It is fascinating how far technological inventions have come. One has better electronics, better jobs, easier lifestyles and other interests. Yet, one is less interested in how to create better sleep, better health or spiritual momentum. Electronic inventions make more money than spirituality. One occasionally hears about how radically things have changed. The way people eat, dress, find joy and communicate. A lot has changed on the outside. However, inside things look pretty much the same. Closer examination reveals what hides under the latest trendy clothing and smartest gadgets. On the inside, humans are still humans with needs and wants. But the way they expresses these needs and wants, has been transformed, effected and manipulated.
What does a mature adult have in common with a young child?
They both express their needs clearly and loudly.
Expressing authentic thoughts means freedom:
One of Sufism main approaches to life, is to find one’s true inner self. Sufism teaches how to rise above the conditioning of society and its impositions of conventions. It is based on freedom of the mind, heart and soul. It also leads to examining the world from the outside perspective of authenticity. It is a sign of a strong spiritual heart to search for something everlasting and meaningful, something true and real. Freedom, love and self-authenticity are components that help one’s development and fulfillment. It is through this approach, one is able to aspire for ascension. An honest heart is a heart that is pure and innocent. Expressing “Yes and No” genuinely connects one with the Creator. Even worship rarely means anything without authenticity.
Being authentic is a practical lifestyle. It is a direct translation of the heart voice. Not communicating one’s true thoughts, creates mental, emotional and eventually physical problems. The change that have taken place in these times is that compromising has become the norm. This change is drastic to one’s sense of well-being. Somewhere along the way, honesty has been lost. One is forced into unthinking conformity to conventional conditioning and intimidation of the majority opinion. Some try to be nice by “not telling the truth” and some want to be respectful or courteous to others. No matter what the intention is, behind deviating from the truth, it never justifies the action. Surely, the real problem starts emerging, when this becomes a habit, rather than a choice, when one is comfortable with the liar position and moves towards gaining outcomes through it.
What is Anxiety:
Oxford Medicine explains “Anxiety refers to multiple mental and physiological phenomena, including a person’s conscious state of worry over a future unwanted event, or fear of an actual situation. Anxiety and fear are closely related. Some scholars view anxiety as a uniquely human emotion and fear as common to nonhuman species. Another distinction often made between fear and anxiety is that fear is an adaptive response to realistic threat, whereas anxiety is a diffuse emotion, sometimes an unreasonable or excessive reaction to current or future perceived threat.”
Having anxiety is close to being afraid of the unknown. It’s unreasonable and unexplained. When one has it, he/she can’t explain why and how they feel it. Being inside a box, prevents one from seeing the whole box. It’s a feeling of overwhelm and entrapment. It can’t be seen, instead it is intensely felt. Anxiety, in essence is pure mental and emotional fear. Fear has a web of thoughts, the moment it falls, it binds. It’s like how fish is caught in the fishing net, surrounded and tied. The fishing net is the Fear realm, surrounded is the mind with compulsive thoughts, and tied is the body with unpleasant tension. That’s exactly how anxiety looks, energetically. The fish is unaware of the realm outside the Sea, hence the jumping and leaping. Also, one is unaware of the unknown, hence the overthinking and panicking. One out of ten people experience anxiety, but the intensity varies. One might be able to detect anxiety by noticing persistent habits like food or actions. Under bad habits anxiety is buried.
Thoughts are a powerful tool. They can distort any reality from one thing to another, such as: being exciting to scary, competitive to abusing, interactive to attacking, expressive to bullying, caring to deceiving, playing to embarrassing and so on. Knowing the nature of the problem is half the solution. Educating oneself on anxiety and how it operates is important. This is the pattern:
Anxiety > fear realm > abstract thoughts > emotional feelings > physical tension > depressing state > illness
If one traces most physical illness pattern backwards. That’s how it looks:
Illness > depressing state > physical tension > emotional feelings > abstract thoughts > fear realm > anxiety
How to be free from Anxiety:
In order to break that pattern, there are a couple of things to do. Because anxiety is an abstract concept, the treatment is also abstract. Actions are derived from thoughts. Therefore, this healing method is mostly mentally based, dealing with thoughts and habits rather than actions. This will also train the mind to be patient, observing and disciplined. It is summarized in the following points:
1- Don’t resist.
The moment anxiety rises up, most people suppress it. For example: they leave the place, change the topic, get busy, ignore it, shut off from the outside, resist crying, get angry, start attacking others, isolate, get aggressive, withdraw from conversation, drink alcohol, abuse self or others and more. Allowing anxiety feelings to come fully to one is a fundamental step. Allowing the emotions to rise up in one’s body and mind. Accepting that one has “feelings” is a way to open up one’s heart and embrace one’s “feelings”. Everyone has feelings and that’s OK. Everyone goes through anxiety sometime in life, and that’s Fine. Remember feelings come and go. They will take over then they will fade away. Resisting them, makes them stay longer. The key point is to allow the feelings to come up wherever one is, in public or in private. Breathing deeply from the belly through this step is highly recommended. Breathing gives perspective on the situation and lightens the effect of emotions. Extended breathing restores calmness through any situation and pain. Try doing this many times, till feeling completely OK with low feelings. Knowing that, there is a caring and loving source that will always protect its creation from any harm. In other words, trust. Trust the creator, trust the world, and most importantly trust the true feelings. Though, this step might take some time, depending on the anxiety level, results are assured.
