Unless we know we are worrying when we worry, we will never be able to quit worrying.
Yesterday a man reached out to me from Bengaluru. His problem is that he simply stares at the computer and worries. He claimed he had become unproductive at work and feels defeated. He has too many business challenges. And now his preoccupation with his business has begun to affect his relationship with his wife. He wanted to know how he could ‘get rid of his worries’.
The key to being liberated from worry is not to strive for a state when there is absence of worry. The key is to learn to be ‘non-worrying’ by being aware. Being aware requires only being. Just being. Nothing else. But there’s a perception that simply being is tough. No, it is not. Examine yourself. Most of the time you worry without even applying your mind. It is a mechanical affair going on in your head. What will happen to this? Or that? Will I get what I want? Will my child be happy? Will my spouse survive? What if something terrible happens and what I want done is not accomplished? It is an incessant chatter. A cacophony in your head. And one worry sparks off another and another. Often times, this becomes uncontrollable. And you seek remedy. Someone tells you to lean towards meditation. Someone else tells you to propitiate the Gods. Someone again tells you to meet an astrologer or soothsayer or a tantric. You try all that. But you come back frustrated. You are not getting the answers you want. You are seeking inner peace and a worry-free Life, but you are not getting there. Why? Because your mind refuses to listen to you.
Kabir, the 16th Century, weaver-poet, says this so beautifully in his couplet:
“Maala To Kar Mein Phire,
Jeebh Phire Mukh Mahin
Manua To Chahun Dish Phire,
Yeh To Simran Nahin”
The rosary rotating by the hand,
the tongue twisting in the mouth,
With the mind wandering everywhere, this isn’t meditation (counting the rosary, repeating mantras, If the mind is traveling – this is not meditation)
Control the mind, not the beads or the words.
That ability to control the mind will come only from your awareness. Awareness can be inspired in you by practising silence. Spend an hour being silent every day. Just being. Read a passage. Write your thoughts in your personal journal. Do whatever you want, but remain silent and refuse to attend to anything that calls for you to disengage from what you plan to do in that hour. Don’t sleep. Don’t speak. Your hour of silence can make you super-productive and aware during the remaining 23 hours in the day! So, it is good return on investment. This is the practice of ‘mouna’. It will not eradicate worry. Worry will arise, but your awareness will cut off that flow of thought. It will arrest the worry in its tracks. And help you come back to focusing on whatever you are doing in the moment. Practising ‘mouna’ or silence periods brings you to appreciate the power of now! Remember, there is precious little you can do about all what you worry about by simply worrying about them! You can either act on a situation and solve it, or act on a situation and if you fail to solve it, accept that outcome. Or you can just leave the situation to Life to sort things out over time. So, why worry? And then, worse, why worry about your worrying?
The bottomline: don’t worry about worrying. Focus on where that worry germinates, sprouts, takes root. Go to that point and stem the flow.