“He suffers more than necessary, who suffers before it is necessary.” ~ Seneca
We cannot live sanely within the structure of “what if” thinking. For example, I’ve had some health issues this past week with muscle cramps and joints locking. It could be something as simple as a weak muscle somewhere that needs physical therapy or it could be a chronic systemic disease that will only degrade with time.
I have no idea what it is yet. To assume it is either would be foolish, as would it be to assume it is neither. So I have no choice but to relax into the sense of not knowing and allow it to be as it is. Of course, I am still seeing doctors and doing whatever I can to figure it out.
The point is, if you suffer about something before it’s actually necessary to do so, then you are suffering more than is necessary. There is enough suffering in this world without us creating our own.
Right now you are sailing toward the edge of a waterfall while being too concerned with making sure your ship is not on fire. The body will die. Everything that is healthy will fail.
Instead of resisting these thoughts, you could channel them into unattachment to the body. Your existence is not due to the body; the body does not give rise to “you.”
It isn’t enough to just think about this stuff, you must examine and explore and discover it for yourself. I would strongly recommend daily meditation, as it will be especially useful for coming to terms with these feelings.
Another possibility is to carry your anxious fantasies through to their end. What IF there were something really wrong? What if your body were going to perish any day now? What does that leave as being important? What perspective might that give you?
All humans must die, every one of us. There’s so much uncertainty to life that we easily ignore while we can, one such form being the impermanence of the body. But when we can have a keen awareness of that, what becomes important? Love. Affection. Compassion. Innocent joy.
Perhaps it may help you to visit a hospital and see the patients living there. Visit a nursing home and see the elderly form of the body that will be unavoidable for any who live so long. And visit a graveyard to see where bodies are laid to rest.
The body’s story is set. The question is: Are you going to avoid recognizing impermanence or are you going to meet it and learn from the wisdom it has to share with you?
An anxiety disorder is no doubt a heavy challenge. Our nervous system tends to use anxiety to get things done when we are not willing to do so ourselves. Maybe if you were to meet your keen awareness of your body’s fallibility with love and acceptance, you may integrate that wisdom into your being and shed the need for the anxiety. It’s not like flipping a switch but more like growing a flower. It can take time.
Along with daily meditation, I’d also recommend the book The Places That Scare You by Pema Chodron. While the spiritual path has much joy and wonder inherent to its unfolding, we often first must learn and grow through the fear and pain this life has given us. But it’s better than the alternative of delusion, suffering, and confusion.
Namaste my friend :) Much love
Life is meaningless.
What meaning could it possibly have? There is nothing that exists beyond Life. There is only Life, and it exists for the sake of existing. Life has no meaning other than Life itself.
Life is not about pleasing God because there is no God. Life is not about being good so that we can go to heaven. Life is not about helping others and it’s not even about finding your purpose. Whatever you’re doing now is what you’re supposed to be doing, because that is what you’re doing now and that’s all there is to it.
The meaning of Life is Life.
If we were to say the meaning of Life is to grow as a human being, to reach our full potential or whatever, that brings about new questions like “What is the meaning of growing?” and then we’ll still be looking for answers, never finding any. The meaning of life is right in your face. Life has no meaning.
The reason that this epiphany can be shocking is because it implies that all the bullshit ideas that we once had about Life, about why we do the things we do, about what we’re trying to accomplish and so on, suddenly become moot.
When we realize Life is meaningless, suddenly the carpet is pulled out from under our feet and we’re standing in the midst of Life itself, face to face, without any ideas about it coming between us. That’s scary, at first. Then it becomes liberating. In a meaningless Life, anything goes and that means absolute freedom.
Life has no meaning other than this, right here and now. Look around you. Take a breath. This is it. Enjoy!
"A fire broke out backstage in a theatre. The clown came out to warn the public; they thought it was a joke and applauded. He repeated it; the acclaim was even greater.
I think that’s just how the world will come to an end: to general applause from those who believe it’s just a joke.”"
Begin by renouncing your fear of fear and your anger of anger.
If there is going to be anger in your realm of experience, it is best that you are not confused by it. If you are going to experience fear, it is best that you do not fall prey to its illusions.
To be free from fear and anger is not always the same thing as being free from the experience of those feelings. It means being unconfounded by their comings and goings.
