How Did I Lose My Annoyances?
To feel annoyed is a choice. I just choose not to, nowadays, and peace and contentment arise ... aaah!
What really annoys me is but a shrunken violet from the once-flourishing garden of weeds I used to tend.
You see, the list of things I used to be really annoyed about went on and on, like a pub singer who doesn’t know he can’t sing. Like the hydra, I’d kill one regret or annoyance and another two would spring up, taunting my angered mind.
Then something happened. It wasn’t sudden. It crept up like moss growing behind the bathroom taps; I suddenly looked and it was there – had long been there – and I’d smile for this was not moss but was space. One might call it peace. Or contentment.
It was like looking out to sea where the ocean melds into the sky and all is one. Then clouds come over and the horizon suddenly appears, as if by magic. There were moments when nothing annoyed me; whole empty moments that were clearly distinguishable from the other non-space moments. A horizon arose.
One cannot put it down to age as contentment comes not upon all old people. Perhaps it’s the batterings from life but there’s many a battered veteran of life whose become embittered, annoyed, not content. Perhaps it’s the many, varied spiritual practises I’ve indulged in – reading, listening, meditating, forgiving, workshopping – but many’s the “spiritual” being who still bears as many the scars and grudges as he once had.
I’ve had everything broken – bones, heart, confidences, bank accounts, businesses, promises, beliefs – just like everyone else.
So, perhaps it’s in my genes, that it was destiny, and I was one of the lucky ones who learned to let go … or one of the lazy ones who couldn’t be arsed dragging his past along behind him.
Then maybe it’s not the one thing that happened to me, happened by me, but a thousand tiny steps that had me ending up where I couldn’t imagine being, couldn’t imagine existing.
To misquote the Zen Buddhists, “Before enlightenment, having annoyances. After enlightenment, having annoyances … but not being annoyed by them.” Things don’t stop happening but we do. We choose, among the hundred annoyances on any given day, which ones we will react to. We choose. We realise we can choose and, sometimes, we forget and that old hair-trigger is back. But it’s soon gone.
We’re sitting on a park bench, watching the runners and walkers passing by. Time was when my certain mind, knowing everything, followed everyone, commenting about their weight, gait and fate. Judgement, judgement, judgement. But I now sit on that old park bench with the full certainty that I know nothing and I need know nothing. The world passes by, gets annoyed at itself and I smile … most of the time.
Laziness and/or contentment kick in and they’re gone. Another moment of peace. Contentment.
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