Everyone has his or her own set of worries! If I ask you what you worry about, you will tell me, ‘I don’t have a job, that’s my worry.’ Your neighbor will say, ‘My job is my main worry!’ Someone else will say, ‘My children are my worry.’ Another person will say, ‘I don’t have children, that’s my worry!’ One person’s dream is another person’s worry! You will not find any logic in it at all.
What is meant by ‘worry’? Worry arises whenever things are not happening as you want them to happen. It is the discrepancy between your expectations and reality. For example, you feel your son should stay at home with you, whereas he feels he should be by himself, away from you. You feel your salary should be a few thousand dollars more. Your boss feels otherwise. You want to finish your project by a certain time. But things are happening too slowly and it seems an impossible task. These are all causes for worry. What you want and expect does not match what others want and expect.
You continuously expect things to happen in a certain way. Whether it is as big as your career or as small as what time your husband should come home for a meal, you continuously impose your will upon what is happening and worry about it.
Worry takes root from your own thoughts or words. There are two things that continuously happen in you. The first is dialogue, and the second is monologue or what I call is ‘inner chatter’. You either talk to people outside or you continuously chatter within you. In any case, words and thoughts are the ‘building blocks’ that make up worry. When you speak to others, what you say is strictly governed by societal rules. You automatically don’t use prohibited or ‘politically incorrect’ words. But what you say inside yourself, no one except you knows. The thoughts that you generate inside constitute your real worries.
It is like this: there is a continuous current of chatter happening in you twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. From this current a few spikes rise. These spikes are what you feel and express as worries. Worries are nothing but spikes in the current of thoughts constantly moving within you. These thoughts are mostly negative. That’s the problem.
If I ask you to write your life story in a few pages, you will write a few incidents highlighting how and when you struggled. You will not highlight the many joyful incidents that happened in between. The mind is trained to record only negative things. Even when something joyful happens, you remember only the moment when it ended, never the moments when you felt joy. Because even when you are at the peak of joy, you are always worrying about when the joy will end! The mind is trained from a very young age to think that life moves from one worry to the other or from one pain to another, never from one joy to another. The mind has a clear identity only with pain, never with joy! That is why recalling even joyful moments becomes painful. But most of the time we see things only through our worry.
Joy never gets recorded as thoughts, but pain does. That’s why our internal recordings are always negative thoughts. Joy is like a blank recording! For example, if your entire life is like a time shaft, on that shaft the joyful moments are simply empty spaces! There won’t be any recording corresponding to it. But the moments of worry and suffering will be clearly recorded as black impressions.
On a beautiful white wall if there is a small black dot, and I ask you what you are able to see, what will you say? You will say you only see the black dot. You will not see the big white space surrounding it! That is how you conclude that your time shaft is only made up of worry and suffering.
Buddha*, an enlightened master, used the word tathata – seeing what is as it IS. It is seeing what is there as it is, without any judgment. Everything as it is, there is only joy, and when there is joy, no thoughts get recorded in you. There are only empty spaces. That is why when you are joyful you feel light, because nothing gets recorded. When you see everything through worry, more thoughts get recorded in you and you feel heavy.
There is a common saying, ‘We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are.’ If you feel there is something wrong with what you are seeing, then you should look back in at yourself because what you see outside is only a reflection of what is inside you. If you feel pure love inside, then you see only pure love outside. It always has to do with you, not with what you are seeing.
How can you keep thoughts away from what truly IS? How can you enjoy each moment all the time?
Try this small technique. When you see something, for example a person, or a situation, or a book, or anything, normally old thoughts and familiar reactions immediately rise in you. Bring in the awareness that these conditioned thoughts and memories cloud your judgment and visualize shattering those thoughts. Next, see the situation, or person, or object now with a fresh eye, as though you are seeing it for the first time! Suddenly you see how much you missed, because of your own worry and thoughts.
Even when you see your husband, wife, brother, or anyone, look at them as though you are seeing them for the first time. Suddenly, you realize that not only does worry not arise, but also that you start seeing everyone alike, whether they are strangers or familiar to you. That is the right way. No one is familiar or unchanging. Even your wife is not known to you. Everyone is constantly changing every moment along with Existence. Only your mind is trying to make them appear to be permanent.
Once you start seeing what is as it is, all your energy will integrate within you. There is no more worry, no more conflict. Worry arises because your thoughts resist what you see. Once the conflict disappears, all the energy invested in worry is released for you to integrate!
Usually, when we see something, we either try to identify with it or we try to condemn it. For example, if you are told you are arrogant, you either accept it or you try not to be arrogant! You never understand or go beyond arrogance. You can only understand within your frame of reference, what you are familiar with. Because of this, you are caught in a limited view of possibilities. To really understand, you need to go beyond this limited point-of-view. To do that, you have to stop naming it arrogance, that’s all! There will be no more arrogance. Only by naming it, you start the conflict. That is how you see what IS – by not naming it.
Stop naming any situation, person, or thing! Just see, that’s all. Don’t give room for condemning or accepting thoughts.
Initially there’s a compulsion to pass judgment on anything that you see because that is your habit. But when you experience the great energy released in you by seeing what IS, you want to remain that way – free from thoughts, worry, and suffering.
When you see what is as it is, you are in heaven. When you want to see what you want to see, you are in hell. If you understand that everything is auspiciousness, you will drop expectation and see things as they are, because everything is auspiciousness.
When you live close to Existence, without any expectation, seeing what is as it is and finding the blessings in it, you will carry heaven in you! Heaven is not geographical, it is psychological. It is not physical, it is mental. If you decide, you can be in heaven right now.
Many people get worried about what they see in their dreams and come to me for interpretations. I tell them that we are unable to even accept what happens in reality, then why bother about what happens in our dreams?
If you are still worried about your dreams, you should know that dreams tell you about the state of your mind during the day. Learn from your dreams and think how to transform the mind during the daytime. For example, if you think too much about lust when you are awake, your dreams will be lustful. If you worry too much about passing with high grades, you will write exams in your dreams! If you worry too much about relationships, you will fight with someone in your dream. So wake up to what your dreams indicate to you. There is nothing more to interpret from your dreams. Wake up and see what is as it IS.