“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 a freedom to choose what we “think” about any circumstance we find ourselves in.
We have the choice to take things personally, scanning our minds for reasons as to why it is happening to us, or we can see it for what it is, life happening.
Knowing we can only ever feel what we are thinking in any given moment, means we are the creators of how we experience life. For example, if a person says something we perceive as hurtful, pausing for a few seconds allows us to drop into the space Victor speaks of, helping us to understand the words that have been spoken, do not have the power to hurt or offend us, it is only ever 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 and become defensive, our brain prepares us for the fight/freeze/flight response, by flooding our bodies with 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 most of the time is, when we perceive the words this way, we are most likely in a low mood, or the words said, trigger an insecurity or old hurt we are suppressing from childhood.
Being in awareness of what is truly happening in the moment, taking the time to look at their behaviour, discarding preconceived ideas, and considering what’s really going on, means we are less likely to overreact or say things in anger, which we usually regret later, creating a bigger problem to solve.
Instead, if we take a pause and keep our mind quiet, we can really hear what is being said, we can see that it is coming from a place of hurt in the other person, and that there is more going on beneath the surface than they let on.
Taking this deeper dive, being willing to look beyond your initial assumptions and interpretations about what’s going on, taking an attitude of curiosity rather than immediate judgment, asking yourself, “I wonder why they did that?” allows a space for compassion, keeps us in a more stable and balanced, psychological and physiological state, where we will most likely find and use a more peaceful way of dealing with the situation.
This may seem like an impossible task at first, but the more you begin to understand how you operate subconsciously, means you catch yourself in the process of this reaction quicker and quicker, rewriting years of conditioned behaviour until this more peaceful, helpful, reaction becomes your new subconscious conditioned behaviour.
Thanks for reading,
Namaste: “I honour the place in you in which the entire universe resides. I honor 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.”