Following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.
Questioner: I have suffered from anxiety a lot, I have also been to many psychiatrists, and they have always advised me to be secure in my environment, they say “You should have faith in your environment and your parents,” but I have found that it is something very false. I can have faith and start believing that my life is good but there is something very egoistic, they tell me to be egoistic and be comfortable with whoever I am and with my environment but I think that I am escaping from the fact that I am anxious. I am very confused, they have also advised me for medications but I have never taken the medicines. When I feel that I should face the fact that I am anxious, that time I start panicking, lose all focus.
Acharya Prashant: See, I am going to say something and do not take it as just wordplay.
It is not anxiety that bothers you; it is your anxiety about anxiety. Just as we are afraid of so many things, we are also fearful of fear - “What if I become afraid?” Similarly we are anxious about anxiety.
Now is there anything here right now that makes you anxious? Still you talk about it because you are anxious about being anxious.
Let anxiety come and go. Why must you resist it? Why must you plan to kill it? Is anxiety here right now? But you see what you are doing; you are planning behind its back like a soldier, like a fighter. You are planning behind the back of anxiety that when anxiety will return next, I will slaughter her, where is she?
Is anxiety here right now? Are you anxious right now? You are not. But the very thought of anxiety is making you anxious. So is it really about anxiety or the imagination that you have anxiety? The name you given to anxiety?
Please go into this.
Is it something that is troubling you right now? But you have given it a bad name; you are saying “Oh! It is such a vicious thing, the next it comes; I will have ammunition ready to kill it.” And by planning all this, you hastening the arrival of anxiety. ‘If you anxious about anxiety aren’t you already anxious?’
Listener: You will get more anxiety.