Responding from a space of peace…
“Between the stimulus and the response there is a space, it is in that space that our freedom lies” – Viktor Frankl MD, Psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor.
To me, this quote from Viktor Frankl speaks of the space of wisdom and peace innate in all. When we operate from this space, we realise we have the freedom to choose what we “think” about any difficult circumstance we may find ourselves in.
Understanding that we have a choice in the meaning we make of any challenge we may have or will face, means we don’t have to take them so personally.
We no longer need to dwell on the reasons as to why things happen to us. Instead, we can see it for what it is, life happening.
Knowing we can only ever feel what we are thinking at any given moment, means we are the creators of how we experience life, for example, if a person says something to us we perceive as rude or hurtful, instead of instantly reacting, pausing for a few seconds allows us to drop into the space Victor speaks of above.
Words don’t hurt.
It helps us to understand that the words spoken to us do not have the power to hurt or offend us, it is only our interpretation of them and the meaning we put on them, that sets our brain into action, causing us to have a physiological reaction to them.
If we interpret the words as threatening we immediately become defensive, our brain automatically prepares us for the fight/freeze/flight response, flooding our bodies with stress hormones such as adrenalin and cortisol.
While reducing other functions such as digestion, repair, and growth, along with our decision-making abilities and immune support. All of which is a welcome response if you are under physical threat and need extra resources to defend yourself.
However, what you will find the majority of times is when we perceive the words this way, we are most likely in a low mood, or the words said have triggered insecurity in us or past trauma.
Suspending our preconceived ideas.
If you can pause for a second, becoming present as you allow your mind to quieten, you allow yourself to drop into a more compassionate and intuitive state.
Take a moment to really look at the other person, suspend any preconceived ideas you may have about them, and try to consider what might be really going on for them, beneath the behaviour.
This stops us from overreacting or saying something back to them in anger, which we might regret later. Those reactions often create a bigger problem for us to solve.
It is from this state we can hear beyond what is being said. Leading us to the realisation what they are saying is coming from a place of hurt or insecurity in them, and that there is likely a lot more going on beneath the surface for them than they are showing.
Looking beyond our assumptions.
Taking this deeper dive, means you are willing to look beyond your initial assumptions and interpretations about what is truly going on. Taking an attitude of curiosity rather than immediate hurt or judgment.
Stopping to ask ourselves the question, “What has happened for them to act like that?”, allows space for compassion, which keeps us in a more stable and balanced psychological and physiological state.
It is from this space we are more likely to find a peaceful way of dealing with the situation.
This may seem like an impossible task at first, but the more you begin to operate in a conscious way, means you catch yourself in the process of reacting impulsively. Potentially rewriting years of conditioned reactions.
Thanks for reading,
Namaste: “I honour the place in you in which the entire universe resides. I honour the place in you of love, of light, of truth, and of peace. And when you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, there is only one of us.”