The Elemental Balancing Ritual Stillness Month 8: Reaction

From Wikimedia 5-22-15 I've started reading Scarcity by Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir. Just the introduction has me thinking about scarcity in a different way, especially as it shows up in my internal work. My relationship with emptiness is a perfect example of scarcity shaping that interaction, and when I see the needs exposed in that context it just helps examine the root causes in a way that makes even more sense than before. I was doing x because I was feeling scarcity in this way and I didn't recognize it as such but that feeling shaped my actions.

5-26-15 I've been doing some further processing around the scarcity mindset in my life. What I realize is that it has shown up in a number of different ways for me. It's shown up in in my relationship with love and related areas, but also in my relationship with food, and even buying things. I see how such fixation is really a symptom of scarcity, which is useful for identifying it as such...but I know there is more to it than just that.

5-28-15 I've been feeling restless the last few days and I think its related to the work around scarcity that I'm doing. No real surprise that when you take a look at something such as scarcity it stirs up feelings related to it. When I feel a sense of scarcity in my life, I feel like a hungry ghost, like I can never get enough of something. My skull feels tight and there is this deep sense of restlessness within me that leads to that place of emptiness. I've never really identified it in that way before, but doing so gives me something to work with as a way of identifying more fully when I'm feeling a lack of something.

6-1-15 I was reading an acquaintance's status update on Facebook and he was taking about how he'd spent the last year and a half saying goodbye to the places, people, etc, that he knows because he was making a cross country move. Reading his update made me appreciate what a conscious choice he had made and how much planning clearly went into it. I reflected on my own life and I'd have to say that most of my adult decisions have been reactive decisions because something else happened or because I didn't know what else to do. I got a Bachelor's in English and didn't know what else to do so I went and got a Master's and then still not knowing what else to do or what else I could, I pursued a Ph.D, only to leave that degree in part because it wasn't a good fit and because I didn't know what I really wanted to do and because the person I was dating at the time I left had decided to move to Seattle. The worst part of that was that I'd only really met her 6 months before she was going to move. She had made this conscious plan to move somewhere...but me...I just got involved with her after a breakup and just reactively went along with her plans without really considering what I wanted or if she even wanted me to come along (and just because I came along didn't necessarily mean she wanted me along). I didn't want to be alone and so I made a choice to move across the country because I didn't know what else to do. I reacted and let that reaction take me from friends and possibilities to a new place and to an unhealthy relationship, in no small part due to my reactivity. I lurched from decision to decision without any real plan and honestly I'm lucky I've landed on my feet each time. Fortunately I now live in a place I like, with someone I love and a number of communities I'm proud to be a part of...and I've actually figured out how to consciously plan my life and focus on achieving what I want, because I actually know what I want. It just took me a good portion of my adult life to actually figure it out. And I'm still making some choices from reaction, but reading that update made me realize how much reaction has governed my life and how much it no longer does.

6-7-15 I've been considering my reactivity further. I don't think it's really that unusual for most people to live fairly reactive lives. Some never grow out of it and some people do, but it usually takes time. And sometimes you need those reactions.  My reactions have lead me to some interesting journeys and while I'm glad I'm more focused and conscious I don't know that I could've gotten to that without having the reactions I've had. They serve a purpose, actually as many purposes as I allow them to.

6-9-15 Today I meditated on a feeling of discomfort. I didn't think about it or try to categorize it or otherwise label it. I just felt it and was still with it. And by stilling myself with it, it became something I felt less and less. It just dissolved, acknowledged by me being still with it.

6-10-15 The hungry ghost is a being which can never get enough, has a distended belly and small mouth, basically an addict, when you think about it, but that addiction is motivated by scarcity of some sort at the root of what the ghost is trying satisfy. The ghost can never get enough because it isn't dealing with the scarcity or perceived scarcity. It's just focused on mindlessly trying to satisfy itself, with no clarity or conscious recognition of the source of its own misery.

6-11-15 Today I meditated on scarcity and reaction. I think the two go hand in hand. Reactions occur as a response to your environment, internal or external, and are partially derived from a feeling of scarcity, which in turn is fed by the reactions, because you are tunnel visioned into those reactions by your feeling of scarcity and not having enough. It blocks out everything else, and stops you from being in a place of conscious intention. I see this in my own life again and again. I've let my feelings of scarcity dictate my actions, really my reactions, and those same reactions have lead me back to scarcity in a cycle that repeats, each feeding each other and thus sustaining the cycle. Recognizing that cycle is hard. I feel depressed when I see how much my life has been a cycle of reaction and scarcity, but the fact that I can be aware of it, really aware of it, is and of itself some progress. I'm stepping back and seeing this cycle from a different place than I was able to before.

6-14-15 Today I walked along the Johnson Creek trail and meditated on a feeling of tension within me. I ended up exploring that tension as a form of vibration and worked to change the vibration frequency and as I did the tension dissolved. I saw how the tension was part of a cycle that was developed around the frequency the tension was part of and by changing the frequency, I released the tension.

6-16-15 I've been watching a new show called Damages, about a lawyer who is willing to do whatever it takes to win her cases. Makes for a fascinating pop culture entity to work with if it comes down to legal situations, but what I also find insightful about the show is the exploration of people's reactions. It's a show about reactions. Most of the people aren't consciously choosing so much as reacting to what is happening to them and those reactions work against them because the choice is already limited by the fact that its a reaction and someone has created specific limitations that affect what the person can or can't do.

6-19-15 The key to changing what you react to involves becoming still with your reaction. When it can no longer move you to act, it no longer has power over you. Then you can make choices from a place of awareness and that place allows you to knowingly make your choices and fully accept whatever consequences may come your way. It's harder and easier. Harder because you are knowingly making those choices and dealing with the consequences, but easier because you aren't letting life happen to you.

6-22-15 I feel like I'm developing a deeper relationship with stillness as a result of my work with it in context to reaction. Stillness provides a clarity of mind and being that purifies your awareness and allows you to recognize your reactions and how they are stopping you from seeing the bigger picture. In situations where I feel reactions arise, I use stillness to step back and see the blinders that the reactions are causing so that I can make conscious choices which are fully informed by all variables as opposed to what the reaction is focused on. And that in turn teaches me that what stillness can provide is an opportunity to be fully present with your environment, so that any movement that does occur happens on your schedule.