There’s this great Stoic wisdom about worrying less. Or maybe not so much worrying less as not worrying about possible events. The whole concept is based on an easy to understand idea.
If one worries about a future event and it will happen – one worries twice (now and when it happens). If it doesn’t happen – it’s just stupid to worry at all, why should you worry if there’s nothing to worry about?
It’s a very simple idea. And very hard to live by. I know, I’ve tried. Many, many times.
But that’s the beauty of simple ideas. We can spend our whole lives trying to assimilate them, we can even understand them at the level of thought, but it’s really hard work to live by them. The whole concept of Nirvana is based on this simple idea. One can achieve happiness if one stop the train of thought. Have you ever tried not to think? I have. It lasted about thirty seconds. Absolutely wonderful half a minute, but it was still half a minute.
Seems like there’s no much difference between the Stoics and the Buddhists. Both philosophies use simple ideas to give us impossible tasks. And both find the value in trying.
There’s a certain beauty in trying. It’s a great lesson in life, learning to appreciate the road more than the destination. The goal is important, it is. But the goal is the end of the road. There’s nothing left to achieve, nothing left to go. The road is where life happens. We’re on the road all our lives, and to be on the road is to try.
Trying to be myself, trying to be happy, trying to find calm and stillness. Trying our way. Trying means making mistakes, falling and getting up and trying again. I know so well what does it mean to fall. To be lost. To be scared. I know so well what does it mean to worry a lot. I mean, I had a reason, I had a very good reasons to worry a lot since a lot has happened. And if I learn something in meantime, it was one thing for sure. The Stoics, they were right. There’s no need to suffer twice.
Knowing that, even now, I worry. Because I don’t know what to do, where to go, how to act, I simply don’t know the future and possible outlook of my actions, so I worry. But one thing I know for sure: there’s a new day waiting for me and a new chance to live by what I believe. Persistence may be an act of courage. There are days when everything looks dark and there are nights when everything looks bright. All depends on our thoughts more than we want to admit. And still, knowing that, it’s amazingly hard work to change those dark thoughts into something at least a little better. A little better is enough. And then the Stoics’ wisdom comes again. We can spend a time on worrying but why not to spend that time on doing? If the bad has to come, it will. Just as well as worrying I can spend this time on acting to prevent. It’s better use of time and it can help. If the bad still happens, at least I can feel better because I’ve done everything what possible to try to stop it.
It’s not easy to live by your beliefs and values. But it’s worth trying again and again. Sometimes perseverance is the only reason to try again. I’ve been there, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be there again one day. I know one thing about myself. I can take a lot of pain, but I can’t take a lot of stupidity. Worrying about things that haven’t happened yet and may never happen is not the best use of time, energy or wisdom. But I also know, I’ve discovered, I may fall, I may lose my way, and it’s really OK as long as I’m trying to live my best.
There’s no conclusion here, no guidance for anyone, no map of how to navigate through life. But there is a promise. You’re not alone on this journey, no matter how alone you feel. There’s always someone out there who shares our experience and understands what we’re going through.