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Worrying

KeromeKerome Love, love is mysteryThe Continent Veteran

Dear friends,

Today in meditation I came across a mental space of ‘worrying’. It was like a blanket of worry that was being draped across my head. It dissipated after a while, or at least the blanket stayed but the feeling disappeared.

But it occurred to me that worry is something that has driven a lot of my life... I studied engineering so that I could help rebuild the world in case of a global disaster, I didn’t have children in part because of overpopulation, I focused on a career because of money worries. It seems to me that worry has played a key role.

How is your relationship with worry?

With warm regards,
Kerome

Shoshin

Comments

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    There are a few of these impulses... sleep is one of the things that suffers, I have been so worried on a few occasions that I couldn’t sleep. But then I have also been so angry once that I couldn’t sleep from it.

    Bunks
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    I think there is probably a healthy amount of worry. I mean we should be worried that if we cross the street a car may hit us or that a pot on the stove may still be hot. That idea can be extended out into more complex instances in our lives, like making sure you can feed and house yourself. But as @federica says, if you can do something, do it. So at some level your actions were a case of doing something about it.

    On the other hand, worrying can start controlling our lives more than it really should. Joseph Goldstein has said something like, worrying about making our flight is reasonable, but worrying about it for the 17th time is probably a bit too much.

    Its complicated living in the world. Being prudent and conscientious makes sense to me, being obsessive seems problematic. Where the right balance between the two lies I think is a matter of wisdom.

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    How is your relationship with worry?

    In tantra we use the obstacles and emotional tantrums
    https://www.learnreligions.com/working-with-worry-449711

  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    Worry is the self feeling threatened by suffering's cause.
    It's the teacher pointing out whatever I am most unwilling to accept in this moment.

    KeromelobsterRen_in_blackShoshin
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @person said:
    Its complicated living in the world. Being prudent and conscientious makes sense to me, being obsessive seems problematic. Where the right balance between the two lies I think is a matter of wisdom.

    I would even go a bit further, and say that worry is at the root of a lot of our thinking. The mind is a compulsive worrying machine, which spends a lot of its time on survival and desire. If you want to quieten the mind, then you have to cope with these deeper worries. I would even say that it is the key tendency one needs to overcome.

    Its very possible to live and act in the world without doing any worrying. You just remember to act when you need to, and you spend the rest of your time at peace.

    Alex
  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran

    I'm not so sure that it is possible to live without worrying. It's a bright and happy dream, but I think a more realistic approach is just to learn to live with it, watch it come and go perhaps.

    That mental space of worrying you refer to, it is always with me, a place hard-wired into the brain. It's there and there it will remain - but there is no need to feed any power into it, just keep it turned off.

    It keeps turning itself back on, of course, but as soon as it starts to boot up, it can be turned back off again. Perhaps the trick is to become more aware of it, to notice it as soon as it arises and before it has gotten well warmed up, and to memorize the location of the off switch so you don't have to grope around for it.

    I thought your reference to having a blanket of worry draped over your head was very apt. It's the blanket of the self, I think, much harder to get rid of than the worries themselves. I have yet to find the switch for that one.

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    The sensation of Worry stems from the greater emotion of Fear, which has its roots firmly entrenched in our natural and inherent instinct for Survival.
    It is natural to worry.
    It is excessive and damaging if the sensation of worry becomes overwhelming and paralyses us, rendering us incapable of taking any further step...
    The thought-process of Worry is "What if....?" Often assumed to be a question with no answer.

    The remedy for the thought process - is to answer the question.

    And then seek to better that answer.

    Alex
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    How is your relationship with worry?

    I'm worried and I ought not worry, but because I'm worried...I worry because I'm worried

    The cycle of worry....

    To worry is to pay interest on trouble that may never come

    The projections of worry...

    S/he who fears s/he shall suffer... already suffers what s/he fears

    ~Michel de Montaigne~

    As a component of the ego, it's a useful tool in helping to maintain a healthy balanced outlook...but if left to its own devices it can cause havoc, taking the mind to extremes...

    lobster
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    @Kerome said:

    @person said:
    Its complicated living in the world. Being prudent and conscientious makes sense to me, being obsessive seems problematic. Where the right balance between the two lies I think is a matter of wisdom.

