What does it take to go beyond the cycle of action and reaction? On a daily basis I see guests at the Chopra Center caught in the trap of emotional turbulence. Boundaries crossed without permission generate pain.
The pain provokes a response that is intended to diminish the distress, but often generates a new round of anguish. Over time, conflicted relationships lead to festering emotional wounds, which manifest as physical distress and illness.
Almost always, there is historical validity to the stories we tell that explain our pain and grievance. The question we have to ask is whether the stories are serving us. Sadly, it is often easier to recognize that they are not than it is to write a new chapter. Changing the plot starts with creating some space and time to allow the beginning of healing. If people cannot interact without an exchange degenerating into an argument, they need to take a time-out. Once some calm is introduced, the parties must decide if they are prepared to transform the relationship into something that provides more comfort than pain.
Each person must recognize the need for healthy boundaries. Every one of us has core ego needs - to be respected and acknowledged. When we can see through the layers of pain and distrust, we recognize that we all seek similar goals in life - happiness, love, meaning,health, peace.
We are at an important evolutionary juncture. We need to decide what is more important to us - being right or having peace. If being right is our priority, we'll never have peace, for to be right requires an opponent who is wrong. Ourantagonist, of course, takes a mirroredstance, holding us to be the evil one.
It is the nature of the human mind to see life in terms of duality - good and evil, aggressor and victim, strong and weak. As long as the Cartesian concept of, "I think, therefore I am," permeates our collective mind, our differences will predominate over our unity. As we expand our identity, recognizing that "I am, therefore I think," we can honor our diversity and our universality. Our beingness can take priority over our beliefs.
The commitment to peace has no "buts." Once made, it reaps rewards in our bodies, minds, relationships and communities. A culture of peace is the only course to soothe our personal and collective pain. It starts with how we treat ourselves, our partners, our families and our neighbors. It is a practice worth cultivating.Posted by IntentBlogon Tue, Mar 27, 2007, 8:50 am PDTBy David Simon, IntentBlog