When a situation is lasting and not liked much by our personality, it can be the best possible gift for us.

One such situation for me is my hangup about noise, specifically people who are more noisy than they need to be – in my opinion. It is a silly hangup, and it has changed over time, but it is still there to some extent and in some situations so it continues to be food for exploration.

I first notice it is humbling, in a good way. With such a persistent – and silly – hangup, I cannot easily pretend I am very mature or awakened. I see and feel that I am the same boat as almost everyone else. We all have our persistent hangups, areas where there is less clarity, where we are less healthy and mature.

I am reminded that the world is my mirror, in three ways.

What I see in others – whether they fight with their newspaper on the train or have their own hangups – I can find it here too. I can see it, feel it, even find some appreciation for it. I can find specific examples of how I am doing the same, even if it is in another form and another area of life. I can take it in. Befriend it over time.

The world I experience is my own world of images. It is my own overlay of interpretations and labels on pure perception. It is my own imagined world, essential for functioning in the world yet also entirely mind-made and self-made. I create my own world, and it is also what I am. When I recognize this, in immediacy, it becomes silly to go into a too polarized position. The image of myself is within my own world of images, as is the image of the other, and the interpretations of what is happening. The duality softens and goes out of it.

And when I notice what I am – that which the field of experience happens within and as – I notice just that, it all happens within and as what I am. Perception, this world of images, anything else – it all happens within and as experience, within and as what I am.

I notice that whatever comes up in me are energies. What appears as emotions are (also) energies. And I can notice and appreciate how they bring a sense of being more awake, of clarity, of being energized. I can bring that energy into whatever else I am doing or would like to do in that situation or later.

I notice some things around discomfort. How discomfort is OK as is, there is nothing wrong with it. It even has a function. It helps me notice when I resist experience and attach to a story as true. In terms of biology and evolution, it helps me avoid certain situations that may be harmful to me. (Or not.) I notice that discomfort comes when I resist experience, when I tell myself something is wrong with the experience. And I notice how it all shifts when experience is allowed as it is, with heart. The discomfort and sense of separation/polarity softens and may fall away, sometimes replaced with a sense of home and of a nurturing fullness.

It can all be explored through the sense fields.

When an emotion comes up, I can notice it as just sensation, as just image, and what happens when the image is overlaid on the sensation. When I explore it this way, I notice that the experience is really quite different from how it first appears.

I can notice, as above, my own world of images and how emotions and reactions are created from relationships between my own images of myself, the other, and the meaning of what happens.

What I take myself to be is also an image. An image of a doer, or an observer, overlaid on sensations. And all of that happens within content of experience, just as any other content of experience.

I can find the beliefs behind my reactions and inquire into them. He should be more quiet. He is inconsiderate. When he does that, it means he is inconsiderate. He should be more considerate. Is it true? What happens when I believe that story? Who would I be without it? What are the grain of truth in its turnarounds? How would it be to live from the most juicy turnaround?

I can ask myself, what I am afraid will happen if I don’t hold onto these beliefs? Is it likely to happen? What is more likely to happen?

I can notice the fear behind my reactions and experience. I can bring attention to it and allow it just as it is, with kindness, even if the fear may be at a very low volume. When I don’t notice, identify with, and/or resist the fear, it fuels a whole chain of beliefs and further resistance. When it is noticed and allowed as it is, the whole following chain seems to fall away.

I can find genuine well-wishing for myself and the other, for instance through visualizing (or pray for) clarity, health, well-being for both or all of us. This shifts how I relate to myself and others. The atmosphere changes. There is more of a sense of all of us, of being in the same boat.

I can of course do something, such as remove myself from the situation, or – if it seems appropriate – ask the person to do something different.

This is probably the 500th post here on almost exactly this topic, but I am still fascinated by it and continue to explore it daily in different ways. I am obviously slow in getting it too, but that is OK. It means I get to spend more time with it.



  • humbling
    • lasting hangup
    • great gift….
      • humbling, cannot pretend I am very mature or awakened – see I am in the same boat as almost all others (having silly hangups)
      • get to explore it more thoroughly
      • a gentle, persistent invitation
    • what may find
      • the world is my mirror (what I see is what I am)
        • human level – find the characteristics/dynamics I see in others also here
        • all happens w/in own world of images (the imagined overlay that I use to make sense of pure perception)
        • all happens w/in and as what I am (images + pure perceptions + stories about it all)
      • the reactive emotions are just energy that can be used in different ways (more awake, energized)
      • discomfort is OK, nothing wrong with it + what I am doesn’t change (also, a pointer to a belief)
      • discomfort is feedback, wouldn’t want to be without it (or for others to be w/out it unless they are)
      • all is innocent –
      • fear of letting go of taking the story as true
        • something terrible will happen if I do
        • what do I fear would happen?
        • how likely is it?
        • what is more likely?
        • what are the underlying assumptions?
    • get to explore practices and dynamics
    • pray/visualize for them/myself + all beings
    • clarity, deep joy, gratitude, contentment, freedom from suffering and causes of suffering (beliefs – at odds with reality)

– innocent, natural feedback
– mirror for me, three ways
– humbling, especially when last – cannot pretend I am very mature or awake, am in the same boat as everyone else, in a direct/immediate way
– get to explore it more closely – all mentioned here and more
– use the energy productively (channel, harness)
– prayer, visualization for all of us (well-wishing, appreciation)
– investigate beliefs
— they should …, discomfort is not OK / I should be over this
— fear of letting go of familiar beliefs (fear of something terrible happening, fear of no ground)

– ways to explore/relate to a chronic situation stories tells us is not desirable


Any lasting situation that is not particularly liked by our personality, can be a great gift.

Any lasting hangup or (apparent) problem is a great gift.

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