The Meaning and Gift of Worrying
The Meaning and Gift of Worrying

The Meaning and Gift of Worrying

getty images
getty images

While this post is not about Covid in particular, it is about an equally contagious and devastating related illness. This illness is called ‘worrying’.

Worrying is not an acronym for something else, it’s a verb; to worry. The word ‘worry’ is so common and old we’ve forgotten about her. We turned our back on her and come to favour our more modern psychological terms. And in doing so the real meaning and gift has been lost. Our modern understanding of the word is a hollowed out caricature.

This is from Wikipedia:

Worry refers to the thoughts, images, emotions, and actions of a negative nature in a repetitive, uncontrollable manner that results from a proactive cognitive risk analysis made to avoid or solve anticipated potential threats and their potential consequences.

That is one shallow pile of jibber jabber.

You might be saying,  “So what. Definitions of words change over time, they come to mean other things”.

In losing the old understanding of the word we lose the old perspective that stands behind it and with that we lose the ancestor’s gifts of wisdom and healing that are hidden in the word, like a treasure in a chest handed down to us.

These days we often hear about anxiety and post traumatic stress disorders and depression, as through our emotional state of mind is like the weather; that it just randomly happens. Our modern allopathic understanding is that we have no say or responsibility in these mysterious mental moods. That they are simply chemical imbalances, that can be treated with man made pharmaceuticals that match or augment those in the brain.

There are so many deep flaws in this approach and understanding it’s hard to know where to start.

In my experience, and that of the many loved ones I have lost to the pharmacological approach it’s clear that if there is any truth to this understanding we are in the very beginning stages of grasping it. The only other and somewhat more human approach available to most people is psychology. The psychological approach would hold that our troubled and worried existence comes from a subconscious need to re-manifest the past trauma in the present so it can be healed.

While I think there is truth in these modern approaches, they both heavily suffer from the same colonial condition: that of externalizing the cause, or making ‘the other’ the problem. While the psychological approach might be closer to the mark it’s a incomplete theory at best. The evidence of this theory’s failure is that two people can go through the same traumatic experience and one will move on with resilience while the other will be frozen in trauma for decades.

Unlike our present-day misunderstanding of these so called stress disorders, there was an old time approach full of integrity and honesty that stands behind the simple phrase “I’m worried”. It’s an admission of our part in a bigger problem,  grounds us in responsibility for our emotional state, recognizing the situation as something both real (external) and participatory.

The original word ‘worry’ actually means “to strangle or choke” the life out of something. Wringing hands is a central image in the old understanding of what worrying actually means. It’s not something that happens to us, it’s something we are doing. Or, that we do to others, which relates to its other original meaning that was “to block” our free movement. We still refer to this second understanding as being ‘hedged in’.

When we worry, we block ourselves and we choke the life out of everything related to our ‘worry’. When we worry, we are stuck in the past or the future. This is the real problem with worrying because life only exists in the present, right here, right now. When we’re worrying it’s impossible to be truly present.

These ancestral teachings have been right there in the word all along to help heal us from the very condition it refers to. But we ignore or are unaware of these teachings in preference for our ‘objective’ scientific nomenclature.

Worrying, like all our so called negative emotional expressions has its natural place and serves a ‘higher’  purpose. It, like fear or jealousy, is calling us to attention. Something is chafing our emotional being and we’re feeling it. That’s good. What a gift, that can move our awareness to an invisible imbalance within us!

If we’re paying attention, and receiving the gift of the worry with both hands, we will recognize the sore part in ourselves that’s causing the chafing and not just project onto an external source. If we watch ourselves carefully we can see how we ‘attach’ our emotional body to an external situation with our thoughts.

In this recognition of seeing the way a worry attaches itself to us, we are being given a divine gift of healing. A gift to help us re-live and let go of some insecurity caused by a trauma from our past.

So, worrying is a natural part of healing or working through trauma. It’s not ‘negative’ in that it’s meant to bring our consciousness to a fearful pattern, so we can let it go of it and be free and fully present in our life again.

Worrying is only a problem when it is ignored or goes unexpressed and it sticks with us in our thoughts, keeping us going around and around.

