Learn to Respond, Not React

by | Aug 11, 2011

This powerful Buddhist philosophy is so very important in maintaining peace and calm in our daily lives.  If I asked you to tell me what it is that you really want out of life…what would the answer be?  At first blush, your answer may be things that are tangible…but if you have those things, do they necessarily bring happiness?  Do they bring peace?  If your answer is peace, calm and complacency, those ‘tangibles’ will naturally flow to you, because you are open to receiving.  You are in a state of joy, love, appreciation, gratitude…and when we are in this state, all good things naturally occur.  It is the law of attraction in action.  What we think about, we bring about.  So if we are in state of focusing on peace, being kind to others, responding with love even if we may not be receiving love at that moment, love will show up.  I bring this up because this philosophy pertains to events that go on in our lives all the time.  And the way that we respond to them is the key to being happy, or being sad.

Today everyone in my complex received an email from an angry neighbor ‘telling’ on his next-door neighbor, about something as silly as picking up after their dog.  I absolutely agree that we are responsible for our pets, and should pick up after them.  But apparently the dog owner did not want to be told that, and reacted harshly, and the accuser thought they would ‘get back at the harsh reacting neighbor’ by sending an angry email to everyone in the development, ‘telling’ everyone about the dog owner’s temper, and adding fuel to the fire. Now what do you think this precipitated?  All it did was get everyone involved in this ridiculous argument, and give everyone something negative to talk about.  All it did was spread bad news.  And frankly, if the dog owner did get verbally ‘nasty’ with the accuser, that is his own issue.  The accuser’s job is to voice his concern, and walk away.  But instead he chose to bad-mouth the dog owner to the whole community, and spread negative energy into everyone’s in-box.  I tell this story to make a point. If we shift from reacting to responding, and having compassion at that, maybe we will be one step closer to happiness.  In fact, I am absolutely sure if it! Can you imagine if someone actually wrote a nice email to the neighborhood, telling everyone how we had high winds one day, and he found his outdoor furniture moved to his front door so it wouldn’t blow in the water (we live on a canal).  A kind neighbor must have done that.  Thank  you!   Or how every time he goes to use the community grill by the pool,  the gas tank is full of propane, thank you neighbor who keeps filling it up! Or, thank you neighbor for bringing my trash cans back to my door! I appreciate it!  The list goes on… if we would take the time to be in an ‘attitude of gratitude’, we would all be happier, we would be in a more peaceful place, we would attract more happy peaceful events into our lives…so learn to respond, not react, and spread some happy!