Mindfulness & the Microwave
I was heating my lunch at the microwave shortly after teaching a class on mindfulness. I was hungry, had a million things to do at work and wanted to quickly get on to what was in front of me. I set the microwave timer, hit the start button and waited for my food to get ready. My mind was racing with all the things I needed to do and as a result of my impatience, I stopped the microwave sometime before the timer was set to expire. Much to my surprise, my food wasn’t ready. I set the timer again, hit start and yet I again found myself stopping the timer before it was set to expire.
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After my third attempt at heating my food I realized that this was not the first time I was having this experience with the microwave. The more I thought about this dynamic of “jumping in” due to my own impatience, the more I realized how much of a pattern this can be in my life.
I started to question, how much does my behavior at the microwave reflect a general struggle with letting things run their natural course? Why is it so difficult to sit with my feelings of anxiety, impatience and desire for something so minor like heating my food? Is it really that intolerable?
Where else in my life do I “jump in” and have difficulty letting my life evolve on its own? In what ways do my desires to have things happen “right now” deprive me from an opportunity to sit with discomfort and learn more skillful ways of being with it. Although this is rather small moment in my life and not one that will have significant consequences, it’s an opportunity to work with discomfort no matter how trivial.
Check in with yourself right now. In what ways can you relate to avoiding discomfort by trying to make things different than they really are?
Since coming to this “microwave revelation” I have found myself approaching the microwave with a new mindset. I’m still hungry, impatient and have a million things to do. However, when I connect with my breath and I notice my experience, my urge to rush the process passes. I’m most thankful that I feel calmer and separate from the harried experience I often find myself in, even if only for a minute. Ding…my food is ready!
Mindfulness Meditation, Raleigh NC
Dr. Brad Rappaport is a clinical psychologist working in Raleigh, NC. He uses mindfulness meditation practices to help people develop more skillful ways of working with their anxiety, depression and other difficulties in life.