Metaphor – wrong number

Last Sunday the phone rang as we were getting ready for church. It turned out to be a wrong number. The woman on the other end waited long enough to get the information on how she had misdialed before she hung up.


When we ourselves misdial a number the emotion that comes up is usually embarrassment. We wonder if we have interrupted something important or made it a challenge for the person to get to the phone. We usually want to hang up as quickly as possible to remove that embarrassed feeling as quickly as possible. And yet, those thoughts that cause the embarrassed feeling need to be observed and questioned so the automatic response of anxiety is not started.

This process of observing the arising of discomfort, the peak of discomfort and the cessation of discomfort is what mindfulness meditation is all about. It’s possible to remain still and detached from the story of the uncomfortable feelings and sensations; to observe them arising and leaving. It’s possible to be a mindful witness even as strong feeling occur in the body.

When observing the feelings without getting attached and involved then its also possible to question and examine the thoughts that caused the emotion. Is it true that the misdial caused an interruption? Is it true that the person on the other side is upset or angry with the wrong number? Not necessarily. These are just thoughts that arise, peak and fade, unless we cling to them and believe them as true. This clinging then causes the chemistry of emotion in the body.

The message from the wrong number on that Sunday was to hang on and stay with the uncomfortable feelings without judgment or fear but with neutrality and calm. More information can be received from the exchange that if either party hangs up quickly.

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