I realized the practical benefits of having a daily meditation practice today in a surprising way. I had a conflict with someone, where I thought perhaps they weren’t being totally fair. I ended up having a brief disagreement with this person: someone I respect, and afterwords realized that I had gone into the situation in the wrong way. The specifics aren’t important here. What I realized, thinking about it later in the day is that normally I would have probably gotten more annoyed and ended up holding a grudge. Instead I was able to admit where I had made a mistake, apologize and move on.
It wasn’t until hours later in the day when I realized: normally I would probably still be stewing about my supposed grievance right now. A short temper and a knack for holding on to my side of a disagreement are things that I’ve often struggled with. But today it felt easy for me to step away from how I usually would react to a disagreement. Instead I had been able to let go of it easily and without losing my temper. It feels powerful to realize that stuff bothers you only when you let it. I realized that practicing this is a part of what you are doing when you just sit for awhile each day: watching ideas, emotions, etc. as they pass you by. Because while you’re sitting there it is definitely not always easy, and small, sometimes petty annoyances are surprisingly noticeable. As I learned quickly in my first few days of meditation, you notice your back is stiff, an itch on your nose, a loud noise outside etc.
But the whole time you are practicing the very practical and useful art of just letting go. Is it any surprise that practicing that day by day translates into an ability to be at peace in daily life? It makes perfect sense when you think about it. But it was also surprising to realize that in just a couple short weeks of meditation that practice was already impacting my personality in a positive way.