You’re making me anxious and it’s all my fault
You’re projecting! You drop it! You stop projecting on me!
One of the side effects of accepting full responsibility for everything in your life is that many times you feel something that you don’t want to feel and you have to admit that you are creating it. The more I step back from my mind and actually monitor the chatter in my head, the more I am keenly aware of how much of my thinking is unfounded, unnecessary, and as the Zen teachers refer to it, pure makyo—an illusion of the mind that is not congruent with universal reality.
Why are we always so anxious? It’s not just me, right? Jesus asked his disciples, “Can anxious thought add a single day to your life?” And the Buddha taught that the root of suffering is to be found in our constant wanting and craving. Much of our anxiousness comes from our perspective of the past and future. In every now moment, instead of enjoying and admiring the present for its grandness, we instead are constantly using the Now only as a way to measure how we’re shaping up to the beliefs we’ve held in the past and the aspirations we’ve set for the future. The problem is that many of us (and I’m looking at myself, here) hold the ideal version of ourself at arms length. It’s something that we always hope to attain, but can never convince ourselves that we’ve attained. We don’t allow ourselves to be successful, because really going for success would mean that we would have to accept that we might fail. Too often, it feels safer to just not go for it, even though this is usually happening in our subconscious without our even knowing its happening. And so our dreams remain dreams that rarely manifest in our physical reality.
The point that I’m trying to make is that it is important to start living for the present and never for the illusion of the future. The past and future are just illusions. The only thing you actually experience is this moment right now. Everything else is just a recollection of how you remember something happening or hope it will happen in the future. But, those recollections are heavily weighted by your current worldview at the time of the experience. For this reason, ten different people might all experience the exact same event and have vastly different recounts of what happened. Our belief patterns decide how we remember the past and view the future. When we are not satisfied with what is happening right Now, then we are always making ourselves a slave to past/future illusions. It is difficult to experience a future void of anxiety if you hold very much anxiety about what will happen in the future. Again, it is a self fulfilling prophesy.
For me, this plays out in reality when I project my own “shortcomings” or anxiety onto another person and then my mind tries to convince me that the anxiety is coming from them, not from me. But it isn’t ever coming from outside of me. It is my belief that they feel a certain way about me or something that I did, which makes me anxious. It is my projection of my own insecurities onto others that allows me to justify my anxiety without having to accept that I am the one creating it. When we are content in this Now moment, then anxiety cannot exist. We have been programmed by our linear minds to always gauge this moment on something that has happened in the past or will or will not happen in the future. This is counterproductive and the source of much stress in our society.
As I move further and further down the rabbit hole of conceptual thinking, I’ve become much more aware of the energies around me. This is an amazing experience most of the time, but it also allows me to be much more cognizant of whether someone approves or disapproves of what I’m doing. This disapproving energy then gets interpreted by my linear mind as me doing something wrong, and unwanted feelings of anxiety creep up. What’s interesting is that I’m completely happy and confident in all of the choices I’m making in my life right now, and so I’m in an interesting position of standing back, outside my linear mind, and watching it think these incongruent thoughts which do not align with my higher-consciousness. What is one to do when you see yourself thinking thoughts that you know do not fit your new consciousness?
What I’ve tried to do, which I am still building up the courage to do on a regular basis, is confront these feelings in the present moment. Instead of putting bills aside that I cannot pay and just worrying about them nonstop, I’ve started acting in the Now and accepting that synchronicity is always in my corner lining things up exactly as they are supposed to unfold to help me achieve joy in my always present moment. When I have a bill that I can’t pay Now, I make a call or send an email immediately and find out what the options are—Can this payment deadline be extended? Is their a payment plan available? Can I barter services, crafts, or baseball cards for payment? In this scenario, I’ve found that arrangements can almost always be made that suit both parties, and once the call is finished its as if a huge weight has been lifted. Shortly after, I find that the means for which I can settle any back payments just show up. It’s the magic of synchronicity, but it doesn’t work until you’re able to release the anxiety. Of course, to some this will sound like common sense, but in many ways this avoiding of the present is how I’ve lived my life for quite some time. That’s changing.
Similarly, I want to start confronting projections of disapproval head on, as well. I have full confidence in every decision and action that I am taking lately. I feel as though I’ve come to a great understanding of who I am and why I exist in this physical reality. So, with all of that Knowing, there should never been an outside opinion or energy that can convince me otherwise. But, given I’m relatively new to this whole higher-consciousness thing, it happens. I get upset when other people disapprove of what I’m doing—or worse, when I assume someone disapproves of me because I’m projecting my own insecurities onto them. I’m counteracting this by basking in the joy of this moment. When I take a walk, meditate, exercise, or just stick my head out a car window on a cool day, I’m able to turn my mind off and just enjoy things. The more I can enjoy things, right now, the more I’m able to program my mind to gravitate towards a blissful state as its default. A blissful default mode is a grand thing.
Naturally, I’m also trying to be more open about what I’m feeling at any given time. If appropriate, I’m engaging in dialogue with people—approving or otherwise—and trying to get a real sense of why I feel a reluctance towards me in their energy. I don’t get all Star Wars, “I’ve felt a disturbance in the force” with them, but I do try to have a real conversation that gets to the meat of a situation that otherwise might linger unspoken for eternity. By confronting my projections and constructively facing situations that I’ve misidentified as problems, I’ve found that they are rarely as grim or detrimental as I’ve allowed them to be in my linear mind. The more I do this, the more data I can serve my mind that these anxious feelings are not justified.
This existing for the present moment thrives on taking action Now. Never let something that can be addressed Now linger until tomorrow. Never let something that cannot be addressed now affect your present well-being. In any given Now moment, you can only address that which you can address. The key is addressing them when you are able. This has been difficult for me, but I’m getting better at it. I’m rewiring my mind to choose bliss as its default mode. I’m taking responsibility for my thoughts and understanding more and more every day that my projections onto people, places, and things around me are not reality, but an illusory method of shifting blame from myself to someone else. I’m shucking the belief that you always have to be doing something, and instead running with the understanding that Being is where creativity and genius grows and thrives. Like the bird who lays an egg and then sits on it until it is ready to hatch, so should our imagination exist in the now, basking in ideas yet to hatch. Once ideas are birthed out of intuition and inspiration, and only then, will we find that we merely have to open our wings, take the leap, and fly. It is only when we have learned to Be that we will ever truly Do anything of brilliance.