Thu, 29 January 2015
What is anxiety?
I'm thrilled to be talking to Dicken Bettinger about: What is anxiety and is it possible to be freed from it?
Dicken is one of the few people who was taught directly by Sydney Banks, the man who discovered the principles. Dicken trained as a Pyschologist and for the almost 30 years, he has taught the three principles. He has helped many people to free themselves from anxiety and return to happiness.
Before understanding the principles, Dicken himself used to suffer from extreme anxiety and used to have a zillion techniques and meditated for hours a day to attempt to alleviate it.
All in all, there really isn't anyone on the planet that I can think of who is better placed to speak to about anxiety!
So... what is anxiety?
The dictionary definition of anxiety is: "A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome"
Dicken explained that almost every one of us experiences moments of anxiety - that's not a problem in itself, it's just being human and is a function of how our thoughts create our feelings of anxiety.
Dicken's answer to 'What is anxiety', in terms of anxiety being a problem in someone's life, is that it's when we misunderstand where our anxiety comes from - when we believe that our anxiety comes from outside events such as:
And then become anxious about the fact that at any moment something can happen to trigger the anxiety. We become anxious about our anxiety.
Dicken describes his past experience of anxiety like "I never knew when the world was going to make me feel bad." and feeling like life was akin to walking in a field of landmines, waiting for one to blow up.
We can believe the label of being an anxious person - someone who is, whether by nature or nurture, predisposed to anxiety - but Dicken has never seen this to be accurate for any of his clients.
Fundamentally, anxiety is simply an misunderstanding of why we feel anxiety - and then feeling anxious about the prospect of more anxiety.
Is it possible to be freed from anxiety?
Dicken talks about us not needing to work hard to look for freedom from anxiety when we see we already have what we're looking. Dicken described these steps that are helpful to understand this:
Step 1. Recognise that 100% of your experience is created by thought
All of our feelings are being created by our thoughts in that moment.
This is direct contrast to what we're taught - e.g. that stressors cause stress. It's also contrary to how things look - if you're in a room and feeling good but someone walks in the room and you feel anxious, it's a very convincing illusion that your anxiety is being caused by the other person.
When we see that our experience is coming from thought, it's the beginning of us letting go of the misunderstanding that's creating the anxiety problem.
Step. 2 Seeing that a new thought will free you from the anxiety created by the current thought
When we wake up to the nature of thought, we're open to a new thought flowing through - and thereby creating a completely different feeling.
This is the opposite to to what we tend to do - which is to focus MORE on the anxious thought that has created the anxious feeling. We try to identify it, fix it and change it - all the more we continue to think about - and therefore feel - anxiety.
When we wake up to what's really happening we focus more on our wellbeing than anxious thoughts.
Step. 3 Understanding that we all have potential for infinite wisdom and wellbeing
We're not limited to the boundaries of our physical brains, we all have a connection to infinite potential - more happiness, more love, more connection, more clarity, more creativity, more peace - when we look toward the non-conceptual space that's before our personal thinking.