As a yoga teacher, spiritual mentor and coach, I have the pleasure of witnessing students and peers journey towards a greater sense of Self, delve into the deeper questions, expand Self out to community and live into his/ her true purpose.
The most incredible, beautiful aspect of this journey is the budding into the next layer of Self, which stems from new realizations- which might have been there intellectually, but has now spread down into the body, and eventually will sit and evolve at a deeper cellular level. This expansive movement from the head to heart prompts a more actionable realization- I don’t want to do it, but I will be unfulfilled if I don’t do it. It nags at you.
It can be a scary, scary place, where community of peers and mentors can make a world of difference. This experience, at the feeling level, is called existential anxiety: anxiety, or stress, over having to take a risk; to do something that will put you in the unknown, and into that which is aligned with one’s truth.
Livestrong.com explains it like this:
Existential anxiety arises when people deeply contemplate their existence. This contemplation leads to thoughts and feelings of freedom and responsibility, which burden the individual to find a purpose in life–and to live genuinely according to this purpose. It also may lead to a sense of alienation and isolation in the world and a heightened awareness of mortality. German philosopher Martin Heidegger proposed in 1962 that existential anxiety can either be avoided by living “on the surface” of things or deeply embraced as an inherent part of being.
Which begs the question:
how will you deal with it?
Will you avoid by living “on the surface” of things?
Or will you deeply embrace (this heightened awareness) as an inherent part of being?