Over the past few months, I have been frequently bothered by the automatic nature of reactions. We end up saying things or doing things, before realising that it was a reflex action, whether that’s anger, unpleasant actions, judgemental reactions, hurtful words. But as usual, Swami’s wisdom is always at the rescue and after reading and assimilating the nectar, I decided to share some of my practical learnings from His post about provocation.

Whenever anything or anyone provokes us, it is essentially because the situation doesn’t meet our expectations. For example, let’s say you’re already running late and your partner is looking for some specific shirt and they cannot find it (as usual!), it may provoke you and give rise to an irritable reaction from your side. 

Why did this happen? There are a few reasons, and these points sum up any provocation. And to put it simply provocation takes the form of irritation, anger, displeasure etc.

They are all due to temptations of different nature:

Due to expectations from others.

Whether we agree or not, we have expectations from others. And if we contemplate about it, we’ll notice that we expect them to love us, behave a certain way  carry out certain duties and so on. I mean don’t you expect your family members to have the courtesy of washing their cup after drinking tea or eating? Well that’s an expectation right there.

And at the root of that expectation is our temptation to see the goodness in them manifest. 

Due to excessive self-expectations.

We are the harshest on ourselves and I noticed that when we are unable to fulfil our self-expectations we get provoked.

A lot of our bottled up anger is due to self-expectations. We expect ourselves to be good, to progress, to earn well, to be perfect. Heck we even expect ourselves to not expect! It’s all unreasonable. The key is to learn to take it easy but also be at ease with ourselves and for that we need to know ourselves better.

So next time you feel proved, ask yourself whether you are provoked by not having met your own expectations, then take it easy, because you are doing the best you can.

Due to desiring certain outcomes.

If none of the above apply then we are usually provoked if our desired outcome doesn’t manifest. We could classify this one as expectations from the universe. As we are tempted to have all the good things, anything which goes against our will, or desires, provokes us. 

For example we expect the sun to shine because we have a barbecue planned, but the sky is having a sad moment and decides to cry instead – I mean it rains. Too bad! Although  this is a simple example, it applies to most desires which are out of our control, I feel.

In such cases it is helpful to remember that the universe doesn’t we us anything and there are infinite possibilities out there, especially if you are reading this on os.me! 
If things don’t go our way, perhaps there is a bigger plan, or maybe we can just gracefully accept things as they are. We are allowed to feel angry, it’s fine but a little mindfulness the next time can save us some unnecessary mood swings and our automatic reactions will also reduce over time!

Contemplation after any outburst or moment of discomfort can really work wonders on our growth. Try it out and let us know. It works for me, although maybe 3 times out of 10, the provocation happens too fast, but hey the good news is that there will always be a next time for us to be mindful! ‘Take it easy’ is our motto,  remember?:)