Relationships of any kind often have moments of difficulties. Many of these difficulties arise from a type of reactivity that occurs in each one of us. Reactions arise from body, mind, or heart centers of the individual. The reaction comes from that aspect of ourselves that we call the personality or the ego. The personality or ego is a defensive structure that we develop and put into place by the time we are about seven years old and then we spend the next 45 years or so perfecting the ego. Carl Jung says that after the first 50 years of our lives we attempt to disengage the ego/personality so that we can then interact with each other in a way that is more in line with our God Self or Higher Self.
Reactions are often described as passionate feelings, thoughts or behaviors that arise from the personality. They are defensive reactions and therefore are not coming from our higher self. Reactions arise from a place in ourselves that separates us from understanding the other. Reactions are separating and tend to cause breakdown in relationships. When we don’t take time to breathe and monitor our response to a situation, we come from a passionate place inside of us that is often based in history, not in the present moment.
This historical memory of hurt, injury, betrayal, etc is combined with the heat of the moment and has a way of escalating the feeling, thought, or behavior, turning it into a defensive reaction that separates us from our self, others and the higher/God self. Of course this reaction only serves to further injure the other person, as well as ourselves, creating more fuel for further reactions. If we are able to interrupt the REACTION and instead CHOOSE how we will RESPOND, then situations that tend to injure and harm (physically, mentally and emotionally) can be greatly reduced. My belief is that the world would be a much better place if we could gain control over our reactions and simply breathe and then respond from a place of choice.
How do we want to interact with our loved ones? Do we want to create more hurt and pain? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could create healing and wholeness in every human being with whom we come into contact?
How do we tame our ego self? How do we come to have responses rather than reactions? It is vital that we develop a practice that calls us back to our higher/God self. The practice involves balancing work, play and self care and establishing the “observing self”. As you know balancing work, play and self care can sometimes be a dauntless job. It is essential that we become more conscious of how we spend our time. We can begin by observing where and how we spend our time and with whom. Does this time feed us or does it take away from our ability to care for our self in a way that nourishes our body, mind and heart?
If you find that the way you spend your time is really nourishing…keep it up! If however, you are like most of us, it requires a constant monitoring of our self in order to adjust each and every day so that we can stay healthy and conscious of our choices. In addition to developing balance and an observing self, we can also begin a daily prayer and meditation practice. I think of prayer as a way of talking to God/higher self and meditating as a way of listening to God and that inner wisdom that knows just what we need in order to maintain a conscious awareness of how we are interacting with ourselves and others. In really holding ourselves personally responsible for how we affect others it becomes less and less likely that we will be the cause of another’s pain.
As you go through your day, today make an agreement with yourself that you will observe how you impact others. Don’t forget to choose consciously to DO NO HARM as you journey here on earth. Just remember to BALANCE, BREATHE AND CHOOSE.
Dr. Deborah Ooten is the founder and director of the Conscious Living Center.