How to be serene in the face of great provocation
Do you have someone in your life who irritates the living hell out of you? Someone who totally knows how to push your buttons? Someone you can’t ban from your life, or get away from, like a coworker? Or a relative who’s going through an awkward stage? Someone whose whole life, perhaps, is an awkward stage?
Your secret is safe with me.
I devised this little exercise, based on the work of Eckhart Tolle, a few years ago when I was in desperate need of it myself. It really made a difference for me, and I hope it will for you too.
- Find a quiet place that’s conducive to meditation.
- Visualize yourself in water … at one with the water, in your element, completely comfortable. Feel yourself weightless and transparent.
- Now visualize the person who irritates the living hell out of you tossing something unpleasant at you. It can be whatever you like–rotten tomatoes, hand grenades, cow patties, what have you.
- At first, despite the fact that you are now weightless and transparent, you’ll probably flinch, or feel some resistance, or both. That’s OK. Try again. The idea is to allow the unpleasant thing to pass right through you, making no impact whatsoever, not harming you in any way.
- Continue until you can allow the rotten tomato or what have you to pass through you without feeling any resistance. Excellent!
- Now, when you are with the person who formerly irritated the living hell out of you, call upon your new practice. Allow their unpleasant words to pass right through, while you remain serene and non-reactive. You can now respond effectively (or not–your choice), unhampered by anger.
- Tell me it doesn’t feel fabulous.
This post is illustrated with the SoulCollage card I made tonight, Witness (one of the Transpersonal cards).