Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Spiritual Anxiety

At this time of year (or at any time of year, actually) we should be forgiven for being bogged down in the detail of bringing closure to things. It’s just natural.

We get trapped in, and distracted by, the noise of life. The build-up to the storm season is, after all, the most disconcerting. And a storm is the ideal metaphor—an emotional/spiritual storm.

We can’t get our heads around all the minutia of tasks we must do—all to the unyielding fear of that we miss that might eventually catch up with us. I did say, might; but probably (odds considered) never will.

Yet, we still worry. We even worry about things we don’t know about.

At some point we have to move on. We could boldly say “no.”

The truth is, whilst we fight, the distractions of life will always remain—we’ll never be rid of them. Somehow we must overcome them and the piffling frustrations they tend to bring.

There’s an important modicum of courage required in thumbing our noses at the anxious moment. In this, we simply take delight in never being discouraged—a healthy denial—by what our fearful, anxiety-riddled hearts say to us—informed incorrectly by our wavering minds.

Yes, some days are busy, just busy. The best we can do is just keep up and not get too discouraged.

We remain vigilant, however. We’re ensconced to the trap oh so easily. There is much more to life than the common distraction.

What if things get worse, or don’t improve?

This here—when it remains for a time—is the barren land of spiritualised anxiety. It’s even harder to detect than normal anxiety, which by definition is a gathering of unknown fear. We’re fearful but don’t really know why. We’re panicked but don’t really have a reason.

The spiritual realm further mystifies and confounds our ailing hearts and minds, complicating our present lives. Being ‘present in the moment’ doesn’t help, for spiritual anxiety still remains. It affects us at a deeper, more subconscious level.

The truth is we’ve sown a pattern. We’ve insidiously fallen into a bind of our own ignorance—one that all of us are prone to. Never mind, we’ve identified it now… it can now be addressed.

But, we must be patient in climbing out of the pit.

One good day will follow a bad day and vice versa, but the pattern of peace and surety of heart will return if we don’t give up and continue to troubleshoot our way out of it.

We can get all “spiritual” about it but that’s a personal thing. The practical things, however, make the real difference.

When facing anxiety that’s spiritually-based, at least in some part, consider these:

  1. Try not to understand the perplexing condition of anxiety. It just is. Some things we can’t explain. Searching for explanations is just a waste of time, though the cause is likely to become apparent later.
  2. Admit that your spiritual and emotional journey has plummeted and you need to re-establish order, by taking personal responsibility. Accepting your status quo is very important as a platform for release.
  3. Institute order in your moment by moment life, as much and as often as you can—but not to the point it causes you stress. It’s an ideal you’re after.
  4. Reflect. And not just the practice, but the environment. Find an environment you find peaceful. A safe place for the heart means at times finding a safe physical place. Make reflection and relaxation in silence and solitude a key part of life again.
  5. If you share well, find a good listener and share with them. Good listeners (and we all know, or have access to, at least one) love being the sounding board. This is great therapy for the pattern-extrovert.
  6. Re-install hope. Spiritual equilibrium is buoyed in nothing more powerfully than a jaunty hope. Do some things you enjoy.
  7. Remain patient. It took a while for the silent symptoms of anxiety to make themselves known. It may take time to restore the abiding, hope-filled peace.

The truth is you will get through if you endeavour to.

© 2009 S. J. Wickham.

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