Response. . .

We have always lived in a world of two energies – Action and Response. A action happens in life and a response to that action always follows. Even if one does nothing after an action happens, that is still a response that was thought about and acted upon.

Since we don’t always have control the actions that occur in life, I have always taught, written and spoke about the power of our responses which are always in our control. So today lets quickly look at responses.

I believe there is a structure or form to responses that typically leads to better outcomes than frantic or unconscious responses to life.  If we look carefully responses can be broken down to these mindsets/qualities:

  • Responding always starts with a pause.
  • Responding becomes curious.
  • Responding makes contact with the present experience.
  • Responding tries not to identify with or become lost in the experience.
  • Responding takes responsibility for how it feels.

Responding mindfully starts with a pause—whether it’s a breath, closing the eyes or removing oneself from the situation. This momentary choice gives the brain‘s “primitive drives related to thirst, hunger, sexuality, and territoriality,” an opportunity to respond differently than past or habitual behaviors and impulses might have it respond. This opens up a new set of possible outcomes.

Responding mindfully opens the door to healthy curiosity. It allows the door to remain open and see other options, possibilities or better ways to deal with the root cause of the situation. This mindful response brings awareness to what and where the sensation or emotion is. Using mindfulness, a response would begin by asking simple questions like:

  • Is there a sensation here?
  • Is there an emotion here?
  • Is there a belief here?
  • Is there a story here that I’m telling myself?
  • Is there an assumption here that I’ve made?

Responding mindfully makes contact with the present experience and with the vulnerable part of our being where we’re feeling the emotion and allows us to plot a course for brings our presence there and understanding any steps, actions or mindsets we should employ. 

Mindfully responding tries not to identify with the experience. This is a powerful step because it removes the victim or self blame mindset and replaces it with “I am experiencing {the experience} right now.” and I will see it through – learning, growing and understanding along the way. Stop blaming and start learning that this moments are very transitory and our response should evolve from them and not “around” them.

When we’re responding we can be gentle with our imperfect selves, patient, kind. We notice, name and meet ourselves first; then we do the same for others and the situation. And, we can be honest when we’re not being that way and hold ourselves accountable. We can mindfully ask ourselves in the moment, “what am I doing right now to contribute to what I’m feeling?” or how am I behaving? What am I believing?

These simple acts of mindfulness create safety and trust both within oneself and with others, which in turn fosters more care, more compassion and more responding with mindfulness.

Peace and Love, Jim

#response #thedailybuddha

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