Imagine you are a bus driver. All day long, you pick up travellers. Some are called Joy, Happiness, Peace and Fun.
These travellers create an enjoyable journey and you love having them on board. They are quick to laugh. They make the best of the situation if there’s traffic or if the bus gets a flat.
They point out beautiful and interesting things along the way. They compliment and encourage each other – and you – and they tell uplifting stories. They are generous, loving and kind and do their best to make everyone’s journey the best it can be.
Some travellers are called Fear, Doubt, Unworthiness, Judgment and Sadness. You don’t really want these travellers on your journey, but what are you to do? You pick them up and hope they stay quiet.
But no… these travellers create drama and spoil the mood. They gasp in terror whenever there’s a curve in the road. They gossip. They point out all the terrible things they “know” about the world. They complain about everything. They turn conversations from pleasant to unpleasant in just seconds. They are miserly, they sulk, and they are quick to anger whenever things don’t go perfectly.
As you might have guessed, the travellers are your thoughts. Some travellers are with you only for a very short time. They get on, and they get off at the next stop. Some, though, can ride with you all day long.
It’s no problem if the happy crowd comes along for the ride. Their presence makes it a great day! But if the grumpy crowd decides to ride the entire route, they can ruin your mood and make you miserable.
Can you keep any travellers from joining you in the bus? No. It’s your job to drive them around. But, you don’t have to be influenced by the grumpy travellers.
Here’s how to keep your cool, and enjoy the ride no matter who is on board.
1. Ignore them. You can’t exactly ignore a traveller when they come on board, but you can politely acknowledge them and then ignore them and turn your eyes back to the road. Say, “Hello” and let them walk past you to find a seat. Hopefully they will sit at the back, where you can’t hear them – but if you can hear them and can’t seem to drown out their voices, here are a few more things you can do.
2. Thank them. Every traveller is here to teach you something. Maybe you need to learn patience, or compassion, or unconditional love, or non-attachment… there are so many things that the most annoying travellers can teach you! They usually point straight to some self-limiting belief you hold, and they may act as mirrors to something within yourself that you don’t like. Thank them for bringing something to your awareness that will ultimately benefit you.
3. Tell them to be quiet and not interrupt you because you’re busy driving. This one takes a lot of persistence! But – it’s your bus, your rules. You don’t have to allow them to distract you. One great technique is to say “Not now, I’m busy!” or some such command, when a thought intrudes into your concentration (or a traveller keeps pestering you with annoying conversation). You alone decide how much attention you’re going to give a traveller – and how much priority you will give them over what you are doing or want to talk about.
4. Encourage the happy crowd. Interact more with the happy travellers. Give them far more attention than you do the grumpy travellers. Eventually the grumpy travellers will realize that they don’t have much influence and they will quiet down. This will take persistence too, but it’s worth the effort.
Wasn’t that fun? Just remember, you are the driver. You may have travellers come on board that annoy you, but if you realize that you are in charge, and that you don’t have to give them as much attention as they want you to (and they can be quite vocal!) then you will eventually discourage many of them from going more than one stop on your bus.