Departures: Practicing With Reactions

For me, the experience is like the pot of water that has been quietly growing warmer and warmer on the stove before suddenly, with sound and the sight of bubbling water which in fact may come erupting over the sides of the pot.  What’s that experience, you ask?  It’s the experience of inner, negative reactions to WHATEVER.  We all have them.  They come with this human package that we are, and we likely each would describe what it feels like on the inside differently based on the variables that create the algorithm called ME.  For me, it’s like the exploding boiling pot.  I feel it on the inside.  I rarely, immediately, boil over on the outside which I think only makes it more painful.  For someone else, the feelings cause internal fear.  For others, the interior experience demands escape (physically, mentally, emotionally, chemically).

I  have come to see that any single moment of negative experience for me is my personal opportunity to engage in spiritual practice.  When a person, or a situation, or a Facebook post, or (fill in the blank) rouses in me the boiling pot, I am immediately given the opportunity to turn that boiling pot into a question, into an inquiry.

That sounds anti-climactic.  Here I was, this pot boiling over with internal anger, and instead, if I want to, I can ask a question, but something significant happens.  By taking a moment to see what question lies underneath the boiling pot, I suddenly transform from a potential victim to a seeker.  I re-position from being attacked, or misunderstood, or misrepresented, or excluded (all victim-positions) to going on a quest, becoming a warrior, an investigator, a mystic-seeker, a researcher, a gentle surgeon, a listener, a crusader for the cause of the question!

Isn’t that the most incredible point of departure?  Life comes at me with something that would ordinarily stir the angry pot of me (and oh, so often, has).  By the choice of asking the question that lies beneath it, the transformation from stuck to movement, from victim to seeker, from neither negative nor positive but to integrative happens.

However you would describe your own inner negative reactions to things and people, please know that there is a question underneath them.  Each such event becomes your opportunity to practice–asking–the–question.

Bob Patrick

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2 Responses to Departures: Practicing With Reactions

  1. Lydia says:

    Always looking for the mirror

  2. Peggy Averyt says:

    Another great post today. I sooo need to remember this. Posing the questions in a non-angry, defensive way is not always easy for me, either. Still working on doing better at that.

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