Eric over at Panic! made a post a few months ago about the Buddhist perspective on anxiety. It’s worth reading… even if you aren’t a Buddhist. I can’t claim to be unbiased as I myself am a Buddhist, but I personally believe that the Buddhist approach to everything is amazingly rational and incredibly effective. It’s unfortunate that our society tends to view Buddhism as a “new age” religion or belief-system.

While out on the town with my wife a few weeks ago we wandered into a witchcraft/wicca shop out of curiosity. Like most of these establishments, this shop had many Buddhist statues and other traditional (and non-traditional) Buddhist paraphernalia. We left quickly, partially because it was dark and uninteresting, and partly because some woman kept following us around with a stick of incense. Weird.

After leaving the shop, my wife looked at me and said, “Do Buddhists believe in that bad energy stuff?” My response was, “No, most Buddhists don’t believe in bullshit.” Buddhism is about two things: the causes of suffering and the end of suffering. Everything else is fluff. There may be many different ways to approach the cessation of suffering, but as the Buddha himself said: Buddhist teachings are like a raft that one can use to reach the other shore. It’s a vehicle, nothing more.

So, with that being said, I’ll end my rant here. The point is that I don’t want you to think that a Buddhist approach is somehow contradictory to your beliefs. Buddhism is merely a means to develop an enlightened mind. I’ve found Buddhist teachings to be a very powerful antidote to anxiety, not because they have me praying for relief or passing off my pain to some grand scheme, but rather because anxiety is a state of mind, and Buddhists are all about changing our states of mind so that we can live in peace. Read the link, there’s some good stuff there.