‘Deciding’ to plant flowers in the garden rather than weeds is one thing, but actually planting the flowers is a whole different story.
Driving to the supermarket on a Sunday to buy almond milk for my morning coffee (yes, I’m talking about cities, which offer almond milk on Sundays), being in a hurry as I feel my coffee deprivation arising (yes again, i´m a yogini drinking coffee), I generally have elder women with hats in cars in my way—they love me on these Sunday mornings, like mosquitos swarming around a light.
Not becoming impatient, or thinking, or even mumbling some not-so-nice words was a big challenge for me for a long time. To be very honest, it took me ages until I was capable of planting flowers rather than weeds in these kinds of situations.
In order to plant a flower in my garden, I first had to understand that I needed to create space between myself and the ‘negative’ emotion (in this case, the feeling of impatience).
Impatience is not hardwired in your DNA, but is merely a feeling that you experience. Therefore, by understanding that impatience is not a part of you, you can consciously tell yourself to remove it without having the feeling that you are missing something.
Impatience, like every other feeling, comes and goes. There is nothing you need to do with the emotion, such as throw it away. You simply let it pass without either accepting or rejecting it. Understanding that it is impermanent will set you free, and turn you from the slave into the master.
Objects in the outer world (in this case, the elder woman) are coloured by the glasses that you are wearing. The woman is maybe driving 20km/h under the speed limit, but it is only your mindset which creates the feeling of impatience.
Nothing happens only ‘to you.’ It´s the relation you make to the object that creates your sensation (similar to the example above).
The context shapes the relation itself. If you are having a relaxed day, enjoying good music and the hot sun, then your relation to the slow driver would be quite different than if you were in a rush to get to the shops to buy the almond milk for your morning coffee fix.
In fact, it´s not the woman driving slowly in front of you—but rather you and the context you created yourself who are in a hurry to satisfy your caffeine urges.
So what can you do to change these patterns of behaviour that are conditioned in your mind? How can you create this ‘distance’ that I mentioned earlier?
My trick here—and this actually works in every situation—is to use something that you always have with you, and is one that you can always use wherever and whenever it´s necessary.
Maybe it´s singing your favourite song, reciting a rhyme, counting your breath, thinking of a special situation with your secret lover, reciting your favourite recipe from your grandmother or turning your ring a certain amount of times etc.
What’s important is that you choose something that you don´t do in your everyday life. This means that it can’t be smoking, biting your nails, playing with your mobile phone, chewing gum etc.
Once you have decided what it will be, you have to specify the ‘ritual.’ Don´t turn the ring 20 times once and 50 times the next time. Don´t sing different songs and don´t think about all the other secret lovers. You have to pick one ritual and stick to it.
Be consistent with yourself here. Don´t lie to yourself. Use your tool every time you find yourself in the situation where you start planting weeds again. The first few times you try, it may not work, but the more often you practice it and it becomes your personal ritual, the easier it will become. By doing this, you are training the synapses in your brain to find new paths.
And last but not least: stick to this ritual.
Be stubborn. Keep on going. Be the master of your emotions, not the slave.
That`s one of many little tricks you can do to create distance to the negative feelings that take over you. This small distance gives you time to become aware about your thoughts and feelings, words and actions, and react to them from another perspective.
You leave your little egocentric world behind and automatically open up your view to other things and people around you. How happy I was buying my almond milk the last time, without planting weeds.
My own personal ritual will remain secret. Find your own and have fun with it.
Like I’m not “Spiritual” I just practice being a good person on Facebook.
Ed: Dana Gornall