Emotional reactions serve no purpose.
Picture: Rohit Tandon
For the first time in a while, I took a day and actually “relaxed.” To be fair, I don’t really know what that means. I was not raised to relax, and my professions have not supported that theory either. I made an active effort to go through the day and not react to any situation, person, or act that occurred around me in a negative fashion. I also introduced some supplements to help with that. Ones that worked on Serotonin, Dopamine, and the GABA receptors. Add to that an easy 20hr fast and I was in the perfect state to accomplish my goal. Now when I say not react, I’m talking about emotional reactions. As I have said in my other writings, emotional overreactions rarely serve a purpose. Some will argue against me, but when you sit down and actual think about what is accomplished when you emotionally overreact, it will be hard to find an answer.
Most of our reactions are automatic, and come from years of conditioning. I had someone I really look up to tell me this week, “If you get overly emotional and mad at someones actions, part of you has the same tendencies.” This is something we have to rip apart to understand. Case in point, when I get mad at my lady for something stupid, I usually have some part of me that thinks, “I’ve done that before.” My excuse for reacting would be that I don’t want her to go through what I did, but that makes no sense. Thats a protection mechanism for me in some subconscious way. We can’t control other people or their actions, so like the stoics say, there is no point to worry about what we can’t control.
We spend our whole lives being conditioned a certain way, which produces certain beliefs. These beliefs bleed into everyone around us, whether we know them or not. I’m guilty of walking around a store and looking at the herd thinking about how stupid people have become. Then I stop and think, “What the hell does it matter?” I’m not trying to save the world, so why should I give a shit what they do? All we need is awareness of the people around us, not attachment to what they are doing.
Most of the time if you take a look at your life we see a lot of conditioning from our past. Its great that we can be aware of that, but how aware are we of the impact it has in our daily activities? Thats the hard part. Rarely do we take into consideration how much our past can influence our present. The first step to any journey towards non-reaction and awareness is figuring out how much of your past (conditioning) runs your life. We have to answer that question, and once we do, we are able to fix the root of the problem.
We have to train ourselves to not react in a world where everyone is reacting to everything. I would argue you have to be the “strong silent type,” but actually live it. Not reacting to some piece of cattle and then going home and being pissed off is not the life. When I say not react I mean don’t react in an overly emotional way that actually ruins time (that you will never get back) in your life. Walk with good posture and be aware of your surroundings. Don’t force it, don’t fake it, train yourself. Walk in crowded areas and ask yourself what you would do if confronted (even if its not physical). Don’t be the guy caught off guard.
The bottom line is we have to train ourselves to be calm, confident people that don’t react to everything life throws at us. The Gap (the space between the stimulus and reaction) is the space we use before reacting. The smartest people are ok with silence, they are ok just sitting there. They use The Gap to formulate a plan or answer. Our conditioning throughout the years has trained most people to be sheep and unaware. If a homeless person corners you, do you even think? Or just hand over money. I had a guy ask me for money the other day, for his heart meds he said. 20 minutes later he is smoking a cigarette. This is why when he started talking to me I stopped him and said, “Are you asking me for money?” He said yes, and then I said no. Not the first time I saw him smoking.
As I’ve said before, you are not your thoughts, or your conditioning. Watch your reactions.