“Watch your problems, instead of being lost in them.”
~ Michael A. Singer
Take a moment to think about what irritates you the most – that one thing guaranteed to push your buttons. Is it bad drivers? Illegal parking? People speaking noisily, or maybe walking too slowly? How about those who hold a viewpoint you consider to be unsafe, or ignorant? Maybe it’s something your partner regularly does, or doesn’t do? Tell me, what’s bugging you?
Unless you’re actually a saint, I’m guessing you’ve got something in mind. Now, let’s slow down a little and examine that experience of exasperation, closely. Where do the annoyed feelings come from? Is it from the something, or is it from what you think about it? Be honest. Can you see that if the feelings were somehow being transmitted from the object of your ire, everyone would feel the same way about it?
When we look to how the mind works, we see that all judgement—100% of it—sits squarely with us: thought is the missing link. It’s how we experience life, and when it comes to the things that bug us, it’s our preoccupation with them, not the things themselves, that are the source of our bad feelings.
This is a powerful and life-changing observation to make because it means that none of our disconcertions are set in stone. It frees us from having to feel a particular way about anything that happens, whether it’s a minor inconvenience or a major disruption.
So let’s play for a moment. What would happen if you let go of your convictions? What if you decided to stop being bothered by whatever it is? Would your experience of it be better, or worse…?
This exercise tends to go one way or the other. If the previous paragraph was a lightbulb moment that left you with a sense of lightness and ease, please know that this is available to you on any occasion you allow your mind to settle and you return to the timeless Now.
If, on the other hand, it made you feel uncomfortable, as if somehow you would no longer be you without your strongly held opinions, then I’d invite you to question where that sense of identity comes from? Is it fixed, or is it fluid? What is it made of? In short, is it anything more than another opinion, itself? Why not play with letting go of that one, as well? Relax, you’re quite safe in doing so.
The key to having a better experience of life’s irritations is not to avoid them (which is impossible), nor to develop strategies for better coping with them (which is exhausting), but to step back from them and shine a light on the nature of experience itself.
So next time your buttons are pushed and you feel your hackles rising, slow down and ask yourself, “Where does it seem like my feelings are coming from, right now?” The real answer is always the same and when you remember it, you’ll rediscover your peace of mind.
Dr Giles P Croft
Healing • Coaching • Speaking