When we keep twisting everything, choking ourselves with fear and worries, we are mentally unable to see our pattern and stop. Then, the imbalance must to go to the next (more dense) level to find resolution. It comes to physically show itself when we are unable to see it or deal with it emotionally and mentally. And so we get physically sick. Long ago this was understood as the ‘disease’ phase, that too much ‘worrying’ could bring on. ‘Dis-ease’, says it all, right there in the word.

This word, like ‘worry’, carries the same confirmation and understanding of our emotional state as central in the causation of the illness. Another old word like this is ‘fret’. Which meant “to eat up in a glutinous way”. The hidden and lost teaching in the word ‘fret’ is that we are indulging in a glutinous manner with our emotions.

These days we see the illness and the causes for it as purely external. We think illness comes to us as a virus or bacteria that we get. We deduce our illness by the unpleasant physical symptoms (that an allopathic doctor might recognize). Words like ‘disease’, ‘worry’ and ‘fret’ are from a time long before any understanding of ‘germs’, from a time before our ‘advanced understanding’, and so we view them as archaic and not very useful. And yet, we in our extensive (and obsessive) ability to physically diagnose illness have lost the old healing wisdom these words hold.

I am writing about this now because I see the fear around Covid as almost suicidal. Certainly as very unhealthy, physically and emotionally. Covid is a disease of the respiratory and circulatory systems, that’s the lungs and our heart. Continual worry and fear greatly weakens not just our immune system but these specific emotions (worry – heart, fear – lungs) in excess, weaken the heart and lungs.

So, if we imagine this disease and the deaths from it are not somehow directly related to our emotional state; if we haven’t made that connection that we called this thing into being with our hurried, fretful life, then we must have our head in the sand. Like so many things we do now as a culture, the way we are reacting, personally and collectively, is the exact opposite of what we should be doing. This shouldn’t be surprising because we are still going the wrong direction as a civilization, so of course all our reactions are backward. The fearful daily life most people lead now is its own epidemic.

The truth is that the fear was already there long before Covid, it just needed a home. At other times, it found a home in AIDS, Ebola, SARS, Lyme Disease and now it lives in Covid. We are the ones giving it that home. And, that this fearful behaviour is being fully promoted by our government and ubiquitously distributed by mass media is tragic and sad to say the least.

Just to be clear I am not into conspiracies, I do not believe this was a man made illness. But it is a man made crisis. And as a healer I find the constant fear mongering truly sickening. As I do the conspiracy rhetoric. The conspiracy is four thousand years old, and while the means may change, the end is always the same. We are serfs or slaves working for a super elite.They are not the illuminati they are just rich families trying their best to hold onto their power. But the meek shall inherit the Earth.

What people imagine is a conspiracy runs so deep they’d stop pointing the finger if they knew. And it’s not aliens, it’s us. It’s in our blood, our every step, glance and thought. It’s called patriarchy and we are all the children of it. Children of war and colonization.

Even when the corruption is exposed things don’t change because our divisive reaction to it is part of it. Feeds it. You do not change a warrior by challenging him with a sword. You change him by turning his sword into plowshares, you turn him into a farmer and feed him the ambrosia of the Earth, of life, until he “comes back to his senses”. Homer knew this over four thousand years ago, when he wrote of Odysseus’ adventures.

I am not the least worried about Covid. Not because I’m a healer or because there isn’t any actual concern, but because it is part of the natural order and I am not afraid of death. Viruses have served evolution in many ways over time, it is part of their ‘higher’ purpose. In one sense they have made us what we are. And so by running in fear from this being that has come to us as a healer, as all illness does, we are running from our own fate and evolution.

By fearfully isolating ourselves and developing vaccines rather then changing the way we live and think we are making ourselves weaker and helping this virus and other pathogens evolve and get stronger. On a personal level we can be cautious and build our immunity and work with this virus in a dance, so that we may evolve and grow back into a balanced state. And the virus will grow weaker in time. My statements here are not based in some pie-in-the-sky ideology but practical historic and scientific fact.

I know the changes the Covid has brought are hard, but growing pains always hurt. Try to keep in mind it’s all good. We are not being hard done by, we’re being gently reset. And despite our foolish reactions to this situation we still have the choice to move into what and where we are meant to be, as individuals that can lead a lost culture. Trusting, not that we are victims in a conspiracy or subjects of punishment for our sins, but that we are an integral part of a self healing body, the Earth.

May we all use our worries to wake up and heal ourselves.