I’m an anxious person. I come from a long line of anxious people. I’m not sure if it’s genetic or just something we learned in the home. I have a difficult time not knowing what is coming. It makes me good at research and helps me to troubleshoot problems. It can also steal my equanimity.
One thing that helps me ease my anxious mind is listening to Dharma teacher, Jack Kornfield. His soothing voice, common sense, and compassionate stories help calm the anxious monkey that lives in my mind.
One of his teachings that helps the most is trying to keep the “Don’t Know” mind. When my mind starts living in the future, conjuring up every possibility so I can be prepared, I hear his voice saying “don’t know”.
“Don’t know” is very powerful. As soon as my mind starts spiraling in worry, “don’t know” stops it dead in its tracks. I truly don’t know what is coming, good or bad. What I do know is that so far I’ve been pretty capable at dealing with the bad. So, there is a good chance that I am up to the task of dealing with what is coming. I don’t waste my precious time worrying and instead can see things as they are and deal with them as they are.
I had to go in for a second round of testing (diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound) recently. Its not the first time, but it I haven’t had to do this for a while. I’ve been calm about this in the past, but this time it shook me to my core. My anxious mind even worried that maybe I was scared for a reason, maybe this time it was bad. “Don’t know” mind and my husband’s calm words came to the rescue and I was able to step back and realize that I didn’t know. If it was bad, then I would deal with it. If not, then I hadn’t wasted time worrying. Everything is fine and I’m glad that “don’t know” mind once again helped me and my anxious monkey mind.