Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Everyday Worries

- in my meditation garden -

Yesterday morning I was casually browsing through my Twitter feed when I came across one little line that really grabbed my attention:

Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy

When I read this I paid close attention to what it said because it seemed to be speaking directly to me -  I am a worrier. I worry a lot. I worry way too much. Worrying is one of those “demons” in my life that continually stands in the way of my spiritual well-being.

After reading that little tweet yesterday I went for a walk and did a bit of personal “worry assessment,” realizing that I rarely worry about the big stuff in my life. I am rarely overcome by anxieties over possible impending disasters like terrorist attacks or California earthquakes.  No, the kind of worries that plague me most are those everyday little worries that occupy such a prominent place in my regular routine.

There is a better word for the kind of worrying that troubles me: fretting. The word, fret, is an “Old English” word meaning, to devour, eat away, gnaw at, and that’s exactly what my everyday worries do to me -  they eat away and gnaw at my well-being, “sapping today of its joy."

When I did my “worry assessment” yesterday the list I came up with of the things I am worried about was quite extensive. Currently I am fretting over a ceiling fan in my house that doesn’t seem to be working, and then there are those insects attacking my vegetable garden, on top of all that the high winds yesterday were making me sneeze and so I’m worried that my allergies may be acting up, and then there are all those tourists in town for Spring Break so I worry about the traffic and getting a table at local restaurants.  

In fact, I realize that when I am not fretting about something or other I sometimes wonder what I may have missed that I should be worrying about- how ridiculous is that?

There are hundreds of little “fretting demons” that gnaw away at my serenity and sap today of its joy and my guess is that I am not the only person visited by the demons of everyday worries.

The Dalai Lama said:

If there is no solution to the problem,
then don’t waste your time worrying about it.
If there is a solution to the problem,
then don’t waste your time worrying about it.

I find great wisdom in this teaching.

By “fretting” I squander away my time and expend useless energy worrying about problems that can either be solved or perhaps have no solution - either way worrying about any of it does nothing to make it better.

Mark Twain once quipped:

I am an old man and have known a great many troubles in my life
but most of them have never happened.

1 comment:

  1. This made me laugh out loud! Especially the words of the Dalai Lama. Goodness me, humour is such a great antidote to worrying. Just reading this has transformed this moment for me...and by transforming this moment the next moments will all unfold differently. And for that I give you my heartfelt thanks xxxx