Friday, March 12, 2010
Reflections - Anxiety is the pain of the soul
Anxiety is often an indication that our intuitive sense is out of sync with our conscious mind. Our heart is telling us one thing while our head is telling us something else. Anxiety, in this context, is our very best friend. It is our soul or spirit trying to get us to consider the path we are on and perhaps to change course.
Now days anxiety is seen as pathological and we are encouraged to medicate it away either with prescription drugs or street drugs: legal and illegal. Medication, though, blurs our perceptiveness of our inner compass and can do our souls a disservice. The mature soul knows that anxiety for the spirit is like pain for the body, it is a warning that something is wrong and encourages us to check.
If we take our aches and pains to a doctor for a check, to whom do we take our anxious spirit? Who, in our society, is the doctor of the soul? It might be a professional such as a counselor or psychotherapist of some sort. It might be a member of the clergy. It might be a trusted friend or relative. Usually we seek relief in reverse order to the one above first seeking help from friends and/or family, then from a member of the clergy, and then from a mental health professional.
Anxiety, while painful, is good for us. Rather than avoid it, and medicate it, and distract ourselves from it, we are usually better off to acknowledge it, accept it, reflect on it, and learn from it.
Anxiety is an ambiguous form of fear. We feel afraid but we having nothing to tie our fears to – we can’t identify an object of our fear. So it may help next time you are feeling anxious to ask yourself, “What am I afraid of?” Being able to identify the object of our anxiety is the first step in rectifying our discomfort and distress. And then find someone to talk to about it. Grace occurs in our support and understanding of one another.