Every now and then, we get ourselves into a state that it’s hard to snap out of.
Maybe someone insults us, or takes us for granted.
Maybe we feel outraged by an item on the TV news, or by someone’s discourteous driving.
Perhaps we are worried about a loved one, or fearful about the increasingly weird state of the world.
It doesn’t really matter what it is. Life is filled with a multitude of annoyances and worries that can send us over the edge.
I have a little practice that I like to pull out at such times, to lift me out of my emotional funk, and to remind me of who I really am, and of what really matters.
I simply say to myself:
“Let reality govern my every thought, and truth be the master of my life.”
This phrase immediately takes me beyond whatever self-centred state I have descended into. Its power lies in lifting the consciousness from an emotional level to the mental level.
From the mental level:
- I control my emotions with a higher faculty.
- Mental clarity replaces emotional anarchy.
- From this higher standpoint, I instantly see things in a new light, and better options become available.
- I gain a degree of dispassion and detachment from the circumstances.
This allows my values to kick in:
- I am able to focus on the spiritual reality and the good of the whole – not the self-interested reality of the little self.
- An automatic emotional reaction is replaced by the conscious choice of my thoughts, speech and actions.
- I become concerned with mastering myself, and not the behaviour of others, which is entirely out of my control.
The practice takes a certain amount of self-awareness, as we have to pull ourselves out of the emotional state long enough to recognise that we are in one.
But that little moment of recognition is priceless, as it is pregnant with potential, for you and those around you.
You know those perennial arguments with significant others, that just won’t bloody go away? This little pause to regroup and to consciously choose a response can shatter the tired old patterns we habitually trot out.
I was amazed at the shift this created in my relationships. I could literally see the look of confusion on my significant other’s face when I eschewed my default reaction of 20 years’ standing, and responded without the usual emotional meltdown.
My composure evoked an equally fresh response from my somewhat bewildered SO. Together, we were enabled to move on from the dysfunctional rubbish of the past.
And we lived happily ever after…
Well, maybe that’s a bit premature! That’s the thing with this practice: it takes practice. It’s on-going, but transformative, work.
This practice also brings meaning into life’s challenging situations, in many ways:
- We gain an awareness of our triggers.
- We create a space, where we can look more deeply at events and try to understand the energies that are at play in creating the situation.
- We gain an appreciation for the bigger picture, which takes us out of ourselves and our neediness, and allows us to meet the need of the circumstances.
- We learn about cause and effect, and can take karmic implications into consideration.
- We get a chance to uplift someone through our own self-control, and a measured, thoughtful response.
This last point should not be underestimated. Emotional energy is contagious, and mindless reactivity can escalate a situation into an ugly emotional free-for-all.
Letting rip may relieve some pressure that feels good in the moment, but in the long term, it’s getting a grip that has life-changing results.
So give this practice a try. Next time you feel an emotional upset coming on, say to yourself inwardly, “Let reality govern my every thought, and truth be the master of my life,” and notice the reorientation to a higher place.
Your loved ones, friends and colleagues will thank you for it, for your non-reactivity is a gift. It only takes you to start it, but the knock-on effects will be tremendous and wide-ranging.
And you’ll be well on the road to the inner peace that self-mastery confers.
Let me know how you get on!