“People are our teachers” is a quote that comes to mind, just when I need to pay attention to how I am interacting with someone else.
When we get triggered it usually isn’t about the other person at all. They are not the enemy. They are the catalyst. Whatever they said or did has touched something that is already present inside of us. It was already there.
Some would call this a wound from the past or a missing need. I see it is a vulnerable tender part of us that is close to our heart, metaphorically and literally in my body.
When we understand that it isn’t about them, we can practice becoming more present when we are triggered, or when we feel uncomfortable around someone.
Instead of directing our energy into judging and blaming their behavior and defending ourselves, we can learn to see the other more objectively, and bring our attention to what is going on inside us.
We take responsibility for our own reactions and feelings, and look inwards. This is where the discoveries can be made and transformation takes place. Not with them, but within ourselves.
This is not the time to beat ourselves up though! There is nothing wrong with our own reactions and feelings. They are alerts for us to pay attention to what we need. Tara Brach has a compassionate and inspiring approach to this.
“The purpose of anger is to let us know there’s an obstacle to our wellbeing, and to energize us to act. While natural and necessary for survival and thriving, this powerful energy often possesses us and leads to suffering… In the deepest way, when we get possessed by anger, we’re really cut off from our full humanness – our full spirit.”~ Tara Brach taken from her website and podcast. View it here
One of the most important lessons in our spiritual journey is to differentiate between the outer experience and our inner experience. It isn’t so easy as the lines are often blurred when emotions are involved.
Instead of looking to the external with judgment and blame, when we bring kind intention and attention to our own thoughts, feelings and body sensations, we make space for our inner experience.
This allows us to discover what it is that we long for… and to open our hearts again to the love that is always there. It’s a practice that takes patience and kindness for ourselves and those around us who are also suffering.
A practice that works for me, is to bring one hand to the heart and the other onto the abdomen. I notice the defensive tension there, and often an upholding of the breath that goes with it. As I allow myself to breathe more slowly and deeply, the tension releases and I feel soothed by my own touch. I hold myself with tenderness and realize that I have disconnected from my inner being and my heart. When I feel this warm vulnerability I know It’s time to give myself the compassion that I have been longing for. Then I may roll out my yoga mat, or simply get on with my day, feeling lighter and fuller.~ Val Boyko