THE SACRAMENT OF IRRITATION

THE SACRAMENT OF IRRITATION

People can be really irritating.

And thus, my mirrors for awakening.

May I most humbly share with you that in my meditation chair I am an enlightened master?

Well, when things are quiet, and the temperature is pleasant, and the circumstances meet my meditation requirements.

Awe, the enlightened state.

And then the neighbor throws multiple items into the recycle bin just outside my bedroom window. And then my husband loudly sneezes or answers his phone or bangs a few pots, pans, dishes.

People can be really irritating.

Okay. I can get really irritated.

That is much more to the point.

Irritation is a form of discomfort and human beings do not like discomfort. While the degree to which we avoid, and resist discomfort may vary the displeasure at it is universal.

Which makes our relationship to irritation and thus discomfort a perfect form of sacrament.

I spent decades of my life trying to rid myself of people and situations that irritated me. What I found was that every time I ridded myself of an irritant qualifier another one immediately took its place. After numerous cycles of this pattern I finally got that the common denominator was me, myself, and I. I was the source of irritation, not the person, place, or thing.

This realization led to an increasingly expansive relationship to things that seem to irritate me. They are each and everyone an opportunity for me to grow and to deepen internally.

Each irritant is an angel here to teach me more about me.

A concentric piece of learning in this regard is that I didn’t get the lesson when I only tried to pretend that I was not annoyed.

I also did not integrate the message when I lashed out at the perceived instigator of irritation. Add to that, that the plausibility of lashing out was increased when I tried to pretend I was not irritated.

As I have slowly and imperfectly developed a more awakened and spacious relationship to the never-ceasing causes of irritation in life I have grown to appreciate the experience of annoyance in terms of what it activates inside of me.

Without falling into total denial, I own at a felt level that while people and situations can be really irritating it is really me that can be simply irritable.

That may not seem to you to be the good news.

For me it is.

I can do very little about most of the external things that I find irritating. I do have an increasing amount of dominion about what happens in my own interior. That dominion is strengthened each time I choose to engage an awakened relationship to the things I think are annoying me. Each time I make that choice is like a repetition at the gym. My responsiveness grows stronger and steadier. I become more steadfast and secure.

So, for me irritants have become sacraments of spiritual practice.

Does that mean they have become comfortable?

No.

And uncomfortable can certainly be valuable.

Most people know that pearls are the direct product of an oyster being irritated.

Awe, a pearl of great price.

So, bring on the clanging recycling and the sneezing and the banging pots and pans. I am ready and open to relate. Each one of those are angels of awakening. The more the annoyance the greater the mastery. Hallelujah, I am aghast!

People can be really irritating.

And I bless and love each and everyone of the ornery little buggers.

Thank you for annoying me into awakening. You are a precious pearl within my heart.