A summary of an interesting experiment, that I had to try for myself…
Excerpt From NCtimes.com
Rev. Will Bowen
Last July, Bowen challenged worshippers at Christ Church Unity to quit complaining as a way to bring more prosperity into their lives.
At the July sermon, Bowen handed out about 250 purple bracelets he wanted his congregants to use to remind themselves to stop complaining, criticizing or gossiping. Sarcasm was another no-no.
He challenged them to refrain from complaining for 21 days because, he said, that’s how long it takes to break habits. Whenever they found themselves failing they were to switch the bracelet to the other wrist and start over.
So I had to try a shorter, simpler version of this focusing on complaints only but instead of a purple bracelet I used my mala :)
I also decided I would switch hands everytime I caught a thought that had the potential to be a complaint in addition to an actual verbalization.
This experiment brought up a lot of interesting internal dialogue but I will just briefly note my experience.
Ok.. work and commuting are major triggers particularly in the A.M (I’m not a morning person).. over the two day experiment i found most of my complaints along the lines of:
Complaint type 1 - poor transit manners
People hogging up space on subways and buses i.e taking up two seats with legs spread wide, people putting all their stuff on the seat beside them on a packed bus/subway
Complaint type 2 - hygenic
people coughing without covering their mouths, people trimming their fingernails on the subway
Complaint type 3 - weather
It has been cold..and it has been an unusually sunless, grey, heavy snowfall winter
Complaint type 4 - the mala on the opposite wrist of what i’m used to
lol.. i was laughing at myself on this one. Whenever the mala was on my left wrist it felt awkward and it interfered with my watch etc. SO when I caught myself complaining about this one, I did NOT switch wrists.
Complaint type 5 - smokers
smoking by the main entrance to the workplace
Complaint type 6 - patience issues at the office
slow cashiers and an office electric kettle that takes about 2-3 times longer to bring water to a boil than your average
Ha! I just had a “thought complaint” as I wrote about the boling water…no one ever refills the kettle with new water and let’s it boil for the courtesy of other people or they just snag your freshly boiled water
Anyways, this experiment was a good one and it really works!
After only one day, I became far more mindful of my thought patterns. I found myself seeing the circumstances and feeling the sensations that would usually lead me to create the strong thought which leads to a verbal complaint.
I found I became very aware of other peoples complaining.. especially at the office!
I also spent some time attempting to figure out where to draw the line between an observation, an annoyance and a true complaint.
Factoring all this in, I found that I started to became more sensitive to things that I should be grateful for. It seems as though it would be quite possible with continuous practice (as described in some buddhist teachings) to consistently replace these unwholesome thought patterns with wholesome ones.
This techniqe works, in fact i’m not sure why I am not continuing it at the moment? Either way, I am storing this in my “ways to enlightenment bag o tricks”!
Give it a try.. gossiping, complaining, yelling, swearing.. I can see so many applications!
If anyone does give it a go, i’d love to hear about your experiences, so please comment back.