Fear of the unknown often kills you in each of your living moments. Many of us have already died a thousand deaths in our lifetimes, worrying stiff about what will become of us, if this or that happened or did not happen to us. Anxiety and insecurity hold us in their vice- like grip. We are all like the character Thenali, in Kamal Hassan’s comedy movie ‘Thenali’ (2000), who is fearful of everything in Life. In one epic dialogue he tells his psychiatrist that he is scared of the sun, the stars, the moon, the sky, the water, the earth, Gods, angels, demons and just about everything in the Universe. He confesses that he has become a nervous wreck and some way, any way, to get out of this fear-trap! So it is with you__and me!
You may not be fearful to Thenali’s bizarre extent, but there’s a lot you worry about. Principal, and common, among your anxieties are:
- Will I ever have enough money?
- Will I be successful__with money, business, career, academics, love, relationships, whatever?
- Will I be respected, recognized, famous?
- Will I die sooner than I want to?
- Will people cheat me, betray me?
- Will the people I love be around me as long as I want them to?
- Will my health be good?
- Will my children be happy, healthy, successful, safe?
- Will I get all that I want?
Obviously, the list can be endless. And a global list may be close to Thenali’s too!
Anxiety breeds insecurity. Insecurity causes suffering! Understanding insecurity can help us deal with it better. Fundamentally, insecurity haunts you because you dislike it. Instead welcome it. Anything that you resist persist. If you are feeling insecure about something don’t hate it or fight it anymore. Just accept it. Because insecurity is the very essence of Life. Life is all about change, impermanence, uncertainty. So, it is perfectly fine not to know what’s your Life all about or how things will be or what will befall you. You are suffering only because you demand security in a compulsively, naturally insecure scenario. Yet you insist on being convinced that you are secure and will be secure forever. So, when that sense of security is unavailable__because it can NEVER be available or given to you__you grieve. You plunge yourself into worry, anxiety, depression and enslave yourself to such dark, debilitating emotions.
Someone I know was telling me that he has saved over a million dollars in cash in his bank accounts. Besides these he has invested in shares and real estate. He has two apartments. One in the heart of Chennai and another in an up-market suburb called ECR. Yet he said to me on his 60th birthday a few weeks ago that he was feeling insecure. He said, post retirement, his monthly inflow had stopped. And that gave him sleepless nights. He confessed: “I feel so incomplete and insecure. I wonder what will happen if my wife or I fall gravely ill and all our assets have to be liquidated to meet our healthcare expenses. So, I am desperately trying to create an income stream by seeking a retainer assignment with a couple of companies I know so that I can feel confident that the money I have saved will not be touched and will be available for an emergency on a rainy day!”
A family we know insists that their 22-year-old daughter must marry before she gets into grad school in the US (for a post-graduate program). Since we are reasonably aware that the young lady is not interested in anyone presently we asked why is marriage a pre-condition to her academic pursuit? “So that we can feel secure that she’s with someone she knows and also to ensure that we complete her marriage before something happens to us,”explains the girl’s mother. The girl’s parents are in their mid-40s and they don’t necessarily believe it is important their daughter be with someone she loves than someone she knows!
This is how most people define, and perhaps invent, their insecurities. They define them through demanding a sense of security in an environment, in Life, where none can be guaranteed. Demanding means you insist Life should be the way you want it to be. But Life works only the way it IS and never works like it SHOULD. And how Life IS you can only say in the moment, in the now, in the present. You cannot create a Life by aspiring it, anticipating it, fearing it or demanding it! You can only live the Life you are given in the moment. So, there will always be a fuzziness, a certain insecurity, a cluelessness that you will always experience about Life. You will have to yield to this insecurity by welcoming it, by accepting it and by living it!
Referring to our prolonged bankruptcy, a creditor asked me and my wife the other day how is it that we have managed at an emotional level when we see no evidence of Life improving for us financially.
“It must be very fearful__living the Life that you live,”declared this person.
I replied speaking from, and sharing, our experience: “It used to be fearful. It used to be scary as long as we demanded that evidence__that semblance of security. It is only when you want to seek the light that the walk up to it becomes fearful. Supposing you don’t want the light anymore? Because you have tried you damned best to get to the light but it hasn’t happened. All your attempts have come a cropper. And the fear of what-will-happen-now suffocates you every single time, makes you insane, leaves you to suffer. It was such a horrible, reclusive existence we led. So we broke free. We gave up on seeking the light. And accepted the darkness and began to love it instead. We have accepted that we will never know what will happen to us next! We have also realized by now that we wouldn’t have known any better had we been financially secure. So, we live in a newfound awareness__call it happiness__having made peace with our insecurity. The light of our awareness makes it possible for us to love our insecurity and live in it peacefully!”
Accepting and embracing insecurity in any Life situation does not mean inaction. It simply means stopping to look for or demand evidence that comforts or reassures you. It means to know that such evidence does not exist in the first place. So, it is foolish to demand it. Instead it means starting to live with the insecurity and working through it, with it. It means realizing that nothing is permanent. Nothing is certain. Nothing is secure.
When you embrace your insecurities, all your suffering will magically, instantaneously, cease! So, don’t demand security from Life. Learn to love it for what it is. Then, and only then, will you be able to live it in peace, joy and bliss!