Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Worry Gene

I recently read news about an “optimist” gene.  I clearly don’t have that gene.  In fact, I am certain that there is a “worry” gene, and I inherited it from both parents! 

Now that I am retired, it would seem that I have about the most perfect life possible.  It is like standing on a mountain peak and looking off into space: all that free time!  And yet I am anxious about finances and the stock market falling and the debt ceiling – most of which I have no control over whatsoever.

My husband is younger than me and is the wage earner now.  I call him my “retirement plan.”  My last two weeks at work he sent me the sound file of Bob Marley’s song, “Don’t worry ‘bout a thing.  Every little thing is gonna be all right.”   

Every spiritual tradition says we should not worry about our material existence.  We should place our trust in Buddha or God.  Or both!  The early Buddhists walked with a begging bowl, not knowing when their next meal would be. 

So I sit every morning in the Montara Mountain zendo.  I focus on trying to let go.  Let go of financial worry, concerns about my son.  Let go of unwanted attachments. Is it even possible to “try” to do this?

I think that when we really meditate on impermanence, it might indeed be possible.   What is there to hold on to anyway?  What is under our control, when everything is changing so fast, moment to moment?

I think that in our heart of hearts, we do believe that “Every little thing is gonna be all right.”  Maybe it is the practice of gratitude and appreciation for what there already is, and renunciation of all that which hasn’t even happened yet.

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