Don’t try to get rid of your worries. You can’t. Learn to be non-worrying.
A friend pinged me on SMS yesterday and asked how we were doing. I replied, “We are unconditionally, unquestioningly, flowing with the present. So, we are doing great despite the circumstances.” He picked up the phone immediately and called me to ask this: “How is this possible? How can you be so calm when you have every reason to worry?” I laughed and replied: “We have learnt the art of being non-worrying!”
There are only two ways to lead Life. One way is the way we all lead it – by worrying. The other way is to be non-worrying and celebrate each moment. But we are all prone to the first way, the way of worry, because worrying is easy. It requires not effort. It has become a part of who we are. So it happens subconsciously, 24×7, all year round! On the other hand, celebration requires effort. It means you have to be non-worrying. And that’s hard work. A lot of hard work.
Please understand that non-worrying is not the absence of worry. Worries are like waves on the beach. They will keep on rising and coming to you. Just as you can’t stop the waves, you can’t stop your thoughts, your worries. But you can still learn to be non-worrying.
Look at it the way Gautama, the Buddha, whose birthday it is today, saw it. He explained it so simply, so beautifully. Since your worries are about your problems, there can be only two ways forward. Either you can solve your problem. Or you can’t. If you can solve your problem, why worry about it? If you can’t solve your problem, and it is not within your control or means to solve it, why worry about it again?
So, non-worrying really means being smart, intelligent and choosing to keep your faith – in the process of Life – when you are confronted by a situation that defies logic and human intervention to solve it. Going on worrying about a problem you can’t solve is like banging your head against a wall – it is your head that you will lose in the bargain, the wall will not even suffer a dent!
Swami Sathya Sai Baba would often tell this story, which is worth recounting here:
A man had problems in every aspect of his Life. From his finances to his health to his relationships, every part of his Life was in disarray. He was a great believer though and said his prayers without fail twice daily. Yet he worried a lot. All day he would walk around like a zombie – beaten, broken, bruised, hassled, harried and worried. One day God appeared in front of him. And this is how their conversation went.
The man: God, I am blessed you have appeared before me. I knew my faith in you will pay off one day. Now, please solve all the problems I am faced with.
God: I am afraid I can’t do that immediately.
The man: But why? I am your faithful devotee and pray to you daily.
God: But you also worry a lot. To me your worries seem more sincere than your prayers. So, I am confused.
The man: I don’t understand. How do I not worry when it is my problem?
God: When you have come to me, hasn’t it ceased to be your problem? If you knew you could solve it, would you have come to me? So, since you are in front of me and claim you have faith in me, then why do you worry? I would much rather solve the problems of those who are adamant with their faith and dither with their worries instead of helping those who are adamant about worrying and dither with their faith.
Think about it. Surely this story is fictional. But it has a very simple, unputdownable moral.
It applies to each one of us in our own unique ways. I am not sure if there is a God somewhere that runs the affairs of the Universe. Possibly there is. Maybe there isn’t. But one thing is for sure that worrying isn’t going to get any of us anywhere in Life. Look around. The same energy that powers and cares for all Life in the Universe, of which we are just mere specks, possesses both the intelligence and capability to take care of us and our problems too. If we believe we have faith in that energy, the one that created us, then must we not be adamant, fanatic about that faith? We cannot claim we have faith and continue to worry. They simply can’t coexist. Period.