“While many people engaged in meditation claimed to find it made them more relaxed, I made a somewhat different discovery. Admittedly anxious to begin with, I stumbled on a rather odd realization: The opposite of anxiety is not calmness, it is desire.

Anxiety and desire are two, often conflicting, orientations to the unknown. Both are tilted toward the future. Desire implies a willingness, or a need, to engage this unknown, while anxiety suggests a fear of it. Desire takes on out of oneself. Anxiety turns on back on oneself, but only onto the self that is already known. There is nothing mysterious about the anxious state; it leaves one teetering in an untenable and all too familiar isolation. There is rarely desire without some associated anxiety: We seem to be wired to have apprehension about that which we cannot control, so in this way, the two are not really complete opposites.  But desire gives one a reason to tolerate anxiety and a willingness to push through it.”

From Open to Desire: The Truth About What the Buddha Taught by Mark Epstein, M.D.