Yesterday, my post from Saturday, The Coolest Place in Town, went “viral” within the library system. Apparently, the Monday morning IT people at the library noticed my link to their website. Forty-four people visited that page, mostly referred from what appears to be the Library intra-net. I was pleased to think about the attention it was getting and also appreciated the experience of having a page “discovered”. I enjoy examples of our interconnectedness.
There is also part of me that is anxious about the activity. Forty-four visits and not one comment. I’ve filled that empty space with worse case scenario thoughts. Perhaps the powers that be didn’t like the information I shared. Perhaps the people mentioned in the post have been fired! If I go to the library on Wednesday, will the people look at me weird.
I don’t take my thoughts seriously, but the anxiety I feel is no different from someone slowly burning me with a cigarette. It hurts. Even the thoughts are somewhat of a burden. They are always there. Even when I am conscious and in the moment, I can feel a part of my mind thinking doomsday thoughts. I laugh to keep from crying. This thing we call a mind seems completely unmanageable.
In Buddhism the process of just being with unpleasant things that arise from within is called purification. The idea is that if when things come up we view them from a neutral standpoint and do not react to them that they will eventually wear out and be gone. A Buddhist tenant is that anxiety is not limitless, but finite. Each time I don’t react a part of my anxiety is permanently extinguished.
My practice is to be anxious when anxiety arises. I also have to be watchful not to act from anxiety. When anxiety is arising I have a great tendency to want to control situations. And my tendency to want to control situations makes me want to shout at people that do not perform like I want. Instead, I take a deep breath and “be” with the part of me that is anxious.