A flat tire is a tangible annoyance. Homework problems are tangible. Annoying siblings are tangible. Traffic jams, paper jams, spilled juice, and crumbs… all tangible issues. It’s easy to point a blaming finger at the weather, the crabby sales clerk, the strict teacher, computer malfunctions, acne, cuts, bruises, junk food heartburn, catastrophes, stubborn family members, and partners who clearly aren’t listening. These are all tangible problems that can cause… problems.
However, all these tangible things are just stuff that happens. And for some of them, you can mitigate for things that aren’t going your way. Call for help with the tire. Get assistance with understanding how to do the homework. Reason with or take time away from sisters and brothers. We can clean up the spills, wear appropriate outerwear, and choose how we want to interact with others. We can change our eating habits, consult healers for physical problems and improve our communication skills. But all that does not change the fact that the tire ran over a nail or the math concepts can be complex. We don’t command weather and cannot guarantee that others in our world will treat us kindly and politely.
Between the tangible stuff happening and our doing tangible somethings about it, there’s the not so little issue of our unpleasant reactions to unpleasant stuff. And unpleasant reactions can happen very quickly. Negative thoughts, uncomfortable emotions, and unwanted physical sensations… ick, no thank you! Those internal goings on are the slippery things, fast moving and difficult to grasp, describe, and change. And just who is responsible for teaching us how to handle this slippery stuff? How do we get a handle on our slippery thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations so we avoid or at least reduce extreme or prolonged experiences of resentment, depression, annoyance, low self-esteem, disappointment, anxiety, confusion, and the like? Look around. There are plenty of us who have very little or sometimes no clue as to how to internally manage speedy negative thoughts, unpleasant feelings, and uncomfortable physical sensations. In fact, most of us were taught to blame others, the environment, God, chaos, or bad luck. And many of us have the belief that if we could just control others, the environment, and fix what we think are the problems out there that we would feel better, happier, more peaceful.
So… how’s that controlling and fixing thing working for you? Feeling better, happier, more peaceful yet? I’m going to hazard a guess and say it’s not really working so good and the pleasant thoughts, feelings, sensations aren’t happening as much as we’d prefer. Okay, so what’s the answer? How do we EFFECTIVELY handle all this slippery stuff so we can feel better, happier, and experience more peace? Well, that’s the proverbial holy grail, yes? For more on this topic and suggestions for dealing with the slippery stuff, stay tuned for Part 2 which I’ll publish some time next week.