The Dalai Lama once said that if someone is trying to shoot and kill you, it is reasonable to shoot back with your own weapon. If someone is threatening you with physical violence, then it would not be right to allow them to hurt you. That would not be the compassionate thing to do. Otherwise you would be allowing harmful patterns to continue.
However, if you are talking about people hurting your feelings, that is another matter entirely.
Firstly, as horrible as it may sound, it is better that your feelings can be hurt than it is for you to be callous and unfeeling. In this society, it is typically billed as being “tough” but in reality it is simply falling out of touch with your heart. It’s painful to have our feelings hurt but if we can stay open with a bare heart to the unknowable then ultimately all pains and pleasures dance in a transmuted context that abides in indescribable beauty.
“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.” ~ The Dalai Lama
Don’t get too hung up on what is morally right. I agree completely when you say right and wrong are relative. Everything other than the radiant nondual totality is simply a relative display, a momentary yet eternally new artshow in the thunderous carnival of the cosmos.
Compassion is the best compass. If you are guided by kindness, tenderness, and compassion, you will have the ferocity of a tigress mother protecting her children when necessary and you will also have the gentleness of a child petting a puppy for the first time.
The struggle is no longer about how to protect yourself and reconcile your own feelings with others. The challenge is to remain in touch with your heart, with love, with the reality of impermanence.
"Some do not understand
that we must die,
But those who do realize this
settle their quarrels.”
~ The Buddha
Sometimes you will absolutely need to defend yourself. It is not for your own safety but the good of all. Sometimes it will be totally necessary for you to do nothing and allow another’s anger to explode and do its thing. And sometimes you will need to give love and kindness to someone whom you do not readily feel love toward.
How to know when to do what? There are no hard and fast rules for this living liquid existence. But the guidance of compassion always invites you to marry intelligence with the heart’s perception such that you can birth peace, love, and freedom for all into this world.
As soon as you start living and loving for such a large a cause as one that aspires to improve the harmony of all sentient beings, your own concerns and insecurities about yourself become rather impotent, regardless of whether or not you still feel their presence.
Sitting meditation and tonglen meditation will be very helpful along the way. I’d also strongly recommend the book The Places That Scare You by Pema Chodron.
Namaste :) Much love.
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”
The things we take to be opposites are actually false dichotomies.
Hate does not oppose love. It is the ways in which our love is limited that hate is then kindled. If we love something and that love is limited then we may end up hating something as a result. Hate is the fire of love when it ceases to see clearly.
Ugliness is not the opposite of art or even beauty. The mark of true beauty is that it knows no opposite. Cut it and it bleeds honesty. It is fearless in its innocence. Ugliness is only possible where there is confusion, judgment, and misidentification. If it can be said that art has any purpose, it is to restore clarity through the language that transforms communication into communion.
Faith is not about rules and regulations. It is about the heart’s rawness. One person may find faith in a certain symbolic perspective on this experience of being an individual in a universe. Another may find another symbolic perspective to be similarly moving. But the unspeakable and unknowable beingness is out of reach by all perspectives. And yet it disagrees with none of them.
Sooner or later we will all have to outgrow our perspectives. The Truth in the end, in the beginning, and now, knows no opposite. There is no such thing as sin or heresy.
Life and death are just processes given names rooted in a linear context. If one were to momentarily suspend the identification with an individual, it becomes apparent that all is just an interdependent unfolding. Birth is formation. Death is transformation. And from transformation arises formation.
It never ends because it never began, not unlike the way a dream never begins.
All of this is naked to the heart’s eye. But it is indifference that closes the eye. It is indifference that tells us lies. Indifference makes us think we are safe, that death and all the bad things are far away, and that all that matters are the Good Things(™).
Indifference is how the news can desensitize us while telling us what to think and how to react. It is how random fucking billboards can sell us on shit we never needed to care about. And its how we feel when we look at “strangers”. It is how it is possible to order drone strikes from behind a desk half a world away.
We can learn from our mistakes of hate and ugliness and death. But we cannot learn from something to which we willingly blind ourselves.
Do not confuse indifference with unattachment. To be unattached means to allow things to fall apart and come together. To be indifferent means to trade aliveness for Life(™).