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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Anxiety: Inside the Box

The more I work with people and listen, it is apparent that we as a nation (world?) are suffering from a chronic low grade to debilitating anxiety.  And the more I listen, the more I understand it is rarely the seeming cause of the anxiety that is the problem (although, the world's collective distress is plenty).  Crisis and even levels of trauma are part of the human experience through our continuums.  We are built and designed to heal ourselves.

What I am hearing and seeing is the lack of inner preparedness, the non-cultivation of more Wholeness and well being in ourselves.   The culture at large does not introduce and nurture in people from a young age the means to navigate this.  We're just not prepared for the speed of life having not known well and appreciated, the slowness.  Most of us are indoctrinated from an early age to be productive, have attainable goals, to note the sequences leading up to success and imitate that.  But most of all, it is the what not to do that westerners have been taught that I believe has the anxiety-meter going through the roof.

We are taught not to value emotional intelligence, the creative impulse and the mysterious.  Indigenous cultures, and peoples whose values are close to nature, close to knowing more subtle and hidden aspects of themselves have this sort of preparedness to deal with crisis.  They have a well developed emotional intelligence  (see Emotional Competence and Autoimmunity).  There is a vertical knowing, a respect and value for a layered emotional connection to self, intuition and a metaphysical relationship to nature, spirit and others.

This type of modus operandi is not the norm in western culture.  We are far from Ourselves.  We put all our energy into developing our cognitive abilities.  Our systems, paradigms and cultural structures are reason oriented and hierarchical.  There is an external, extend-out-from-ourselves emphasis.  This leaves our core depth, our should-be-solid vertical unsupported, unprepared for stress.  We are living within a tight and often claustrophobic box.  The delight of the unusual, unexpected manifestations and truths that ground our core selves become atrophied.  We operate from a fear-based need to be in control.  Our metaphysical, intuitive, creative self is not used in a balanced relationship with our cognitive capacities.  There is a stunting of this other aspect of ourselves.  This creates a chronic inner state (unseen, unfelt) of being bereft, separated from our inner reality.  There is no wonder we have anxiety.

What can be done? An affirmation of this core strength and a gentle visiting to those places in ourselves is required.  As is seen in the following article, when a corporate (western) approach is taken to encourage people to learn meditation or yoga (Is Mindfulness Making Us Sick?), unexpected and un-desirous results ensue.  It's an attempt to go from the (totally unprepared) outside to the In.  As the article points out, the In resists.  It puts up all sorts of resistance because it's a violent attempt (from its perspective) at awakening parts of ourselves that have had little activity.   This would be akin to sprinting a mile when you've been on the couch for a month.  So all the ego-survival mechanisms pull out the stops and what we get is a lot of disturbing body memories buried in a vault in ourselves.  It is a violence of sorts and because of the often insistent approach, not rooted in kindness but force.  A gentle, curious interest needs to be cultivated first.  In this state, knocking on that door might yield a gradual opening (if there is no agenda).  Everything in its own time.

photo credit:  Omid Gamini
The western approach (cognitive, analytical, systematic, efficient, rational) in a basically eastern method is not possible.  We have to lend ourselves to our more innate eastern capacities.  The creative, the metaphysical, the sensory-based--- all inherent in the human organism.  This is an intelligence of a totally different order.  It is wise when transversing on foreign soil, to be attentive, curious and humble in one's approach.  Temperance. Rome wasn't built in a day, or in a weekend meditation workshop.

Know Thyself.  Know your (present) limitations.  Feel what is keen inside.  If the door is not opening, it has its (good) reasons.  Respect this.  It is just for the present.  Bring a humility and care to all of yourself and your endeavors.  Ask for help.  Be discerning in whom you trust with your Depth.  Is it a hierarchical arrangement? If the relationship is less a mutuality and more a "I know more than you, I will teach you about you/what you should know", be careful (run for the hills).  A healing is always a state of self-empowerment (as messy and non-sensical as it sometimes may be).  A healing and healer finds you when you're ready, you don't have to go looking for it/them; you just have to be available, in a state of receptivity.  Receptivity blossoms when there is a nonjudgmental interest and an authentic curiosity.  With self-empathy and joy, start to experience aspects of yourself outside the box.  Anxiety will be less overwhelming and more manageable.

1 comment:

  1. Hi admin,
    I read your blog,I really like it.which is abouot anxiety awareness.
    It is equally meaningful for anxiety attack sufferers.
    There are many useful aspects that can be brought into notice for effective plan about what cures anxiety best.

    anxiety awareness