I knew someone for whom getting to appointments on time was very important. He would leave his house and inevitably run into some traffic delays, particularly traffic signals that would turn red as he was approaching them. Every delay would increase his stress response to the point that when he arrived, he was tense and angry. This got so bad that he had convinced himself that the traffic signals were in a conspiracy and out to get him. He started watching his body's reactions (stomach and jaw muscles tightening, hands clenching the steering wheel, etc.) and what he found was that he calmed down and arrived at his destination relaxed. What happened to change all of his previous daily experiences? By keeping track of his body's reactions as they occurred, he could stay in the present moment. He was transported into reality instead of the made up world he had been creating. Reality is always “what is” rather than what is “supposed to be.”
As Byron Katie says, “You can fight reality, but you will only lose 100 percent of the time.” Waking up is being present to what is. We don't have to necessarily like what is, but the only opportunity to respond effectively and appropriately is in the present moment. This is the message of the serenity prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change (e.g., reality as it unfolds), the courage to change the things I can (by responding to what is in the moment), and the wisdom to know the difference (what's going on in my body, for example, rather than my story of what should happen). This is simple but not easy.
Come and joint us at Mindgardens to practice the process of waking up.