It is easy to get annoyed, and even angry, at the small things in life.
But it doesn’t serve us.
The great Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield says that when we hold onto anger, only we swallow the poison pill — not the person with whom we are angry or frustrated.
Our minds can naturally think the worst of people and situations. It is how the human brain works until we train it — through meditation courses, affirmations, or other neural hacking techniques.
But we have another option. We can decide to live lightly. We can choose to smile at small things that go wrong and know that we will be happier if we don’t lash out at people throughout the day.
I understand this personally. Two days ago I took an overnight flight, my first overseas trip since before the pandemic. When I landed, a friend asked a favor — a friend of his had his instagram account deleted, and he inquired if I knew anyone at Facebook who could help. I said I had just landed from a trip to Europe, but I would reach out to someone who could possibly help. The following day I had another big journey, ten and a half hours of flights, buses and ferries to get to my destination. First thing in the morning, my friend asked if I had heard any word from my contact. And I felt frustration wash through me. He hadn’t asked how my trip was. He didn’t ask if I had caught up on sleep or how my first day in Europe was — he only asked about the favor.
At first I wanted to berate him. I did send a note explaining how I felt, and how I wished he had opened his awareness to how intense the travel had been and how little I had slept the past two nights.
But then I paused. And I realized how quickly our thoughts can center on ourselves or what we are focused on in a given moment. I opened my own awareness to how hard it is to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes.
And so I forgave my friend. And apologized for what I had written.
I may have been right. But as Dale Carnegie taught us in How to Win Friends and Influence People, it’s better to be smart than right.
I will add that I think it is better to live lightly than to harbor anger in the relationships in your life.
It is a choice. And it is something we can nurture.
Here is a meditation to help you live with forgiveness and lightness.
Read the lines and choose a few that resonate the most for you, and repeat them to yourself, silently in your minds eye, perhaps with a smile if that feels natural and good!
Meditation for Living Lightly
I choose to live lightly.
I choose to forgive.
I choose to smile throughout the day.
I choose to let small things go.
I live with ease and happiness.
I live with joy.
This is my freedom.
And my power.
This is the art of living lightly.
This. Is. Me.