I have a number of podcasts that I listen to regularly because I find that I need reminders of the messages they contain. The other day, I relistened to a wonderful interview with Sylvia Boorstein, where she talks about the challenges we all face in life and how important it is to understand that having an awareness of how we respond, helps determine if we will suffer from them, or not.
Dr. Boorstein talks about how “the Buddha said we have one of five genetic fallback glitches when we’re challenged…some people fret, some people get angry, some people lose heart and all their energy goes and they don’t know what to do with themselves, some people think, “Uh-oh, it’s me. I didn’t do things right. It’s always my fault. I messed things up.” And some people need to be sensually soothed. They think, “Where’s a donut shop? Where’s the pizza?” People have different tendencies. It was very, very helpful for me as an adult to learn that because it completely comes without a judgment. I don’t have to say I am a chronic fretter. I could say, you know, when I’m challenged, fretting arises in my mind and it’s not a moral flaw. And it’s very good for people who have a short fuse to be able to think, “You know, I have this unusual neurological glitch.”
For her, she frets when challenged – “when in doubt, worry.” She knows this about herself and describes this tendency as having ‘come with the equipment’, in the same way she talks about the fact that she is short and has brown eyes.
What is your fallback glitch? – that default behavior or emotion that arises in you when things don’t go the way you expect or desire? Do you have an awareness of your tendency at the time it is happening? Noticing this is a sign of wisdom and adds to your body of self knowledge.
If we can look at our response to life’s inevitable challenges this way, then we don’t have to feel bad about it, but instead can work with it wisely.