This morning I woke up feeling annoyed. I noticed it as a mental state more than a sensation in my body, an irritability that was accompanied by repeated thoughts about how X wasn’t how I wanted X to be…I’ve learned when I feel like this it is a good idea to sit in meditation and do nothing and say nothing. If I am patient and don’t strive to change how I’m feeling, the grip on my mind/body loosens and the irritability dissipates. Once this happens, I am more able to decide what to do(or not) next. My ability to sit with and “let be” takes a certain amount of discipline. After many years of meditation, I still find it is an effort to do nothing but observe the discomfort of my irritability. I have to resist the desire to get up and do something, anything, rather than sit and be here with me. Knowing this, I set the timer on my cell phone and commit myself to sitting for the allotted time. This intention enables me to stay on my cushion, and not flee or jump up and answer the phone when I hear it ring.
During my meditation I was curious: could I drop my sense of self-righteous and hurt? I have discovered that holding anger punishes me and does nothing to alter what has happened. I’ve been wondering how long it needs to be carried and does it need to be perpetuated to make my point and justify it. Recently I had an epiphany: I can let it go. I acknowledge I am mad, I note that I am feeling very righteous, disabused or disrespected and I’ve been wronged. Sometimes I am justified in what I am feeling, other times not (but usually this realisation comes later). I’m discovering if I allow myself to cool down my mind clears and I am more able to speak my truth and state what I feel and want more effectively. It’s then up to the other person to respond and I no longer need to carry the anger. Though my opinion and sense of injustice may not change the heavy feeling that accompanies it can go. I’ve done what I can…now I can see what happens next.
Some things don’t change but realising this is also helpful. Examining what seems intractable is informative. If you live on the edge of a cliff by the sea and the cliff is vulnerable to storms and erosion it might be smart to move the house or find a safer location. If you love your house and love your sea view it is hard to do. You might try building sea walls and shoring up the cliff. This is fine for awhile but at some point it does not suffice. How long do you hang on? When do you go? What is wise? Mindfulness helps us know.
By Elana Rosenbaum