The Mirror Of The Mind
I’ve been a big advocate of meditation and regularly practice for a few years now. This has made me keenly aware of when I don’t feel good about something. Recently I was writing up notes for my upcoming one-to-one with my manager and I had a particularly scathing review of interactions I’ve had with a co-worker.
I know from experience how these conversations feel from both sides. It’s out of the wheelhouse of most managers to efficiently address these situations and usually best if they just listen (unless it’s something obviously against the company code of conduct). And from the side of the one complaining, it’s just not satisfying or productive.
There must be a better way to look at the situation. I turned to meditation and began to sort through my feelings and the objective raw data with a focus on what’s best for the company and my team.
Experience is a mirror of the mind
Meditation and science teaches us that the world and the self are one and all of experience is constructed by the brain. Not that there isn’t a real world out there, but we experience the world with human senses and human brains which construct our reality the best it can. I can’t under emphasize that this is true for everything. You’re looking at a screen right now. What you’re really seeing is part physics of the natural world and part reflection of your mind. Even the meaning and context you draw from the lines and dots making up this text are fully created by your subconscious.
While we can’t pick what emotions are tied to which experiences, by understanding that negative feelings are constructed and not necessarily inherent to the outside world, we can start to reflect and double check our subconscious assumptions. Once you become aware of the game you’re able to remove yourself from it. Over the long term, this can help fine-tune our reactions to certain situations or remove the reactionary reflex altogether.
Keep Calm and Reflect
After separating the emotion and deconstructing my recollection of the experience with my coworker, I was able to see a larger strategic team issue that could be addressed. I validated my thoughts with others on the team and by the time I got to my 1:1 with my manager he was already addressing the issue.
This may not be the best strategy for every situation, but I’ve rarely found a time when slowing down, reflecting, and gaining perspective and clarity didn’t vastly accelerate a satisfying solution.