A Matter of Choice
Asoka Selvarajah

  
We often feel that other people make us angry, sad, or whatever.  Things they say or do just make us see red. Before we know it, we've said or done something we will regret.  Worse still, we can get furious with inanimate objects--computer that won't cooperate or cars that won't start.  But we can't help it, can we?

Actually, we can!  In truth, nobody can "make" you feel angry, sad or any other emotion.  Each of these responses is actually a choice.  At that moment, we choose to feel this emotion and to react accordingly.  Emotions are not something that just happen to us--they are something we do.

It may not seem like it.  However, between the action/words/situation that evokes an emotional response from us (the stimulus), and the emotional response, there is a moment.  A moment of decision.

For many of us, that moment is so fleeting that we hardly even know it exists.  It seems as if the emotions within us well up automatically.

However, what is happening is that we have created a conditioned response.  We no longer decide upon the response because it is automatic.  Indeed, part of that response may actually be decided by that part of the brain that was once involved in fight or flight.  Nonetheless, a lot of that "automatic" response is a result of our own deliberate choices made time and time again.

We choose this response until we no longer even know we are choosing it.  For those of you who drive, you will remember a time, when EVERYTHING involved in driving was conscious, i.e. when you were learning.

You decided to brake when that car in front of you stopped.  You decided to change gear when the car had reached such and such a speed.  Now you don't decide these things--you just do them.  They are automatic and, for the most part, the right things to do.

We do the same sort of thing in our relationships and the way we handle life situations.  However, it is possible to begin to regain that moment of decision between stimulus and response.  Practicing awareness is one way - literally looking at the situation as if you were an external observer watching yourself from the outside.  Become aware in that situation that you really can choose your response. Meditation can also help to calm you and make you more conscious of every moment.

Then, when situations threaten to "make" you react in a certain way, you will have won that moment between stimulus and response - to choose how you will handle yourself.  That is altogether a better way.


Copyright Asoka Selvarajah.  All Rights Reserved.  You can subscribe to Dr. Selvarajah's ezine, "Aspire To Wisdom"; a unique synthesis of Personal Development,  combined with Spiritual Growth & Metaphysical Teachings. It is available at:  http://www.aksworld.com/AspireToWisdom.htm .
His Mystic Visions website is at http://www.aksworld.com

  
   


 
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