Sunday, September 6, 2009

How to Step Out of Worry, Fear, and Other Self-Inflicted Misery

Mindfulness is more than just being aware of what I am doing; it is also an awareness of what I am thinking and feeling.

Mindfulness allows me to be aware when my mind keeps turning toward some well-worn karmic rut of worry or fear, inadequacy or false pride. I can still spend untold hours, days, or even weeks criticizing myself or justifying myself, blaming myself or blaming others. Yet, am I making a conscious decision to spend all that time enveloped in self-criticism or blame? It seems like my thoughts and feelings are out of my control. Not so.

Sometimes I notice that my whole day seems to have an undercurrent of worry flowing through it. Worry may be telling me that some aspect of my life needs attention. Still, spending the whole day endlessly replaying my fears seems like a waste of my energy and causes me considerable pain. What to do...

By paying attention, by being mindful, I become aware of how much pain I am causing myself with my worrying. I then can also see that I have been choosing to worry, that I have a choice to let go of my worries and return my awareness to my present activity.

Mindfulness allows me to turn toward something positive like trust rather than worry, forgiveness rather than blame, faith rather than doubt. If I feel despair, it is my choice if I allow myself to turn away from my faith and project a future without hope. And in each situation--if I am willing to really look, to see, to empty myself of the worry--the gift will appear. It will literally rush toward me like a tsunami. It has to. It is the way of things. Nature abhors a vacuum.

Releasing worry, fear, doubt, mistrust, and unforgiveness serves me, serves the world. It may be tough to break those habits. But the practice of mindfulness is my most powerful--and available--ally.

I choose freedom now. My life is blessed and I share it with the world.

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