I have recently been re-reading the book Search Inside Yourself by Chade-Meng Tan. The book is based on the meditation course that Meng designed and introduced to Google (very successfully!).
It is a really interesting book that gives a different perspective on meditation - from an engineers point of view (think .. analytical, proven and process driven) and focuses on the benefits of meditation for developing and strengthening emotional intelligence which can lead to improved work performance and leadership.
In the chapter titled Riding Your Emotions Like a Horse, Meng introduces us to a practice called the Siberian North Railroad for dealing with those times when our 'buttons are being pushed'. The practice has five steps:
1.STOP: once you notice that you have been triggered just stop. Pausing at the onset is a powerful and important skill, a momentary pause in life before acting or reacting.
2.BREATHE: by focusing our mind on our breath we reinforce that pause, and by taking a conscious breath, especially a deep slow one, we have the power to calm the body and mind.
3.NOTICE: notice where you feel the tensions and bring your awareness back into your body. What do you feel? Where do you feel it? We are learning to apply mindfulness by experiencing it moment-to-moment without judgement. If you are angry be interested in where you experience anger in your body.
4.REFLECT: where is the emotion coming from? Is there a story behind it? Trying not to judge whether the emotion is right or wrong, just noticing what may be 'behind' the reaction you are experiencing.
5.RESPOND: Consider a positive outcome driven response. You may not actually have to do it - but image what the kindest, most positive action could be to take. Visualising what would be the best and most positive response can be empowering and change the way you feel about the whole event.
In our seated meditation practice we might also take some of these steps onto the cushion.
If you find a particularly 'loud' thought or emotion keeps distracting you or calling for your attention, you may choose to just 'sit' with that thought or emotion for a moment - just stop, breathe, notice and reflect - and then return to your practice.
SiBerian North RailRoad
Stop + Breathe + Notice + Reflect + Respond
I have recently started a list of my favourite meditation books .. all of which are available on Amazon (which is where I buy my books) .. you can find my Favourite Reading List HERE.