Seeking Out Those Who Push Your Buttons

Even though, to my regret, Ram Dass doesn’t really have a theory of polishing the mirror, he does make some helpful suggestions throughout his book called (well) Polishing the Mirror.

Like this one: “There comes a point where you really want to clean up your act. You start to look for the fire of purification. That’s when it gets very interesting, because suddenly you’re looking for those situations that push your buttons” (p. 95).

That does it for me. I mean: he’s right on the money. For one thing, there does come a time when you start to take the line–“Everyone and everything is my teacher”–very seriously, quite literally. Until that time, it seemed like a nice saying to remember now and again. But oh boy now does it strike you with the slap of truth.

For another thing, you’ve come to see more dirt beneath your fingernails. You didn’t know that said dirt was there because you were either thinking that you were all clean already (yup, been there) or because you were focused on scrubbing off the mud caked all over your face. At this point, you experience the subtlety of dukkha (dis-ease, misery), and in a way it hurts even more. Or affects you even more anyway.

And for a third (and this is the real kicker), you start to relish encounters with people and creatures and situations that really push your buttons. Well, relish may be a bit of an overstatement, but welcome may not be.

And why, pray tell? Because if you were to use your sadhana (or spiritual practice) to see through whatever is pushing your buttons, you’d be that much closer to the Source. Being that much closer, you’d be content. Being more content, you’d be less apt to perpetuate suffering in others. Perpetuating less suffering in others, you’d be doing your part to breaking the karmic spell.

So, yes, by all means when you’re ready (and you’d better be ready!), go on and see who and what is pushing your buttons. It won’t be pleasant or enjoyable, but it’ll sure be a trip!