You know when you have those moments (or days) when everything seems to provoke you? You get hooked, your stomach knots up, face turns red... you literally feel the rise of intense emotion come through you. This would be ok, if only we could rest with what strong emotions come up without deciding then to repress it or escalate it. When we are hooked, especially by anger or rage, it feels right to lash out or to fan the flame but ultimately we end up feeling embarrassed or like crawling into a hole afterwards... What if we didn't have to feel the need to avoid or escape the things within ourselves that are painful? What if we didn't need to repress or escalate our emotions and could pause long enough to elicit a response instead of a reaction?
Our ego, that conditioned part of being human, loves to chase those habits of reactivity and often times we allow it; we allow our emotions to take complete control. First and foremost, call yourself to observe the experience with curiosity and kindness, as hard as it may be. It is in the noticing that we practice and move into awakening. The more we practice or become mindful to this reactivity, the more centered within and aware of others we can be to prevent reactivity and focus on crafting a response.
It starts with a simple pause; one single breath. By focusing on the breath we bring our thinking back under control and we regain concentration. With the breath comes our awareness of body. That rising sensation of heat and knotted belly come back to steadiness as our systems relax. As we breath and release that tension we can regain sight into principles of kindness and calmer ways of interacting. Further, we will see exactly what provoked us in the first place. Often times the source isn't the words or the individual directly in front of us. This is why embarrassment or that desire to flee the scene can immediately surface next. Practicing mindfulness allows us to maintain inner calm and ultimately gives us the space to listen more intently. We are enabled to respond more thoughtfully and can become more collaborative and loving with those around us and with ourselves.
Be love. Practice resting into wherever you are.