How are things going? June 15th, summer solstice, means that we are facing a turning point in the year.
Turning points also make an excellent subject for our bimonthly Newsletter-Blog, and maybe we will discuss it in due course, why not? However, I figured that there was something else that we needed to address in the first of two editions for June 2017: WORRYING
I am not a therapist. We are not talking chronic anxiety. I am a Life Coach and a Kundalini Yoga teacher, and I address topics in a general way, including analysing beliefs or misconceptions that can occur to us, all of us.Individuals suffering serious anxiety issues are best treated with experts who know how to help those who need it. Today, let’s just discuss a general framework about worries and worrying.I mean the general worries that many of us have, all these “what if this, or what if that – then I will be in agony!”, or the classic “how on earth could I possibly?”, and all the “oh no, my life will be awful!”Well imagine this playing in a loop.
How does this make you feel??
Worrying about money, the kids, the parents, the pets, the future; traveling, safety, attacks; health… there are so many different things to worry about. Often unnecessarily.
The emotion we attach to this process is often the one of anxiety. Anxiety is not nice. It is nicer to rather be experiencing things like love, hope, happiness, serenity.
The problem is…
that you will get the same results, over and over, for as long as you continue to worry about the same, or until you change the recording.
A worry is a negative reasoning that repeats itself uncontrollably in your thinking. We try to solve the perception of a threat and its potential consequences, through a limited cognitive risk assessment. The only skills that we possess to solve these worries come from either in the past, or from personal experiences, from our own beliefs system, or from an external source which we cannot influence, like mass media.
Worrying is basically trying to anticipate the future without having any competence whatsoever as a fortune teller.
I am sure that you can think an abundant number of problems to worry about.
In the end, there is only one solution: it is what it is.
Have you ever been Down Under?
No worries is like the Australian life motto. It means “do not worry about that”, “that’s all right”, or “sure thing”. It is similar to the American “no problem”, or to Hakuna Matata.
The Swahili phrase Hakuna Matata means pretty much the same. Hakuna means “there is not here”, and matata is the plural form of problem. Roughly translated it is “no worries”.
Why do we not live by Hakuna Matata? I think it is because of the illusion of control. Or more like, being addicted to the illusion that we can control everything!
Hakuna Matata does not insinuate being lazy, scared of change or remaining passive. “No worries” comes with the understanding that not everything can be controlled by you. The phrase puts things into perspective: everything happens for a reason.
Point 1: Values
I read that Hakuna Matata is connected with Ubuntu, an African humanistic philosophy that places an emphasis on the connectivity of humans.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu describes Ubuntu as “I am a human because I belong. I participate. I share.”’ In essence, I am because you are.
Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can’t exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. You can’t be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality – Ubuntu – you are known for your generosity.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
However, in a society which values money and profit more than Love… how can you be Hakuna Matata? Or to put it into terms of Life Coaching:
What are some of your highest ‘values’?
Are your worries triggered because Your Life is not aligned to your values?
Point 2: Muladhara
The first chakra, Muladhara, the root chakra represents survival. The Kundalini Yoga Aquarian Teacher reads on this subject (p. 189):
Many spiritual teachers say one of the most difficult things for the modern person to do is to first trust the Earth, and then themselves, then the invisible. The great sage Guru Nanak says in his sacred poem Japji, “Why do we worry? When the flamingo flies away, God takes care of his young.” Our lack if this basic instinct of trust stops the flow of energy to the higher centres or chakras. It impedes our wholeness and our complete emotional development. We engage in many defences against the uncomfortable feeling of rootlessness and insecurity. (…) We hold on to something, anything in order to deny the insecurity. It leads to fanaticism, torturing, perversion, and narrow-mindedness. With the first Chakra strong, trust is automatic.
How strong is your first chakra, your sense of security?
You only have one life to live in, and that is the present moment. This is one of the key lessons for me, when I start to worry about the future, I have to repeatedly tell myself that the only moment there is, is the present.
If you worry about things that are in the future, maybe you can adjust your perspectives:
What are you learning? How does this help you?
Can you ask questions that already include the solutions?
Research, read, find a film, watch a documentary, talk to other people about it, get feedback or help, discuss the worries that you have. You are not alone: be smart about worrying.
Point 4: Accept uncertainty
There is only one certainty and that is uncertainty.
Or how Carl Massy puts it in “The Guidebook to Authentic Success”: we only know what we know and we don’t know what we don’t know.
Lean into uncertainty.
Focusing on the bad things will not keep bad things from happening. It just keeps you from enjoying the good. To stop worrying, first tackle your need for certainty and immediate answers.
Point 5: The Work
You may or may not be familiar with The Work of Byron Katie. She teaches people how to end their own suffering by challenging their own thinking.
Put each statement you worry about to a test by asking these questions:
- Is it true? (Yes or no. If no, move to 3.)
- Can you absolutely know that it’s true? (Yes or no.)
- How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
- Who would you be without the thought?
- Who will you be or who will you become if you let go of this worry right now?
And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?
Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.