There are many forms of anxiety, but paradoxical anxiety is my favourite. This is the (highly ironic) anxiety that results from fear of being too anxious. And so it is with the over-eager meditator, who expends a great deal of mental energy on not thinking too much, and thereby…well, you get the picture. In fact, the Zen patriarch, Hakuin seems to have suffered a nervous breakdown on the way to enlightenment. The answer to this paradoxical malady? Go easy on yourself. For example, when you are mediating, and you find your mind wandering, be gentle about re-focusing your thoughts and avoid the temptation to scold yourself. Stupid jerk that I am, I’m not very good at this, either.
Part 6 of a 7 part series on Self-Awareness