One time when, as a couple, we were disagreeing and getting heated with each other, a wise friend said, “Can’t you just laugh?” This had the immediate effect of reminding us that the ego loves to be right and easily over-reacts and clings. By remembering to laugh we not only see the ego at play and defeat it at its own game, but it also enables us to not take ourselves too seriously. In that way we don’t react to the accompanying emotions and move on much more quickly.
When emotions are running high and you’re trying to stay calm then it’s easy to say, “Just let go.” Especially to let go of anything that is causing disturbance or grievance. Letting go implies not reacting to a situation or holding on to feelings, which means taking a deep breath with awareness.
However, once some incident, challenging situation, or disharmony makes us want to let go, then it’s already been picked up and is affecting us. Letting go doesn’t always work: we can still feel the anger, frustration, hurt, or whatever emotion is attached to the situation. Fear and anger appear to be the main culprits here, and as much as we want to let go we often end up holding tight to the very thing that is causing pain. The ego is like a dog with a bone.
So rather than letting go we prefer to say, “Don’t even pick it up!” or “Don’t take it on!” This allows us to stay mindful and objective, to observe and witness the situation without ego getting the better of our feelings. We are mindful of what is happening without making it “our” story. Even if someone is screaming angrily, it’s important to remember that we only lash out and hurt another when we ourselves are in pain, so that person must be hurting emotionally. We don’t need to pick up that pain; we can let it stay where it came from.
Through mindfulness and meditation we see what is happening, the issues and feelings that are in play, and what emotion belongs where. We stay aware and non-reactive. So now our real guru is Lord Teflon, as nothing sticks to Teflon!
Award-Winning Authors Ed and Deb of Be The Change, How Meditation can Transform You and the World, are mindfulness, meditation and yoga experts. Deb’s new novel is: Merging: Women in Love — what happens when you fall in love with the least likely person of the least likely gender? – and she is the author of Your Body Speaks Your Mind, now in 19 languages. They have three meditation CDs. See more at EdandDebShapiro.com