I got a call from my brother today asking if I could remind him of the punch line from a story about the great sage Krishnamurti. He lived at the Ojai Foundation in California, where lunch with the Master was a well-attended regular event by those who sought some wisdom and insights of how to navigate life. For months he had tempted his lunch companions with the idea that he was going to reveal to them the secret of his life’s mastery. Yet he kept putting it off until one day, when he asked “Do you want to know my secret?” Of course, they were well-primed for that information. His punch line was simply, “I don’t mind what happens.” This from the Master who taught and wrote prolifically of mind and consciousness.
How did that reminder affect my brother as he was about to drive to work, facing the stresses of his Engineering Management job, as well as the proliferation of anxiety that seems to grow every day? He laughed and said thanks, he needed that. And I began to reflect for all our sakes on this question: “How do we live in peace in the midst of these troubled times?”
The answer is similar to Krishnamurti’s and involves some level of “non-attachment” — that we must find some composure, as well as awareness. My concern is that our increasing awareness should not produce more anxiety. That goal requires that we keep from over-reacting to the problems that continue to persist. The secret I have been taught in years of study of Family Systems Theory and Practice is that a successful antidote to systemic anxiety is maintaining a “less anxious presence.” That’s the secret and our task.
Look at the lives of Gandhi and King, who as leaders demonstrated less anxiety than others in the face of huge challenges. Let’s remember Gandhi’s formula: “Our beliefs become our thoughts, our thoughts become our words, our words become our actions, our actions become our habits, and our habits become our values, and our values become our destiny.”
How can we start being persons with less anxious beliefs and thoughts? I have some proven practices and write this as an invitation that if you are curious or interested about how to become a less anxious presence, or you would like to have a conversation about your anxiety, please let me know and we can get together. I am available to you.
Respectfully in service,