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„Thank you for triggering me, my love. I just get my notes.“

„Thank you for triggering me, my love. I just get my notes.“

Tuesday, 01.03.2022 By Idan Meir

This sentence was a joke for a while in our family. Still, it turned out to be an effec­tive practice for an awakened relation­ship. At some point, triggers were no longer a threat but a way to grow together and mature.

We all noticed that the people we love the most provoke us best. And our best triggers are our best teach­ers. Triggers might be minor when living alone in a remote cave, with another human being and maybe a few little ones, triggers are a matter of daily routine.

Triggers are good for you.

At the begin­ning of our relation­ship, my wife complained that I was trigger­ing her. At that time, I felt terri­ble and tried to walk better on the eggs and be more sensi­tive. Today, we both under­stand that triggers are no longer just annoy­ing things to overcome but point­ers to our state of aware­ness. Recog­nis­ing this turns triggers into a tool for staying alert, aware, and diving deeper into presence.

People are triggering

Realis­ing that people are not here to make us happy is already a big step towards mature relation­ships and, in a way, a relief. The first step into healthy relation­ships is to let go of the dream of the perfect partner who will make us whole and happy.

This roman­tic ideal­ism was imple­mented by society. Letting go of it can liber­ate us from the heavy expec­ta­tions of others from us and vice versa. Once we accept that our partner has a differ­ent reason to be with us and our moms play a differ­ent role in our life, we can open our triggers notebook.

I am human. There­fore, I am triggered.

We all live in an emotional body that carries pain. Eckhart Tolle calls it: the pain-body. Living in a pain-body is already a challenge on its own. Accept­ing that being triggered is part of being human trans­forms guilt, frustra­tion, anger and shame into compas­sion and allows more softness. Those who trigger us are no longer enemies to blame but support­ers on our spiri­tual journey.

A trigger is only a thought.

When my son bangs a spoon on the dinner table while making dinner for him, I may be annoyed. I notice the trigger. „He is not a baby anymore. Why is he doing it? He should stop with this noise“. Those are some escort thoughts coming with this trigger, but there are also a few hidden stories behind them. I can find many reasons why any behav­iour triggers me, but it is irrel­e­vant. They are all past stories that I inher­ited from my mom or grand­mom or hundreds of gener­a­tions behind me. Accept­ing that the triggers are not mine frees me from being respon­si­ble for the triggers. Still, it leaves me account­able for how I react or respond to it.

React or respond.

The first step is to notice that I’m triggered. Some triggers provoke me fast into action, while others build up inside slowly. Sometimes I realise the trigger after I react and sometimes before. When I am aware and notice even the begin­ning of slight irrita­tion, I can choose better which way to go. The conscious response or the uncon­scious reactiv­ity. I will most likely choose the conscious way when I am in a good state of aware­ness and enough inner space.

Stress doesn’t help

Stress plays a big part in our state of aware­ness. Three weeks after our baby twins joined our family, we needed to move into a new flat. For our three and a half years old son, it was too many changes at that time, and for us, the parents, as well. The general family stress and the triggers were higher than usual. I was easier triggered and proba­bly trigger­ing as well.

As the level of stress rise, the level of conscious­ness might fall, but not always. Some people are function­ing very good under stress to a large extent, and even after a few nights without sleep, they are still on the horse. In our case, after a few months of lousy sleep, boxes all over the flat, covid and a lockdown, we were quickly on fire.

Triggers are like water.

Triggers are fluid. They can expand and contract, become warm and cold. An annoy­ing comment or a wrong word at the wrong time can grow into a big drama. When the trigger grows in me, it means I need more presence. If the trigger hijacked me, I could ‚lose it’ and fall into an uncon­scious reaction. The faster I am back to conscious aware­ness, the minor damage is done.

The bigger the ego, the bigger the trigger.

The ego loves the drama that the triggers provoke. It strength­ens it. The more we relate to our thoughts, the bigger the ego gets. The bigger the ego, the bigger the trigger. The mind finds reasons for all sorts of dramas, and the body responds.

Emotions make a nice chemi­cal soup in the brain that affects the whole body. The reacted body is getting used to this cycle, and it calls it back again and again. It is a cruel cycle that can turn into a physi­cal-mental addic­tion. When we stay present and realise the peace and the creativ­ity it holds, this addic­tion gets weaker till it’s no more relevant.

Triggers in our body

Nobody knows where the past sits in our body like no one knows where our memory is stored. Proba­bly on a human cloud because no scien­tist found any traces of thoughts in our hard disc. I guess that our history is landed somewhere around our nervous system, some would say, stored in each cell of our body, waiting to be expressed.

The body is the key

The body is sensi­tive and reactive to triggers but it holds the key for releas­ing them. The stronger the story the mind tells about the trigger, the stronger the emotion attached to it, the more provoked the body, the more potent the physi­cal emotional provo­ca­tion, the faster and stronger the reaction.

The body had the key for notic­ing the triggers and also for inten­si­fy­ing presence. Conscious breath­ing and feeling the body from within helps to create inner space and trans­form the mind from a reactive mind to a conscious mind.

Challenges are good for you.

Aware­ness may grow when challenges arrive, but they can also throw you down the rabbit hole. Admit­ting that we are suffer­ing, stressed and unhappy can lead us to search for meaning and relief. There was a relief with Yoga, medita­tion, and conscious breath­ing in my case. Still, staying present when leaving the yoga mat or a medita­tion session is the most signif­i­cant step towards conscious living.

When I look at my son banging the spoon on the table, I try to see his action purely without the story behind it. The noise can still bother me, but when I accept it, the trigger shrinks, I can feel my heart is soften­ing, and I can find even peace in this situa­tion. I can ask him to stop when it crosses my border, but it would be in a friendly, soft way that will most likely work better than an egoic reactiv­ity, leading to power games. In this case, he will proba­bly win the game.

No need for a triggers notebook

If you feel like learn­ing your triggers better and invit­ing them to your life dance, you can write them down. They might repeat themselves and show up in differ­ent forms. It might help to be more friendly with them and to recog­nise them. Giving the triggers a funny name might help as well. I have Madam Critic with Mr judge and me wherever I go. I also have Blamey! But their voices are getting less and less power as I grow my aware­ness within. The more you bring them to light, the more they shy and dissolve. Just remem­ber not to take them too person­ally. They are not yours.

So today, we don’t have trigger notebooks in our family. We prefer not to give them more space or nourish them with our atten­tion. We try to accept them, embrace them, allow them to be our teach­ers when needed, and point our way towards conscious aware­ness and our aim for awakened relationships.

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