The other day, I worked on a document for about an hour and then attended to other things. The next day, I found that my computer has frozen up and after many attempts to save the document, I had to reboot the computer.
As I waited for it to come up, I thought of TE Lawrence whose 1000 page manuscript of his Seven Pillars of Wisdom was lost at the Reading train station in London in 1922. He spend the next 3 months rewriting it.
I told myself that when I brought up the file, that I would be at peace regardless of whether my work was there or not. It was not and I felt relaxed and ready to make the effort again.
You can not change the past, even a second ago. So why react to it? The second after an event, you only have control of how you respond. You don’t have control of the event. And in some essential way, it actually becomes perfect. The universe “just is”.
So what do we want:
- The weather to be different. We can’t change it. No use complaining.
- Other drivers to drive better. They don’t know you. Why should you let them control your mood?
- We lose something or someone and want it to be otherwise
- We want others to behave a certain way.
- We want the world to be different.
Spiritual teachers have taught for centuries the idea of not being attached to the external world. I find it very inspiring to see videos of enlightened teachers such as Ram Dass and the Dalai Lama. They are happy all of the time, regardless of external events.
Many say that a regular spiritual practice of meditation will make one less reactive. This is what I have experienced when I meditate regularly.
We can decide to respond to events that trigger a reaction, by just catching ourselves and letting go, knowing that we have no control of what just happened because it already happened. This is not easy when someone is truly annoying you. It is an ongoing practice, forgiving ourselves for reacting and pledging to do the best we can next time.
This does not mean that you don’t govern your life, set boundaries, make requests and take action. It just means that at some level you can be at peace with whatever happens.
To learn more about Triggers, see my talk at the Saturday Morning Men’s Cafe.
How reactive are you?
Do let others hijack your mood?
2 thoughts on “RESPOND DON’T REACT”
A lovely reminder to be peaceful observer of what is!! And there is the added advantage on your body and nurveous system!! It helped me to realize that it was me – not others – who was being attached. And to realize that no one got up this morning with the intent of rouining my day.
Excellent, Bruce! And what I needed this morning!