Anxiety is a response to life without control. It also is the response to dreams and imaginings within which we lack control. Worrying is a form of dreaming, isn’t it?
When we dream negative scenarios, adrenaline courses through our bodies, and the corticosteroids swirl and twirl about, and what we experience is stress and anxiousness. Our what-ifs and yes, buts constantly keep us orienting our lives sourced in negativity, sourced in not-enough, sourced in lack. Mostly the source of lack is "me," as in, each of us believing we lack degrees of competence, value, and worth, which sums up to inevitably facing the unknown world unprepared for what will be coming our way. I can feel the adrenaline amping up already! Wha-hooo!
I used to be a worrier. I constantly flooded my mind and body with worst-case scenarios. I always, always, always, considered all the negative consequences of anything I wanted that was good for me or made me happy. I didn’t even know that I was immersed in such a sludgy, muddy reality of self-denial, until I found myself sitting at a stoplight on the outskirts of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
I was recently separated from my husband and was on my way to pick up my very young children for the weekend. I was exhausted already by the thought of the long drive ahead of me. Though that was over 35 years ago, it was one of those moments that has stayed with me. The question that arose in that moment, from who knows where, was, "What would you have access to if you didn’t worry all the time?"
Still sitting at the stoplight, waiting to turn left towards the Queen Elizabeth HWY, I cleared my head of worries, and in the briefest of moments I found peace, freedom, and the words "I can be creative!" It was early in my career as a spiritual seeker, so hearing these words, and feeling peace and freedom in nano-seconds, let me experience seeking as a pretty cool process.
Over the years I’ve been able to notice more easily when my body is experiencing angst and dread. These are signals that I have negative worrying thoughts stirring around in my brain. These signals trigger me to remember that I am at choice to stop the patterns of negative thoughts, and so I stop! Over and over again, sometimes, I stop the incessant worrying that dominated my world forever. I’ve been addicted to negative thoughts so much so that I don’t even know they were there. What a way to live life, eh?
I Wonder What it Would Be Like…
Recently I’ve taken on a practice of dreaming as an innocent child would dream. Innocence allows one to be in a state free of limitations and negativity. Innocence allows playful, fanciful pictures to dance and delight us. Innocence allows for the fulness of Divine potential to infuse us with possibilities that are not accessible when we place limits and obstacles in the way.
I’m fairly new at this practice, so I’m not sure how to be this innocent dreamer. I know when I sleep that dreams come to me – I don’t have to summon them or participate in anyway. I believe it is the same with being an innocent dreamer in the conscious state.
Most of the dreaming we do is based on the future wants and desires. The imagining that most of us do – as I said earlier, is that of catastrophizing: we imagine the worst case scenarios. You can feel it in your body – anxiety, stress, worry, tension, knots in the stomach.
Why, you might ask, am I taking on this practice?
The initial moment, while sitting at that stoplight near Hamilton, Ontario, informed me of what it would be like to experience peace, relaxation, fulfillment, delight, and playful joy. The practice of manifesting a life that is fulfilling to the human-spirit requires clear intentions of what is entailed in such a life. Unless I know what I want I can’t manifest it. At least I know I want peace, relaxation, fulfillment, delight, and playful joy. That is a good start.
Up until recently, I generally allowed myself to want what I’m supposed to want: house, health, money, security, and control. I wouldn’t allow myself access to anything outside those parameters. I actually didn’t know I had access to anything outside those parameters. Now that I know, I’m curious and I wonder what it would be like to allow myself to dream in the fullest potential – within the innocence of the child within. This is not the dreaming of the future – this is just entering the state of dreaming where I sit back and allow the innocence to be free to create delight.
The dream state is part of our everyday life, though we ignore it most of the time. We ignore what we allow our dream state to produce – future cataclysms. I’m experimenting with allowing myself to enter that dream state and remove those elements of the dreamer that is based on lack, what I don’t have, or can’t have. What, to the ego-mind, is required to live is limiting and toxic to the spirit-self. I want to know what it is like to return to the state of innocent dreamer – the spirit-self dreamer.
As we age, we stop dreaming because of many reasons: we figure we lack something, so we won’t be able to fulfill our dreams; we have all of those things that we are supposed to want; or we figure we are too old to get it, so what’s the point wasting time dreaming about it?
As a Beginner…
As a beginner to this practice, I’m having a very difficult time accessing this state of the innocent dreamer. And, when I’m in it, I can only sustain my presence there for a few moments, then I find myself back in editing, justifying, rationalizing and judging my dreams and judging me for dreaming these dreams. Anxious dread returns, and I know I’ve returned back home into my normal operating procedures. The Ego has landed. Sigh!
My ego-self that relates to me through my mind does not like the idea of infinite potential. It doesn’t know how to relate to such a concept. The ego-self relates in rational, logical realism, should’s and shouldn’t, and it poo-poos anything out of the ordinary world that it has created for you.
My ego-self says, "you can’t live in a state of the innocent dreamer and still participate in the real world – that’s ludicrous!" There are a lot of skeptics who are aligned with the same thinking as this ego-self of mine. However, the problems of our world and of our personal lives are mostly related to a way of thinking that sustains and exacerbates the problems as well as the source of the problems – be it health, financial, relationships, career.
So the skeptic in all of us can’t see that there could be another way to look at things – a way that allows full potentiality to enter into solving whatever problem one is faced with. So I just experiment with stuff like dreaming, and if it works, great; if it doesn’t work, great. I have more information than I had before I tried something different. That is how all great inventions have come about – by thinking outside the box, by wondering, and by experimenting.
Getting old sometimes makes us more judgmental and skeptical. We hold on tighter to what we’ve got, because we fear we will lose what is already disappearing at an uncontrollable rate. This doesn’t seem to be working so well, at least for me. So I’m teaching myself to let go of what I’m afraid to lose – something Yoda says in Star Wars. What have I got to lose? Nothing! What have I got to gain through this experiment? Well, I believe I will have more self-knowledge, more trust in myself, more self-respect and self-honor. I will have an ability to distinguish when lack is the basis of my dreams from when I’m allowing myself access to the fullest potentiality of me. That makes sense to me!
So many of my clients tell me that they don’t know what they want. Like most of us, they haven’t allowed themselves to know what they want. They only allow themselves to know what they can want. The other day, my client Frieda said, "I know it’s not possible to have what I want, so what’s the point in wanting it?" A lot of people think like Frieda. A lot of people are depressed and anxious, and are on prescription meds, or they self-medicate with any number of mind and body-numbing substances and activities. We all do it! We hate the discomfort of living in our bodies, hearing the voices inside and outside of us saying, "You can’t have what you want!" Raise your hand if you live with these voices!!
So, I’m working at letting go of what I’m afraid to lose, as I practice opening to the possibility of creating my life from something other than lack, skepticism and anxious depression. Why not?!
Aging like a Guru brings to each of us an opening to possibility. Rather than utilizing our automatic shutdown mechanism, we can experiment with our capacity to experience so much more than anyone thought was possibility. Gurus know it’s possible. They know from experience that you can worry or you can wonder.