Your Triggers are Your Teachers
2 days ago, I got my first test of awareness and equanimity- the concepts I learned and experienced during the Vipassana retreat.
I was thinking that since I meditate regularly now, it is all going to be calm, peaceful, and rosy.
But alas! So naïve of me!
However, one phone call from my parents asking about my plans to “settle down” and “Should we start looking?” became the biggest test of my meditation practice.
Initially, I was failing the test big time!
For the whole 2 hours, I drowned in an emotional spiral of:
“…Look at me in this journey all alone.
Here I am trying to rebuild myself and level up my life and the only thing my parents care is about settling down.
They don’t understand me at all despite my best tries.
I barely have any friends around me to support or talk about things.
I feel so alone and unsupported.
Maybe my parents are right.
I am making a huge mistake. It is getting too late to find a partner. And I have not even started.
I am not going to find anyone even if I try now.
It is too late for me to keep experimenting and figuring out life after turning 30.
It is too late for me to pursue my biggest dream.
It is too late for me to start a new career.
It is too late for me to find love.
Who is even going to love me? I am too self-centered about my growth.
It was the full-blown drama in my head leading to a heavy heart, choked throat, and eyes full of tears.
Until I remembered to focus on my breath.
It was as if the voice of Shree S.N Goenka (the main teacher whose recorded lectures play during the Vipassana retreat) boomed in my head,
“Vyakul ho gaya na? Bhool gaya? Chal saans ko dekh, samvedna ko dekh. Samta ke sath, bina rag jagaye, bina dwesh jagaye. “
(Translation in English: Got overwhelmed with emotions? You forgot? Pay attention to your breath. Watch it. Watch the sensations arising and falling in your body. With equanimity, without forming any attachment, without feeling any aversion.)
No sooner than I did that, it was as if the dam of tears broke.
It was as if all emotions passed right through me without me trying to stop them or getting overwhelmed.
After 5 minutes, I was light and calm, left with the thought of “This too shall pass!”.
It was an aha moment when I thought about it in retrospect.
It helped me experience that your triggers are your teachers.
Every time you have an emotional response to specific circumstances, they become your samskaras.
So, any time, a similar situation arises, you have the same response. Sometimes you try to escape, ignore, or suppress them internally leading to unhealthy patterns.
That phone conversation was a trigger.
I had always hated those conversations in the past. They never lead to a healthy conversation with my parents. They don’t understand, I can’t explain, and it ends up being either an argument or me having an isolated breakdown like the above.
Those memories and aversion towards the conversation were the reason behind my emotional response to the trigger- which was honestly just a one-line question by my mom.
However, when you maintain your awareness and equanimity, you overcome aversion or attachment.
The emotions are no longer good or bad. They just exist for some time and pass away after some time.
In this way, you start to identify your triggers and get free from samskaras.
This leads to a clear mind and pure heart.
Whatever you say or do from that place of purity and clarity leads to much better outcomes.
This is how your triggers become your teachers. They remind you to breathe, stay aware, and maintain equanimity while making your heart and mind free from unhealthy patterns.
After that episode, I learned that it does not have to be like that anymore.
Parents want only my good. It is not like they have a gunpoint on my head. They are ultimately the only people who love me truly without any conditions. They care that’s why they are concerned.
Hopefully, I will remember this and perform better in the test when a similar conversation happens again! 😀
Until next time
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