Colleague1 (frowning): What's wrong with this?
Colleague2 : Yeah man. Why does it go off without anything happening at all?
Colleague1 (getting irritated): Could someone shut this thing? It is just too irritating.
Even after a few minutes, the alarm did not stop ringing...
Colleague2 (frustrated): Man, let's get out of here. Just can't stay here any longer...
Many of us have faced situations where we get very irritated at small or no incidents at all. We go to a shopping complex and sometimes get bugged seeing hoards of people moving aimlessly or so we think.
When we board a crowded bus with each one narrating his/her story to the other at the top of their voices, we simply cannot take it. We just want get out of that bus as soon as possible. The sounds of so many people, the chaos in the bus is just too much for us to be calm and patient.
Let me give you one more situation. Those of you who have written exams would have experienced the eery silence in the exam hall. This silence can also be shattering and we think 'why is this place so quiet'. Next moment, in this silence if someone starts tapping his foot or clicking his pen, again irritation starts to creep in us.
In all the above situations, if we notice, we are actually not even the subject, i.e. the crowd in the bus is not talking to us or about us, the hundreds of people in the shopping mall are not even bothered about us, the fire alarm is no way related us and we don't even know the student who is tapping his foot in the exam hall.
If that is the case, why do we take them so personally on ourself? Why do we get so irritated?
A simple answer: we are not at peace within ourselves. We are not comfortable with ourselves. There is so much of chaos in us that a small external event is enough to irritate us. We just cannot tolerate anything. For example, the days when you had an argument with your colleague or boss, you are in a terrible mood and in such a scenario even a slight external disturbance is enough to pull the trigger. Isn't it?
Internally there is chaos going on. There is so much inner chaoas and a small trigger can cause it to just spill outside. All that is needed is a small vent in the form of an external disturbance.
Swami Nithyananda quotes an incident from his life:
When I was in
He said, “Swamiji, I have a problem. I don’t sleep well at night because I live in an area where there are plenty of street dogs. Every night they start barking, and keep barking till sunrise. I am already a very light sleeper, and I simply can’t get any rest because of this noise.”
I told him, “Go home and try this tonight. When you hear the barking, just drop the anger, the negative feelings that rise up in you. Just listen to the barking sound without resisting. Tell yourself that the dogs are barking, that’s all. Don’t allow yourself to react. The problem is not the barking, but your resistance to it.”
The man went back tried what Itold him. After a few days he came back to me and reported, “Swamiji, I tried dropping my resistance as you said. Instead of thinking, ‘How dare those stupid dogs spoil my sleep!’ I tried changing my thoughts gradually:
‘The dogs are barking. It is spoiling my sleep.…’
‘The dogs are barking…’
‘Some animals are creating some sounds…’
By the time I came to that sentence, I think I fell asleep. Anyway, I’ve been having excellent sleep all these days. Thank you Swamiji!”It is because of our resistance to the disturbance that it is a disturbance in the first place. As Swamiji says, a disturbance is a disturbance as long as we allow it to be; just tune into the disturbance and it will stop to disturb us.
A large percent of our energy is wasted due to this internal disturbance. Meditation acts as a catalyst to convert that disturbance into peace. When we are at peace with ourselves, we are not bothered by the chaos outside us. If there is a disturbance, it is possible to just tune into it, like the above incident.
Next time you get irritated, just see why it is happening.. is it really external?? Or is it internal?
-- Sri Nithya Arpanananda