Living Our Dharma - Responding Instead of Reacting

How do we live in the world without losing our peace?

If somebody has insulted you, what do you do? The immediate impulse is usually to snap back, to get even. We want to protect our honor, but this “honor” is such a false notion of the Self. If we allow ourselves to react, while it may feel good in the moment, the effect will bring even more pain later on.  

When a conflict with another arises, it is the perfect time to really pay attention to what is happening inside. If we are truly committed to our dharma to maintain peace, we do not allow ourselves to react.  

It’s a wonderful practice that can be done every day and in every situation – to always pay attention to whether you are reacting or responding. Responding requires bringing a little space – considering the effect of our actions on the recipient, thinking about how she or he may react in turn. Taking some time to think through the consequences of our behavior helps us to stop from reacting. 

This practice creates an opportunity for us to grow inside.  We develop forbearance and patience. We develop the ability to absorb things in a different way, and transmute them. If we always live like a rubber band, ready to snap back, we live a very volatile life.

To maintain our grace, no matter what happens, is a practice of kindness to ourselves. That kindness is, “May I not subject myself to situations that drain me or that take my peace away.”

Return to Daily Inspiration