The Difference Between Reaction and Response (To Life)

How a response instead of a reaction to an event can change the unfolding. (And our emotional well-being).

In every instance of our life, all we have is Now and all we have to ‘deal with’ is the present moment, however it presents itself.

Whatever comes up, we can chose to respond to the event from a place of unconscious reaction, or from a conscious place of response to what is, without making it (or other people) right or wrong, without having an opinion about it at all.

We can chose to simply leave the story out and look at it from a fresh perspective of Spirit.

Life simply Is – regardless of our opinions about it.

Suffering always comes from arguing with Life: Either about this moment or on insisting on how it should have been. Life will never conform to how we think it should be and will always win. Argue with it and you will suffer. ~Maria Erving

A reaction could be described as a re-action to a situation, an action that is met with the same energy.

Reacting to war for example with a defensive energy only creates more violence, while meeting it from a peaceful place allows peace to move in and direct the unfolding of the situation.

When a reaction comes from a judgmental attitude – which often can be based in some kind of past experience where we have felt victimized – the need of defense arises.

  • Reaction comes from the ego.
  • A response on the other hand comes from the spirit.

It looks at the situation with freshness and are open to it.

A response can be totally unaffected by emotions, it simply Is, and then from that place a natural response arises that either moves us to some kind of (constructive) action or simply a peaceful understanding and allowing for the other part to be as it is without judging it. (Whether it’s a person or event/situation).

It’s allowed to be, because it already is, and what we think about it (our opinions) has no meaning other than our attitude and approach to it determines how we feel about it.

What happens in the present moment is not an obstacle that needs to be overcome or get beyond (thus reacting to it with defense or resistance), thinking the next moment will be better (The next moment never arrives as it’s always put out there in the future, postponed, and the Now moment is basically wasted).

The stories we make about the events are what makes us suffer and react from an dysfunctional place.

This should not have happened, it should not be this way, they should not have said that, I don’t want this, I want that over there, when will it manifest for me, when will  get what I want” (the endless waiting-game for fulfillment for the ego, who will never be satisfied with the present moment, and always wants to escape it).

An endless stream of stories told in the mind, by the mind and then us (as in ego) mindlessly reacting to them!

What if we just looked at the event.

Look at it, without any story about it.

It’s not right, and it’s not wrong, it simply is.

Notice how your mind reacts to that; how does it feel to look at something and not name it, not label it, not judge it, justify it, or even understand it?

Just look at it and feel what arises from a deeper place from within that has nothing to with your personal likes and dislikes about the situation.

The mind can go into total confusion, even panic, because it’s ‘job’ (it has been conditioned and taught that) is to protect us, but when we look at it more deeply we can see that that which we think we need protection from, is also mind-made!

When we don’t pay that much attention to the one within that comments on everything, has opinions about everything and so on, the mind gets out of a job and will naturally resist it at first as it is used to run the show so to speak, so that can be expected.

Look at that too with curiosity and openness.

How can you respond to it instead of react to it? Feel the difference.

It’s very interesting, isn’t it? 🙂

Some old posts that you might like:

“All our choices matter”:

“Being judgmental is what cause us to suffer”:


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