This morning in a meeting I reacted in an uncharacteristic way. I’ve noticed myself doing that a few times in meetings when I feel frustrated about a lack of ability to contribute or make a difference in something, when I know I could provide some help but am basically prevented in doing such by a lack of time to devote to it. I find that really frustrating.
Then I got back to my email and got an email from DailyOM, a site which sends thoughts to consider daily, on a number of areas. Today’s topic was “irritation”.
I thought, “hey, how timely!”
But then I read the email and it’s all about how one should not react to irritation but take it as an opportunity to grow as a person by essentially noticing it and not reacting. It talked about “remaining centered and awake even when uncomfortable”. Which, okay, fine, that’s a good thing, sure. But it’s so NOT the real point, I think. Is that really growth? I sure don’t think so.
I use irritation like a sign on the highway. I notice I’m feeling irritated, it sweeps past me, and I say “hey, what the hell was that?” Why did I react to that? What was underneath that emotion? Why did this particular thing evoke in me this uncharacteristic reaction? Are there some actions I need to take that I’m not taking, that would bring myself into truer alignment with my beliefs?
This to me is I think the real path to enlightenment when it comes to being irritated. Not just “remaining centered and awake”. I treat “being moved” in the same manner. If I’m watching a movie, and I feel moved, and I don’t understand why, it creates an opportunity for reflection and analysis. (Unless I’m watching a movie on a plane, in which case I get moved by every. frickin. little. thing. Crazy!)
Anyway. So now I’m thinking about why I got irritated today. But I think I know why. The question is: what to do about it? Enlightenment is a wonderful thing, but it’s basically a useless exercise unless there’s some action. Right?