Question – Anxiety
Dear Ivan, I am anxious twenty-five hours a day. What should I do?
Meditation is going with the flow of the moment right now. In meditation there is no question of any resistance to any happening in Now. Right now doesn’t contain any past or any future. Right now is empty of thoughts, empty of the mind. In a meditative state of being, you live in utter relaxation, free from past and future. You live in absolute acceptance of all that is right now and all that isn’t right now. Whatsoever life brings now is a gift, and you are very grateful for it. Do you understand?
Yes, I do, but I feel fear.
I know that, so we will use this fear to overcome the anxiety. Something is possible only when something is. Is that right? Past and future are not. Do you agree with that?
Yes, I do!
Good. You have to start helping yourself from somewhere. Right?
You are now. So you will start from where you are right now, not from your thoughts that are somewhere else then now. Do you understand? You are as you are now, and as you are here. We have to make a start from now- here.
Good. We will start walking to your non-anxious self from your anxiety in this moment now. But first lets place attention to the fear you feel right now. You feel the fear, but the fear is not the feeling. The fear is outside of you. You know, I know and everything in this room knows that the fear is not real. We all fear something that’s not real. People fear darkness but it is not real. You are real, so you cannot fear yourself. Do you understand? We will start from the fear you feel right now. Every beginning creates a certain fear. Right? So, fear and anxiety are interrelated. What are you anxious about right now?
I have so many anxieties and don’t know which one to pick?
I am not asking you to pick any anxiety from your mind. I am asking you to start from this moment now. What are you anxious about right now?
I don’t know.
Yes you do. We already talked about it a minute ago. What is that?
Hmm . . . You mentioned meditation. Yes, I am anxious about meditation as I don’t know what meditation will bring.
Your mind fears you, because it knows that you might drop your mind. That is where the fear is. We will not drop the mind. We will only drop the anxieties, as they are not serving you anymore. Does your mind agree with this.
I don’t know.
What do you say?
Good. Your mind is anxious of meditation because your mind knows that if you go deep into the meditation, it might lose the possession of you. There is no need to worry. Meditation will bring nothing so there is no need to worry about it. You are conscious of being beyond your fear and anxiety, beyond your mind. Your mind needs to know that we will not drop it, as you will need its power and expertise in relating to others. You will need thinking to talk to others. You will need thinking to relate to others, to create and designate things in relationship with others. Mind is needed and it is always right when you are using it with others, but mind is not needed when you relate to yourself. Mind needs to know its own place. You need your mind. Do you understand that?
Yes I do!
Good! I cannot promise you anything else but one thing – meditation will bring you nothing, so there is no need to worry. Trust me on this one. Can you?
Good. You know how to tolerate misery. Do you?
I lived with anxiety for years.
I know. Now, I am asking you to place your attention at the beginning. Close your eyes. You are at the beginning of your freedom from your misery. You are anxious about meditation, right? That is the beginning. Anxiety about meditation is your beginning; it is happening right now. All other anxieties are irrelevant right now. All other anxieties are your past and your future. They are not in this moment now. Leave them there. You will pay attention to the beginning, to this one anxiety called meditation, right now. You are anxious about meditation, so pay total attention to it. Look at your anxious thoughts that come up when I say, ‘meditation.’ Look at the thoughts coming and going. One thought will come and go, giving space for another anxious thought to come and go. Just watch those thoughts. You are not your thinking. Watch and do nothing.
You are conscious of all other anxious thoughts that have suffocated your being since the beginning, but they are at the background of only one anxiety right now: the anxiety of your meditation. There is only one thought in your mind: meditation. Do you see the thought, meditation?
Yes, I do.
Good. Fear is not of this moment now, so all anxieties cannot be now. Notice that the thought meditation is over there and you are here. Notice the distance between the thought meditation and you. You are not at a distance, and you are not the distance. You are now. Now, start breathing slowly and evenly. Take a deep but very, very slow breath in. Look at that breath. Keep that breath in for a second or two. Slowly let the breath out. Look at the breath going out. Hold the space; hold the breath before you inhale again slowly and deeply. Look at it. Continue breathing. You have been tolerating misery for so long, and you are pretty good at it. You are a master of tolerance.
In the very word ‘tolerance’ there is a thought of intolerance. The very word is dualistic. You are managing your mind very well. Now bring the consciousness, and change the thought ‘managing’ to ‘accepting.’ Acceptance of oneself is loving oneself, and non-acceptance of oneself is an unloving tolerance of oneself. Say silently, thank you.
Accept your relaxant and intolerant mind.
Be aware of your breathing. You are breathing slowly and evenly, relaxing your body, your mind, and your emotions. You are very secure in your breathing. You are very nourished in your breathing. The breathing is life, and life is taking care of you right now. Life is breathing you at the moment. Life is protecting you through the breath.
You are sinking deeper and deeper into relaxation. Everything is relaxed; everything is at ease. You are. Whatsoever you are, you know that you are. Just go on watching your breathing in and out. Watch and do nothing. You are going deeper and deeper. You are relaxing deeper and deeper. Thoughts might be there, or they might not be there. You just watch them coming and going.
Meditation is nothing but the art of opening your eyes, remembering to open your forgotten eyes. You are cleansing your eyes right now. You are cleaning the dust that has gathered on the mirror of your consciousness. The thought upon the thought, the layer of dust upon another layer— thoughts gathered so much so that the mirror has been completely forgotten. Now, it is the time to remove the layers of dust and clear the mirror of your consciousness. The mirror is always now, and it cannot be lost. Mirror of your consciousness. You are the mirror. Thoughts are in the mirror.
