Anxiety comes up when we perceive or feel a threat to something we care about.
So you might think the solution would be to remove all threats. But that’s not practical. It’s impossible in a world we can’t control and where things are inherently vulnerable. The only other option is to change what we care about.
- The most anxiety-prone thing we can care about or love is our own self-concern, or our egocentric agenda.
- The most peaceful, or least anxiety-prone thing we can love is being useful.
Organizing our priorities, beliefs, and actions so that being useful is what drives us overall is the only long-term solution to the concerns about the future, present, and past that plague us. Changing what we love really is the practical way to deal with anxiety.
So how do you change what you love?
First, you have to know how to recognize the fundamental categories of love, in theory, and then in yourself. That equips us to begin the journey of spiritual growth that Swedenborg called regeneration. Regeneration is a gradual migration of our priorities from where we are, to where we want to get to.
Second, in brief, the metaphysical backstory has to do with the nature of self-concern-based anxiety versus the nature of the love of useful service. Anxiety often emerges from the false beliefs we have to adopt to support a self-centered view of life. Those false beliefs and self-centered loves are an access point for negative spirits, which is what really catalyzes the anxiety we feel.
The love of useful service comes straight out of God and is the nature of God, and when we accept what comes from God we enter the mental and emotional state that’s called heaven. Heaven is, by its nature, the most anxiety-resistant state we can be in since it repels hell, and it attracts the truth and consequent peace of seeing life as it really is, and God’s role in protecting and guiding us through it.
And third, there’s lots of things that matter in life, but choosing to prioritize either love of self-image or love of usefulness actually changes the very nature of what it feels like to care about all the other things in our life. Making love of usefulness our primary motivation is the key to being able to engage with everything else with less anxiety.
You can continue your study with our News From Heaven episode How to Tell if Your Struggles Are Spiritual or Not.
And for extras on this topic from the offTheLeftEye team listen to the related Inside offTheLeftEye podcast episode: The Moment Swedenborg Learned Spirits Can Read Thoughts.