Exercise 9 – Turning around unpleasant circumstances

From our e-book “Filling our Life with Celebration”

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Awareness of the body is a quick and effective way of turning around unpleasant circumstances. As an example, rush hour traffic is part of our lives and most of us hate it. However, we can learn to enjoy the traffic jam if we turn it into an opportunity to relax and calm ourselves before and after work. We can do this by turning on some soothing music or our favourite mantra and begin to focus on our breath and body.

First, we observe the in and out flow of our breath for a few moments and watch it calm down. Then while continuing to be aware of our breath, we shift part of our awareness to our body. We observe the various parts of our body and relax any muscles that are tense. We observe our facial muscles, jaw, neck, shoulder, arms, chest, abdomen etc; there need not be any specific order.

If we sense any part of our body that is tense, we immediately shift our attention to that area and begin to breathe into that area as if we are breathing peace and relaxation into that area. Watch the muscles in that area release and relax. Enjoy this feeling of letting go.

Eventually, we will overcome our habit of being in a rush to arrive at our destination and begin to enjoy the time it takes to arrive at our office or reach home. This is because our attention will shift from the external circumstances as we focus inwards. The actions of others on the road will not irritate us. The mind and body is one. When the body is calm, peaceful thoughts will be triggered. By putting focus on calming the body, we will be able to reduce or prevent unpleasant thoughts from arising in our mind.

We can apply the same technique when we have a disagreement with another person. The beauty of it is that while we are calming ourselves down, the other person would feel listened to and given the opportunity to clarify his own thoughts. Sometimes when another person is given the opportunity to express himself, he will solve his own issues and he does not become defensive. This gives him the opportunity to calm down. He will also feel appreciated and listened to. In this way, the disagreement is prevented from becoming heated.

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