Whenever things happen that feel uncomfortable or irritating it is so very human to go to the place of "Ouch! That hurts. Now why did he or she do that?"
Although the intention of that statement is to express our consternation, it has embedded within it some beautiful words of wisdom.
When someone first does or says something that upsets us, our subconscious kicks in, the ninety-six per cent of the power which drives our behavior - the place where the shenpa occurs (the space of time when our trigger is activated).
When we recognize that an uncomfortable feeling place has been launched in us, we have the opportunity to make a choice.
Will we react...or respond? A reaction focuses on what has happened to us. A response takes a look at the SOUL VIEW of that moment.
What if we truly wondered WHY someone did or said something...and we wondered it in an impersonal, objective way as if we were an observer of the encounter and not a " victim"?
There is ALWAYS a back story to what someone says or does that we find upsetting. There is ALWAYS some history...an experience, some unhealed hurt that is driving their actions and behavior.
That BACK STORY is a critical part of the encounter.
And, if we could hear and understand that back story, we would be able to make sense of the person's behavior and not only would we release our feeling of upset or irritation, we could offer support and understanding to the other party involved in the interaction.
We could ask someone if something is concerning or troubling them when they speak words of anger or irritation...
We could look at someone's face or body reactions for evidence of an internal struggle or unexpressed emotion and hold space for them as they navigate those murky waters...
We could try to understand the intent behind someone's actions or words that felt confusing or troubling to us by asking them to help us understand their feelings.
When we open our hearts to TRULY LISTEN to what someone is telling us, we can find a way to ease their pain AND avoid future conflicts of this kind.
When caring and compassion direct our behavior, the words, "What Can I Do to Help?" (voiced out loud or in our hearts) are not far behind.
image from table9philosophy.wordpress.com.
originally printed August 31, 2012