7. A loss of the ability to worry
When reading lists of qualities that might be manifest in the life of any person who genuinely seeks to live a spiritual life, it is important to acknowledge that the list will only ever be partially realized in any person’s life. The list is a vision of what a person’s life may come gradually more and more to look like.
This is especially important in #7 of the “12 Symptoms of Spiritual Awakening.”
For some of us, worry is a constant companion. Worry is so deeply embedded in our DNA that it is as impossible to imagine losing the “ability to worry” as it is to imagine losing the ability to think or feel.
Symptom #7 is integrally related to #6. Worry always has to do with the future. The present moment is the antidote to worry. Worry withers when I keep my attention in the now.
do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (Matthew 6:34)
Tomorrow does not exist today. Tomorrow is not real. It is only a fantasy of my mind, a story I spin in the futile attempt to convince myself I am in control of life.
Worry comes from my small self, that self that lives in fear and feels the constant need for self-protection. There is no way to escape worry using the tools of my small self. As the saying goes, “You cannot lift a plank you are standing on.” There is no way to gain enough control, or tidy up my world adequately to alleviate every possible cause for worry. Worry cannot be solved with the consciousness that brought it into existence and feeds it.
The antidote to worry comes only when I move to a completely different operating level. When I move away from measuring, quantifying, and competing, there is less food for worry. I begin to see that the meaning of my life now is not contingent upon achieving certain outcomes in the future.
There is nothing that will ever come in the future that can ease the worry of the present until I get off the whole worry train. The best I can do now is to prepare myself in the present to live well when whatever is coming arrives.
Living fully in the present moment prepares me to live better in the future, whatever that future may bring. There is nothing I can do to control tomorrow. I can only decide now to live deeply in this moment. If I open and receive life now, I will be better able to live fully and deeply when the future becomes my new present moment.
I can open and soften to the present moment. Or I can resist the realities of my life as I encounter them. When I resist the circumstances of my life as they are, I create pain. I weaken my spirit and lose my awareness of the presence of God who sustains and strengthens me to live each moment as it comes.
When I surrender my determination to control the future, I discover the freedom to live fully in this present moment.
There is a core of freedom and light at the centre of my being. I am created in the “image of God.” I do not need to give away that steady centre of my being.
There is a strong steady rhythm at the heart of my life that no circumstance can threaten and no disaster can undo. All the situations about which I have ever worried are designed only to lead me to this spacious place of truth and strength. Uncertainties and fears about the future are God’s give calling me to discover that inner terrain of strength and peace that is my true identity.
nb: since I started posting these “12 Symptoms of Spiritual Awakening” I have been directed to their original source – please see: http://www.symptomsofinnerpeace.net/Home.html