Notes from my class on how to use irritation for meditation and greater (but not total) calm

Things that irritate you

and how to use them for greater calm



-to disturb the peace of mind

-to provoke anger, impatience or displeasure


Why do we get irritated?


It helps us feel superior to others.

It hides our insecurities.

We grew up around irritable people. They were our role models.


What are some causes of irritation?


Too Much Noise

Not Enough Noise

Not Getting What We Want

Getting What We Want

Things That Are Not True

Things That Are True





Irritability is a habit and condition. It is a choice we make.

(This idea is probably irritating.)


Things that can help


If your irritation is caused by a person, send them compassionate thoughts. The same applies if you irritate yourself.


Ask yourself if you are really irritated or you are just acting out of reflex and conditioning.


Ask yourself if the irritation is identifying an essential truth, and then be grateful for it.




Try saying this each night before bed


From The Bed Time Sh’ma

(translated by Rabbi Jonathon Sacks)


I hereby forgive anyone who has angered or provoked me or sinned against me, physically or financially or by failing to give me due respect, or in any other matter relating to me, involuntarily or willingly, inadvertently or deliberately, whether in word or deed: let no one incur punishment because of me.


3 Replies to “Notes from my class on how to use irritation for meditation and greater (but not total) calm”

  1. Hi Rabbi,

    Marc and I went to Jewel Heart and heard Gelek Rinpoche speak on the essentials of a sound spiritual tradition: good morality and deeds, compassion, and access to the mystical. Much of what you describe was covered.

    Byron Katie examines similarly distressing thoughts in “Loving What Is” with ‘The Work’- or her method. Her premise is that we attract or reflect what is inside us.hence we are what irritates us:)!

    We are so fortunate that you tacle the things that make us nuts in such a kind and down to earth way!!

    Kelly G.

    Kelly G.

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