Worrying About the Future?

Why worry? I mean what’s the purpose of worry? So many people worry that it would seem to be some handy way to navigate life’s surprises and plot twists. No? Then the better question might be “What’s the illusion in worry?”

The ego worrier has only one job and that’s to stay fixated on something pending. It wrestles with that repeatedly and can sound something like this:

                • “I hope it’s going to be okay”
                • ‘I’m not sure.”
                • “Should I ask someone…?”
                • “What if …”
                • “Maybe I should reconsider.”

The list of reservations can go on because for the worrier there is no rest. It never lands in decisive acceptance. The mind of the worrier is always looking at the future event or task as though it needs micromanaging, in order to avert some difficulty, catastrophe, or hiccup. It never sees the future unfolding with grace but pokes at the negative possibilities and replays what could go wrong.

The worrier hopes it’s all going to be okay but can’t help but think, often, that maybe it won’t. In fact, the worrier probably really, really wants it to be okay. You see, the worrier is a part of the mind that assumes or anticipates pain and wants to figure out how to prevent or guard against what might be. It wants to avoid the trauma and drama.

It’s an illusion to think that mental looping is effective. It’s recycling of energy without clear thought or action. It doesn’t change anything. To the worrier though using this ego defense against life’s challenges tricks it into feeling as though it’s doing something active and tangible to ensure there is no trauma or drama. The latter is the second illusion: while trying to avoid pain it actually creates it – the drama of worry is draining.

Worry is a busy distraction from what really hurts. The worrier defense can be formed from one pivotal painful experience, but there can also be a series of experiences that has pulled the ego mind to repeatedly place itself onto future fear. Either way, the worrier has likely lived through unexpected instabilities, or experiences that suddenly shocked and traumatized the capacity to trust. It looks to the future through that filter, concerned that something like that will happen again. If a child’s environment was unpredictable, worrying could have become a way of trying to control the fear inside rather than feel the emotion. Watching Mom and Dad engage in abusive behaviour is an experience that commonly stirs worry about what will happen to the family. The worry amplifies for the child while sitting in the unknown and feeling unsafe. But this is the third illusion: while it’s an understandable reaction for a young child, worry doesn’t help and it certainly doesn’t alleviate fear, it feeds it. Sometimes we learn to worry because we simply saw that modelled through a parent. Worry can also originate from many multi-dimensional traumas in which we felt powerless: alien abduction, genocide, invasion or war memories, being on the receiving end of tyranny, or feeling trapped with no way out. There are plenty of experiences than can lend themselves to worry and anxiety, but it need not remain with us a way of being in the world.

Worry is not to be confused with discernment. Worry only muddies the future. Sometimes it can point to realizations or refinements in how we move forward, but it takes the mind, and body, through quite a tumultuous ride to get there. On the other hand, discernment accomplishes much more, and more effortlessly.

The first step in discernment is to be willing to be truthful about what’s ahead and the feelings this brings forward. Space must be given to this because attached to the thoughts of worry are emotions. Fear, plain and simple, is at the core, but the fear can be about many things. It can be fear of being disappointed, fear of failing, fear of the outcome, fear of being abandoned, fear of making mistakes or even fear of looking silly. The list is really quite endless, and can elicit anger, confusion or sadness that stress, constrict, overwhelm or exhaust a person. All the more reason to uncover the specific cause of the worry.

Worry is not separate from self-doubt. The worrier has a hard time trusting in the relationship with the Higher Self. Rather than trusting in the God Within, the ego worrier will always assume it can control any situation by keeping a keen eye on it, no matter how far into the future it is. One could argue that sometimes we worry about a situation that has already past. Yet, in truth, the worry is about the potential fallout from the past, and that brings it into the future. The past has already happened and the future hasn’t happened yet. So worry is a futile exercise. But that’s ego for you – trying to do the job of the Higher Self, who is far better equipped to handle any situation.

The most effective tool for healing worry is to come back from the future into the present. Once you are in the ‘now’ and present to yourself, you have the opportunity to give compassionate attention to the fears, so that they can be acknowledged and healed. In the present, the heart and the Higher Mind can come together to know truth: “right now, in this moment, I’m okay”. And if you truly don’t feel that, you can find your way back to reclaim it.

Your relationship with your God-Within is the Light that leads you, and the Higher Self has a much broader view of where you’re headed, what’s possible, and what to avoid. In fact, taking the time to inquire with your God-Within is like getting insider intelligence as to where your attention does need to focus for you to move forward with grace. Instead of wringing the hands, or churning with anxiety in the stomach, your deep breath aligns with Universal Trust and that brings much more clarity and truth. It’s that inner listening that then nudges you to wise action, or a decisive change in plans, or a choice to do things differently. In other words, the long drawn out battle with the ego worrier is set aside in favour of receptivity to feelings, letting the heart speak, and then acting on that with confidence. Sometimes there’s nothing to be done at all about the future: maybe there’s just inner healing to undertake so that you can allow things to unfold with God’s supportive guidance, one moment at a time, staying aligned and aware. It may not be a comfortable time right now on Earth, and we do our best as we walk through these changing realities. It’s certainly true though that without the ego worrier it’s much easier to be a peaceful warrior.

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