03 Sep One Meditation Expression I Can Put Up With
When I was a young, ambitious reporter just getting started in the TV news business, I sometimes let my temper get the better of me in ways that are, frankly, quite embarrassing. Read on for a guest success post from ABC anchor Dan Harris:
I remember this one time when I was anchoring the news and there was some sort of technical difficulty and during the commercial break, I literally threw my papers in the air in frustration. It wasn’t quite as dramatic as the whole Bill O’Reilly ‘We’ll Do It Live’ thing, but it was decidedly uncool.
If you think about it – in one way or another, we’re all getting carried away by the voice in our head, every day: checking our email in the middle of conversations with our kids, eating when we’re not hungry, etc.
It’s mindless behavior; and mindfulness – the ability to see what’s going on in your head without getting carried away by it – can be the antidote.
Mindfulness can be the antidote.
So, here’s how this can work: imagine, for example, you’re in traffic and somebody cuts you off. How does that situation usually go for you internally? I think for most of us, being cut off in traffic provokes a sudden, uninvited thought which is “I’m pissed.” And then what happens? Boom. You automatically, reflexively, habitually inhabit that thought – you actually become pissed.
Mindfulness helps you short-circuit that mindless reaction so you can notice, maybe – “oh, my chest is buzzing, my ears are burning, I’m experiencing a star-burst of self-righteous thoughts – I’m getting angry.”
You might reasonably ask: “Aren’t there times when you need to get angry? Don’t you need to take some stern action if you’ve been wronged, or if you see somebody else being wronged?” To be clear, the goal of meditation is not to render you into a lifeless, non-judgemental blob, passively watching all of the stuff in your head. Sometimes you do have to have a sharp word with people.
Respond, Don’t React
What meditation helps you do is respond, not react. You can wisely respond to the situation, instead of blindly reacting.
Most meditation cliches like “sacred space” and “namaste” make me want to put a pencil through my eye, but this one – “respond, not react” – I love.