Running into Trouble
Sometimes we find ourselves faced with unfortunate conditions–and we don’t like it. It’s possible that we feel that the environment around us brings trouble, or that the people around us cause discomfort. Not only is it difficult to bear, but we often find it difficult to even accept such treatment. We feel it’s unfair.
Considering our behavior throughout our life, we think, “I haven’t done anything horrible enough to deserve this. How could this happen to me? I’m a good person.” It just doesn’t seem to make sense that we should be the bearers of such misfortune.
Or, when we relate to people, we often receive negative feedback–seemingly unprovoked maliciousness. When talking to people about a certain issue, they very quickly become irritated with us and end up giving us seemingly poor treatment. For example, when dealing with the cashiers at stores’ return registers, we often end up getting into arguments. Or when we have conversations with our friends or coworkers, they are easily be agitated by us.
It’s difficult for us to see the reason behind such responses, and often wonder, “What have I done to deserve such treatment? Is there a black cloud floating over my head?”
What are we doing?
Although there’s no cloud over our heads or mischievous shadow following us, it’s possible that we are severely lacking in self-awareness. Because of that, the shadow of vexations follows us.
With a lack of self-awareness, if our behavior is problematic we won’t know it. We won’t notice the way we speak, the way we move, and are surely unaware of the movement of our thoughts and emotions. Although, we sometimes notice that we don’t feel good.
What we don’t notice is that for the most part, our concerns are largely focused on ourselves. We are self-centered and our motivations derive from pleasing ourselves or avoiding discomfort. Because of this, we unknowingly disregard others. We don’t think of others’ benefit, and we don’t notice how our behavior may irritate others.
When our self-centered thought patterns are the main force in our life, and when we encounter something adverse to our desires, our emotions will erupt. We will become agitated when encountering obstacles. This agitation then manifests in all our actions of thought, speech, and movement, making us and the people around us suffer. After all, who enjoys dealing with the picky customer who always complains and makes special requests at the register? If we are that customer, we may not notice ourselves that our pickyness is a source of suffering–it’s very hard for us to feel satisfied. There’s always something wrong.
Embracing our Situation
After many years of acting out self-centeredness, we become well-trained. We become conditioned to respond very quickly in a manner to protect our interests and seek to quickly fulfill our desires. Our very appearance emits this kind of attitude, and people sense it.
Is it any wonder that we receive negative feedback from others? If we are very picky and not easily satisfied, is it any wonder that our perception of the world is that others are out to give us trouble? Nothing is good enough for us, no response from others is pleasing enough, so then it seems that others responses are unpleasant. Externally and internally, we bear a burden of uncomfortable situations.
This is our lot.
It’s useless to fight or complain. The only thing we can do is accept it. We accept that people may be irritated with us, and that we often irritate ourselves. We accept that it’s our own behavior that has led to this current situation. Whether we are aware of it or not, our own deeds have led to the current situations we face. Like sending out a message, we’ll receive a response eventually. Even if we don’t see the response, we’ve gotten one. Our actions have their results.
Part of Life Practice is to develop self-awareness: the ability to directly know the condition of our body and mind. We cultivate a clear knowing of our physical state, feelings, thoughts, and intentions. We may even come to know the powerful motivating energy behind our habits; we can sense the push to act in a certain way. Developing this self-awareness, we then come to know the causes of our troubles.
Once we see the causes clearly, we see how our current condition is related closely to our past actions. We become more accepting of our lot, and we see the need to change our troublesome behavior. We make use of tools to improve the stability and clarity of our mind, and improve the condition of our lifestyle.
Life Practice provides these tools, including sitting meditation, journaling, daily life mindfulness techniques, and one-to-one mentoring.
With the proper adjustments, we’ll be able to transform our self-centered habits into more altruistic ones. We’ll find that we become more compassionate and considerate for others, and our interactions become more friendly, peaceful, and enjoyable. Instead of creating an atmosphere of irritability, we give others a sense of peace and joy. As our self-centeredness decreases, we experience greater satisfaction and ease with our life direction and current situation.