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Using Triggers to Awaken

Be alert to the opportunities that come to you every day in the form of triggers, and use them for your spiritual practice.

How to get the most out of these Wisdom Quotes:

  1. Put aside everything you think you already know.

  2. Open your mind and heart to receive something new.

  3. Take your time going through each point.

  4. Return to any points that particularly touch you.

  5. In the coming days, listen carefully to the wisdom within you.

* All quotes are by Eckhart Tolle from the video: Controlling Your Reactivity

1. Be Alert and See It Coming

"If you are alert, you can look at a situation and you can see it’s developing very quickly into the kind of situation that makes you reactive. It’s happening now. It’s like a train coming at you.

That’s the moment of practice where you realize, the most important thing here is my state of consciousness. I am able to use this situation as part of my spiritual practice because that’s how you awaken.

It’s not by eliminating situations, but by using situations to incorporate them into your spiritual practice. Whatever situation arises becomes part of your spiritual practice.

Don’t believe when the mind tells you, if I had a more peaceful life and peaceful surroundings, it would be so much easier for me to awaken spiritually. It wouldn’t.

These children and other annoying people around you force you to go deeper, they are a great opportunity for you to go deeper. But how do you take advantage of that opportunity?

When the situation begins to build up, you know an opportunity is coming right at you. Then you can see what it is. When it comes, when the awareness is there, an element of choice comes in, and the element of choice is you can react or you can allow the situation to be as it is."


Be alert to the opportunities that come to you every day in the form of triggers, and use them for your spiritual practice.

  1. Notice what pushes your buttons. Which people, things, and situations provoke a negative reaction in you? (You can probably list some just off the top of your head.)

  2. Notice, also, what you say to yourself about those things that bother you, e.g. I'd be okay if I had a different job; if only my children were well-behaved; I'm okay as long as she doesn't talk about that.

  3. Focus more on your state of consciousness in any triggering situations, rather than on the trigger itself.

See this post in the Facebook Group

2. Be Still and Allow

"The ideal situation for meditation, people think, is to be in a very quiet room and completely undisturbed. You certainly don’t want to have children screaming outside, you don’t want to have a noisy drill suddenly starting up, where they’re breaking up the road just outside your window while you’re meditating.

Your usual thing would be, you react. You would say, "I can’t meditate under these conditions! Why can’t I live in a more quiet place?" That is not the right way to do your meditation.

When you do your meditation, whatever happens, you incorporate it into your meditation and you surrender to it.

So, the children screaming, the drill going on outside... What is the most annoying thing about this drill? Is it the noise or is it your reaction? It’s your reaction. If you let go of your reaction, there’s just the noise. You, the egoic self, dissolves, and the noise goes right through you. It’s called surrender.

People can start practicing that when they meditate. There’s nothing that does not become part of your meditation. Then you’re a real meditator. When you’re complaining that things are not quiet enough around you, you don’t know what meditation is yet.

Sometimes people learn, when they meditate, how to incorporate seemingly annoying things into their practice of not offering any resistance to the present moment in whatever form the present moment takes.

In your case it may be children screaming, demanding this or that. Are you able to accept that they are screaming and demanding because that’s what children do, without opposing or fighting internally? That’s your practice."


Respond to seemingly annoying distractions during your day by allowing whatever is happening to take place without resistance.

  1. Begin by practicing being still in any and all situations.

  2. Notice any anticipations that arise. Are you worried about being disturbed?

  3. Use any distractions that come up (including your busy mind) as a way to bring you into acceptance of what is happening. Understand that it's not the distraction itself that is the problem, but your resistance to it.

See this post in the Facebook Group

3. Notice the Unconsciousness

"In the moment of losing it, you don’t know it. If you knew it, you wouldn’t lose it. I’m using this expression, “I’m losing it,” which people sometimes use, but what are they talking about? What are they losing? “I’m losing it! I’m going to lose it!” What they mean by that is, “I’m going to get very angry.“

It’s a good expression because, what they’re really saying is, “I’m going to lose consciousness completely.” They don’t know that that’s what they’re saying but that’s what is implied. “I’m going to go completely unconscious in a minute so you better stop talking now, or run away from me.”

When you lose it, at that moment you’ve gone quite unconscious. Then a moment comes after losing it that some consciousness comes back in, and suddenly you know that you’ve lost it.

And the next thing is, guilt comes in, “I lost it but I shouldn’t have lost it.” You get angry with yourself. You’re angry with the children, now you’re angry with yourself. And that gives even more fuel to the anger towards the children.

