"A revelation of insight into the foundations of human suffering & transcendence. It not only lays out essential steps for inner freedom and joy but illuminates the way to true human potential." Paul Rademacher, author: A Spiritual Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe

"The masterwork of a profoundly gifted healer of the soul. Dazzling, challenging, wondrously useful." Peggy Rubin, author: To Be and How To Be, Transforming Your Life Through Sacred Theatre

"Rewiring the Soul is one the best introductions to the spiritual life I've ever read. Not esoteric but real-world and practical. The implications are profound." Peter Shepherd, author: Daring To Be Yourself

Friday, June 15, 2012

Irritation Is Illuminating

Do this exercise quickly: make a list of habits and character traits of others that most annoy you. Even perhaps some others with whom you haven't got a particular relationship, but when that kind of person shows up at the office, in the neighbourhood, or at a dinner party, you can feel your annoyance engorging, your hackles rise, your irritation increases, and in general, you just know that you very much dislike having a person like that around you.

Perhaps some of the habits and traits you dislike look like this (and of course there are hundreds more):
  • being weak and helpless
  • always being helpful
  • never helping
  • always being gay and joyous
  • always being pessimistic
  • knowing more than others
  • knowing very little
  • being domineering
  • being loud
  • being quiet
  • being subservient
  • being harsh
  • being abrupt
  • being overly explanatory
  • complaining
  • self-involved
  • impatient
Now here's the thing: any behavior or attitude or trait or habit of another that evokes affect (emotion) in me, tells me something about me, and not about the other. That is to say: the other may be any of the above things (or other, far worse things), but the point of this little exercise is to make you see that as soon as an emotion of annoyance, irritation, etc., arises within you, it is telling you something about you, as opposed to proving that the other is a this or a that. If you were not involved in this, none of your emotions would surface. The whole thing simply would not matter to you. The fact that your emotions do surface, means it does matter to you because there is something in you that is affected by this behavior of the other, that you need to take a look at. Because the inner place in which you wish to be is a place where the behavior of others does not have the power to affect you in this way. Not because you do not care, but because you are in a place of inner awareness and balance. Therefore, it means that when these emotions arise, they should be taken as indications of something in me that I need to look at, and hence, they can be illuminating and helpful to my own growth. Jung put it like this: Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.

What is irritating you about another person today? And what do you intend to do about it?

For much more information about dealing with your irritations, challenges, thoughts, choice, freedom and living a conscious life, have a look at my book Rewiring the Soul: Finding the Possible Self, available at Amazon as paperback or e-book for Kindle.

Click here to download the first chapter.

An Early Review (From Amazon):

"The masterwork of a profoundly gifted healer of the soul. Dazzling, challenging, wondrously useful." Peggy Rubin, Director, Center for Sacred Theatre, Ashland, Oregon; author: To Be and How To Be, Transforming Your Life Through Sacred Theatre

Excerpt from an Interview:

Who is the book written for? Rewiring the Soul is written for anybody who suffers and I guess that means just about all of us! It is written for anybody who has not yet experienced enduring happiness and inner well-being; anybody who is reaching for inner peace; anybody whose life is not as they would wish it to be.

What can a reader expect to gain by reading this book? What makes it different from most other transformational or self-help books out there? So many wonderful teachers tell us about working on our spiritual selves. So many other wonderful teachers show us how to work on our psycho-emotional selves. But very few actually integrate the two. And Rewiring the Soul is my response to that challenge. Rewiring the Soul brings together the need to take your daily life in hand with the need to put your spiritual life in order as well. By daily life I mean your personal life, your professional life, the way you do or do not love yourself and all that such an attitude entails: conscious awareness, healthy boundaries, meaning in your life, recognizing you always have a choice, and taking responsibility for all your choices, etc., and by spiritual life I mean the inner connection to your eternal self.

If you have learned how to meditate, or do yoga, or whatever it is that you do, have you also learned how to observe yourself in the middle of an argument with your rebellious teenage son or your angry partner and hence choose to react differently because you have learned to love yourself enough to do so? If you have learned how to communicate more effectively with your children, spouse, friends, colleagues or employees, have you also learned how to be mindful and connect to yourself in meaningful ways to achieve that spiritual balance in your life?

While Rewiring the Soul is about so much more than that, those previous examples give an idea of what my book is about and how it does so in such a way that our psychological and spiritual selves nurture each other.

In a nutshell: neither the spiritual nor the psychological or emotional dimensions of your life will work if you neglect:
  • your inner connection to the eternal self while you seek happiness in the outer world
  • your happiness in the outer world while you seek the connection to the inner eternal self

It was Goethe who said "If everyone will sweep in front of their own door, soon the entire world will be clean". In Rewiring the Soul 'sweeping in front of your own door' means bringing yourself to the utmost point of inner and outer growth, creating progress in body, mind, and soul. This literally means that you have already begun to change the world because of how you are changing yourself.

Are there many exercises in the book? Not at all. This book does not mean hard work, or spending a lot of time doing specific things. It simply means that as you read - if you so desire - you begin to incorporate small changes into your daily life. And so it begins. And the quality of your life changes...

How did you come to write this book? For years the essential content of Rewiring the Soul was like a small, recurring voice in my head; it was always there, and simply would not leave me alone. I had dozens of excuses for not writing it: I was working on my Ph.D. in psychology, I was teaching at a state university, I had three sons, later I was occupied with moving back to Spain, I was setting up my private practice, I had a monthly newsletter to write in English and Spanish, I had a weekly one-hour radio show to broadcast, I had a daily blog post to write, I facilitated numerous workshops and gave frequent speeches, and apart from all of this busy activity and work, sometimes I even had a life. In short, I told myself the book would simply have to wait. But just as a splinter under your skin eventually needs to be seen to, I ultimately realized that the only way I was going to be able to honor the more and more loudly clamoring voice in my head - and heart - was to sit down and write the book.

And you know, that goes to meaning. We all need meaning in our lives, and although I had many things that gave much significance to my life already, the inner urging and excitement I felt each time I thought about Rewiring the Soul compelled me to write the book. Rumi puts it beautifully: "When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy".

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