Meditation & How It Lets You Pause Before Deciding Whether To Explode Or Not
“STOP. PLEASE do not send that email until tomorrow after you’ve slept on it and re-read it twice.”
This was the golden “Go Fuck Yourself Email Rule” that my old business partner and I had with each other. Running a business with an open door policy exposes you to the vast array of human personalities. Running a CrossFit gym exposes you to infinitely more than that.
In our first year of business we had a guy threaten to sue us for removing him from our Facebook page. Yes, sue us. We removed him after he altruistically let our female followers know how excited he was to get sweaty with them. Aw, our first “Sayonara, Senior Douche Nozzle Email.”
Born out of that experience was our rule: if some event happened, especially one that required an email response, we would wait a full 24 hours before hitting send. This one rule saved us countless follow-up apology emails and much turmoil. Responding in the heat of the moment is often not the best way to communicate effectively. Responding immediately after getting a negative stimulus is reacting unconsciously. Rarely the best of choices, or lack there of.
In the above example, you can see how our business lives were made smoother by this simple email policy. Imagine the power of taking that same rule and applying across the board to your entire life. And doing so without effort.
Pause. Breathe. Then Respond.
The “Go Fuck Yourself Email Rule” forces a pause before our reaction. In that “pause” a number of things happen:
- Our emotional life cycle has a chance to complete itself, or at least distance itself from the immediate reactionary phase
- Additional information can be gathered
- Said information can be used and assimilated before a response is ushered
Now imagine you have that same ability to “pause” in your everyday life, just like hitting the button on your remote control. Now imagine that power in your hand any time someone cuts you off in traffic, says an unkind word, or uses their cell phone in a restaurant (for god’s sake!). Imagine having this ability to pause when dealing with your significant other or your children. Sounds like a miracle, doesn’t it?
Put yourself at home on the couch when your significant enters and says something to you that really pisses you off. The thing they know they’re not supposed to say, but twice a year they slip up and say it. That thing. Now imagine taking out your magic remote control and hitting “pause.” Bam! You now can stop, take a deep breath, and analyze the situation.
- Immediately fire back with something equally hurtful?
- Realize maybe your better half had a really bad day and is hurting themselves
- Do nothing and when some time has passed bring the incident up in a way that lets you honor your integrity but not dive down the wormhole of an argument
- Internalize the comment and do damage to your self-esteem
The above analysis happens in a fraction of a second. That fraction allows you to be in control of the counter action as opposed to relying on whatever reaction is currently in your delivery slot. A reaction that is dependent on your own mood, which is most likely dictated by whether you’ve eaten in the last hour and/or how much shit you’ve taken from your boss that day.
Meditation Instills A Pause Into Your Life Naturally
To develop the pause, take both of your hands, reach around your backside, and squeeze your bodacious cheeks. Well, that’s where it’s going to come from, at least. Well, not necessarily from there, but by taking that area and putting it squarely down on your meditation mat or chair.
Meditation?! I know, I know. That shit’s hard as hell. It’s confusing, emotional, and dare I say, boring. Don’t let it be. Your meditation mat, chair, or floor is your training ground. It’s your emotional dojo, your internal CrossFit box, your mental Octagon. Get in there, gloves on, mouthpiece in, and get to work. There should be nothing boring about meditation. It’s a battleground. You versus your ego. It’s God’s country, and the Devil’s trying to take over. Armor up and stand your ground.
Consistent meditation develops this ability to hold the space between stimulus and reaction. But what is more important than the effect of your reaction on whoever is standing in front of you, is the effect of your reaction on yourself. You’re the one who has to live with the consequences of your actions, words, and reactions.
Development of this pause is often the first tangible benefit that newcomers to meditation experience. It’s also one of the most important tools for living a healthy life. Get your butt on the cushion and get to work. Today.
One Day Stronger Action Steps
1. Commit to 10 minutes of meditation for 10 straight days. Find an accountability buddy to do this with. If someone skips a day, they owe the other dinner. An expensive dinner.
2. Begin to notice how quickly you are reacting to negative stimuli. Ask yourself what it would be like to have a second or two to choose to react differently.
3. If you have a difficult conversation coming up or a difficult person (only one?) in your life, hold the intention of pausing before reacting to anything this other person says or does. Going into the conversation, hold a two-count in your head before responding to anything major.