As soon as I saw this question on WordPress, I knew immediately what my answer was going to be. It’s not the many wars causing hoards of refugees, our changing climate, housing shortages, famines, civil unrest, and a myriad of other problems facing us today, but our ever evolving technology. Yup, sitting down at my computer or using my smart phone is too often the cause of my anxiety. Why? Well because of the constant changes which Microsoft and WordPress have thrust upon me for one. I know that the younger generation would laugh at this confession when their greatest cause for anxiety is probably the present state of our world and the future that lies before them. My grandson laughs at me when I seek his help with some of the problems that appear on my phone when for him it’s obvious and fun. Why don’t I know how to use it and why do I get so frustrated, he wonders? I have had to explain to him that when I was his age at fourteen, we had dial up phones with no apps that would take us to games and just about every place around the world. We also had to share our phones with other people. Our parents made darn sure that we didn’t eavesdrop and if we had to make a call to our friends, we had to make it short or else!
Over the years, I have realized that my anxious personality has not helped me to grow and move forward to the extent I would have liked. I still have more work to do on that, but what I can say is that I am getting better at not letting it rule my life. I have learned that it’s my mind or my thoughts that are the cause of my anxiety. Oh, I have my moments when I let my mind take over, but I have learned that I can control it by working with it. If I look ahead and start to worry about all the worst things that could happen, I feel anxious. The same thing happens if I look back at a loss or mistakes I’ve made. They too can also stir up my anxiety. So it’s true that the only answer is to try and stay in the moment or live in the present. Some enlightened people call it living in a state of consciousness. I have discovered that there is absolutely no benefit to my worrying about what might or might not happen down the road or stewing about my past. For example, when I look back on my life, I realize that all my past losses, problems and challenges have somehow worked out and and are now a fading memory. They were my greatest teachers. Think about it for a minute. Isn’t this true for everyone? What kind of person would we be if we never had challenges to face us and were destined to live an easy life?
Buddha is a good example of a person who was born into a rich family where he had everything given to him. He had very little to worry about. However, as he grew older and began to venture outside of his parents’ palace, he discovered a very different world outside of his gated community. What he witnessed wasn’t a pretty sight. There were beggars and poverty everywhere. Upon seeing this, his heart told him he didn’t want to be brought up as he was destined to, but instead wanted to be of service to the poor and the only way he could help them was to sit under that banyan tree to try and find his answers by meditating. It’s true he almost died of starvation. Most people today couldn’t or wouldn’t do that. However, it was his way of changing his life from one of luxury and lack of purpose to become what he was destined to do… to be of service to humanity especially the poor. By staying his course, he went on to spread the Buddhist philosophy throughout the world. He learned and created a huge following by teaching them that it is only human to have to endure some kind of suffering because out of that, we will become stronger. Of course, we will all have our own kind of suffering brought on by different circumstances precipitating different results. For some it might be losing a loved one, a job, our health, or all our money. It can be many things for many people, but the learning for us must be to not get stuck in our suffering or loss. By overcoming it, we can then move forward to leading a better life. A better way of putting this is to not give up hope or as Leonard Cohen one of my favourite people said:
” If you haven’t known sorrow, you haven’t known kindness.”
Some other posts I have written on the subject of self growth are listed below:
Taking the Road Less Travelled
How Good Are We at Dealing With Change?
6 thoughts on “What Makes Me Most Anxious?”
Amen, Bets! I had to chuckle when I saw technology was at the top of your list. Can you believe, I recently met a man walking a remote Camino in Spain who doesn’t have a phone? I walked without one in 2010, but now you often can’t even get into your hotel without calling for a code. I wonder if I’ll ever catch up with him to ask what his experience has been? I can’t send him an email, or a text, that’s for sure.
So nice to hear from you and know that there are many more like me having trouble accepting all the technology that is invading our lives. I checked into your website and have signed up as a subscriber so we can keep in touch. Good for you to take up the Camino pilgrimage which must at times be very tiring but hopefully inspiring.
Thanks, Bets. This Camino is challenging, indeed. I haven’t been keeping up the blog— too hard on my iPhone mini—technology again! But I’ve been posting quite regularly snippets from
Each day on my FB page. Maybe I’ll get some of this into the blog when I return home in 2 weeks. It’s the unexpectedly hot weather, long distances, and rugged terrain that make this Camino difficult—plus, we’re old and out-of-shape. Linnes
Hi Bets, I sympathize – today’s technology drives me crrrazzy too! As to anxiety, which caused me some serious insomnia, I’ve been able to deal with it by a couple of things. Yoga & listening to Eckhart Tolle recite his books (on audible). I listen for about 10 minutes every night when I turn out the lights and I now sleep like a baby! There’s something to be said for living in the moment (let’s face it that’s all we have) and accepting the “isness” of everything….both good and bad. Great & relevent blog!
Well said But not easy to put into practice
I’m with you Bets!!