Letting go of stress and worry is a tricky proposition for most. I’d like to offer up one way to move from a life of carefulness to a heart-centered and carefree life, guided by compassion.
Take a moment and ask yourself, do any of these statements describe me?
- I am careful to not hurt others’ feelings.
- I care about what happens to my friends and family.
- I try to avoid doing harm to the environment.
- How do I get it right? I don’t want to make mistakes.
- I sometimes worry I don’t do enough for others.
Do any of these describe you? Of course!
But what happens when this list of 5 turns into a list of 100? What happens when our days become increasingly consumed with trying to do the right thing? What happens when we allow our ideas about doing right and being right drown out the purer impulses of love and information flowing through our heart centers?
We can very easily become stressed and worried and drained.
Why is this?
From my perspective as an energy worker, it is because when we are being careful, we are utilizing a lot of the mind, and the mind can easily begin eating up endless cycles of time and energy, and never feel satisfied.
To the physical mind and personality, all too often, we can never really do enough. Things are never really safe or sure enough. And so we go over in our minds, over and over, how and what and why we should do more and be more than we are.
It’s pretty easy to go down this path, and pretty hard to stop.
I’d like to offer a way to move from this life of endless carefulness to a more carefree life lifted up by Compassion.
Let’s begin with a few definitions of the word “careful”:
- cautious in one’s actions:
Be careful when you cross the street.
- taking pains in one’s work; exact; thorough:
a careful typist.
- (of things) done or performed with accuracy or caution:
- solicitously mindful (usually followed by of, about, or in):
careful of the rights of others; careful about one’s behavior; careful in speech.
In our culture, being careful is often seen as a virtue. We teach our children to be careful. We expect it of ourselves, our friends, and colleagues. And yet, it becomes clear that being careful is a rather mind-centered activity. It concerns itself with right and wrong, and the attempt to avoid mistakes and risks.
However, if we are not careful with our carefulness, we can easily become boxed in, and bogged down by analysis paralysis.
How do we become “careful” with our carefulness?
As Albert Einstein famously stated:
“Problems cannot be solved by the level of awareness that created them.”
What is to be done? I’d like to suggest a 3 step approach to shifting your awareness and breaking through this sometimes very difficult barrier:
Step 1: Move from carefulness to being full of care.
This should be a fairly easy step for most of us most of the time. Here, we simply allow ourselves to realize that the reason we are being careful is because we care. We want the best. Keep it simple. Just take this step because it helps shift a little of the energy from the mind to the heart.
Step 2: Understand that care, in itself, is attachment.
Next, we allow ourselves to see that all of the things we care about are indeed attachments in this lifetime. To truly allow this, we must not judge. Let go of any thoughts that attachments are good or bad. Just see that, of course, we care about our friends and family, our jobs, and all of the other wonderful aspects of our lives. And likewise, of course we are attached and connected… We care about what happens. We care about the outcome.
Step 2 moves us beyond mind and heart, to see our life situations from a little more of a distance. We may begin to see how we can and do care very much, and yet also begin to create a little space where we see that there is more than this that connects us to the people and things we care about.
Step 3: Allow your care to be transformed into Compassion.
Now, we allow this care that we feel to expand, and to become filled with light. We allow our care to be transformed into compassion and love.
With Step 2, we begin to see that there is more that connects us than our attachments. With Step 3, we allow ourselves to see that it is Love that connects us. We may think of it as the Unified Field from which all things spring, or we may think of it as the Light of God. Whatever the words and images are that work for us, we allow it to come in and relieve us from some of the burden we have carried for so long.
We let go of the care, and “trade up” to love and compassion. And in the process, we are becoming free of the burden. Care is a limited mental activity. Love is infinite and streams through our hearts.
We recognize that there is a far greater power at work in all of our lives. We may choose here to embrace faith. To step into the unknown, which is baffling to the mind and personality. And yet, this is a very healing sort of baffling, because it comes with so much light and love, that the mind has no choice but to yield to its power and beauty. And in so doing, it learns, bit by bit, that it is not in charge, and that it is not responsible for the outcome.
The three steps above are one way of learning to let go. We are well served to take some time with this practice, and really open up and hand over all of our day to day cares and worries.
As we work with this practice, we may begin to trust that the mind is ready, when and as needed, to jump back into action… but that we get to choose when and how that happens with more and more ease.
The real key to this work is the allowing aspect of it. There is no real work or effort involved, other than the work it takes to allow yourself to hear your own inner voice.
May we all learn how to listen to our own inner voice, more and more and more. And may we all release needless stress and worry from our lives so we can receive the full benefit of what Spirit has to offer us.