Always Uncomfortable: Finding Peace With Existential Anxiety

Always Uncomfortable: Finding Peace With Existential Anxiety

What is the purpose of life? What is my own life's purpose? Aren't we all just a bunch of dirt piled together that's just, for better or worse, become aware of our own existence?

I go back and forth between reveling in the majesty that is nature, the cosmos, the likelihood that our species would evolve to have sentient minds with dreams and ambitions...and being entirely unimpressed with the whole deal.

Theories show that we humans can trace our existence back to apes, back to single cells, back to stardust. But how did the stardust get there? A big old happy accident perhaps, or some mass creation brought about by divine power. But where did this divine power come from?

This existential circle of thoughts grinds away at my sanity until I become so uncomfortable with my own existence, with existence in general, that I can think of nothing else but the overwhelming feeling of not fitting anywhere. I trap myself in the intertwinings of my brain's complexity so deeply that snapping back into reality often feels more like entering a waking dream.

To combat this anxiety, I find myself relentlessly hunting down comfort, seeking out people or locations that will hopefully radiate the soothing energy I need. But I realize despite the array of experiences and people I've attempted to find comfort with, I remain uncomfortable. I am honestly really sick of myself.

The fact is, I keep seeking comfort externally, but to what end? I've had no relief from the urge to crawl out of my own skin because I've been searching for this comfort outside of myself. But what is the only common variable whenever and wherever I feel displeasure? Me. 

If I can find nowhere outside of myself to truly feel like I belong, then I must look within for the reason.

Admittedly, this epiphany had me a little peeved when it first hit me. I had been exhausting myself trying to find the true place I was meant to be, and yet it's been with me all along.

It feels like I just spent the past couple of decades looking for my eyeglasses, only to find them waiting on top of my head.

Although I was slightly irked until I came to appreciate the journey, I know that over and over again I must learn the same lesson, that all peace can be found within.

I'm grateful to realize that warm fuzzy feelings have begun poking at me lately. For a while this made me think "YES! This is it! The exact moment I wait for! A rare instance of complete contentment where I feel free of existential anxiety!"

Yikes. This realization that I am always "waiting" reminded me of two vital lessons:

1. My life does not begin and end in moments of comfort. Every minute of my life is my real life, not just when I am yearning and not just when I am peaceful. Anticipation is not living in the present.

2. These moments should not only be cherished, but should be used as clues for my comfort within, shedding light on the areas of my life I need to be focusing on. These comfortable times are beautiful in their rawness and simplicity, bubbling up when the breeze flows through an open window, or the sun shines dimly through bamboo shades.

These small but monumental experiences open up entirely new questions too, like where was my energy before it was me? Did it live for the type of experiences that I find comfort in now, true to the theory of reincarnation? Or does my human, primitive urge for survival just find solace in the most natural of creations, knowing deep down that nature is its own birthplace after all?

Either way, I have the tools to find peace through these questions without looking any further than the inside of my eyelids. I've been so busy focusing on finding comfort externally, but only inner peace will keep me sane throughout endless loops of anxiety.

If I can sit with myself long enough to find comfort within, endless possibilities will unfold before me, and I will never feel bound to any particular place again.

Wish me luck as I embark on my latest mantra, "Sit. With. It," and maybe take a moment to look at your life and ask yourself,

"What have I been searching for that I could find within?"