I watch myself being jerked like a puppet by events in my environment that my ego has decided ‘should’ not be happening and that evoke disturbing feelings. And so to avoid feeling uncomfortable, I then take action so that I feel alright again.
That is the core of what I’m dealing with right now.
The reactivity. One in particular is the focus of the battleground. The noises upstairs made by the noisy floorboards when the neighbours walk on them.
I made progress the day before and I allowed the intensity of the irritation to arrive and I just felt the discomfort. I stayed with it. I did not put music on to disguise it, I just leaned back inside while experiencing it fully, like a tornado of disturbing energy swirl through me.
I felt a small victory after it. The determination was strong and helped by Michael Singer’s words from the audiobook I was playing. Like being coached. This was day 2 of renewing my determination to win this battle with my irritation (ego). I was jubilant in a mild way.
Yesterday I saw the ego launch an all out attack on my willingness to withstand the irritated reactivity that comes. I attempted to just be there with the discomfort. I did not put on music to mask the sound, I just listened to Michael Singer again, sort of leaned back inside.
This time I had such a massive kickback though. The irritation level went through the roof, and I even lost the plot completely and started thinking about ways to fix the noises from above, contacting the housing association who owns their flat, contacting them about it, throwing something up to voice the rage I was experiencing. I became overcome by the disturbance and jumped up went up onto the kitchen unit to get closer to the ceiling and the noises to try and do what? I don’t know. Try and get some kind of control I think. I’ve never done that before, it was a step further of objection. I was dangerously within arms length of being able to bang something in anger on the ceiling. I’m glad there wasn’t something to hand. I was like the Maleficent character in sleeping beauty!
What utter insanity. It was even more painful than the normal irritation level. So now I have to up my resolve a LOT, which I suspect is the entire point of the opportunity/exercise. Michael Singer makes the point that if he offered a million dollars to you for you not to get irritated, you would not get irritated. Yes it is a choice.
That choice. Massive choice.
I am spinning on a planet through space and here I am enraged by a few squeaky floorboards. This is symbolic. It is the crux of the battle for my freedom. For as long as I get irritated in reactivity the ego has me in its clutches. I want to be free from that.
It is a full on war here for my very soul it feels. The more I am determined to let the disturbing feelings be, the worse the ego’s resistance and kickback becomes. It is a battle for freedom from what has been controlling me my whole life. Getting annoyed when things are happening around me that I don’t like. I’ve spent my whole life trying to arrange things around me so I feel okay inside.
This is what everyone on this path has to endure at one point or another I think. There is no escaping it. And here I am with an enormous opportunity. They come into the room above at the same time every day, maybe 3 times a day, and each time it’s of relatively short duration, lasting between 10 and 25 minutes at most. So I can be ready and prepared each time.
It’s so interesting that maybe a year ago I had completely overcome this, and had won the war. I went through many days of being with the disturbing feelings of irritation and anger and then those feelings diminished into nothing.
I was afraid at first and used Michael Singer for a while when in the middle of it, then after a week I could do it without his supportive words. I just had the courage by then to experience the disturbed feelings. And then eventually I stopped even noticing them coming into the room above. Or if it registers there was no reaction at all. Like nothing. I thought I was cured, it was bliss. I even told my sister I found the cure to misophonia.
Then somehow, I must have started deciding it was annoying again. And I built that up by repeating it every day, and also by using an antidote. I put on music so that I didn’t hear it. And hoped they would hear the music and so I got to express my anger to them. That is quite enjoyable when irritated, the idea of some revenge. And so those old familiar neural pathways sprung back into action.
So now I’m back at square one. It says in Light on the Path by Mabel Collins ‘The battle must be won again and again’. And I that’s what is happening.
The importance of this battle I am not underestimating.
And every day comes another opportunity to make the choice. How much do I want freedom?
Putting this old post in as a reminder and inspiration from September 2020 from when I succeeded in this battle. “ 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!”