Friday, September 05, 2014

One fish One hook

This is the tale of two partners. Partner A is anxious and while A finds completing a certain task too anxiety-provoking to do, is also anxious that it be done, so reminds Partner B multiple times that it needs doing, and offers to bring materials to B so B can do the task.  Partner A grows anxious and increasingly insistent. 

Partner B on the other hand is psychologically resistant to being pushed to do the task, which is scheduled for later in the day and grows increasingly aggravated at being interrupted while working on another task. 

In the end, Partner B stops work on the task in progress and does the task Partner A is anxious about, but a few cross words ensure between the two of them. Shenpa at work.  

Partner A comments; Anxious Buddha; Grumpy Buddha    

In Buddhism shenpa is the word used to describe the physical or emotional hook that triggers our habitual tendency to close down, strike out, worry or nag. We get hooked into that habitual pattern we use to gain relief from that anxiety.

Our goal is to begin to recognizing that moment when shenpa kicks in and learn to relax, rather than react to it.

We can train ourselves to spot shenpa. For example, when we say something to another person and the expression on their face, or their response, triggers shenpa, and we feel that tensing in the gut, that feeling of resistance. Rather than get caught up in a story line about how right or wrong we (or they) are, we stop and pay attention to our response/ anxiety/ anger itself. We notice that while our response may be somewhat uncomfortable, it actually poses no threat. It is simply an emotional response which triggers physical symptoms which are not harmful. They do not require that you act upon them, and if you observe them dispassionately, they soon subside. 

Oh, and it helps to remember there are no right or wrong in trivial domestic disputes, and we are almost always more comfortable when we choose peace over power.  

1 comment:

oklhdan said...

Very thought provoking!