Whenever you find yourself getting angry or upset, it may be a sine of a way in which you can heal, grow, or transform. Spending time with your family of origin is one angle you can take to check this out. Or perhaps when your partner or your children trigger you, notice what it might bring up for you. I don’t want to go off on a tangent, but as my wife, Paula, and I have been dealing with death and dying family members, we’ve had many of those moments. When you shift your perspective to seeing each time you are “grabbed” as an opportunity to let go of your stuff, you may be doing your most important work.

We all want to be happy, have love and connection, and feel alive. The good news is that is our natural state. What gets in the way is our stuff (or, perhaps, our samskaras, which get defined as “subtle impressions of our past actions” or “mental impressions, recollections, or psychological imprints”). You know this. It is not really the driver in front of you who is not precisely matching your opinions about optimal speed. It is how the situation or person in front of you bumps up against all of the unresolved issues and experiences you have stored.

These ideas parallel many of the ideas I’ve explored over the years and certainly complement the core teachings in Michael Singer’s Living a Life of Surrender. I’m not sure if you need all eight hours to get the punch line, but he does a great job of showing how we are designed, how we function, and how the spiritual path is really as simple as noticing these reactions and working with them. If you don’t want to get caught in the victim-rescuer-persecutor triangle, when you feel the tension rising, simply relax, breathe, feel what you are feeling, and create some space around the samskara.

This is an experiment worth attempting. If you want a sense of just how powerful it can be to show up in life and pursue what appears, read Singer’s The Surrender Experiment. If you could fit “hypotenuse” smoothly into this little piece, you are cleverer than I. Thus, I leave you with these little poems:

“The Hypotenuse has a square on,
which is equal Pythagoras instructed,
to the sum of the squares on the other two sides
If a triangle is cleverly constructed.”  (Richard Digance, “Sod’s Law”)


Your people will trigger your stuff,
Which can often feel quite rough,
The solution may be to slow your pace,
Relax, witness, and create space.

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