“Great article. I found the tips on how to manage worry to be quite helpful. My favorite is letting go of needing to know and learn to be comfortable with uncertainty.”
There are many things I could worry about. But it’s always religion that gets it.
This just seems to happen episodically. It happened about 3 weeks ago, and I see that it happened a month before that too.
When it happens, I feel as if I am about to have to abandon all my beliefs, however rational and deep the convictions, over a little issue that throws it all into question. Like now it’s Muhammad’s marriage to Zainab, and last month it was the fact that the Quran appears mostly addressed to men. I forget what it was the month before that.
These little issues just cast an enormous shadow of doubt over everything else that I’ve become convinced about, and send me into a spiral of anxiety. Maybe this is a totally inordinate response. Maybe I need to learn to let go of needing to know everything, and be comfortable with the uncertainty.
I want to go and buy that issue of SciAm Mind so I can find out what causes this. Either it means something is seriously wrong with my approach to religion, or this is a personal trait of mine (or perhaps a particular way that I respond to the general uncertainty in my life). I don’t think I ever doubted this severely in the past, but then, back at age 18-21 I was a lot more courageous and flexible and not so worried about a lot of things.
Maybe what this means is that I still haven’t established an emotional conclusion about the question of religion. The emotions only come in when I worry and doubt, and I can’t calm them with the experience of better emotions. I am not getting an emotional conviction, just an intellectual one.
The negative emotions pass and then the urgency to seek an answer to the question dissolves as well. Because when I break out of the spiral and calm down, it doesn’t seem such a threatening thing. It would be easier to force myself out of the spiral if I had previously arrived at a conclusion that I was determined to hold onto. But I am still in a mentality of making my mind up. I don’t want to cast any questions out of my mind. I think all questions are valid. I even question whether there is ever a reason to feel sure of anything, or to commit to a belief or a way of thinking.