I have a confession to make: In no way, shape, or form have I figured out the best way to live.
Daily, thoughts surge through my head about how I can best manage my every day anxiety. And while I’m trying to figure out the best method to be “anxiety-free”, the more anxious I become.
I think, “Why can’t I just control this voice?” “Why did I do that, say that, think that?” “What is wrong with me?”
The questions are overbearing, and at times, almost crippling. But, as I continue to walk along the path of life, I become more comfortable with the mystery that surrounds it.
About a year ago, I studied in London. It was a regular Saturday morning for a twenty year old. A bit hungover from a night out, extremely sleep deprived, and most of all lethargic. My friends and I decided to grab some grub and see a movie in the nearby theatre. When I sat down though, my heart felt like it could jump out of my chest. Breathing heavily and breaking out in a cold sweat, something inside my head said, “Get out!”
Worried, I told my friends in the theatre that I wasn’t feeling well and I would see them back at our flat. As I left the theatre, I felt confused and dizzy. My brain shouted messages at me saying, “You’re dying! Go get help!” Terrified, I ran into the nearest coffee shop to grab a bottle of water.
My hands shook uncontrollably to the point where I could barely pay for the water. But, strangely I didn’t ask anyone for help. I shriveled under the weight of the messages my brian sent me. I thought, “this is it, I’m going to die abroad and all of my dreams will be dashed away forever.”
As you can tell by reading this post, I didn’t die. Instead, I walked back to my flat and felt as if I had been run over by Mack truck. This was my first panic attack and it deeply frightened me. So much so that I knew something had to be done. So, I turned to a twenty-something’s best friend, the Internet.
I turned to site after site all in the hopes of making things better. Then I turned to books thinking that someone’s muse might help subside the deeply vulnerable feeling I had. And for some time, this incessant search for wisdom occupied my life. But about two weeks ago, I realized I needed to listen to myself, and most of all, to know myself.
None of those “how to” lists and self help books can teach you the art of searching yourself. And this past year, I chased a dream thinking that I could follow someone else’s path to enlightenment, peace, and love. The only thing you need is yourself and the perseverance to, as some like to say, “sort through your demons.”
If one piece of wisdom could link all of the information I gathered throughout this past year, it was what I just shared with you. Instead of searching for wisdom in others, we must search for wisdom inside of us.
When it comes to education there is a paradox that I think is true about our journey of life: The more I learn, the less I know. And sometimes what we need to learn the most is placed on our bookshelf of experience hidden behind all the books we have acquired.
Life is an incredible mystery more so than I think any of us can grasp. But if we look inwards, perhaps we can mediate our way around this world in full embrace of ourselves.