” Know the difference between a catastrophe, and an inconvenience. — To realize that it’s just an inconvenience, that it is not a catastrophe, but just an unpleasantness, is part of coming into your own, part of waking up.” – Bruce Lee
“I hate grocery shipping. Prices are too high. I’m too busy. There are too many people.” Sound familiar? A simple trip to purchase our basic necessities can feel like a huge production or catastrophe. We dread every aspect of the experience: the crowds of people, the seemingly ever increasing prices, and the lines. Just about everything about grocery shipping feels like a chore. Not to mention we have to plan the meals and put everything away.
Take a deep breath. It is only grocery shopping.
It is easy to let anticipation cloud our judgment. Things seem to grow into larger trials when they are just an inconvenience at worst. We latch onto how much we “hate” the crowds or spending money. We roll the thought over and over in the mind until it grows like a child rolling a snowball on snowy ground. It is ironic how we anticipate good events until the point we are disappointed and anticipate bad events yet don’t feel relieved when we are wrong.
The act of going grocery shopping is an opportunity to apply our tools. We have many things that determine how we anticipate such a simple necessity. First, we need to watch how we are thinking about it. Are you making a snowball into a mounting? Why are you doing so? When I realize how I am turning a grocery trip into a expedition onto a football field I cannot but laugh. It is rather silly how big we make it.
Now of course there are times when a grocery tip can be a legitimate trial such as when we are having financial problems or wrestling with social anxiety. Here again, we need to pause and take stock of how we are reacting and why. Although it may seem obvious why we are negatively reacting, many times the obvious things are also just symptoms. I am having financial problems because I am depressed and spend on things I want, or I am socially anxious because I am constantly thinking about how I appear to others.
Every act in life is a combination of our thoughts, outer influences, and our habits. Nothing exists in isolation. If something simple and routine obstructs your sense of peace then how will you react to a true trial? Luckily daily life gives us plenty of chances to practice awareness:
1) Why do I dread grocery shopping?
2)What type of thoughts do I have that make me dread it?
3) What causes these thoughts?
I often find it helpful to writing down my answer. Writing helps me focus and remain present.
When we consider our thoughts we are in the present moment as long as we remained focused. When we feel anxiety discover the source of our disturbing thoughts. It is easy to criticize oneself ruthlessly. Seeking obstacles to peace benefits little if we are not compassionate toward the wounds. Compassion can be just a simple laugh or a breath. Just trying to best you can to remove the obstacles to your natural self is enough. We all stumble. It is okay.
Now all this seems rather silly. It is just a trip to a grocery store, yet there is no better play to begin searching for the natural peace all round us. If you learn how to make grocery shopping a peaceful action you can learn how to handle tougher situations. Life is beautiful mundanity. Let’s continue our shopping trip.