We don’t think much about these two concepts, but the knowledge and the understanding of them could be the secret ingredients to living life in grace’s embrace and they can provide us with that strong foundation of balance and harmony that cannot be easily shaken by neither outer or inner challenges, which we all experience at some point.
I noticed that many of us confuse these two “concepts.” Perhaps “concepts” is not the best word to use, they are much more than that, they are ways of living. Once implemented, they can shift our reality greatly, but first let us describe these ways of living and the difference between, so they will be better comprehended.
As humans, we have been programmed to react to the outer world. It is that primal instinct, animalistic reaction to our environment, to situations, to people. This reaction to outer circumstances is mental, emotional and even physical. In physiology, it is called the ” fight-or-flight response,” but I humbly beg to change the name slightly and say it’s more like the “fight-or-flight reaction,” because indeed it is a physiological reaction, not a response. It triggers neural reactions, secretions of various hormones and a lot more processes are beginning to take place in our body. Reacting can lead to anxiety, depression, chronic stress, weakened immune system and increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Our body feels like it is being attacked, so it created a very intelligent defense mechanism, that has evolved as necessary and needed throughout centuries of distorted social structures. Today, we are far more advanced than we were even five years ago. We may recognize some primitive behaviour in some, but generally we have evolved and are evolving past those distorted social structures. Defense mechanisms have to evolve too, the walls have to be torn down and as with everything else, this evolution begins through our inner transformation.
On a mental level, our mind reacts to outer circumstances either with dualistic/”positive” or “negative” thoughts, leading to emotional reactions sometimes to those thoughts and perceptions, other times to experiences and situations.
Emotionally, we react with fear, joy, disappointment, happiness, worry, irritation and so on.
Reaction served us for a long time. Now as we have evolved as a society, the mechanisms that imply reaction can be restructured, transformed into new ones that support harmonious states of being and inevitably a greater peace is to be established in our society. What’s so important to know and understand is that reaction is not natural. It is something we had to implement in our states of being to “survive,” to be able to adapt to a dualistic Earth, where fear has been prevalent for eons.
You may find a better understanding in seeing it as a software that was necessary for the computer to function, but a new one, an updated version of the software has been created and the old one needs to be replaced.
The bridge from reaction to response is being built through awareness.
Responding to inner or outer experiences implies cultivating a neutral way of seeing what is and becoming masterful and mindful enough to be able choose our response. It is not to be confused with being robotic, emotions always need to be acknowledged and felt, thoughts always need to flow. The ability to respond blossoms from self-observation. Emotions will be felt, thoughts will be thought, experiences will still be experienced, but they will not get reactions from us, we will choose our response consciously. This choice is what makes the difference between response and reaction.
We either respond with love, or react with fear. Is there one way that is better than the other? No. They are simply chosen experiences to be had. At the end of the day, we have to feel into and reflect on which way works best for us and implement it in our every moment. Common sense alone will definitely guide us towards responding with love, instead of reacting with fear, of course, but actually truly implementing it in our daily lives is the real “challenge.” This process requires dedication and persistence. It is never an overnight process and it’s very multi-faceted, but we are being pushed to change our ways, and it is time to do so.
Observe, be present with the situation at hand and choose your response. Repeat. With practice, responding instead of reacting becomes natural and instinctive and it creates a far more harmonious general life experience. That is how powerful and life-changing, these simple shifts in our consciousness can be.
Thank you for reading,
Love and Light,