Notice what happens when allowing the feelings to take over. In this case, one’s body is translating one’s mind into physical actions. If one feels these feelings, just be it and free it from your body. Examples:
I feel like crying for no reason! Just cry for no reason.
I feel tightness in my body! Just be tightness in the body.
I want to hide! Just hide.
I feel stressed! Just be stressed.
I feel anxious! Just be anxious.
I feel abandoned! Just be abandoned.
I feel I’m worthless! Just be worthless.
I can’t sleep! Just don’t sleep.
2- Always observe.
Observing is a mediation form. It can also be called meditation. Though, meditation has many types, observing is the most common one. To observe something, is to watch it closely and objectively. Here, one watches oneself closely. Observing one’s state, behavior, words and feelings. Watch how the body and mind feel in a neutral state and when anxiety rises. One should observe its own reaction to it. Looking at one’s own thoughts and feelings during anxiety gives one information on how to deal with it. There is something that triggers these feelings! It could be fear of social context, fear of water, fear of being wrong, fear of failure, fear of crowds, fear of feelings, fear of animals, fear of embarrassment, fear of facing someone with authority, fear of losing someone and etc. Through observation, one will have a revelation of the context and triggers of these feelings. And that is absolutely empowering! While observing, one keeps a record of the time and context these feelings come back.
Know that observing doesn’t involve any judgment or labels. Meaning, one should stop labeling it as “anxiety” and refer to it just as feelings. Labeling and defining something is a way to manifest it, therefore staying away from labeling the feelings as anxiety will help release it. If it doesn’t have a name and definition, it doesn’t exist. Also, allowing one to feel low sometimes without self judgement. It is a beautiful way to get to know the self. Listening and watching one’s feelings will let one describes it more accurately. Examples:
I feel like crying for no reason! Just cry for no reason > Observe how crying feels.
I feel tightness in my body! Just be tightness in the body > Observe how tightness feels.
I want to hide! Just hide > Observe how hiding feels.
I feel stressed! Just be stressed > Observe how stress feels.
I feel anxious! Just be anxious > Observe how anxious feels.
I feel abandoned! Just be abandoned > Observe how abandonment feels.
I feel I’m worthless! Just be worthless > Observe how worthlessness feels.
I can’t sleep! Just don’t sleep > Observe how not being able to sleep feels.
3- Break the pattern & be honest.
Now, one knows how it feels neutrally, as well as, when these feelings take over. And they are two different feelings, one feeling is easy and calm while the other feeling is tense and agitated. Also, one knows these are all one’s feelings. One feels it because there’s an area that calls for development. The pattern of these feelings is firm and habitual. Here, one needs a strong willed intention to break it. How strong the intention is, depends on how bad one wants to improve. Write the intention and read it loudly. Being true to one’s feelings is a conscious choice not a random and meaningless act.
Since one observed when these feelings take over, one knows they come when there is a trigger. Now when there is a situation involving one of these triggers, one stands firm and consciously breaks the pattern. The anxiety is triggered, however the intention takes place. The anxiety is triggered, yet one talks/acts intentionally with calmness and courage. Acting differently with ease and confidence every time these feelings are triggered. Practicing this over and over for a month or two will not just break the pattern but also builds more confidence and authenticity. This time the true feelings will be expressed loudly and respectfully. Practice expressing honest feelings daily with ease and calmness even if there is an opposition. As opposition is valued because it always teaches us something new. As long as one keeps respect and compassion, thought and feeling expression is one of the most liberating experiences in life. And it doesn’t stop here, being authentic also smooths out one’s life path. Experiences, people and things in general become more easy and soft. As one becomes authentic with the world, the world becomes authentic too.
Anxiety is one of the new terms that emerged in the last century. And it is increasing more and more everyday. Lack of self trust and God’s trust lead to even worse situations. Anxiety is just the beginning of it. Each time the truth is being compromised, there is a consequence. For each action, there’s a reaction, whether good or evil. Anxiety starts small and when ignored, grows bigger, interrupting one’s everyday life. Lacking honesty, leads to more confusion. Take care of integrity and everything else will solve itself. For feelings are like a navigation in life. Through them, one is able to learn which direction to take and which one to avoid. Feelings never lie, unless suppressed and congested. That’s when they become vague and destructive. Be trusting and express freely.