Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Things That Bug Us

Last night, we threw a very modest party to celebrate our youngest's 15th birthday. Historically, any kind of gathering, whether it be for one person or one hundred, causes me to get nervous about everything coming out well. I am embarrassed to say that this nervous state has caused me to become reactive and somewhat short-tempered (can you tell that I'm sugar-coating things here?).

With the advent of my mindfulness practices, however, these reactive states have become fewer, and when I do succumb to them, they are less intense and more short-lived. Now, when I find myself edging toward anger because of stress, I am much more aware of the situation than I have been in the past. I can disengage from the catastrophic thinking that my mind is churning out and in many cases clinging to, and I can just feel myself breathe. This movement from a thought about the situation to the fact of the present moment creates some space around whatever it is that I am getting nervous about. In this way, the stressor becomes "softer," and I can allow my body to relax a bit, even if I am in rapid preparation mode.

This reflective moment also gives me access to Wisdom Mind, that part of me that knows that everything is just fine in this moment. Wisdom Mind also helps me to find novel solutions to problems, if they should arise, thus deceasing my stress level even more. Finally, and most importantly, Wisdom Mind lets me see clearly that there is really no need to act out reactively; that this is supposed to be about having fun, and not about getting upset. From here, it is a very short journey to releasing attachment to an imagined outcome, or to being attached to the idea that there is only one way to solve a problem.

My suffering decreases, and so does the suffering of those around me.


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