Irritation follows us like a shadow throughout the day. Often we do not even know it is there, but it finds its way into our work, our relationships, our commute, our responsibilities and even our free time.
A critical component of meditation is learning how to relate to irritation.
Do you try to get away?
Switch your posture?
Shift your focus?
Reach for your phone?
Check your email?
Turn on the television?
Turn on some music? Change the station?
Do you recognize it as being impermanent?
Do you take the opportunity to practice patience?
Or do you let it fester, growing into agitation and anger?
When you experience irritation, does it overwhelm you?
Irritation is a subtle level of aversion. We don't really like what is playing out in our experience, it could be coming from outside of us or it could be in our own heads. The result is a state of discontentment that we wish to avoid.
And this is a universal human experience.
It is why we like to be entertained, why we like to eat good food and why we like to build things and do things.
We all want to avoid the suffering and discontentment of irritation. We all long for an inner peace and fullness, contentment and happiness.
So how we relate to irritation is important, because we can either run away, let it grow into a monster, or we can use that irritation for growth and spiritual development. We can learn to hijack our adversity and our problems, to use them as catalysts for change.
And we can start right now, right on our meditation seat.