“When the Student is ready, a Teacher appears.” I love this saying. I’m not sure where I first heard it, but I have come to depend on it in a way, and have adopted it as one of my own ten thousand truths. We are all teachers and students, and sometimes both at nearly the same time. When I think about it, it eases my anxiety by making me curious about what I am supposed to learn from relationships and experiences–the brief, transient ones that happen in passing, day-to-day, as well as the long term ones that sustain me.
In fact, I’m beginning to think that anxiety and curiosity are mutually exclusive. Anxiety focuses on outcome, and the anticipation of a particular outcome; curiosity focuses on learning, and on the process. The question “what’s going to happen?” takes on an entirely different feeling depending upon which state of mind we’re in.
Next time you’re feeling anxious, test that hypothesis by consciously switching your focus away from fear of a particular outcome to wonder about who or what the teacher is, and what that teacher could be showing you. Curiosity will serve in ways anxiety simply cannot. And supplanting anxiety with curiosity just might open up a whole new world. At least that’s what I’m counting on.