Meditation — Reframing stressful situations
Our emotions are built on exaggerating the actual degree of others'
goodness or badness. To overcome this, think of situations when you
flew off the handle, got angry, or suffered in silence—each of us has
different ways of reacting—and reflect that the person with whom you
had difficulties also wants happiness and doesn't want suffering. This
type of reflection can open up all sorts of other possible ways of
reacting to problem situations.
In meditation, search your childhood for painful memories
and re-enter the scene. Then imagine yourself having
the presence of mind to think, "Just as I want happiness
and don't want suffering, so Priscilla (or whoever) wants
happiness and doesn't want suffering."
Think of a few more recent problem situations. Maybe
you feel, "Ten years have passed, but I'd do the same
thing today as I did then. It was such a difficult situation
I'd still fly off the handle today." That would mean
that you hadn't learned anything in ten years.
practice of equanimity is one way to learn a new perspective and to
cause those earlier difficult situations to cease having such a huge
influence. Try this new tack. It might not succeed right away, but
at least the possibility of doing something different enters the scenario.
At that point, the situation's hold on you diminishes.
If you familiarize yourself for a considerable period with these
meditations that use horrific situations in order to increase equanimity,
gradually your sense of equanimity, an even-mindedness, will extend
to anyone who appears.