Abstract: The American Psychological Association reports that therapists are seeing a sharp increase in individuals experiencing anxiety. Shuddhaanandaa Brahmachari suggests two essential practices that can help alleviate fear and anxiety in our lives. One is to learn to rephrase our thoughts by being vigilant to know our default thinking patterns and using mindfulness to reframe these self-defeating thoughts. The other antidote suggested is to develop a keen awareness of our spiritual self, which can be accessed by going within in silent meditation and self-contemplation. There we experience that the Universe is infinitely benevolent, that all is well, that this too shall pass.
In a study published this year by the American Psychological Association it was found that anxiety is extremely prevalent, especially among young adults. Other therapists also reported seeing an increase in individuals experiencing anxiety, characterized by serious worries about the future.
One of the unconscious instincts of man is fear. And we basically kill our future when we are fearful in the present about what is to come. Most often our fear is a projection of our mind and imagination that surfaces from the root of our individual consciousness, feeling it is separate from universal consciousness. The following two essential practices can be used to help calm our fears and realign us with the Universal Oneness.
Rephrase Our Thoughts
Negative or positive thoughts are nothing but our mental and emotional patterns. The more aware we are of the play of divine forces, the more we see the grace even in dark clouds. Scientists have found that it is not so much the external situations, but the internal attitude with which we perceive threats and fears that causes stress in life. Our attitude is developed from our repetitive thoughts. Therefore if we resolve to keep vigilant about our thoughts, we can learn to rephrase them.
It is the power of thought that rules. It is our thought or thinking that creates a good or bad environment inside and outside of us. We may think this or that will make us happy, but nothing can sustain our happiness unless we have access to our subconscious mind and see for ourselves what we have programmed there. Worries, tensions, fear and anxieties are all our default programs. Until we reprogram them through our changed thinking, we can't hold on to our hard earned joy! If we only watch what thoughts we are thinking, our observation alone will do the magic of transforming our world.
It is only when we are aware of our thoughts that we can rephrase or change them into pure affirmations of higher truths or possibility. At any point of time, the actual reality may be difficult and the backup memory may trigger a stream of negative thoughts creating emotional imbalance, but once we practice a bit of mindfulness in daily life we will be able to see our own thoughts, change their patterns and create an inner self talk of hope, promise and commitment.
Awareness of Our Spiritual Self
How little we know about the infinite powers of our mind and our deathless spirit inside. We spend our life with such petty things and trifles and shed tears for little insults and losses. We are afraid to visit our inner world for we resist the unknown. We miss the peace of silence as we are used to the external noise and humdrum of our mundane routine. We do not know why we are fearful and worried in spite of our material abundance. Only meditation and silence can resolve all our distractions and bring us back to our home within.
All our strength is in our mind, rooted to its pure, pristine essence. Our untrained mind can spin out and spiral into the world of names and forms; then we are in the grip of illusions and fears. We can never get rid of fears and anxieties until we realize that on the surface all is fragile and transient, painful and impermanent. The root of the tree of happiness is in our own mind anchored in meditative silence, in its pure divine essence. It is solid in the wisdom that the Universe is infinitely benevolent, that all is well, that this too shall pass.
We needn’t wait for a future day when it will be easier for us to practice awareness of this divine reality within. This very moment deserves our attention to pause and reflect upon the fact that we are blessed a million ways. In a calmer state of mind we are closer to our life principle. We want to first establish our relationship to it and anchor ourselves to the root, to the source, and mingle with the flow of life from its very core. At that quantum level of all possibilities there is only wholeness and holiness. When we are closer to that ground, anxieties and worries just dissolve; they lose all their negative powers. Isn’t it true that darkness dissolves as soon as the light is ignited?
Deep within is the tranquil sea of bliss. On the surface our life is a continual struggle. All fears and frowns are due to our disconnection from the core within. We find it easier to give our priority and attention to anything that takes us away from our inner quiet and peace, but who can give us happiness and peace other than our own selves? Dependent happiness is unsustainable. Only when we earn our own happiness and peace by following the footsteps of enlightened and successful people can we sustain our life of pure joy and celebration. Let us say “we can” and we will. What we are searching for is hidden inside. Please stop, pause, dive, feel, and just Be.
Shuddhaanandaa Brahmachari (India): Globally acclaimed spiritual and inspirational speaker, author, and visionary social advocate; founded Lokenath Divine Life Mission, 1985, which serves thousands of poverty-stricken individuals in India. Received Lifetime Achievement Award, House of Lords, UK, 2015.