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Mental Health

Buddha Don’t Know: Anxiety and Uncertainty

This morning in meditation I got to that point where there are “no thoughts.” As soon as that hits I usually think no thoughts and back to thoughts. Nothing. Then Buddha appears in my mind. Wow, I’m thinking, this is some next-level spiritual meditation shit. This is new for my meditation but okay let’s roll with it.

I asked him “What are you doing here.”

The Buddha responded, “I don’t know.”

Then he sits on my chest.

Immediately it tightens and becomes hard to breathe. Something I’ve never experienced in meditation.

I joke and say, “Buddha, your rolls are beautiful but you know you aren’t light. I’m having trouble breathing. It hurts if I’m honest. Can you tell me why you are sitting on my chest?”

Buddha responded, “I don’t know.”

“Okay, well if you are going to sit here, do you have any idea when you might leave?”

Buddha responded, “I don’t know.”

“Well, Buddha since you aren’t leaving. I’m calling you Buddha Don’t Know.”

I looked up and saw his stupid grin.

“Lesson learned. Well played Buddha, well played.”

I laughed for a bit but the Buddha didn’t leave.

The heaviest space of all is the “I don’t know.” The space of not knowing how things will play out has a weight. Sometimes the scariest place feels like the pause button. When we reevaluate things with questions of “is this working?” or “is this worth it?”

This is the space in life, work, relationships, and health when nothing makes sense. When the final destination seems murky at best, things tighten and breathing becomes labored.

Right now we are sitting with I don’t know. Doesn’t seem like Buddha wants to get off my chest or anyone else’s. Even the leaders of the world don’t exactly know how this will play out. This “I don’t know” is weighing on every leader, business person and every health care worker right now.

I don’t know when this feeling will go away but I do know you are not alone in feeling this way.

Maybe that’s what anxiety is, the space of Buddha Don’t Know 😉

Can you relate?


Mike Allebach is a business owner and portrait artist at Allebach Photography in the suburbs of Philadelphia.