The Spirit is Willing, But the Joriki is Weak

I’ve found myself being very irritable lately, and unusually quick to anger. I get defensive at the slightest phrase — and, oddly enough, this has been the most pronounced with the person I want to hurt the least. It seems like I’m excessively sensitive to his quips and backhanded comments more than usual lately, even the ones that aren’t even meant. I magnify my own guilt for being lazy or judgmental or what-have-you, by nature of it being brought to my attention, however slight or in a roundabout and completely unintentional way.

This weekend, I resolved to draw on my own inner personal energy to keep myself from reacting poorly in these situations. I told myself that I would focus on my center, take a deep breath, and deal with these situations more calmly and less hastily than I have been.

Sure enough, situations came up a few times. Once or twice, I did manage to take a deep breath and calmly (I think) verbalize what I was feeling, or what I had meant to say, or even backpedal and explain why I initially reacted in a certain way. Finally, though, I came upon a situation that angered and confused and irritated me more than usual, and I took a deep breath and tried to draw upon my personal energy.

It wasn’t there.

So I slammed the car door instead. I slammed it so hard, I thought I’d broken it when the window wouldn’t roll down easily. I sat in silence and calmed myself, the loud noise having jarred some sense into me, making me realize how juvenile I was acting and how superficial the cause was.

Later on, I remembered something Sensei had said at last week’s Sangha meeting. He’d said that only by sitting zazen can we build our joriki, our personal energy, so that it will be there for us to draw upon. I’ve known for some time that I need to actually start sitting daily and practicing on my own, but this was the first time I’d actually seen proof that, yes, if I’d cultivated that inner stillness and concentration before now, this specific outcome could have been changed.

Improving my relationship with my spouse and with myself is enough of an impetus to get me practicing on a regular basis, I think. I don’t know what’s causing me to be like this, but I know what can help me fix it.

One thought on “The Spirit is Willing, But the Joriki is Weak

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  1. I think we all go through these things at times. At least you’re able to snap out of it a little bit here and there.

    When I get to raging, I can feel that I’m doing it, but I can’t stop…no, I don’t want to stop. I tend to wallow in my anger and frustration, almost enjoying how it feels to be flush with adrenaline.

    Just ride it out, you’ll come around and find your center again.