Thou Shalt Not Worry
Worry is one of the most prevalent emotions that plagues many of us. Attachment to some preconceived idea about how our future might play out usually brings concern and disappointment. We anticipate good and bad events and worry about our past actions and an imagined future. Worry sidetracks us from being content in the moment. Like a nagging pain caused by a thorn in our foot, worry keeps us from completely enjoying our lives.
The saints tell us that worry is an indulgence. If we are preoccupied with worry about the past and the future, those thoughts tarnish our experience of the present and distract us during meditation. Not only do we lose appreciation of the moment, we also compromise our spiritual progress by allowing the mind to focus on needless worry. The mind thrives on this kind of drama. Left to its own devices the mind will always find something to worry about even when nothing exists. There is no enemy outside. The mind is our only enemy. This negative habit of the mind – to worry – is self-defeating and serves no useful purpose. If there is a problem, worry just makes the experience worse.
One reason we worry is due to fear. Yet fear seldom has anything to do with reality. Many reactions in life rooted in fear are based on events that never happen. Fear and worry show our lack of faith in the Master. Kabir, in Kabir the Great Mystic, says:
I made a close and careful search
And found that worry for the future is useless.
My anxiety, Kabir, cannot change anything.
The Lord looks after me
So I am free from worries.
We would be wise to follow the advice of Kabir and other mystics who repeatedly tell us not to worry. The events of this life come and go. The relevance lies in our reaction to the events that occur. If we understand this truth then we will never worry. Putting aside worry gives us the opportunity to make the right choice, to take the right action. That choice will determine our future destiny. We have the option and the tools to choose the course that takes us toward becoming a better, happier human being, free from worry.
Master has stressed over and over that we are all actors on the stage of life playing temporary parts. Our belief and attachment to the illusion of the play is a tool that the mind uses to foil our upward progress toward God-realization. We easily lose our balance. We laugh, we cry, we worry, we grieve, and at the end of the play of our lives, we will understand the truth and wonder and ask ourselves, “What was the purpose of all that worry?”
We have been taught, and perhaps have witnessed, that every event in the play of life is set up for our learning experience. From our narrow perspective, we see the events of our lives as good and bad. Do we think that we know better than the Master what is best for our progress toward our ultimate goal? On our own, we are groping around in the dark. Can we relax and enjoy the ride of our lives, knowing that every moment is perfectly orchestrated by the Lord himself for our benefit? Imagine a phone call from God. “Hello, this is God speaking. I will be handling all of your problems today. I will not be needing your help. Have a nice day.”
Throughout time the mystics have told us that nothing happens without a reason – nothing. Do we really believe this? If we have faith in the teachings of the saints, then worry need not be a part of our lives. Worry is a habit of the mind. That is why our meditation is so vital to our present happiness. Only through meditation can we learn to tame the wild mind and interrupt its negative tendencies. Imagine life without worry. Just overcoming the mind’s tendency to worry would make a huge difference in our lives.
Baba Jaimal Singh encourages us. He says in Spiritual Letters, “Please do not worry about anything except doing your bhajan and simran. Whatever else the Lord had to do has been done once and for all.” Just as simran helps us to stay focused during meditation, the practice of simran throughout the day helps us to control the mind and keeps us focused in the present. If we are fully experiencing the here and now, whether in meditation or life, then worry will cease.
By his grace, we have been given the powerful weapon of meditation. Meditation is the key to stilling the mind and finding balance in life. Through meditation we can start to understand the reason for our existence. We can see the bigger picture.
By learning to control the mind through meditation, we learn to accept the events of this life with equanimity. No longer will we be dragged around by worry as we have been for aeons of time. We begin to understand that our destiny is set and we cannot change that destiny. Baba Jaimal Singh says in Spiritual Letters, “Throughout one’s life only that will happen which is written on the forehead.” Saints advise us to learn to adjust to the events of life and maintain a positive attitude. In order to solve any problem, we have to take a positive step. Let us put aside the habit of worry and focus on a solution.
Now we know that the purpose of our lives is spiritual growth. We have found a Master to guide us on our journey. As we progress in our spiritual work, we become able to accept the comedies and tragedies of our life as the Lord’s will, and we will be content living within it. We will not feel worry or fear because we know that our lives are in the hands of the Lord, and this experience allows us to exist in a state of balance and peace of mind.
By following the Master’s instructions and example, we will learn to overcome the mind and transcend death. Then we become fearless. We will not worry nor will we have regret. Contentment will be ours. As we realize perfection and love inside, we will increasingly see perfection and love in everything outside.
Our attitude will become “Thy will be done.” Our success is assured by the Master. In Spiritual Letters, Baba Jaimal Singh writes:
The blessing conferred by the Satguru cannot be undone by anyone. So what is left now for you to worry about? You reached Sach Khand the very day you were initiated – that is the place for which you are destined.
Masters have said that the Lord made a magnificent creation for all of us to enjoy. It is our attitude that makes the difference between contentment and suffering. We cannot change our destiny. That is set. What we can change is our attitude. We create our own heaven or hell. Moses gave us the Ten Commandments as guidelines to becoming better human beings and reaching a higher consciousness. Let us consider a worthy additional guideline that will take us ever closer to contentment in our lives and our ultimate goal of God-realization: “Thou shalt not worry.”