Someone asked me this question the other day: Do you believe that something can annoy you, purely because it does?
In other words, she was asking if people can get irritated because someone or something is downright annoying.
The answer, of course, is no.
No matter what another person says or does (or whatever circumstances we find ourselves in), our reaction to anything is purely our choice. It may seem as if our reaction is instantaneous (or at least automatically triggered), but it is still a choice we make.
Thus, being annoyed is a choice. We get annoyed because we want to be annoyed.
Why would we want that?
Well, for starters, it is much easier to point our finger at someone (something) and believe that they are (it is) responsible for our current lack of peace. That pushes the responsibility completely away from us.
That’s the way the ego mind works. We see the external world as the source of our joy or our pain. When circumstances go the way we want (bank account growing, decent job title, respect of others, supportive friends, intimate relationship, healthy body, etc.) – we say we are happy. Conversely, when things don’t go so well, or when we see others as not giving us what we want (e.g. annoying us), then we say we are unhappy, or at the very least, displeased.
The reason the ego works this way is that it keeps us focused on externals instead of looking within. Within lies the still, small Voice for God which is not drowned out by all the ego’s raucous screams and senseless ravings. And in the ultimate act of self-preservation, the ego focuses us completely without – on everything in the world including other bodies and especially our body.
We’ve become so habituated and accustomed to heeding the dictates of the ego that our reactions to external stimuli appear to be instantaneous, or at least automatic. But that’s not the case. We choose our reactions by choosing our teacher – either the ego, or the holy spirit.
The ego dictates your reactions to those you meet in the present from a past reference point, obscuring their present reality. In effect, if you follow the ego’s dictates you will react to your brother as though he were someone else, and this will surely prevent you from recognizing him as he is. (T-13.IV.5)
And whenever we are annoyed with anyone or by anything, we have completely lost sight of the fact we have chosen this.
Perhaps it will be helpful to remember that no one can be angry at a fact. It is always an interpretation that gives rise to negative emotions, regardless of their seeming justification by what appears as facts. (M-17.4)
When we choose the ego as our teacher, our interpretations will always be ones that reinforce separation believing the word of externals can bring us peace or snatch it away. When we choose the holy spirit as our guide, we see the wondrous nature of spirit and love in everyone and everything. And from such a perspective, our reactions would always be some extension of peace and love. Always.
Join us in Monday’s class where we will explore this idea of choosing to be annoyed and how we can just as easily, and with far more joy, choose happiness. I look forward to seeing you then.