Saturday, August 24, 2013

Checking Myself

Overnight I received a note from a follower via another social media site i inhabit.  The note was written in response to a post I made regarding emotional triggers and physical responses.  If you live your life free of "triggers", consider yourself fortunate.  If you are triggered, there may be a way to minimalize the impact these triggers have over your life.

"When I first started zen meditation I told my teacher that when I kept losing concentration, I would get very very frustrated. So she told me in the middle of that situation on the cushion to ask myself 'who is frustrated.' Or if there was another emotion to ask 'who is (feeling that emotion)'. So I did. And what I found happening is that I would have an emotional reaction, there would be a corresponding change in the body, and then my mind would try to connect it to some memory in my past. So if I felt frustrated, my brain would scan back to a time when I was the most frustrated I have ever been. And I’d replay that memory so quickly that it was almost imperceptible. But then, in response to that memory, my body would have a physical reaction to that memory and I’d have new emotional response based on that physical reaction. All happening so quickly as to be almost unnoticeable. So in essence, if I had a reaction in my body that was similar to a reaction I had in the ultimate frustration, or ultimate disappointment moments of my life, my brain would relive those moments in like a tenth of a second. And so I’d be reacting not to whatever situation was actually happening, but to a memory of a time that was awful. But all subconsciously. So over time, I have almost unknowingly adopted a viewpoint which has me asking 'is this what’s happening? Or is this just what I think is happening?' And that stance born of repeated meditation prevents me from sticking too hard to my thoughts and opinions. Makes the world a little more mysterious. Allows for more possibilities."

Triggers take all forms.  A trigger could be a almost anything, from a word or phrase, to a place.  I even know a person triggered emotionally by thunderstorms.  Sometimes I am triggered by a name.   A simple name, with complicated emotional baggage.

What I realized last night, and confirmed by the above note, is that while never easy, sometimes you have to let go of what triggers you.