Act, not react
Reaction; it’s the basic thing we do. We do it every day, every moment and everywhere with everyone. And as the basic law of nature, behind every reaction, there is an action. And most of the times in our life, the one producing the action is other than us, there is the second person. All we do is produce an unconscious reaction to it, which is an automatic process almost in every case. There comes an action, we produce reaction. There comes a stimulus, and we produce a response to it. There is cause, and there is effect. It’s natural.
But there is one very important thing to consider in between here. In every action and reaction process, there is a very small gap, negligible one. As soon as someone says something to us, we have very small time span before we finally produce some response to it. That, the gap between the stimulus and response, sensation and reaction, is one of the very important aspects of human life. It is the moment, which defines our happiness. It is a powerful weapon, tool in our life, if only we can use it consciously for our own good, and for everyone else’s. We can choose what to respond to what. We can choose what to say for what. We can choose what to do in what situation. We can think what to think.
We can choose to smile or frown, we can choose to be happy or angry. We can choose to understand, or bully. We can choose to fight back, or spread love.
But most of the time, we just fail to recognize this gap, the gap between stimulus and response. And we start playing a ‘blame game’. We start saying this was not my fault, situation was not in my favor, there was nothing I could do, he started it first, he knew everything, and he was stupid. Well, are you intelligent enough to understand the situation and produce an action consciously? Don’t you have the option to produce the action according to your desire?
Buddha/Osho says, “Don’t go blindly after the sensations, but instead, just watch them. Be conscious about what is happening.” This is even broader than just being conscious and acting according to our desire. They say you don’t need to hate anything because it hurts you or like it because it provides you good sensation. Just watch them, stay neutral as you try to become conscious. Soon then you’ll realize, what you felt bad is not really bad. What you thought you hate is not really worth hating. Your pain is not really yours. Even the good things you see are not really the good things you actually believe in. Your ego disappears. Your “I” disappears. You understand everything is changing every moment. There is nothing to stick to. You will not suffer anymore. And then you begin to smile. You smile without any cause.
Be a player who plays the game, not the ball who is being played. Drive the car to your destination; don’t just be driven by a moving car. Act, not react.