From Worrier to Warrior
Recently, I was speaking to Lama Zangmo about my propensity to worry and anxiety and my recognition of how this was such a deeply embedded pattern with me. Lama suggested that what I need to cultivate is more of a warrior spirit to deal with the situation I’m in - to go from worrier to warrior.
This is, of course, easier said than done! However, every situation we face in life presents us with the opportunity to choose how we’re going to respond. While our own habitual patterns may kick in first (“What if this? What if that? How will I cope? This could be a disaster!!! Arghhhh!!!!”) there is still the opportunity to bring the teachings to mind and consciously apply them.
“Transform adverse conditions into the path of awakening” – well, I’ve certainly got the chance to do that right now! Yes, it means making an effort when I may not feel like it, but there’s also a message of hope there – the fact that adverse conditions can be transformed into something which can help me awaken, if only a bit at a time. Never underestimate the power of the lojong teachings to have the right saying at the right time
Meditation – my mind may not settle much when I’m agitated, but at least I become more aware of the stories I’m telling myself! With awareness comes the ability to question, challenge, understand and change – as long as I bring openness, gentleness, patience and curiosity to the process. A little self-compassion can go a long way.
What have I done / am I doing right so far? Ah yes, the minor bit that the worrying mind misses out! What’s going well? What have I succeeded in doing – and doing well? Where have I / am I making a really positive difference? All those “minor details” that the worrying mind simply doesn’t see!
Worried about not coping? What have I coped with in my life so far and how does this compare? Well…. when you put it like that I’ve survived some pretty horrendous situations and I’ve put up with much worse than anything I’m facing right now – and I came through!
And finally, a reminder that I’m not on my own. I have a fantastic support network, all of whom are helping me as best they can.
Am I still worrying or am I now a warrior? Well, there’s a bit of both going on. It’s a process of transformation – of daily reminders, making the effort to remember, to allow those anxious feelings the space to be while trying not to get carried away by them. And acknowledging that this is part of the path of growing up, regardless of what age I am!