A friend of mine in college had a remarkable talent for playing the piano ― so much so that he later achieved worldwide fame. One day, he passed by my window, shaking his fists in the air and crying, “Problems! Problems!”

I’ve always remembered that picture as the perfect image of a worrier. As a brilliant young musician, he couldn’t have had all that much to worry about. But he looked as if he was carrying the weight of the universe on his shoulders.

The basic problem of the chronic worrier is that he is too concerned for himself. This concern expresses itself as an exaggerated self-consciousness, or an over-blown sense of responsibility. The worrier may have a tendency to hover over others protectively like a mother hen, or even to become so absorbed in his worries that he neglects his daily duties.

Swami Kriyananda

The first lesson to cure an exaggerated tendency to worry is to learn to relax and offer ourselves more freely into life’s flow. 

Unfortunately, the worrier finds it difficult to see life as a flow. His exaggerated sense of himself separates him from the rest of the world. And being obsessed with the details, he fails to see the “big picture.”

Most of us worry sometimes, and most worriers are sometimes relaxed and confident. But when worries threaten to overcome us, we can remind ourselves that success comes not only by knowing how to execute the details, but by seeing every project as a continuity. With a healthy grasp of the big picture, we can absorb any obstacles as they come, with a sense of graceful, flowing movement.

Try to exercise more of this kind of active, flowing faith in life, and especially in God. If life doesn’t always seem like a flow, learn to depend on God’s power, which can always work things out for the best.

The more you can offer your life and your ego lovingly to Him, and the more you can think of Him as the real Doer of all your actions, the more you will see how capable He is of running things quite competently by Himself!

Our job, then, is to do God’s will, but at the same time to understand that we can never be more than willing foot soldiers in the war of light against darkness. We must do our best, but it is not for us to decide the result of even the minor battles in life’s war. This is why the Bhagavad Gita urges us to act willingly, but leave the results to God.

The worrier tends to think that he is the only realistic one in a world of daft dreamers. But it is much more realistic to see ourselves as we truly are: humble soldiers in life’s struggle ― not generals with responsibility for all of the details and the final outcome. We will be much more successful if we can see life not as a series of tiny problems awaiting our attention, but as life really is: a divine flow.

Swami Kriyananda (born J. Donald Walters) was only 22 when he became a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda, the author of Autobiography of a Yogi. At Yogananda’s request, Swami Kriyananda devoted his life to lecturing and writing, helping others to experience the living presence of God within. He founded the Ananda community. 


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