May 24: Day 144
STONE EIGHT CONTINUED
Release: After experiencing all feelings, I release any emotions I deem harmful to my spiritual path.
Instruction: Practice releasing.
Yesterday we considered releasing thoughts, but the same is true for emotions. They come and go, and we can decide which ones we want to release. Sometimes that release isn’t instantaneous, but as we practice recognizing and releasing, we will get better at letting things go. One way to practice releasing is to find little things in our lives that annoy us on a regular basis, acknowledge the feeling, and practice letting go of it. For me, it happens when I am driving. At times, I struggle to hold my temper, because I see the risks that other drivers take, and I want to scream at them. This doesn’t happen all the time, but it has occurred enough to make me want to change how I react. In the past, I have also found drivers to be rude and uncaring. I learned that what I saw in other drivers were also qualities I had when I got behind the wheel of a car. I had to begin by acknowledging my feelings, and after I acknowledged the feelings, I decided which ones I wanted to keep and which ones I wanted to release.
At times, I was angry at drivers who I thought were putting me, other drivers, and themselves at risk. Someone who blatantly ran a red light could cause an accident that could cause serious injuries or even death. That anger didn’t serve me well. It was a real emotion, and I didn’t want to suppress it. I also didn’t want to let it rule my demeanor or ruin my day. I learned (and am still learning) to release the anger by surrounding the driver with loving forgiveness, and after venting the anger properly, and at times, improperly, I prayed for their safety and for the safety of those whose paths they crossed. On my more generous days, I even prayed that whatever was causing them to be reckless would be removed from their life.
There was another aspect of practicing the release from road rage that also helped me. Each time I experienced the frustration, especially to the point of rage, I looked at my own driving practices to determine if I was guilty of doing some of the same things I accused other drivers of doing — if I wasn’t being an “idiot” just like I accused others of being. The answer was more often than not, “yes.” I began trying to be a better driver, and I also determined to be a more defensive driver — looking for possible situations that might trigger my emotions in ways I didn’t want them triggered and avoid them by being prepared for them. I also determined that I would be more courteous of other drivers, and I allowed people to merge when in the past I might have sped up to cut them off. By practicing these techniques when driving, I’m seeing a difference not only when I’m behind the wheel but also in other areas of life. I can release more unwanted emotions and thoughts without repressing them. I know they will probably return, but that’s okay.
Today’s Assignment is to think about what causes you frustration. You might not struggle with the way other people drive like I do, but perhaps you have a different area in your life that causes you frustration. What can you do in order to start releasing that frustration? You might not be able to change those situations, but you can change how you react, think, and feel. This often takes a great deal of effort, but finding and working on these often seemingly insignificant “pet peeves” can bring a greater sense of peace in all areas of your life.
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