Why Worry?

By Swami Dr Snehananda Jyoti on 20-11-2017

A great deal of our precious energy is wasted throughout life by worrying. This energy is not available for our constructive and creative life. Psychologists think that our worrying begins around the age of three. It can lead to many psychogenic and functional diseases such as ulcers, tension headaches, hypertension, panic and anxiety attacks. It negatively affects our immune system. Worry is a form of anxiety related to a future outcome. We have a desired outcome. But we do not know what is going to happen, and we have no control over it. The Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebhur can be a remedy for worrying. The first part of it says: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference”. Nishkamakarmavruti (not being attached to the fruits of one’s actions) taught by Bhagwad Gita can also be of great help. Doing what one is supposed to do without being concerned about success or failure. Ignatius of Loyola, a great saint and the founder of the Jesuits, spoke about holy indifference in his Spiritual Exercises. He advised
his followers to have equanimity in short life or long life, in sickness or health, in poverty or wealth. Worry is related to our desires and expectations.
Gautam who became Siddhartha (seeker of realization) and finally Buddha (the enlightened one) stated that desiring what we cannot have or obtain leads to unhappiness (worry, anxiety, emotional pain). To eliminate unhappiness (worry) we need to stop desiring. But desiring not to desire is itself a desire. Therefore desire only what can be obtained: not any more, not any less. But how can that be achieved? Buddha proposes the eight fold path: right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. The Prophet of Nazareth warns against
anxiety (worry) (Matthew 6, 25-34) asking us to seek always the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. He says that we will be given all that we need. He asks us to live in the here and now, and not to worry about the future.

I used to tell my clients to worry only if worrying helps them. And I cannot think of anyone who was helped by worrying. Philosophy from the trenches told by a wise man can help all of us. The story goes this way: “Either you are selected for the army or you are not. If you are not, you do not need to worry. If you are, you are sent to fight or not. If you are not, you do not need to worry. If you are, you are sent to the front line or not. If you are not, you do not need to worry. If you are, you are wounded or not. If you are not wounded, you do not need to worry. If you are, you are lightly or seriously
wounded. If you are lightly wounded, you do not need to worry. If you are seriously wounded, you either get well or you die. If you get well, you do not need to worry; if you die, you cannot worry. So why worry?

About The Author

Swami Dr Snehananda Jyoti

Dr. John K Thekkedam (Swami Snehananda Jyoti) spent most of his life as a clinical psychologist in USA. He began his public life as a Jesuit priest. Quite attracted in distinct philosophies, he left the society and founded 'East West Awakening'.