I had a conversation with friends about anxiety and the question came up: “Is it possible to live life anxiety free?” My initial answer was that I trust in masters who say that this is the human birthright and it is certainly possible. The conversation made me realise that although I trust my teachers, I don’t want to live a life of no anxiety unless I’m ready for it, which leaves me happy with feeling anxiety till I don’t. I don’t live an anxiety free life but the war with anxiety has stopped and I know a day could come when I may not experience it. I am not hoping for that day because the hope for that future is a struggle with the present that holds such experience.
I am also learning that it is not the experience but what we think of it that makes us want it to go away and have a life without it – To repeat; it is not the experience itself. We label our experiences, we label ourselves, and we describe and think about what we experience incessantly. Do we live them without constantly adding words to that experience? What would the experience really be if there was no commentator at all? What I have noticed is that when we experience any negative emotion, when we go there – inside them – living them without words, they disappear. As if words and descriptions are what hold them in place, dragging us down into the story of an “I” experiencing anxiety, an “I” trying to reduce anxiety etc… All our experiences are imprisoned by descriptions, words and labels. When I let go of the description of them and all the stories around them, the experience becomes so spacious that it dissolves into nothingness, into silence.
The form of an emotion manifests as a sensation in the body. The sensation is translated in the mind as words that grow rapidly until they become a long story that can last for days sustaining the initial sensation. It seems to me that while the words and stories last, the sensation lasts. If emotions could be lived and truly experienced without words that kept them in place, they’d dissolve as quickly as they manifested, just like running water.
So is it possible to live a life without anxiety? Let us not answer the question! Let us instead go into anxiety to find what it is (without describing it) and see what happens. Perhaps whatever we find there will give us an answer that could dissolve all questions.
When you are willing to stop looking for something in thought, you will find everything in silence.
~ Gangaji ~
P.S. An idea of a cartoon came to my mind before the words for this blog and I thought if I had my dad’s talents I would draw it. Then I decided to do a collage with artworks available online.
I added the words to the collage from two images (thanks to the artists and I hope they don’t mind me using their work). Using Photoshop the one below was the best I could do to try and convey the message. I sent it to my dad who, with a flick of the pen, made all the difference. The one above is his modification – adding my childhood signature too!! 🙂 Thanks dad!! xx