The Bhagavad Gita begins with Arjun in anxiety, asking Krishna why he is feeling so uncertain:
Sishyasthe Aham Sadhi Mam Tvam Prapannam(I am your disciple, Guide me, Help me) II chapter….3 rd Sloka
And then begins one of the longest and the most potent psychotherapy sessions ever conducted – the grandest and at epic scale- such that by the end Arjuna says:
Nasto mohah Smrtir labdha Tvat Prasadan mayachyuta Sthithosmi gata-Sandehaha Karishye(“Clouds” have cleared; my senses are back, all your gift with my doubts vanished, Ready to act as you direct) XVIII chapter….73 rd Sloka
This is one prominent example of how spirituality (spiritual dialogue and inquiry) can change your life. This blog is not like any other article you will read, it will not just throw at you research and spiritual quotes that you can find on many other websites. No! We are going to approach anxiety from a layman- the average person- perspective. And then we will dismantle it, and eventually help ourselves get rid of it using spiritual and psychological tools.
Definition of term
Anxiety is a normal emotion. It’s your brain’s way of reacting to stress and alerting you of potential danger ahead. Everyone feels anxious now and then. For example, you may worry when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or before making an important decision.– WebMd
After a gentler way to describe anxiety a more vivid description is racing thoughts. Racing and swirling and confusing thoughts, a tsunami that fills up our head and gets our heart racing. You start imagining the worst scenarios. You will lose your job. You will lose your status, your money or your girlfriend/wife/partner.
A major contributor to anxiety is uncertainty. We live in a fast-paced and vastly interconnected world, where every kind of information we could desire is at our fingertips. What usually happens is that humans, the way our brain is wired, tend to pick up the negative
news first. You can open YouTube or Twitter, the top most posts in your feed would be either about murder, protest, violence or some scandal. Now, these are not light issues. In their own right, for people involved in them, these are important. But for you, as a third person, are they really that important?
Does every clickbait need attention when your life is screaming for your attention in areas like your studies, domestic responsibilities, fitness concerns, or even your dog not getting his daily walk? All of these require much urgent attention than a sting operation clip, and when you add those things which are negative or emotionally heavy to your current list of responsibilities on a daily basis- you create a recipe for disaster.
No wonder our minds don’t have a moment to rest. No wonder when we sleep at night, we think about the worst that can happen. And no wonder that every other day we crave a way to break away from all this noise and find peace and quiet.
Spiritual-specially Yoga and Advait school of philosophy- keep reminding us that we are not the body and we are not the mind. This is a very strong psychological trick or reality we don’t know. The underlying base assumption is that the world is Maya, and our true form resides in the soul which is pure and separate from the actions of the body. The soul is something that can’t be harmed. The soul is something that will remain unaffected. This line of thinking allows us to draw a line between our thoughts and the subsequent emotions they cause from the inner quiet that resides in all of us.
The emptiness, the null, the void that is there when the brain chatter stops. This null or void is not coldness but a sense of piece and blissfulness that happens when we quiet our minds.
Spiritual traditions call this state our natural state, the state where we have transcended the gross body, the conscious mind, and the subconscious mind, and connected with our soul. Our real self or true self.
Nainam chindanti sastrani Nainam dahati pavakah na chainam kledayanty apo na soshayati(Aatma can NEVER be torn by arrows (bullets), Burnt by fire, Washed away by floods (Tsunami) lifted by winds (Typhoon, Hurricane) II……..23
The most important thing for people with anxiety is to learn how to surrender and understand things that they can control and not control. Also, equally important is a way to develop a fearless attitude towards life and keep reminding themselves that THEY ARE BRAVE. THEY CAN HANDLE IT.
Tips and Remedies
Below are the following activities that you can do to break free from the constant cycle of rumination and anxiety:
- Read scriptures and blogs like this that keep reminding you not to associate tightly with things in life that are beyond your control.
- Understand there is peace in your core, and you need to find ways to access it. One of the best ways to access that core is meditation. Find a meditation technique that you are comfortable with and can do it daily. Also, make sure that the meditation technique you choose makes you feel relaxed after you practice it. It should not cause you strain or stress. Exampled of different meditations you can try – Transcendental Meditation, Vipassana, Mantra Meditation, Sufi Meditation.
- Talk with friends and safe people, who encourage you to develop a positive attitude towards life.
- Give a break to all the sad songs and existential stuff you have been reading lately. And please stop reading each and every news article. Stop poking your nose at each and every scandal. It dulls and dumbs the brain.
- Do daily exercise, start feeling comfortable in your skin, and stop seeking external validation (this is by itself an important topic and will be tackled in a separate blog).
See you next time. Have a great day.
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