At what point does consciousness come in? When you've lost it, you’re gone, there’s nothing you can do. Then, moments later, you suddenly realize, “Oops, I lost it!” And then immediately comes a reaction to losing it, which is another reaction, which adds another layer of reactivity to the original layer of reactivity.

That’s how complicated humans are."


Do you recognize the pattern that is being described here, of losing it and then feeling guilty about losing it? Be open and honest with yourself as you answer the following questions. Instead of judgment, let them lead you into awareness.

  1. How do you tend to react when you lose it?

  2. Do you see that, at that moment, you have become completely unconscious and unaware of yourself and how you're reacting?

  3. After losing it, do you have feelings of guilt and self-judgment? Do you feel bad for overreacting or being too harsh and unkind?

See this post in the Facebook Group

4. Be Okay With Losing It

"You will lose it again, despite our talk here. The old unconsciousness can and probably will, from time to time, reassert itself, but less frequently.

There’s no need to be guilty or angry because the moment you know that you lost it, there is an awareness, otherwise, you wouldn’t know it. “Oh great, I lost it, but I know that I lost it.” You surrender to having lost it and that is awareness.

But if losing it means you immediately go into reactivity towards that, you become unconscious again. There’s been a flash of awareness, “I lost it,” which immediately turns (mentally) into a judgment about yourself, which means you lost it again.

At first, you offered resistance to the present moment, and then you notice that you lost it, you can accept that you lost it. You can practice surrender there too: “Okay, I lost it.”


There is a clear pattern here of going from unconsciousness to consciousness, and back to unconsciousness. Any feelings of guilt or self-judgment you may have for being triggered are totally unnecessary. What is needed here is understanding, not blame.

  1. Practice surrendering to the fact that you got triggered. Be okay with it. It has happened anyway, so why resist what has already happened?

  2. If you can't be okay with it and you keep falling into self-judgment, notice how long you stay there.

  3. What purpose does it serve to keep remembering past triggers? Are you unconsciously projecting them into the future?

See this post in the Facebook Group

5. Part of a Universal Awakening

"You’re human. There's nothing personal in it. You are one aspect of a universal shift in consciousness. It’s a monumental thing - the unconsciousness that has been prevalent on the planet for thousands of years, something is happening to it and it’s awakening.

The consciousness is awakening through humans. You are part of that. So don’t get angry with yourself because you are part of the awakening process.

What’s happening to you is part of the awakening process. If it were not part of the awakening process, you wouldn’t be standing here talking about it. You would simply, continuously be acting out your unconsciousness day after day, and you would pass it on to your children, and they would pass it on to their children.

You wouldn’t even know what you’re doing. You have no idea that you are unconscious. You would just be totally in the grip of the conditioning, which is inherited from our parents, and they inherit from their parents. It goes back generations and generations, and is passed onto the next generation until somebody like you begins to awaken."


Eckhart's words here zoom us out to see a much bigger picture of what's going on. When you wake up to your own, personal psychological drama (even if only for an instant), you become part of a universal shift in consciousness. The whole world is awakening, and you can rejoice that you are part of that process.

  1. Do you see that your conditioning is inherited from your parents, and theirs is inherited from their parents, and that this has been going on through countless generations? If you can see this, perhaps you would have more compassion for yourself and everyone else.

  2. When you wake up from your unconsciousness (even if only for a moment) and realize that you have been in a reactive mode, completely unaware of yourself, at that moment you have become a conscious and awake human being.

  3. Let these moments of awakening remind you that you are part of a universal awakening and that there is a shift of consciousness going on over the whole world. Your seemingly little aha moment is literally changing the world.

See this post in the Facebook Group

6. Your Daily, Spiritual Practice

"Be alert when you feel a situation developing into what usually would provoke a reaction. Stay alert, and then you may find your reaction doesn’t come.

If it does come and you lose it, the moment you realize it, awareness is back and you say, “Oh, I lost it, but I know that I lost it. That’s fine.” And then you remain present there.

It’s a very subtle practice.

The old pattern will most likely still come up from time to time but you can deal with it in a different way. It doesn’t have to turn into guilt or anger toward yourself. No, you accept it because you’ve noticed.

And so, that’s your spiritual practice - much better than living in a monastery for three years."


Learn to be alert and see the trigger coming. If you are diligent and vigilant, you will find that your reaction becomes less and less.

  1. Being alert doesn't mean anticipating a problem will arise and worrying about it. It means that you know yourself enough that you can sense yourself starting to get irritable. This change in your inner energy is what you're looking for.

  2. As soon as you notice the change, you have a choice. Allow things to be as they are, or not.

  3. Whatever concepts you may have held about what a spiritual practice looks like, consider letting them go and starting fresh with this one.

See this post in the Facebook Group

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