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Worrying Life Away

“Chinta nahi chintan karo” is a popular saying in Hindi. It loosely means that one need not worry but rather mentate or simply, think constructively. It is a translation and does not do justice to the real meaning – we cannot get the essence of what is said in Hindi. The word ‘worry’ has the meaning of tearing and twisting or choking and strangling.

Originally, it meant to wring which we still use in the expression ‘to wring one’s hands’. This is an external manifestation of worrying. It is easy to spot a worried person – the wrinkling of the forehead, the contraction of the muscles, or the bowed down look. Also, there is clenching of fists and sometimes long pauses in breath. This is accompanied by or rather a result of an inner feeling of tearing and twisting.

Worrying leads to cascading (looped) thoughts that damage our physical and psychic health nearly permanently. They usually lead to high states of anxiety, panic attacks, and a general feeling that something misfortunate is bound to happen. Constant worrying makes us extremely sensitive to even the smallest criticism, thus making life utterly miserable. It affects our appetite, our efficiency, and the way we live and relate with others. It serves as a continuous leakage of energy leading to exhaustion and fatigue.

Worrying affects our muscles – constant practice of rolling attention over to the muscles and consciously relaxing them is extremely helpful. The opposite of worrying is NOT indifference. If someone is in danger, it is natural for one to feel anxious; when we worry about it, something is added to the hope and fear we feel for that person. This is imagination with negative thinking. If we can separate this negative imagination from the worry, we have taken a very big step to leading a stress-free life. Unfortunately, worrying has become a habit and many of us feel proud to worry about the weather, the government, or whether a popular actress has had a face-lift or not. This is an illness that may be impossible to cure because we might even start enjoying it.

The Guru teaches the disciple techniques to direct and control his imagination. In yoga, this is called ‘dharana’ and when the student reaches this state, he is free of worrying.