    I would even go a bit further, and say that worry is at the root of a lot of our thinking. The mind is a compulsive worrying machine, which spends a lot of its time on survival and desire. If you want to quieten the mind, then you have to cope with these deeper worries. I would even say that it is the key tendency one needs to overcome.

    Its very possible to live and act in the world without doing any worrying. You just remember to act when you need to, and you spend the rest of your time at peace.

    I guess I do worry about my financial security. I'm attempting to live in the world though and not renounce so I guess I don't view it as problematic. Maybe worrying about it is an obstacle to renouncing and becoming a monk. But whatever, I'm pragmatic, I may die tomorrow so I don't stress about it too much, but I also may live another 40+ years so putting effort into my possible future worldly life now will make my life easier then. In the end I say I'm being conscientious rather worrying.

    Is that Buddhist? It isn't monastic, but the Buddha also did give financial advice to his lay followers.
    https://essenceofbuddhism.wordpress.com/2017/03/26/the-buddhas-guidelines-on-how-to-look-after-your-money/

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @Fosdick said:
    I'm not so sure that it is possible to live without worrying. It's a bright and happy dream, but I think a more realistic approach is just to learn to live with it, watch it come and go perhaps.

    That mental space of worrying you refer to, it is always with me, a place hard-wired into the brain. It's there and there it will remain - but there is no need to feed any power into it, just keep it turned off.

    My mental space is usually one of a bright and featureless equanimity. Finding it suddenly replaced with a space of worry was somewhat of a shock, but not entirely unexpected, I’ve felt it before. I don’t think that is our natural state. It seems to be something that returns.

    My dreams are sometimes worry-dreams, often about travelling on trains, and sometimes they are adventure-dreams or other things. They seem to refresh me.

    I thought your reference to having a blanket of worry draped over your head was very apt. It's the blanket of the self, I think, much harder to get rid of than the worries themselves. I have yet to find the switch for that one.

    I did once, I think. I ended up in a great energetic but empty grey expanse, where there was a sense of something noticing me and quickly putting me back. Perhaps it was a figment of my imagination.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @Kerome said:

    Perhaps it was a figment of my imagination.

    Perhaps it's all just a figment of our collective imagination

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    This is a genuine conversation that took place between my Mother and Father, at about 2 o'clock in the morning, once...

    M: Kenneth....
    F: ...Yes....?
    M: We need to pay the water bill...
    F: I paid it last week....
    M: We've also got the Gas bill....
    F: I paid it yesterday. Go to sleep.
    M: What about the Electricity Bill?
    F: I paid it on Monday... Try not to think about it, Tita....
    M: Is the Poll tax due, now...
    F: That goes out automatically. It's fine, it's paid. Go to sleep...
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    M: ....Kenneth...?
    F: (Sigh).... What?
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    M: (In a worried tone)...I haven't got anything to worry about...!

    F: Giggles, rolls over, goes to sleep.
    M: Stares at the ceiling for half an hour or so, then also drops off.

    lobsterFoibleFullAlex
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    Usually when I worry it's because I sense some suffering coming down the pike for someone. More than half the time it is coming for me but quite often it's about the supposed "others".

    When it's about me then I stick to the advice @Federica posted and when it's about others I have a whole other visitor I need to contend with called Control.

  • FoibleFullFoibleFull Canada Veteran

    My Lama says:
    "It makes no sense to worry about things you CAN change.
    And it makes no sense to worry about things you CANNOT change.
    You have to have compassion for yourself, as well as for others".

    Everytime I start to worry, I tell myself that, and then relax both emotionally and physically. It works well for me, and hopefully for others as well. It is very important WHAT we tell ourselves, and a lot of Buddhism lies in what we choose to tell ourselves. This is how we reshape our subconscious patterns (which is where 95% of our emotions automatically arise from).

    person
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Relaxing, letting go, physically, emotionally and mentally is in part a sitting practice.

    Who knew?
    Yep meditation the way to ... being unhurried, unworried and un-warriored.

    Still The Way.

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