Learning to Respond, Not React

Tara Brach


To begin with a quote that's pretty much anonymous although I've seen versions of it from Christian philosophers and Buddhists and Gandhi. This. Is it the thought becomes the word? The word manifest as the deed, the deed develops into the habit. Habit hardened into character character gives birth to destiny. So Watch your thoughts with care and let them spring from love born out of respect for all beings. So this is an expression of Karma which really is saying that causes lead to a fax that when we have certain beliefs and thoughts. They create certain feelings then turn into actions and the actions become habits and those habits end up really creating our sense of identity and if they're really hardened turn become our destiny. And we tend to keep repeating and repeating and repeating we're creatures of habit. When they create our destiny when they're based in fear these habits, they really become the block and our lives to accessing all. We can be to accessing happiness and creativity, and in a deep way a sense of our spirit. I say that one of the deepest. Expressions of despair that comes my way as when someone will report that I've been repeating the same pattern of pushing people away are grasping on or undermining myself or whatever it is all my life for as long as I can remember. There's a real feeling of despair because how can I ever change? So deeply grooved. So tonight's reflection will really be on how we can awaken from these habitual chains of thinking feeling and acting us stimulus reaction cycle that we get caught into that really combined our lives and the title of the talk is really the freedom of responding not reacting. Okay And I think this is a very universal. Theme in terms of transformation because every one of us if we're in any way suffering. Were suffering because there's some patterning that has locked in this rooted in fear and the we keep playing out over and over again and it's confining our sense of being. That's why we're suffering. So the way I'd like to structure this is around. Three key teachings that have. Really, shaped my my life, my spiritual life in a very deep way and I think of them as invitations each of these three teaching surveys of in a way free ourselves are waking up out of a chain-reaction. Okay. And the first one the way I language it it's really please don't believe your thoughts. That's the first one. And the second one is pleased just pause and come back into presence. And the third one is pleased. Remember love. In some way whatever but remember low. So. That's going to be kind of the architecture if you will of our of our reflection together these invitations. But. We'll begin by taking a look at what happens in our brain when we're caught in the stimulus reaction chain in the ones and they're in there very often relational where we get triggered and we go into this this chain of reactivity. and. My favorite illustration comes from Dr Dan Siegel who's a psychiatrist, his friend also, and he's one of the leaders in what's called interpersonal neuro biology and what Dan does is he says think of the brain and he says any print picks up his hand like this. He says think of the brain like this that your wrist leading into the palm of your hand it's like spinal cord going into the skull. So this is the brain stem. And then he says, this thumb is your limbic. System. And this has to do with arousal and emotions and relationships. You've got the brain stem that's really regulating your body and it's fight flight freeze. And then you've got the thumb that's emotions. It's Olympic system and he says these forefingers, Casey it like this is the Cortex, the frontal cortex. This is what lousy us to perceive the outside world and think and reason, and the prefrontal Cortex is just the kind of bottom part of my knuckles right down here is really the source of mindfulness atonement empathy compassion. So this is the brain.

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