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12 February 2024

Realizing I don't need to worry


I had some curiosity early on with Buddhism. I took a course that was purely academic – there was no meditation whatsoever, but I did learn about emptiness which I thought sounded so cool. I never learned, though, how to access a peaceful mind.
I had always had a lot of anxiety in my life, along with some mild depression, and it started to get worse when we were applying to middle school for my older son. It was so stressful, my hand would shake from anxiety. Meanwhile, my husband had started learning how to meditate. It became “his thing.” He had never pushed it on me but was now encouraging me to check it out. I started attending General Program classes, and after each one I’d feel a little better. Then after a while, I had the realization “this is really helping me,” so I started going every week without fail.
There was a class recording I must have listened to hundreds of times. It was called “Becoming the Person You Wish to Be.” During the class, Kadam Morten asks why do we insist on waking up anxious — why do we do that to ourselves? I thought to myself, “oh because we think this is our reality.” At that moment something shifted. A door opened in my mind — I realized I have options. Up until that point, I had been a person who experienced life a certain way, with a lot of anxiety, and some depression — a heaviness about certain things. I felt that was true — it was who I really was. Then suddenly I could see that that isn’t necessarily who I am, it’s just a thought I’m having. I could think different thoughts. In any moment, I have flexibility. Do I want to worry about something 24/7? If I don’t, I can disregard the thoughts.
I’m still in the process of getting rid of anxiety, but it’s now massively different for me. It’s a beautiful thing to realize you don’t have to worry.


Sharon attends Kadampa Meditation Center New York City
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