Anxiety and Rationality

Anxiety and Rationality

In another forum, a discussion around catastrophic events lead to these points. This is how the mind behaves when run by the ego concept of being separate.

Firstly, the mind is not satisfied to simply have experiences. It needs to organize and categorize them in some way – good/bad, more/less, happy/sad, etc. People tend to jump to conclusions to ‘tidy things up’, even if there is insufficient evidence for a conclusion. Loose ends cause uncertainty and anxiety, which most people wish to avoid. (and this is the seed of resistance) If conclusions can’t easily be found, people look to ‘authorities’ to provide “reasons” and reassurance and often, blame.

If those conclusions satisfy (by resolving anxiety), they come to form the underpinnings of belief. We then look for information that supports our beliefs and tend to reject information that does not. Ego wants to know it’s right and will make others wrong to support this.

For many people, beliefs become part of their identity. For example, a statement like “I am an American who believes in freedom of the press and the right to bear arms.” That is not just a political position but part of both what they believe in and who they see themselves to be.

It’s the association of those beliefs with identity that makes events like 9/11 or the financial meltdown more difficult. It is not just a difficult and consequential chain of events but a challenge to beliefs and personal identity. There is not only cognitive dissonance, but emotional and personal dissonance as well.  It gets very personal. This greatly amplifies the fear factor and inclines people to join bandwagons or belief systems and take sides.

It’s notable that when people are afraid enough, they switch into ‘fight or flight’ mode. Blood vessels are constricted in the digestive system and frontal lobes of the brain to provide energy to the limbs. This lets you run fast but it also makes you more stupid. If there is not a resolution, the stress can continue, increasing the likelihood of irrationality. Delusion and denial would certainly be consequences if they are seen as a means to relieve anxiety.

The trick is in learning the truth of who you are. The unchanging silent peace within. When integrated deeply enough, the storms of life will blow without disturbing that center. Instead of bringing fear and anxiety, the storms blow it away. No craziness, no denial needed. Peace within begets peace without.

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  1. Niw

    Loose ends cause uncertainty and anxiety, which most people wish to avoid. (and this is the seed of resistance)…could you explain it better? (i’m new to “spirituality”, so be patient) wanting avoid it means resist it?
    Thank you

  2. Davidya

    Hi NIW, thanks for the feedback.
    I’ve spoken a lot on resistance on this blog. Fundamentally, everything is either resistance to fullness or it is fullness. You could substitute happiness or peace for fullness. The core concept is that the ego idea of being a separate person arises when the person experiences life incompletely. This incomplete vision causes fear and uncertainty. This causes ego to try and control it’s experience by making stories about it.

    It sees what is as fearful, so resists it. Does not allow it to be what it is. Thus, under the ego, we live in an illusion. When we learn to allow what is to be what it is (Eckhart Tolle talks a lot about this), we wake up from the illusion. We see things as they are.

    Before that, seeing this dynamic is tricky as we are in the middle of it. We can’t see the house when we’re standing inside it.

    Things themselves don’t change but our perception of them and relationship with them can change dramatically. This waking from the illusion is known as awakening or first enlightenment.

    So yes, resisting is wanting to avoid. It is pushing against. It is denial. It is fear. It is stress. All those things that make us uncomfortable are either our resistance to what we perceive as occurring or events that are trying to make us see this. As I recently heard, pain is natures way of telling us we’re going the wrong way.

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