The Rising Tide of Anxiety – the Cause and the Solution

“If we want a green forest, every individual tree has to be made green. And you are the first tree yourself to be able to step beyond the anxieties that you consider the world to be the cause of.”

Thom Knoles

Anxiety is a downward spiral that many struggle to control. It’s the price many are paying for living in an overstimulated world. 

We’re bombarded with messaging from countless sources hundreds of times a day, and these are competing with our own restless minds, churning away with the same repeated thoughts, day after day after day.

In this episode, Thom explains the dangers of living in a state of “object-referral,” where you live at the mercy of circumstances, rather than a state of “self-referral,” where you have a solid foundation that anxiety finds unsustainable. Importantly, he outlines the solution, in practical terms that anyone wanting to take back control can implement effectively and swiftly.

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Episode Highlights


Becoming Aware of Our Challenges



Immense Rise in the Capacity to Commune



Failure to Commune is Characterizing Human Interaction Today



Meditation Allows Deep-Rooted Stresses to Dissolve



Being a Time Bomb of Stress Reactivity is Not the Solution



We Can’t Rely on the Two Percenters



To What Extent am I Individually Awakening My Fullest Potential?



Accelerate Your Own Personal Development


Jai Guru Deva


The Rising Tide of Anxiety – the Cause and the Solution

Jai Guru Deva, thank you for listening to my podcast, The Vedic Worldview. I’m Thom Knoles.

Let’s spend a few minutes talking about things that I hear from the outside world, that there’s a rising tide of anxiety in the collective. 

[01:03] Becoming Aware of Our Challenges

With so many different challenges of which we’ve become aware, and really it’s becoming aware of them that turn them into challenges.

We’ve become aware of a warming tendency all over the world, and scientists are relatively convinced that it has to do with the carbon footprint of humanity. And so something needs to be done about that. Evidently the waters are rising and they will continue to rise and rise, and more water falling from the sky in a variety of areas where human habitation was not designed in order to handle that much water coming down.

In other places, droughts occurring, where human habitation was not designed in those areas to handle drought.

Water rising on the coastlines in such a way that airports of major cities are going to be underwater in relatively few years, and perhaps, parts of entire cities will be underwater in a relatively few years.

We have polarization of the collectives, more and more people gathering on the Right side; Right meaning capital R, Right. Not as in right as in correct, but Right as in politically, Right side of the middle line. And many people gathering on the Left side of the political line, and a schism seems to have occurred, polarization. And people on the Left think that people on the Right are the cause of all their problems. And people on the Right have the same attitude about people on the Left, who appear to be the cause of all their problems.

[02:55] Immense Rise in the Capacity to Commune

We have wars going on, hot war going on right now between the former Soviet Union, Russia and Ukraine. Concerns about, once again, the dusting off of thermonuclear weaponry, which possibly could start at least tactical wars using thermonuclear weapons that could, if any accident occurred, spill into a global war using thermonuclear weapons. In which case all of civilization would be wiped out in a matter of about half an hour.

We have nations such as China having a look at what Russia is doing, flexing its muscles and expanding into neighboring territories. And perhaps China is thinking of doing the same thing.

We have the rights, the human rights of individuals in the vast majority of countries on Earth do not accord well with our sense of what is right with regard to there being equality between sexes and social justice, and the ability of people to live lives in the pursuit of happiness and in peace. And that’s just a beginning.

So we could look at all this and say, “Well, things seem to be pretty bad.”

On the other hand, we have an immense rise in the capacity that we have to commune and to communicate, if we wish to use those candidates for communication to actually commune. To actually commune means “comm”, with, that’s what the word “comm” means and “une” applies to unity. To experience with unity is what communication is supposed to be about, to commune.

[05:06] Failure to Commune is Characterizing Human Interaction Today

Language, though it’s often referred to as communication, is only a candidate for communication. If language is used in a way to discover, identify, and then underscore unity between experiencers, then language, indeed, is a form of communication.

If, on the other hand, language, which is only a candidate to be a communicating technique, if language is used to identify and underscore differences, then language is weaponized. Used as a weapon, language does not actually achieve the goal of communing or communication.

To bring about a better world condition, if all sides and all parties to the arguments about what is to be done, from either conserving old values, to introducing new values, from inaction on the level of climate to the need for massive action on the level of climate.

The variety of views and opinions about what people actually should be doing is so vast, but there is one fundamental area of wasted resource that, it appears to me, absolutely no one is attending to. And it should be glaringly obvious, and is becoming more and more evident, as we see this failure to commune, failure to communicate that is really characterizing the human interaction on Earth today.

And that is the failure of our education systems worldwide, irrespective of whether we’re Left or we’re Right or in any direction at all, up, down, left, right, back, forth, everywhere, to awaken in the children, the use of their full mental capacity.

It is widely considered by neuroscientists that, on average, we use only a tiny fraction, fractional percentage of our brains’ available computing power.

[07:52] Meditation Allows Deep-Rooted Stresses to Dissolve

And a large number of neurologists and cognitive scientists agree that one of the reasons for this is that we fail to give ourselves, at least twice every day, the opportunity to rest extraordinarily deeply and to release all of the stress of the day.

The daily accumulation of stress caused by constant exposure to overloads of experience. You read something from one of the newspapers of the world, of course it’s not paper anymore. You probably read it on your phone, and your expectations are not met, something happened that is outside the range of your expectations, and you become overwhelmed.

