August 31, 2009

The Buddhist Rule About Worrying: Don’t.

pooh worry anxiety anxious

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.”~ Mike Tyson.


Buddhist rule re: Worrying.

We can talk about spirituality or yoga or meditation or mindfulness all day, but life has a way of testing whether our understanding is superficial, or thorough. There’s a famous story about Naropa meeting a wise old woman who tested him on this point.

What I will say is that fear is a doozy. We’ve got to breathe through it, but we’ve also got to get into self-inquiry, and discover what it is we’re really afraid of or anxious and worried about.


“If something is wrong, fix it now. But train yourself not to worry, worry fixes nothing.”~ Ernest Hemingway 

Don’t Worry, Be Present.

“It is not work that kills men; it is worry. Work is healthy; you can hardly put more upon a man than he can bear. Worry is the rust upon the blade. It is not the movement that destroys the machinery but the friction.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher

“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” ~ Marcus Aurelius


The Serenity Prayer.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

“90% of the things you worry about are out of your control so it’s not helpful to worry. The other 10% you can control so do something about it instead of worrying.”

“I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” ~ Mark Twain

Relephant read: Pema Chodron: How to do Tonglen, a meditation practice for difficult times.

Leonardo DiCaprio on Worrying and Failure: [Quote]

worrying dicaprio

I tweeted the below casually awhile back, and it got more RTs than all my other posts combined, today. So, guess it warrants being made into a short, sweet blog post in and of itself.

The Buddhist rule re: Worrying is simple: don’t.

Or, as Shantideva said more eloquently,

If it can be fixed; why worry?

If it can’t be fixed, what’s the point of worrying?

Or, more properly: “If a cure exists, why worry? If no cure exists, what use is there to worry?”


“Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles, it empties today of its strength.” ~ Corrie ten Boom

“If it can be solved, theres no need to worry, and if it can’t be solved, worry is of no use.” ~ Dalai Lama XIV


(1) Identify objective at hand. (2) determine if you are on track (3) identify controllable and uncontrollable factors. (4) intentionally shift focus away from uncontrollable factors.

You will feel better.

Aristotle said: “Patience is bitter, but it’s fruit is sweet.”



Relephant Bonus:


Four Practical Buddhist Tips for Dealing with Negativity.

The greatest power you have (according to the Buddha)

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liorrexx Aug 6, 2019 1:31am

hehe, but as everything that exists – worrying also has deep meanings

controlled worry make you focused & keep you on the edge – gets you the power to turn the tides

without this sliver of fear mixed in the bag of drives we can hardly achieve our best

suppose this write up shud be about excessive & all-consuming worrying

lorieb77 Jun 7, 2019 9:58am

Great reminder as I fall into this trap too often.

Gerard Eveland May 7, 2019 7:25am

Staying in the moment helps me.

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Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of Elephant Journal & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat.” Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword’s Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by “Greatist”, Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: “the mindful life” beyond the choir & to all those who didn’t know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, touches on modern relationships from a Buddhist point of view. His dream of 9 years, the Elephant “Ecosystem” will find a way to pay 1,000s of writers a month, helping reverse the tide of low-quality, unpaid writing & reading for free online.