At a restaurant, a cockroach suddenly flew from somewhere and sat on a lady.
She started screaming out of fear.
With a panic stricken face and trembling voice, she started jumping, with both her hands desperately trying to get rid of the cockroach.
Her reaction was contagious, as everyone in her group also got panicky.
The lady finally managed to push the cockroach away but …it landed on another lady in the group.
Now, it was the turn of the other lady in the group to continue the drama.
The waiter rushed forward to their rescue.
In the relay of throwing, the cockroach next fell upon the waiter.
The waiter stood firm, composed himself and observed the behavior of the cockroach on his shirt.
When he was confident enough, he grabbed it with his fingers and threw it out of the restaurant.
Sipping my coffee and watching the amusement, the antenna of my mind picked up a few thoughts and started wondering, was the cockroach responsible for their histrionic behavior?
If so, then why was the waiter not disturbed?
He handled it near to perfection, without any chaos.
It is not the cockroach, but the inability of those people to handle the disturbance caused by the cockroach, that disturbed the ladies.
I realized that, it is not the shouting of my father or my boss or my wife that disturbs me, but it’s my inability to handle the disturbances caused by their shouting that disturbs me.
It’s not the traffic jams on the road that disturbs me, but my inability to handle the disturbance caused by the traffic jam that disturbs me.
More than the problem, it’s my reaction to the problem that creates chaos in my life.
What I have learned in my own spiritual journey is that most of our suffering comes from our attachments. Attachments to expectations of the way we think things should go. Attachments to how we think people should behave. Attachments to the things we think we deserve or desire. When you really truly understand this and embrace a life of mindfulness and equanimity, these attachments simply disappear. And when you can finally achieve that life perspective, you truly arrive at a place of zen and inner harmony. And as a result, the stress and anxiety you typically feel on a daily basis will slowly start to diminish.
My advice to you, if this is something you want to pursue, is to try to give yourself some distance between when a situation arises and the time it normally takes you to react to that stimulus. Once you start to see that you indeed have a choice, that your natural impulses don’t necessarily have to always win, you will see that you indeed have the power to decide how you will react in every situation. After some time, you will learn to silence that inner voice that perhaps would have caused you to react in anger, frustration or disappointment in the past. Always try and remember that it’s the space between stimulus and reaction where you indeed have control.
This type of knowledge that you do indeed have power over your thoughts is also strengthened by the practices of yoga and meditation where you learn to accept your thoughts but not act on them or pass judgment on them. It’s all part of the process of taking control of your own narrative and, as a result, you will arrive at a place where you can exercise control over your reactions to things that happen all around you every minute of every day.