Don't Be Hooked

Someone looks at you wrong or makes a snide remark and there you go.  You are hooked.  Your temple tightens and your blood pressure rises.  You feel hurt and become angry.  You've been pulled down into the muddy murk of the ego.

These reactions are normal and part of being human.  Research shows that our bodies react to social pain, such as being slighted or treated unfairly, much the same as physical pain.  Typically our initial reaction is to brood, get angry, and then when our emotions become painful to repress our feelings.  Blood pressure rises, body chemistry changes, and inflammation sets in.

Acting upon our anger or emotional hurt can often lead to unwanted results.  In a rage we can do things we later regret.  We can hurt someone, physically or mentally if we respond without reflecting.

Suppressing our feelings can be just as detrimental.  Suppressing our emotions can result in the emotion being magnified and stored.  Stored emotions cause distortion and leave us less capable of dealing with the world objectively.  Repressed memories and emotions are a major source of  stress and mental ailments.

Another choice is to observe.  Create a gap between trigger and response.  Mentally lean back away from and not into your thoughts or initial reactions.  Use your higher power of observation, your awareness.  Watch your emotions and try to observe without getting tangled up in the surging biochemical reaction of your lower mind.  Acknowledge your feelings - both good and bad.  Seek understanding, learn what you can without acting or repressing.  See the situation clearly and experience it fully, then let it pass through you.

After we have paused and are able to see clearly, then we can respond compassionately to almost any situation.  Don't let yourself get hooked.

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living

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