can one overcome the anxieties of this world?
Answer: It would be helpful, at
the outset, if we disabused ourselves of the notion that we can achieve
a permanent and complete victory over anxiety. Trying too hard to
achieve peace of mind or rebelling against the cares and sorrows of
life would only aggravate the problem. Accepting that anxiety is part
and parcel of human life, particularly as our responsibilities increase
with age, is in itself a first step to overcoming it.
This attitude of acceptance creates a little space around the problem
and helps us to manage it and achieve greater peace of mind. The saying
from popular spirituality is true: “Resist and it shall persist.” The
greater good is to willingly, and even happily, bear the anxieties that
come with the increased cares and responsibilities of life. To do so
shows proof of great faith and courage and achieves a high spiritual
Shoghi Effendi (1897-1957), the head and Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith,
answered an individual who had queried him along the lines of today’s
question. He answered:
“But suffering, although an inescapable reality, can nevertheless be
utilized as a means for the attainment of happiness. This is the
interpretation given to it by all the Prophets and saints, who, in the
midst of severe tests and trials, felt happy and joyous and experienced
what is best and holiest in life. Suffering is both a reminder and a
guide. It stimulates us to better adapt ourselves to our environmental
conditions, and thus leads the way to self-improvement … What man
considers to be evil turns often to be a cause of infinite blessings”
(letter of 29 May 1935).
A number of practical spiritual aids also assist in overcoming anxiety.
These include prayer and meditation, which give us greater peace of
mind, finding the guidance offered in scripture, seeking the good
counsel of wise and trusted friends, and using what the great
psychiatrist Viktor Frankl called “logotherapy” — finding some hidden
or deeper meaning or wisdom in the anxious situation that has troubled
us. - Jack