“Now that all your worry has proved such an unlucrative business, why not find another job?” -Hafiz
I’m a born worrier. I worry about everything. I worry about things I did in the past, I worry about what I’m going to do in the future, I worry about what’s going on right now, I worry that I worry too much!
Invariably, all that time and energy spent worrying is a complete waste of time. If it’s something that I have no control over, worrying is not going to make any difference. If it’s something that I do have control over, I would be much better taking some kind of meaningful action rather than worrying about it.
When I was living in the temple, I hardly ever worried about anything. I think that that was largely because during my time there, I had no control over anything. It was a completely foreign environment, and the only way to survive was to just ‘go with the flow’. I guess that things seem different out here in the ‘real world’ because I have the illusion of control. I’ve already fallen back into that old habit of thinking that I am (or that I should be) in control of everything. Mostly when I worry it’s because I feel like I don’t have control over something, or I worry that I do have control but I can’t decide what is the right thing to do. Then I worry about being indecisive!
When I write it all down like this I can see the ridiculousness of it all. But when you have spent a lifetime worrying, it can be a hard habit to break. I’m trying to use Thich Nhat Hanh’s meditation for dealing with my worry:
Breathing in, I know I have worry in me;
Breathing out, I know the worry will pass;
Breathing in, I calm the worry in me;
Breathing out, I know that I am strong enough to deal with this worry.
Although lately I’ve been worried that I haven’t been doing enough meditation…! I know, I know, time to stop worrying and just get on with it. Send me some metta, but don’t worry about me, I’m going to be fine!