The Urge to Run Away

by rtrees

Often times when we find ourselves in unpleasant situations our first reaction is to flee. Family houses can be loud, uncomfortable and hectic places, and sometimes I find myself wishing to disappear. Though some might call this a healthy conclusion that may help me grow and move away one day, there is something else to be gained from this experience besides motivation.

Going beyond the initial thought of “let’s get out of here! retreat, retreat!” we can sit a bit longer in the situation. Simply observing the chaos, and noticing our aversion, our distaste with the situation.

You might feel this need to escape from family and home, from loud and crowded places or from difficult people. And it is okay to step away for a time, to collect yourself quietly and take space. But it is also wise to realize that situations like these will always be around. As we step into the world we experience many overstimulating and uncomfortable instances. It is a fact of life.

By stopping and noticing our predicament we create a little bit of space for inquiry. To view the scene ahead of you with a sense of light inquiry, with a non judging view, can shift the reactions you are strongly feeling. What happens when we swim against an ocean current? We end up fighting the waves, exhausting ourselves in the process. Sure, we can simply remove ourselves from the water at times, but other times we cannot. That is why it is helpful to learn to swim with the current.

We can swim with the current by accepting things as they are, by realizing the fleetingness of the situation and by choosing to respond with love. Sometimes my family members are loud when I am trying to do something quietly, or interrupt me when I am concentrating, or reprimand me when I am having a hard day. But it is my choice how I react.

Sometimes I think of it this way: we are living in an after image. Everyone around us, everything we react to is already gone. The way we respond and the feelings we reply with are with us forever. When the mirage of the problems we face go away, we are only left with our strong unhappiness, our anger, our resentment.

I do not want to hold onto these ways of feeling, so I let them go before they are fully triggered. I try to choose how I want to feel about the situation, I realize I’m holding everything. It is my choice what I choose to hold.