Updated: Dec 30, 2021
Goodbye to 2021, another year that caught us ALL off guard. 2022: New Year, New Start? We certainly hope so.
But, if we still have this pandemic…have to be in lockdown…anticipate more variants… hold off seeing loved ones, where is the new start? It can feel demoralising, frustrating and cause a ton of anxiety.
In all honesty the only changes we can make will take place within ourselves. What transformed my life and still does, every day, is something that I learned when I studied with a Buddhist monk:
Don’t Resist What Is
A simple but powerful mantra for living an anxiety free life.
But what does it mean? It means to not try and resist the reality of what’s happening right now. Instead, accept it.
A fundamental principle of Buddhism is that ‘anxiety lives in between the gap of where we are now but wishing it were different.’
How many of have sat in front of our screens wishing for things to be different? I have. But in that moment when I’m wishing this pandemic was over, that I could see my family, that I could go to the cinema again or lay on a warm beach, what I’m doing is resisting the reality of the what’s going on now. And by resisting reality, I’m creating anxiety.
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Everything You Need To Overcome Anxiety
Anxiety happens in the gap between the reality of how things are now and the way we think they ought to be. It’s something that tracts between the real and unreal. As the Buddha taught:
The Root Of Suffering Is To Be Found In Our Constant Wanting And Craving.
It’s a natural human desire is to avoid what's real if it’s painful, and instead to be in a fantasy about a better world. But that’s an unnatural state and causes other problems. We all like cake and love eating lots of it but, there’s always a payoff.
The more we wring our hands, wishing things were different, better and we were richer and happier, the more we deny life. Once we’re denying life we’re creating an internal complaint system which carries with it an unconscious negative charge. That anxiety provoking gap between the fantasy and reality will be our constant companion unless we bring our attention back into the present moment - where reality lives.
My anxiety used to be all about trying to predict and control my future as a seemingly viable way to eliminate what made me anxious today. I never felt safe so I tried to manipulate people and outcomes in an attempt to reduce my pain, but the future wasn’t the problem. When the pain became too much, and my back was against the wall, I realised that there was nothing I could alter in the future that would heal that pain inside. Once I began to accept the reality of life the way it was right now, my anxiety started to lessen.
Do you know what I mean? Have you been through the same thing?
Wouldn’t it be great if you could finally let go of what makes you anxious and ultimately feel safe? To know how to wake up and enjoy each day instead of just trying to get through it?
Many of you will know what it means ‘to not resist what is.’ For me, this little piece of Buddhist wisdom has had a profound effect on my life and I’d recommend the mantra to anyone who wants to see a different 2022.