Here’s the scenario.
Year 1: You meet someone you like
Year 2: You still like this person except now you’re slightly irritated by her habit of talking on the phone with her friends, for hours.
Year 3: The phone calls have become seriously annoying, plus you’re getting tired of the same old stories she repeats at dinner parties.
Year 4: You now can’t even look at this person and, with all your endless criticism, she can’t look at you either. The relationship is over.
In four years, you’ve gone from connection to rejection.
This is the scenario laid out by Jeff Warren, a meditation instructor on the app “Calm”.
The lesson Warren is teaching is about reactivity.
Every time we get annoyed, every time we lash out, the build-up grows.
Until one day, we pass the point of no return.
But we can learn to stop the build-up and save the relationship.
With a “muscle” used in meditation called equanimity.
Equanimity is the capacity to stay open and available when things get intense.
This is part of the practice Warren teaches:
Picture a mountain. Then imagine you ARE the mountain.
That’s equanimity – solid yet open, grounded and unmoved.
What we’re trying to do is develop the ability to choose whether or not we want to react – whether it’s actually in our best interest to create more build-up in a situation.
Only YOU can create that freedom.
Finally, Warren leaves us with a parting message from the comic Joan Rivers.
“I wish I could tell you it gets better”
“But it doesn’t get better”
“YOU get better”