Ancient Anxiety


I’m troubled by something, trying to work something out. I’m in the dark, I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know that I’m doing it. It comes to me that I don’t really know what it is that I am trying to work out – I’m just going through the motions. I’m going through the steps of some half-remembered routine, the routine of reflexively trying to fix something that is worrying me. I can see myself making serious but ineffectual efforts to fix something but I don’t know what it is. I don’t know what’s troubling me, I just know that I’m bothered, I just know that I’m vaguely unhappy or concerned about something. I’m haunted by formless fears.


I’m a bit perplexed now – I don’t know what to do with this awareness. I still feel troubled but I also realize that there’s nothing there. There’s nothing there to worry about, nothing there to fix. I feel that I’ve been caught up in this for a long long time, dimly and incoherently trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. It’s some kind of energy that’s doing it – some kind of knot of troubled energy that isn’t aware of itself, that doesn’t know what it is doing. It’s half asleep – lost in the darkness. It’s more than half-asleep, its very nearly entirely asleep. It’s comatose. It’s dim and it’s vestigial, a left-over from some bygone time.


This vestigial knot of troubled energy is me I realize. I’m looking at myself. I’m becoming aware of myself. I’ve woken up to what’s going on and I’m coming out of that darkness, that darkness that has lasted such a long long time. The darkness of sleep, the darkness of not knowing, the darkness of groping around without really knowing what you’re doing. I’ve woken up but I still can’t help being bothered, though. I still can’t help feeling that there’s some kind of a problem that needs fixing. I can’t stop doing what I’m doing, I can’t stop jittering around. I can’t stop pedalling the bike. And yet there’s no bike and there’s no one pedalling it.


I can’t relax, I’m just not allowed to relax. I’m driven by an ancient anxiety, an anxiety that has no cause and no purpose. And yet I’m not being driven by anxiety, I am the anxiety. Being the anxiety is the only thing I know how to do – that’s all I know how to be. I’m scared to be anything else. I know if I relax I won’t be the anxiety anymore and so I’m afraid. That frightens me. It frightens me a lot. I’m too afraid to take the risk of not being the anxiety and that means that I’ll just have to carry on forever trying to fix a problem that isn’t there…









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