You deal with somebody at home whose set behavior sets are not within the range of what you expected, and so you have to face a change of expectation. And whenever we face a change of expectation, we have to expend adaptation energy, and we may not have very much adaptation energy because we haven’t rested deeply.

Resting deeply doesn’t mean sleeping at night. Sleep is actually a relatively inferior form of rest when compared with meditation.

Meditation provides something on the order of four to five times the level of depth of rest than anything you can achieve at any point in a night’s sleep. This allows deep-rooted stresses to dissolve, to release, to be relieved, and for the brain of the individual to be liberated from the task of holding onto old overloads of experience that cause, what now today is, irrelevant action, irrelevant behavior.

[09:58] Being a Time Bomb of Stress Reactivity is Not the Solution

Being a time bomb of stress reactivity is not the solution to bringing about peace in the world, and peace based not on complacency, but peace based on legitimate contentedness.

When asked once, the ancient Maharishi, Maharishi Patanjali, who’s credited with having written the treatise called the Yoga Sutras, that lays out the whole of Vedic philosophy in a relatively small compendium. Patanjali was asked, “What is the greatest obstacle to enlightenment and enlightened society?” And his answer was surprising to his devotees.

He said the word Santosha. Santosha, in Sanskrit, means contentedness, contentment, but he was referring to premature contentedness. Premature contentedness means when things are actually unraveling all around you and yet you make yourself content, then, you know, you’re complacent about, in this case, the degree of your brain that you’re actually able to bring into contact, into interaction with the demands.

One of my old mentors, the late professor John Eccles, who won the Nobel Prize in neurology, an Australian professor of neurology, once told me that, by his reckoning, on average, people are using less than 2% of their brain’s available computing power, meaning 98% of the brain.

[12:04] We Can’t Rely on the Two Percenters

The other 98% of the brain was not dormant, it was simply being used for storing information about past overloads of experience. Overloads of experience that happened once upon a time and which left distorted memories in the cells of the brain and the body, giving rise to reactivity that ends up making the person in most instances, where they’re facing a demand, to have to battle their way through irrelevant reactions. Irrelevant reactions to what? Things that aren’t here anymore. Something that once upon a time stressed you.

So what do we do when we find ourselves in such a world? The solution is not, do your best to get other people who don’t think your way to think your way. If the solution to the problem simply is that,” People who think differently to me have to start thinking the way that I think, and that’s going to solve the problem.”

Well, let me tell you, through all the shouting, and the words in social media, and the pictures, and the accusations, and the finger pointing, none of that’s actually ever going to happen. The things to do that really make sense, the things that are urgent that we need to do that really make sense, will only dawn on those who are using a larger percentage of their brain, their brain’s computing power.

We can’t rely upon the two percenters, people using 2% of their brains’ available computing power to solve the problems. These kinds of problems cannot be solved by governments.

A government which is elected today is hated by 50% of the population, at least. And it doesn’t matter which side is elected, the other 50% don’t consider that to be their government.

[14:14] To What Extent am I Individually Awakening My Fullest Potential?

And so when we rely upon governments to come in and solve these problems for us, we’re really living in dreams, and we’re living in dreams that might be nightmares, if we don’t change our approach.

Our approach has to be, first of all, self-referral. To what extent am I, individually, awakening my fullest potential? And to what extent am I, individually, radiating exemplary consciousness into the world, making myself into an enviable state of consciousness that will inspire worthy inquiry in others, and to bring others naturally into questioning…

“You seem to be creative, intelligent, high-speed, accurate, making decisions under pressure, intelligent decisions, and yet you’re completely calm. How do I get to be like you?” And then having the knowledge to direct them to the system that brought about those changes in you.

We’re not going to have a green forest if all we have is brown trees. If we want a green forest, we can’t hide all the brown trees behind a few green ones, because, from a slightly different angle, we’ll see all the brown trees again.

If we want a green forest, every individual tree has to be made green. And you are the first tree yourself to be able to step beyond the anxieties that you consider the world to be the cause of. Let me tell you, it’s not the world that’s the cause of your anxiety. It’s your own lack of development of the fullest possible consciousness state.

[16:28] Accelerate Your Own Personal Development

When you awaken your fullest possible consciousness state, you’ll be in a position to really do something in your proximity, in your event horizon, that brings about real, measurable, identifiable change.

And then, even when you’ve reached a critical mass of higher consciousness, the next thing to do is to come with me to India and be trained in how to spread this to others.

I’ve had the great opportunity to teach this to somewhere between 40,000 and 50,000 people in the last 50 years or more.

I wish it had been 150,000, or 250,000, but I didn’t have enough help. And so let me train you to be a teacher of Vedic Meditation, so that not only do you accelerate your own personal development to Cosmic Consciousness, 100% use of your mental potential, but you become someone who can actually change the state of consciousness of others.

This is my appeal to you, the meditators who are concerned about collective anxiety. Don’t let collective anxiety turn you into a stress bag. If you become stressed because the collective is stressed, then you have robbed the collective of one of the only solutions to the anxiety that the collective is experiencing.

Don’t be object-referral, where your consciousness has its identity dictated to it by a collective. You need to be self-referral whereby your consciousness is based in direct knowledge, I am Totality, Aham Brahmasmi, the Sanskrit word for I am Totality.

That experience that can be had, from Cosmic Consciousness into God Consciousness, into Unity Consciousness, the pinnacle of human development. This is the solution.

Jai Guru Deva.

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