Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Attentive Gardner: Breaking the Reactivity Cycle

We never actually know if we're being manipulated or made to feel pain and suffering by others. Mostly, people aren’t deliberately attempting to harm others; it’s only a byproduct of not being mindful or aware. That doesn't make it any easier though, does it?

The way we respond to these experiences is more important. An option is to understand that most people are simply coping. They are suffering, and they desperately need others to understand their pain directly. Or, they seek out the perceived origins, believing the source of pain and suffering is an external one.

Some people are deeply wounded: wounded by their misperceptions of others, wounded by their misperceptions of reality, wounded by their misperceptions of themselves. This is the human condition. We’re highly mistaken creatures, and we’re surrounded by others with the same mistaken condition. Mostly, we’re reacting to these conditions. We desperately don’t want to hurt.
+Wonderful World

We often actually believe our unhappiness and our suffering is being injected into us. I challenge that belief. 

Feelings don’t come from outside of us; feelings are already within us. Feelings are like seeds. We water seeds within ourselves, we are watered by the people we surround ourselves with throughout each day, and our seeds are watered by our atmosphere.

We can't make another person happy, and they can never make us happy. We can't force someone to be angry, and they can never force us to be angry. However, our actions, our words, our thoughts, and our feelings impact others. We water seeds within others and within ourselves simultaneously. We cannot possibly control another person, but we can determine which seeds are watered within us.
+Wonderful World

When people upset us, or trigger our anger and frustration, we can do something different. We can have compassion for the person that is triggering us instead of reacting with anger.

It has to be excruciating to just damage people so carelessly. Imagine that you're not the only one that has a similar reaction to someone lashing out at others and their surroundings. We don't have to continue this cycle. And, only we can break these cycles for ourselves. We may be unable to control others, but we too often don’t want to control our own internal states either. 

We don’t want to shut down; we need to open up instead.

This is a very narrow path, one in which we must with vigilance continuously check in as to where we are with both our thoughts and with our feelings as well. Our mistakenness can sneak back into controlling us again at any time. The only way we can counteract that mistakenness is to maintain our awareness with our presence.
+Wonderful World

We must do this without becoming the prison warden of our thoughts and feelings. We want to become the caretaker, the attentive gardener, instead. This is not about controlling ourselves. It’s about getting to know ourselves. 

Why are we the way we are? By even attempting to answer this question, we discover so much about others. This path is directly linked to the well-being of others, and that pathway starts here and now.

We
simply begin making attempts to recognize what's going on inside of us. When people are mad at us, we just go back to knowing that we have no ill intent. We don't intend harm to anyone. That does not mean we haven't done harm, but we absolutely know that we would not harm anyone with intention.

We only want the best for all people. We don’t want them to suffer.
And, people are suffering greatly. They're in so much pain. And, the way they manage can end up damaging others, but more than that, it's most damaging to themselves.
+Wonderful World

Finding understanding for this doesn't take away the bad acts of others. It can, however, give us space: to own our own experiences, to see what they are doing for what it is, to not allow ourselves to once again revert into a mistaken way of thinking and feeling, to go back to the mistaken way we were before.

We are just like them, and they are just like us. If we keep coming back to that truth, we immediately cool down our reactivity, and we immediately begin taking care as opposed to continuing the cycle of pain and suffering, of mistakenness, and of ignorance.


Only we can break this cycle for ourselves. This begins to slowly decrease the damage we create for ourselves and for others. And, moment by mindful moment, we become a beacon in the darkness of ignorance. We can do this, we need only try.

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