when we are played with by our own emotions

Earlier this week I hopped on a bus in London.

As I found my seat, the bus pulled away and I noticed a taxi slowing next to the bus, as the gap ahead was too narrow.  He slotted in behind, but merely for a few moments, before accelerating alongside the bus.

There was an exchange of views through open windows. Thankfully mostly inaudible, but clearly both had a perspective on what had just occurred.  They drove together sharing their perspectives for a few moments before the taxi veered off.

The bus driver audibly muttered ‘stupid’, thumped his wheel twice and clearly, as he repeated the word at least five times over the next three or four minutes, his attention was directed inwardly to whatever emotions he was feeling after the exchange.  Certainly some anger, maybe some frustration, possibly some hurt?  Who knows?  Maybe not even the driver.

I reflected for a moment on the safety of his passengers, as evidently his mind was not fully on the busy London traffic.

There is a drought of compassion in our world, and a deluge of blame.

I wished for my bus driver to be able to step outside his emotion and notice what was happening for him.

His emotions and doubtless those of his fellow combatant, the taxi driver, trapped them in their blaming world.

Stepping into what he was feeling, and why, might allow him space to contemplate what the taxi driver might also be feeling; from that awareness comes the capacity for compassion, for self and for others.

Sometimes we are merely toys, played with by our own humanity.

meta to the meta

image

Meta tags appear on web pages. They aren’t visible to the reader, they contain data describing the page. Data on the data, if you will. ‘Meta’ can also be described as a concept which is itself an abstraction from another concept.

Going ‘meta’ to a situation can also be a self referential place; stepping outside of oneself to observe oneself.

An example might be to ask “What do I think about my thinking?” Or perhaps to explore, “How do you reflect on those reflections about that?”

Sometimes, creating a different physical perspective can help still further. Try this out…

Sit and think about a problem or issue you are currently grappling with. Notice what you’re thinking and feeling as you explore this difficulty.

Now, get up and stand across the room, looking at the original chair or place you were just in. Here you are no longer thinking about the original problem, instead you are considering the thinking about the problem.

Ask yourself “What do I notice about that thinking?”  Ask yourself “What do I think and feel about that thinking and what do I hear in that thinking?”

Notice what comes to mind. Perhaps you think the thinking was a little negative or judgemental? Maybe you notice uncertainty or confusion? Maybe you notice more than one perspective in the thinking – like an internal dialogue? Notice whatever comes to mind?

Now, stand in a third place; another part of the room, still further from the original chair. This time look at the place where you were standing a few moments ago; the second, reflective place. From this new third place, ask yourself “what do I notice, what do I think, how do I feel about that thinking in that place?” The thinking about the thinking, if you will.

Here you may find new insights. New meaning. New significance. New awareness on the original issue… as you go meta to the meta.