The Futility of Worry

Saturday 21 October, 2000

I dreamt that Sunil came to me and informed me that the rest of the group did not trust me fully. I must be careful about being too frivolous. Woke up, got up and exercised in the lounge. Good work. After breakfast we had a relaxed morning around the fire. It was very comfortable. I chatted with Dev. Eventually everyone became involved in the conversation. Except for Calvin who kept his own counsel.

I had fallen asleep last night with the following thought: how much simpler it would be for me to pay attention only to that which is going on within the boundary that is me. Too often my thoughts and feelings are influenced by things external. I worry what others are thinking, feeling and doing. There is no need. I have enough to see to and to keep me busy on the inside of the boundary I form with the outside world. Everything on the outside will sort itself out when I attend to things on the inside. This is because my outside is simply a reflection of my inside. Up until recently I have been trying to do things the wrong way round. I have been trying to sort out the outside in the hope that I will be happy on the inside.

The weather was beautiful today and so was the walk we went on. I lagged behind at times because of my knee and it was nice to have the time and space to myself and to have the rest of the group in my field of vision. Autumn is my favourite season and today we really did it justice. The sun shone all day, the air was fresh and we walked through trees, over fields and alongside the sea, all at a very sedate pace. I enjoyed everything about it: the solitude, the company, the warmth, the freshness, the colours, the sea, and the exercise. If I had brought my radio with me I would have listened to the football. I am glad I didn’t.

We drove to a spot where we could walk down to the beach. We had a great time throwing stones into the sea and when Sunil suggested using our ‘wrong’ arm to throw with, things quickly became hilarious. Watching the others in their ungainly movements was very funny and when I threw a stone myself I felt just as awkward and laughed just as hard. It was brilliant fun. Our attempts to throw in a manner we were not used to were perhaps weak but they were highly entertaining and very enjoyable. It can be fun to go against our conditioning.

We returned to the cottage and relaxed in front of the coal fire for a while, bathing in the satisfaction of the day so far. We decided, after Sunil’s suggestion, to stay in tonight. We went to the shops for beer, Sunil and I stood outside chatting as the last of the sun made its way out of sight and then we set about preparing the evening meal. Calvin joined us, as did Naveen and we prepared the vegetables together. I learned some cooking tips from Sunil and we also helped Dev prepare some of his food. Dev’s discipline with his diet is a wonder to behold. I was fascinated by how integral to his life his eating habits have become over the years of coming to terms with his allergies.

In addition to the beautiful day, it was also a beautiful night. The sky was cloudless and packed with more stars than I have ever seen. We lay on our backs and looked up to the heavens. It was so clear that we could see the milky way as a cloud of vast numbers of stars. There were numerous shooting stars and Dev talked us through some of the constellations. It was a wonderful panorama of celestial light which served to reaffirm the insignificance of things and, therefore, the futility of worry.

Related post: The Reality of Worry

One Response to “The Futility of Worry”

  1. Chuhr Says:

    Jonathan
    Lovely description, brings back the trip like it was yesterday. I remember the journey from London to Wales with Naveen and his tips on saving petrol, the stone throwing, our chat during the walk on allergies and addictions and the star gazing.
    It’s interesting you talk about sorting out the inside and not worrying about the outside and what others think, this is something I am looking at now and also echoes the vipassana teachings.
    Chuhr

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