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Get out of your comfort zone

 If you really want to come out of your worries, you will come out right now, without trying to justify any of your worries.

The thing is, our very worries become our comfort zone. We hide in them. Hiding and merely talking about them helps us to remain lazy.

Someone asks Mahavira*, an enlightened Jain master from India, ‘Who is the one who has worries?’ He beautifully replies, ‘The person who is worried.’

They ask him, ‘What is the cause of worry?’ He replies, ‘Laziness.’

Then they ask him, ‘Who ends worries?’ He replies, ‘Man himself.’

They ask him, ‘How can worry be ended?’ He replies, ‘By dropping laziness.’

If you drop laziness, you fall into right action. And when you fall into right action, you drop worry. Your comfort with worry can be understood even from the way you react to other people’s worries. If you keenly watch, you will observe that whenever a person talks to you about his worries, you first tell them, ‘What can you do… That’s just the way it happens…’ You never straightaway give a solution to them. When you do this, be very clear, you are not only encouraging them, but you are also encouraging yourself to remain comfortably in the worry zone.

Worry can never have an external cause. Externally, events happen. They continue to happen. But your inner space is what decides your response to them. If you choose to respond with worry, be very clear, somewhere within yourself, you are giving into the laziness of your comfort zone. This is where you can simply sit and worry without moving into action. Any external event can be handled with the right decision or action and handled immediately, or you can choose to speak endlessly about your worry. What you choose to focus on is purely in your hands.

We again and again seek out the same old worry! We love to worry and talk about it. It makes us feel that we are shouldering a lot of problems. It makes us feel important, like the world can’t make it without us to take care of it.

A man and his wife were hurrying to their seats after a movie intermission. In a very concerned way, the man asked the lady at the end of a row, ‘Did I step on your toes on the way out?’

‘Yes you did,’ the lady answered back angrily.

The man said, ‘Alright then, this is our row.’

Worry literally becomes ‘our row’! You are very comfortable with it although you claim you suffer because of it. If you really want to come out of it, you will come out immediately! The question is whether you want to come out of it or remain in

the problem.

In a university, there was a small department store where students could buy materials for their classes and personal use. There was a new person in charge of the store one particular day.

 A student went to him and asked, ‘Can you give me a blank tape?’

 The man asked him, ‘What language are you studying?’

The student replied, ‘French.’

The man said, ‘Sorry, we don’t have any French blank tapes.’

The student asked, ‘Do you have any English blank tapes?’

 The man said, ‘Yes, we have.’

The student said, ‘No problem. Give me one of those.’

When you see a problem, if you want a solution, you never dwell upon the problem even for a second. You simply switch to the solution, that’s all! In the same way, for every worry there is an instant solution. You only have to want it.

Most of the time, you prefer to stay in the comfort zone of your worry. It keeps you settled. For example, let’s say you are visiting your child at college. You see a few students keeping their rooms all messy or exchanging clothes and wearing them. You record the whole scene in your mind and assume that is the way of life in the dorm itself. You advise your child to keep her things neat and not to wear others’ clothes. Even if she tells you her things are in order and that she doesn’t wear others’ clothes, you will not readily erase or reprogram your recording. You stick with the earlier recording of what you observed.

There probably were many other beautiful things to record in the dorm like the joy of the students, the campus itself, etc., but every time you think of your daughter, only this one recording comes up and you worry  about her. Not only that, anyone you meet, you talk about how things are a mess in her dorm and how everyone exchanges clothes and wears them! The recording itself is not the truth. But you choose to have it as your comfort zone. You reinforce it.

I often tell people that if you sit in your house and worry, you call it homework. If you sit in the office and worry, you call it office work. If you sit on the beach and worry, you call it vacation, that’s all! The mind is the same, only the location is different. You can’t experience peace just by changing the place!

You should change the slide in front of the projector to see a different scene, not the projector screen! Any projector screen will show you the same picture if you use the same slide. Trying to change your impression to beat worry is like trying to change the screen to see a different scene. If you really wish to see a different scene, you must change the slide.


* Mahavira – The 24th and last Jain tirthankara or enlightened one, who established the tenets of the religion of Jainism, founded in India and now practiced by millions worldwide. 

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