How To Find Inner Balance When You're Triggered | Barbara Alexander
Inner balance is the foundational key to true success… but it’s only attainable when your priorities are clear.


Pema Chodron, a wonderful teacher of wisdom, talked about  a Tibetan term for the feeling you get when you are triggered by something uncomfortable. It’s called shenpa. If we could learn to recognize shenpa in the initial stages of feeling hooked, and make a choice respond differently in the moment, we could change our lives.

Sliding Down the Slippery Slope to Negativity.

We all know that feeling when we are sliding down the slippery slope of discomfort or irritation. Let’s use the analogy of a mosquito bite that itches. If we are paying attention, when we feel the urge to scratch a bite, we have a choice to scratch or not to scratch in those initial moments. We know that if we do scratch, though it might feel like relief, the discomfort will soon become much worse. Yet even though we know the clear consequences we still might not resist the urge.

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 10.12.11 PMThe point here is easily understood. Let’s compare it to a day at the office. How often do we respond with shenpa? Something seems to happen that triggers our irritation either with co-workers, clients or the management team and quickly our day can become a chain reaction of negativity.

If, in the very initial stages of habitual response, you can learn to pause and make a choice to be curious about the spark instead of igniting it, you can find a better response and stop the chain reaction. So, when you feel the shenpa of anger, jealousy, frustration, self righteous arrogance, or self-denigration and you know that it only leads to more suffering, you can learn to stop the chain reaction. The most important key is to catch the “itch” of that energy when the urge is still small.

This doesn’t mean that if the discomfort has already begun to build momentum that it is too late – it just requires greater effort.

In Every Moment We Have a Choice.

One of the best practices to help support this shift is to allow yourself to observe uncomfortable feelings in your body when they surface, pause and take a deep breath to relax. Remind yourself that this is only a temporary state of mind. See discomfort as a message that something within your perception needs to change in order for you to achieve what you truly want. Since like attracts like, building negative momentum is the opposite way to get there.

Remember you always have a choice. You can intensify the negative feelings by talking about it, stewing about it, and rehearsing it over and over in your mind. Or, you can learn to stop the pattern of negative reaction and create a new practice to find what you truly want. Getting ahead of emotional response opens you to the doorway of personal enlightenment.

What is the Doorway to Enlightenment?

As Pema shared; This is the doorway to recognizing the inexpressible wisdom and goodness of our own mind and hearts, the goodness of our own being but it is never accessible to us when we follow the chain reaction of negativity. 

Eckhart Tolle called this the portal to the most profound wisdom we can experience.

When your priorities are clear and you feel shenpa, you can learn how to change the negative urge that causes a chain reaction of suffering. Having the ability to choose how you feel in those critical moments can change your outcome.

Through clarity and self-development you discover the doorway to the inexpressible goodness of your being and see all things as an opportunity to awaken to the wisdom and goodness of your own heart and soul.

These skills open us to greater creativity and personal wisdom for problem solving both at work and at home.

When our priorities are clear… as Abraham-Hicks would say, Discomfort is just a step-one-moment. It can serve as a reminder that our greatest desire is personal alignment that restores comfort, ease and joy.

Find out more about programs that teach skills for personal balance and soul-aligned leadership: Upcoming Retreats and Programs