Do you find yourself getting angry, frustrated, and anxious fairly regularly at things that you have no control over? Does a slow driver make your blood boil? Do red traffic lights bring up feelings of anxiety? Does someone else’s opinion feel like it hurts you? Do you sometimes shame yourself –“oh I should have done it that way, handled that differently, said something else…” Do other people and their actions create frustration in you?
We can train the mind to relate to things much differently. The truth is, we always have a choice as to how we relate to things. We always have a choice in how we feel. When someone drives slowly in front of us, what does getting frustrated or anxious achieve?
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A Matter of Conditioning
We are conditioned to react the way we do. We have been conditioned to let things get to us so easily, and affect us in the way that it does. This conditioning can be undone though, and we can find peace more and more throughout our lives. We have this habit of being unsettled, distracted, thinking about the past, the future, or some fictitious scenario. We go over and over and OVER certain scenarios, certain conversations. But notice how this replaying never actually solves it; it merely replays it for us repeatedly?
So do you really want to be a sponge; absorbing the views of others, and acting in the way in which you were conditioned? Mindfulness (or attention training) allows us to see things in an unconditioned manner. This practice allows us to relate to what’s happening in a more wholesome manner, rather than the normal mode of reaction. Mindfulness -or meditation allows us to watch these emotions and feelings arise in us, and just by witnessing them –rather than identifying AS them -we begin to quell the unnecessary thoughts and emotions we were once conditioned to project.
I’d like to conclude this article by sharing a video that speaks on what I believe to be a closely related subject. One of the biggest reasons our inner state can often be so easily impacted is because we are always looking to everything outside of us to make us happy. Adyashanti reminds us that the only source of happiness not only lies within, but is also available to us all of the time.