Monday, December 12, 2011

Why worry?

Question : (Unedited)
I'm in a really tight spot financially  - working poor, as I've heard it called.  I worry almost all day every day about it, about how to make it work, even though the math shows it won't. I can't find an out, no matter how I figure it - at least for now.  There's alway hope for the future.  My mind seems to be grasping on this and can't let go, but is this irrational? I try to work hard to appreciate the beauty of each moment, the breeze on my skin, or my sleeping kitty's contentment, but then my mind runs into the rut of my worry again.  What do Buddhist teachings say about dealing with this?  Imminent homelessness or hunger seem like real things to worry about.  

I hope you can give me some insights that may help me be peaceful.


My comment:
Hi J,

Everyone has worries.  Even the super rich have worries.  It is the price that we pay for feeling insecure, real and/or imaginary.  As for your situation, your worries may be real.  However we should take into considerations of your "status" in life at present; namely your location, age, ability to work, and family status.  If you are in an affluent country, I would say it is not as bad as if you are in a poor and "unstable" country. If you are young, then time is at your advantage.  If you are qualified or at least able bodied, then you still can continue working. What about family?  You see all these factors have to be taken into account.  Most probably your worries are real and justified.  On a more mundane approach, if you already know your problems, then half of it is solved because you have identified the root cause of your worries.  The practical approach is to strive to earn more and at the same time try to save more.

On a more philosophical note, you have to accept that worrying is part of life.  But if you have put in effort to minimize your "problem" then you have also to try to lessen your worries.  "Worrying" is a mental "sickness".  It is due to the fear of the situation.  This fear can be real or imaginary.  It does not matter.  So long as you allow this fear to dwell in your mind, the mind will be eventually become a slave of this fear.  The more you dwell on it, the more it enslaves you.  It is just like a bad habit.  You will need a strong and understanding mind to overcome this bad habit.  The Christians have a very effective way to overcome fear and problems.  They have complete faith and trust in Jesus.  Whether Jesus really helps or not is irrelevant.  The fact that the person's mind becomes strong with this faith, the fear and worry disappear!  In the Buddhist context, we have to face facts and note the problem.  Having identified the problem we have to make effort to remedy it.  Having done that there is nothing more that we can do.  If we know that we have done our best, then when the worry thoughts return we just note the thoughts, acknowledge them and then let them go because you know you have already taken positive actions. There is no need to worry anymore. Keep on repeating this response whenever such thoughts appear.  After some time the mind will get tired of these worry thoughts because you refuse to dwell on them.  In no time you will be free from this worry.  The thoughts will return to haunt you, but each time you just note and let them pass...Period...Fullstop.

Of course if you believe in chanting, then some chanting will give you confidence and peace of mind.

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