Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Anxiety as a harbinger of integration

At times, you may be aware of a very alive wave of anxiety – or even slight panic – rising and falling throughout the day. Perhaps you feel it as you wake, some vague sense that something is missing or just... off. Or at sunset, or at dusk, as you listen to certain music or walk in nature, or as you are falling into the dream world at night.

But you can't quite pin it down.

It is like there is some sense of urgency... but is something actually wrong? Is there a problem... or is there not? Is there something you must resolve? Some question that must be answered… now? Some way that you have to struggle to maintain a particular identity? Fill some raw empty hole inside you? Figure out finally ‘who you are’ and ‘what you’re doing here?’ Or otherwise take action to prevent things from totally falling apart?

It is tempting to try to locate the source of the anxious panic - to pin it to something someone said, to some way you’re not being seen or understood, to the fear of some anticipated future scenario that may or may not happen, or to some specific aspect of your life situation that is not flowing the way you are convinced it should. But whatever you come up with, you sense that’s not quite it. It's as if it's wired into you in some primordial way and not approachable by conceptual process. The mind is just too slow… too dense to reach it. But the body knows, the heart knows.

It is so easy to dismiss anxiety, to conclude that its presence is evidence that something is wrong with you, that something in the external world must urgently be shifted or transformed, that you have failed, or that some cosmic sort of error has occurred. Oh, by the way, it's not very 'spiritual,' is it? I mean, what about staying in the now, loving what is, accepting the moment, laws of attraction, and all of that?

But what if anxiety were a very legitimate and valid experience, in fact a harbinger of integration? And what if the freedom and the aliveness you are longing for will never be found in understanding, 'transforming,' or even 'healing' it, but by entering into relationship with it? By practicing kindness toward it? By daring to be intimate with it? By becoming curious about it, dropping underneath the very compelling narratives spinning around it, descending into the very alive, underlying energy of the body and its vast intelligence and creativity? For this energy is longing for just one moment of your tender presence, for your full participation, and for your commitment to no longer abandon the life that is moving in you now.

What if anxiety was a messenger sent by some part of you that was longing to be met, finally arising into the light of your awareness to be integrated into the wholeness that you are?

What have you abandoned in yourself—turned from out of shame, grief, despair, or fear?
Something is knocking at the door of your heart. What is it?

Art by Emil Schildt – "Guarding"