I’ve had 2 days of doing my surrender experiment now, and I’m delighted to say that I have managed to ride and play with the intense pull to block the source of irritation so I get to feel better. I didn’t drown out the annoying sound with loud music.
The idea that I no longer have to be a slave to my likes and dislikes is very very exciting.
So on day one the neighbours get up and the floorboards start creaking and banging doors start above me. On this first day I felt both the thrill of anticipation of a breakthrough and also scared at the idea of feeling the discomfort and not doing anything to change it.
So for some camaraderie, I played an audiobook of Michael Singer lecture series in the background giving the instruction and encouragement right through the experience. I was nervous as hell about exposing myself to this immense disturbance.
The irritation, intense annoyance and desire to put loud music on to drown out the noise (as I do 2 or 3 times a day when it happens like Pavlov’s dog) came up. I just sat with it, breathed, surrendered while feeling my desire to control, sat behind the feeling watching it as well as feeling it, while continually metaphorically and actually handing it over. As a sort of offering to some divine invisible sanity out there. An offering of intention to end the nonsense of being a pawn of my dislikes and likes.
Stayed in ‘the quiet centre of the turning world’ (T.S.Eliot). Felt the temptation to move off, and remained. Stayed with the bombardment rushing swirling wooshing.
Did the same thing at the next round of upstairs noise, breathing and sitting steadily in my seat, back straight. Letting the rush of tumultuous feelings and sensations arrive, almost physically felt bombardments.
I want to call it irritation but it’s actually more ambiguous than that, a sense of being clobbered and a hurricane swirling around me saying ‘quick come with me, move away, do something, danger danger’. Energy? Maybe.
The 3rd time was on the second day. This time I happened not to have Michael singer ready to chum me through it so I just stayed with it. Bang bump creaky squeaking entered my space through the ceiling above. I stayed put, breathed steadily, let the disturbing feelings and sensations arise and then handed them over, let them pass through. Again and again, just kept doing that. I was okay, I survived it just fine. Excellent.
The 4th time I did the same, stay with the disturbance, take no action to change reality and let the disturbing feelings be, pass through and leave. I try and see them as energy as he describes, maybe that will come with practise.
I read that there’s no shortage of experiences that will find you and yes, I remembered another that happens several times daily when it happened. A couple of people in this tenement bang their doors loudly. It jars me so much! These aren’t sustained unwanted experiences like the floor creaking and banging that last half an hour at a time, these are short and over.
These ones I don’t actually do anything about, I just get pelted with the disturbing feelings of anger and irritation. And my brain makes the disturbance last long after the bang, and I imagine sending them a letter, or asking them not to do it if I meet them. I’ve resisted those actions thankfully.
So my highly charged irritable disturbing responses to noises from misophonia had made me question if I’ll ever be free of being one of Pavlov’s reactive dogs. Will I ever experience equanimity across the range of all that happens in the turning world.
I hear the door banging, and then they do it again, oh a doubler! Inside the disturbance shoots up and I feel the searing pain of anger and irritation. I stay steady and I hand it over. Breath. It’s gone. Gentle. Gentle with myself, open, still breathing. I survived once again!
It’s a new reflex to develop. I forgot to do it in the park though yesterday, I heard children screaming and automatically didn’t go in that direction. Perhaps on another day I will and enjoy the challenge of not taking aversive action and walk towards the screaming.
So wow, just fucking wow. It’s the first time in my life that I have had more than a wishful hope that I can learn to maintain my balance no matter what is going on. The door is open and I have confidence that it is actually possible. I am experiencing quiet waves exhilaration as this new freedom that beckons.
Let’s see what opportunities come today!