What Bothers You?
Most folks don’t assume there is anything good about things that bother them.
Think of something that bothers you.
Do you know why it bothers you?
What lesson is that bothersome thing trying to teach you?
I love to go on nature hikes. I take my parrot friend of 29 years with me (Shakespeare is his name). He rides along on my shoulder. I follow a trail that takes us through three miles of woods where I enjoy the tranquility of babbling brooks and small frog ponds.
One day, a week ago, after a tropical storm had passed through, I noticed that something was bothering me. There were several large trees down. They had fallen across the path, which made it difficult to walk the trail, and there were unfamiliar gaps where I could now see the open sky. It was too bright!
I realized that the destruction from the storm was very natural, but it bothered me. Nature had weeded her forest, but the results felt unnatural to me. What was this bothersome experience teaching me?
The entire purpose of creating mental pictures is to make changes in oneself so we can make changes in our world. Yet, I had taken a mental snapshot of my wooded walk, and insisted that it remain the same as years pass by. Of course, nature would have no part of it.
This was a great lesson for me. I was being too rigid. I was being inflexible. I was letting the changes of reality bother me. While pondering this lesson, I realized that new visions are born in my mind when I am willing to stop clinging. I love hungering and thirsting for dynamic changes. In such moments, my desire grows vigorously, and I get to create myself and my world anew. Nature loves to do this, too. YET, I don’t like it if the changes aren’t according to my mental pictures. Wow, I didn’t realize how demanding I can be.
Now, take a moment to look at what bothers you differently.
See that it is beckoning you to see how fluid reality can be.
Notice that if you let what bothers you bother you, you create a painful condition of bothersome boredom. This dreadful condition robs your life of its richness.
There is a way out! There was an elderly woman who sat at a piano tapping endlessly on a single key. She would sit down, day after day, tapping the same key. Everyone in the rest home was bothered by this tap, tap, tapping of the same note. When asked why she did it, she said, “I don’t know why. It bothers me that I continually tap the same piano key. I wish someone would help me to tap another key.”
Student: I wish a great teacher from the past, like Socrates, would come back and teach me. How different I would be.
Teacher: If Socrates asked you to learn from all bothersome feelings you hold about things in your life, would you do it?
Student: Most certainly!
Teacher: Then why don’t you do just that, right now?
Please share your experience of reading this blog. What might you offer to enhance it? What personal experience helps clarify it for you?
Illustrations by nick