Much of our irritations and anger arise not so much from interruptive events that happen, but the scenarios we imagine to bring about these events. The simple truth is that there will always be things that arise in our lives that are unpleasant and disruptive. Yoga teaches us that while we may not be able to control the actual events in our lives, we can always control our reaction and response to those events: every moment of our lives, we choose how we will respond to life’s events. Underlying these choices, however, are often scenarios or scripts we assume are the underlying cause of the underlying effect. Our mind is constantly searching for answers and will create answers if none can be found.
For example, how many times has someone suddenly crossed in front of us while driving or tailed us driving too fast? This is a common event for most drivers, and we cannot know the reasons behind the other driver’s actions. The problem is not with the actions of the other driver: it is with our thoughts—our assumptions of why this person is driving erratically.
We create scripts and scenarios to deal with events we do not understand. In the case of the erratic driver for example, many of us would assume that the driver is an inconsiderate, reckless driver who is self-absorbed and dis-respective of others. This type of belief might incite anger within us. We have no control over the actions of this person, but we do have control over our reactions and response to this person.
What if we knew that the driver of this car was rushing to the hospital to be with a loved one near death—trying to reach this person to share his or her last moments of life? Would our reactions be the same? If so, what would reactions of irritation or anger on our part with this knowledge say of us? Perhaps it would say that we, not the other driver, are inconsiderate, self-absorbed, and dis-respective of others. How quickly tables turn when perceptions change.
If you are one of these people who is quick to anger and easily irritated by your preconceived notions of why others do the things they do or don’t do, perhaps you could benefit by re-scripting your reactionary thoughts to something more compassionate and in-line with yogic philosophy. When someone does something that rouses anger or irritation, pause and re-script. Create a response of compassion and tolerance by assuming the other has a more acceptable reason behind his or her actions than something disrespectful. We can only know what is in our own minds: let those thoughts be not of anger, but of compassion.
About the Author
Marianne Wells has been studying and teaching yoga around the globe for more than 30 years. Her numerous workshops, Yoga Training Immersion Weekends, and private practice have inspired thousands of honest and dedicated students and instructors both domestically and internationally. Marianne Wells Yoga School is a Yoga Alliance Registered School as well as International Association of Yoga Therapist (IAYT) Registered School. Founder Marianne Wells is Yoga Alliance certified 500 E-RYT and is a member of IAYT.
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