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Delusion in Self – The Cause of Worry

By Thangjam Yumjao Meitei

Of all adverse mental stress, one of the most unhealthy and dangerous is prolonged worry. Why do people worry? In the ultimate analysis, there is one answer. People worry because of the concept “me’ and‘mine’or what is known in Buddhism as‘Delusion in Self’’.
Never all animals lower than human beings are motivated by instinct. This is not so with man or woman, who has superior thinking power as well as intuition. With rational intellect, he or she creates the idea of a permanent ego for self-preservation. Buddhism, is unique in the history of human thought in that it points out the Self-or-Self idea is merely a concept, with no correspondence to reality. From this belief of self, person develops wrong ideas of ‘me’ and ‘mine’ together with all cravings, selfish desires, conceit, pride and other unwholesome thoughts. This concept of ‘self’, is the main source of all problems, ranging from personal conflicts to wars amongst nations.  
From this idea of ‘self’, man or woman believes in the false notion of the permanent body which must be satisfied and at times goes to extremes in satisfying the craving body. The fear of not having his or her needs and desires met to his or her full satisfaction brings him or her worry and anxiety.
Hence, worry is nothing more than a negative state of mind arising out of attachment to worldly pleasures. The stronger the attachment is to a thing, the grater the fear of losing it. The moment one’s particular need is satisfied a person starts longing for another.
In a similar way, one becomes afraid of getting or coming into contact with something considered undesirable. This attachment to pleasant feelings and dislike for the unpleasant ones gives rise to worry. Sometimes when taken to extremes, fear may arise because of attachment or association with specific objects or situations which are harmless in themselves. Such cases are known as phobias like fear of darkness, fear of enclosed spaces, fear of open spaces, fear of heights, fear of animals, fear of devils and ghosts, fear of thieves, fear of enemies, fear of charms, and illusory fears of being attacked or killed by someone lurking in the background.

The worries and suffering which a party experiences are nothing more than interactions of his or her experiences selfish desires with changing worldly conditions. The failure to understand this fact is the cause of much suffering. But for a person who has trained his or her mind to realize the real nature of life and its characteristics, he or she had indeed made progress in overcoming his suffering. He or she realizes the departure or separation from pleasant experiences and those whom he or she loves are unavoidable. This can happen at time whether at the start of the career, at the middle or even at the end. So a person who thinks he or she indispensable or that he or she must be around to see what is to be done should consider what will happen when he or she is no longer around. He/ she will missed and his/her absence will be felt perhaps for a short period of time. Since no one is indispensable in this world, the world will still go on as usual without him/her. If that be so then why should he/she worry himself/herslefso much, harboring imaginary fears that only harm his or her health and eventually shorten the periods towards the end of life’s journey – Death!
The separation of togetherness also brings suffering. A person feels lost, dejected, hopeless and frustrated when someone leaves him or her. This is a natural process. People experience suffering whenever they are rejected by those whom they love. But sometimes instead of learning to cope with the situation by allowing time to heal the wounds, they become paralyzed with dejection, pondering about it over and over in their minds, looking for ways and means to mend the broken hearts. Some even express their anger and frustration through violent methods.


(The writer is a lay Buddhist & Social Activist of People Who Use Drugs (PUDs))

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