.
Begin to engage expanded aspects of your consciousness
Start by learning how to live in the present moment as much as possible. Consciously choose to be present here and now by withdrawing your focus from the past or the future. Enter the gap between thoughts and simply BE. When you do this, you move beyond thought and ego. Fear, stress and anxiety originate in the ego, the part of our mind that believes it knows the Truth and wants to keep you safe, but in fact does not have the wherewithal to do so.
Having a practice that enables you to fully be in your body helps with all of this. When we are preoccupied with the workings of our everyday mind, with the past or the future, we are typically not in our bodies.
Our minds and bodies crave quiet, ease and the steady clarity that is present below all the usual chaos of the ego/ lower mind. They operate better when stress recedes. When stress recedes health begins to be restored. When stress recedes the ability to experience life in a way that is satisfying and fulfilling becomes a possibility, then a reality.
Perennial Wisdom Helps Understanding and Motivates Change
Perennial wisdom teaches that the only thing that matters is the here and now, the present. Joy, love and deep peace are natural states of Being. Fear and anxiety are not. They are part of the ego. They are products of a fearful mind. In The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle writes: “So once you recognize the root of unconsciousness as identification with the mind, which of course includes emotions, you step out of it. You become present. When you are present, you can allow the mind to be as it is without getting entangled in it. The mind in itself is not dysfunctional. It is a wonderful tool. Dysfunction sets in when you seek your self in it and mistake it for who you are. It then becomes the egoic mind and takes over your whole life.”
Committing to observing your mind and training it to return to the present moment holds great benefit, satisfaction and happiness. How can you begin to embrace this change for good for yourself?