Bright, aware minds do not let anything pass by without running it through a sieve to see what is going to come out of it. ‘I want to do something with this, or I don’t want to do something with this’ is the analytical process that begins immediately. The result of the process is called choice which is your will. If you refuse to go through the process of such analysis, you are not exercising your will. Gregge Tiffen (The Language of a Mystic: Awareness; July, 2009)
Like the hammer, a tool that can be used to repair or to build as well as to injure or to destroy, agitation has both a light side and a dark.
As one who likes to stir things up, I tend to focus on the positive. After all, the agitation of a washing machine moves the water, detergent and clothes around to clean them. And, what social change has ever been gained that didn’t start with political activists agitating others into action?
This week I’ve found myself feeling the dark side of agitation: irritated and restless. Luke might just share that he’s found me a little testy and on edge on those rare occasions when he didn’t respond quickly when called. Some might call it ‘cranky’. You likely know what I mean. Perhaps you even find yourself visiting this mood from time to time.
One of my first thoughts was ‘I shouldn’t be feeling this way.’ Oops! Let’s not make it worse by pronouncing blame and guilt. I was beginning to exercise my will. I don’t like feeling this way. And, I surely don’t like my behavior, but rather than push it aside, I decided to take a peek at what might be at the root of this edition if my agitation. I want to do something with this!
It took only a little reflection to find quite a list of things that I’d treated as either ‘no big deal’ or issues that I have no control over. I’d piled them up with no awareness, ignoring the process of making choices, of exercising my will. I was moving through the day with little awareness, and I’d been doing so for longer than I’d like to admit. I’d allowed worry to replace conscious choice. Agitation had replaced the simple joy of moving through life one sacred moment at a time.
My agitation woke me up to unconscious choices that I’d made not exercising my will. From there I’m able to choose differently and to step back into the joy that is life, moment by moment, choice by choice. To paraphrase Gregge Tiffen: If will is the means by which consciousness exercises itself, be sure that you’re getting enough exercise!