Some thoughts on having worries

Statue of Maha Mrityunjaya, Hardwar

You have loved ones, and so there are always problems and worries. What to do? You could say qua et aeternum; “What is it, in the light of eternity?” Trying to minimize the problems by taking a grand, philosophical view, but it’s cold. There’s not much compassion in that. 

Reinhold Niebuhr prayed, “grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” So you figure out what you can do, and you do it. But serenity seems easier to come by when it’s your own pain. When it is someone else’s pain, there is likely a nagging sense of helplessness over what you can’t do. Unanswered pain. 

For those who have a deity, prayer has been the ancient choice. You may not know if it helps others, but at the very least, the prayer is for you. It helps you make contact with feelings that need expression, and reaffirms your commitment to the larger view.

The practice of tonglen has the wonderful potential to give expression to your concern for the pain of others and also reduce your sense of helplessness. Read up on it, Pema Chodron maybe, to get a good start on the practice of “taking and sending,” taking in the feeling of their pain on the inhale, giving out love, and compassion on the exhale. 

Ajapa japa with the Maha Mrytunjaya mantra is a major practice that requires thorough preparation (see The Meditation Process). As a healing practice, it can be dedicated to others.

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