The purpose of meditation is relieve the world of suffering. The relief usually begins with your own suffering and then it spreads to others. When you find and create peace and harmony in your life, it naturally helps others. When we don’t have peace and harmony in your life, others are also affected by your condition. When you are at peace, things don’t annoy you. When you are annoyed it’s helpful to take note of your condition, because you are beginning to suffer.
When you meditate, you observe your thoughts. You have a point of focus, which may be your breath or a koan, and you notice as your thoughts move by that point of focus. It’s like looking out of the window of a train as it starts to move. The objects in the window start to move, but the inside of the train remains still. You see the things in the window move and you know you are moving, you are not concerned with the things outside of the window, they just remind you that you are moving. Often in meditation, thoughts carry you away from your point of focus. You start making lists, or doing math, or having conversations with people who are not there. When you remember that you’re trying to focus, you come back to center.
Sitting meditation is a small part of a meditation practice. If you sit for half an hour two times a day, you have a significant practice. That still leaves 23 hours a day to work with your mind in a less controlled environment. To carry your focus from meditation into the rest of your life, you can use your annoyances to help you. When you are not annoyed, you are centered and absorbed with the general goodness of life. Something will distract you from that peaceful state and you will suddenly find yourself annoyed. That something could be a thought, a friend, a family member, a stranger, or a pebble in your shoe. The thing that actually annoys you is always the thought about the annoying situation. Your peace is disturbed. Just like when you meditate, when you notice that you are annoyed, you remember who you are, refocus and try to bring peace to the situation.
Like your breath, annoyances are always there. You can use them in your practice to relieve suffering in the world.