Anxiety and Panic as a Teacher?

Center for Mindfulness and Nonduality – Emerald Isle, NC – 2009

Seems we all have stories of how best to deal with anxiety and fear arising in the body. Those of us held hostage by chronic panic and anxiety sensations usually have compassion for others experiencing this cocktail of chemicals and hormones racing through the body.

For years I was on a mission to learn and practice any tool that offered the promise of relief from panic and anxiety.  As soon as I learned of a new practice or exercise to dampen or reduce anxiety…well, you know what happened. Anyway, I learned and practiced meditation and stress reduction techniques in classes and on CDs, books, tapes, education programs and therapies between 1989 until 2010. Nothing worked and the anxiety only intensified leaving a weariness I cannot begin to describe.

It never dawned on me that panic and anxiety attacks could be a teacher to guide me towards what need to be healed. My dear friend Mary Mooney suggested that anxious energy is spiritual energy. What? No! Once I allowed this possibility, I immediately noticed another freakin panic attack arise to experience this idea more deeply. Nothing like the wisdom of the Mystery right in your face and body.

And like most folks, I believed spiritual energy was better, purer, and more rare that physical energy.  I guess all those years in Sunday School tipped the scales to create the belief that spiritual energy was indeed a higher vibration. And this belief later led to beliefs about categorizing energy into good and bad energy, low and high energy, dirty and clean energy, etc.

Once I really started digging into the basic physics of energy as an adult, I realized all matter and energy is simply tiny particles known as bosons, leptons and quarks. An elementary particle is a particle that is not made up of any smaller particles. Elementary particles are the building blocks of the universe and all other particles and matter in the universe are made up of elementary particles. Listen now to Michael Singer talk about energy.

Anxiety was the driver towards wanting to awaken, wanting to be free of suffering, wanting to have the release of ease and comfort in the body. I was a slave to preventing and resisting anxiety. I took classes and instruction for hatha yoga, meditation, mindfulness, hypnotherapy, stress reduction exercises and tools, classes for breathing techniques, nutrition for wholeness and healing, healing crystals, reiki sessions, chakra clearings, theta healing, matrix energetics, yin yoga, sacred circles, essential oils, cleansing diets, dreams interpretation, and more.

You know the saying that what you resist persists?  Well, I was still anxious and having panic attacks after all the classes and workshops but I had the tools and skills for watching the mental process in full tilt. Then I found self inquiry when nothing else worked and excavated all the beliefs that remained.

In hindsight, anxiety was my greatest teacher, even more influential than the mental Jesus I had created in my head. At my darkest hour, anxiety forced me to choose it or death and I chose death. And on this ordinary December night I chose death and then the story of anxiety and fear swallowed itself and was seen to be the mirage it really is.

Yes, the sensations of adrenaline still arise but now they are simply noticed as energy appearing in the body, nothing more…and they quickly pass through and out the body just like clouds passing upon the sky. I no longer resist these energies…they are just appearances of what is unfolding here now.

So if you are fighting against anxiety…know that it may be a blessing you have labeled as a curse.

Anxiety is really a miracle calling you to surrender to what is appearing…to let go and be vulnerable…to cry…to trust that what brought you to this moment knows more than your tiny brain will ever know, and will ultimately move you towards a deeper and unshakable peace if you simply surrender and lean in to what is appearing now.

anita

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One Comment

  1. Katie B

    Thanks for the link to Michael Singer!

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