The mirror contains the traffic of thoughts; all kinds of thoughts. Positive thoughts, negative thoughts . . . all thoughts are transient. The thoughts are not staying for long because you are watching them in the mirror and doing nothing to them. You are watching a mirror. The mirror is just reflecting and not keeping anything. The mirror is outside of you, just reflecting. When you smile, the mirror smiles. You are just watching a mirror—a mirror of your relationship with others, with life, with yourself. Watch the mirror. Continue watching as everything in that mirror comes and everything goes. What is coming in the mirror is just a reflection; it is not you. You are watching a reflection in the mirror. The reflection cannot watch you. There is no need to do anything to the mirror. Just watch.
The mirror is showing you how you relate with people. The mirror is showing you how you relate to yourself. Relationships are a mirror. It is showing you a reflection. Watch how you changed your persona, your character, in your relationships with others. Look at your face changing in the mirror. Look at your fear; look at your insecurities and look at your anxieties. Look at your personality and your possessiveness changing in the mirror. Continue looking and watching. Do nothing; just watch. Have you noticed that the mirror is changing its reflection, and you are going through a transformation? You are face-to-face with your whole being. The mirror is changing and you are transforming. The mirror is showing you sadness, and you know that is not you. The mirror is showing you your hopelessness, and you know that is not you. The mirror is showing you your frustration, and you know that is not you. The mirror is showing your anxiety, your depression, your sadness, and you know that is not you. The mirror is showing your different moods, different thoughts, different beliefs, but they are not you.
Indecisiveness is not you. You are more than your indecisiveness, your possessions, your identification, or your attachment. There are millions of moods, thoughts, emotions, situations, and happenings around you, but they are not you. Go on watching. Allow every mood, every emotion, every thought, every belief to be reflected in that mirror, and you, on the other side of the mirror, are watching every reflection passing by, coming and going without any trace.
Look above the mirror where it says, ‘Everything that comes and goes is not real and not me.’ Remember that. Engrave that truth in your consciousness. ‘Everything that comes and goes is not real and not me.’ Look within yourself. Watch the one who is watching. You are alone, absolutely alone in this wold. Alone is your birthright and your freedom. Aloneness is your love and your consciousness. You can love yourself only in your aloneness. You can accept yourself only in your aloneness. You are aware that you are—alone in your love. You are alone and secure in your love. Watch that alone you.
Watch yourself, not in the mirror anymore, but inside, in the depth of your being. ‘Alone’ is not scary anymore. It is a blessing. It is your birth-right. You are blessed as you are. Everything is changing but your aloneness, your awareness that you Are never changes. Love is always the same. Love never changes. Love is alone—ultimately, unconditionally alone in itself, sharing itself to everybody and everything without preferences. You are love in One-Self.
Now, pay attention to your breathing again. Breath in slowly and evenly. When you are ready, open your eyes.
How are you?
I don’t know!
In the beginning of our meditation you felt anxiety, but that was only in the beginning. You did well, breathing in and out slowly and deeply, paying attention to it and tolerating the beginning of our meditation. You went through the beginning, you tolerated the beginning, and now, where is your anxiety?
Strange feeling. I don’t know. Wow. I am not anxious. I cannot describe it . . . feeling more free in some strange way.
Because you cannot see the reason why you are feeling that way. I have to tell you that freedom is not a feeling, but a state of being. What you are feeling is your being. Be grateful. You are great.
The mechanism of the mind has to be understood properly. You feel anxiety when you feel insecure. And now, you are absolutely secure because you are present Now, present with your consciousness, alone in your consciousness. Do you understand? You are right now breathing life, and life is breathing you. You see, it is not because of insecurity but because of your request to be secure. Anxiety is not the problem; the problem is not wanting anxiety. When you don’t want something, that not wanting becomes in some way a demand. What you don’t want, you become. You are demanding something to go, and that demand becomes a command not to do that, not to go. Your demand is keeping the status quo. You don’t want it. You don’t want unhappiness, and unhappiness becomes your anxiety, which becomes your misery—so you become stable in your unhappiness. Don’t say anything. Stay neutral. By being neutral, you are going through every experience. Am I being clear here?
Love it. Love is healing. Love means acceptance . . . ultimate acceptance. When you accept everything that is, and everything that isn’t, everything positive and everything negative, then you go through the experience, and what is there left then? Nothing. What is left after ultimate acceptance is your consciousness. You are being conscious now. Everything is passing by, but you, the real you, your consciousness stays in Now. You are conscious that you are. You are alone, alone with the consciousness that you are, and there is nothing to fear in that aloneness. There is no fear in aloneness. You were born alone in this reality, and you will die alone—absolutely alone. Both birth and death are ‘alone phenomena’. In between two alonenesses, we are all learning how to be alone. Aloneness is love.
Life is full of insecurity, and if you start living that insecure life and don’t demand security, the anxiety will disappear. Consciousness is not demanding. The mind is demanding. It is asking for your attention, your attachment to insecure thoughts—anxious thoughts. The demand is creating the anxiety. You see, insecurity is the very nature of life, and if you accept that fact and are grounded in Now, in your consciousness that is always right now, then life will be blessing, not an anxiety. Okay?