My first thought when I find myself in an uncomfortable situation is
How do I get out of this?
When I begin to feel an emotion I don’t want to feel, such things as anger, shame or sadness, my first thought is
How can I ignore this feeling?
Through meditation and yoga, I can see that thoughts, such as these, lead me to patterns of behavior I’ll call “Escape Tendencies.” If I am truly practicing mindfulness in my life, my first course of action is to observe these thoughts and behaviors.
When have I not learned something in facing any situation?
Have I really ever been able to escape a feeling or situation?
The answer is that I have successfully gotten through every circumstance because I am here right now. I have never remained in any emotion permanently. This shift in thinking and perception begins my journey to Trust.
The next step for me is to look at the situation or emotion in a different way. Perhaps I will learn something by leaning into it. Am I here to help someone else? Is there an opportunity here for growth? Maybe, just maybe, this circumstance is part of my Path toward a goal of mine. I know that by continuing on I will be able to help someone else through it, once I am through it. I will have an experience to share.
Regarding my emotions; they aren’t going anywhere, they are, forever, a part of me. If I allow myself to feel anger, and not take any negative actions, I can see the next right thing to do. I can acknowledge that I feel strongly about something and take steps to make it right. In my sadness, I can honor myself by giving myself permission to grieve or show compassion. When I am lonely, I can look for all the ways that I am not alone.
This contemplative approach to life gives me freedom to love myself, trust myself and continue to take steps forward along my Path. Rather than resist, ignore and escape, I am moving toward my greatest good. So now I have a choice:
Do I want to escape or move toward?