In My Meditation Today– I was guided to replace the word “worry” with “wonder”. Replacing worry/anxiety with wonder means, I go from a place of feeling that life is conspiring against me to the knowledge that life is always unfolding in my favor. So for, e.g., if I am worrying about something going on in my children’s life- I am in essence saying that I do not trust that Life/ God/ the Universe has their back. Replacing all worrying thoughts with ” I wonder how this will be resolved” starting today.
The verse below is the second verse in the Durga Sapta Shloki and the seventeenth verse in the fourth chapter of the Devi Mahatmyam. This chapter is primarily a hymn that describes all of the wonderful attributes of the all-pervasive Goddess.
Durge Smritha Harasi Bheethim Asheesha Janthoh
Swashthaih Smrta Matim ativa subham dadasi
Daridryadukhabhayahaarini kaa tvad anyaa
Remembered in distress, you remove fear from every creature.
Remembered by the untroubled, you confer even greater serenity of mind.
Dispeller of poverty, suffering, and fear
Who other than you is ever intent on benevolence toward all?
I have also used this prayer when I am afraid of something terrible happening to someone I love. For e.g., When my daughter was driving from Denver, CO to Birmingham, AL in the middle of a terrible snowstorm, or when my son was traveling to Myanmar during all the turmoil the elections there had caused.
However, I knew this verse had more to teach me. That the fear that this verse speaks about is far deeper. So I asked for guidance. What was it that Durga / Source/ God wanted me to put out to the world about this verse?
I began to think about all of the different ways in which I experience fear. There is a constant fear of not being enough. The fear that I am not lovable; of being a bother or a burden, of not being important and therefore not deserving attention; not having enough money; of not being special – all pointing to somehow not measuring up. Then there is the fear of what people think about you because your husband or children do not measure up; These are very prevalent fears in Indian society. Children in India are often told that the worst thing they could do is to sully the family name. Following societal expectations is paramount. The whole notion of honor killings is an extreme version of a daughter not living up to the family’s ‘shoulds’.
What about the fear of becoming the victim of an attack or your children falling ill? When I sit down and let myself examine why that situation frightens me as much as it does, it once again comes back to the fear that terrible things happen to me. Losing my mother in a plane crash, an uncle to suicide and a baby to premature birth feels like life telling me again and again that she does not have my back; that I am not unique.
The longer I sat with all the different facets of fear that I experience in my life, the clearer it was that all of them boil down to the underlying fear of not being good enough. A complete rejection of the truth that I am divine.
I realized that not only do I refuse to recognize that I am a reflection of the supreme source, but I also restrict divinity between the parameters of what I deem “feasible” or “possible”. I often write up a job description for God. Pray for a solution to allay a fear but then direct the unfolding of the situation. I say I trust, but then I have caveats about the type of solution I want for a particular problem. I surrender but expect answers in my time frame rather than in divine time.
Given this new recognition of what “FEAR” is, how could I use this verse? I could recite it every day fully cognizant of the fact that my most basic fear is that I am not enough. As with each verse so far, the essential reminder is that I am a reflection of God, and the lesson is to lean back into that knowledge and trust that all is really and truly well. As I said at the beginning of this post, practice “wondering” how the situation will be resolved instead of worrying and controlling.
Do you need help moving from ” worry” to ” wonder”? Click here to set up a call to chat and learn more about exercises that will increase peace in your life.