************************************Denial covers the pain of the past * A blanket over the world * Lift a corner * Don't be afraid * Your life awaits you*************************************

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Being: Part Two

What do I mean by “Being” as opposed to “Doing”? I don't always do well with abstract concepts, so even though I have an overall impression of what this means, I have a very hard putting it into words. As I struggle to find a way to express these thoughts, one comparison I keep coming up with is this:

Doing is a one-night-stand while Being is a long-term relationship.

Last month, I wrote a blog about a class I attended on forgiveness. This class touched on many different aspects of forgiveness, but one I found very interesting was that apparently there are measurable physical changes that take place in the brain - an actual chemical response in the pleasure center - when one contemplates revenge.

Think about that, for a moment. When you are hurt by someone, you feel like crap, but then your brain lights up with the idea of revenge and the promise of a chemical high if you act on that impulse.

Why not take that little boost? Why would anyone want to feel anger, hurt, or despair when these feelings could be quickly replaced with a nice rush of adrenaline and dopamine?

An example

I’m hurt. My bruised ego cries out for proof of my worth and value. It wasn’t me! It was the other person who caused this! My brain is firing away, calling for revenge, and it is very tempting. I don't want all these feelings - anger, pain, grief...

This sucks!
I need to do something!

Again and again I think about getting back at the other person because I want these feelings to go away. I need to do something and taking revenge is the reaction that seems the most obvious…


Ah! I've taken my revenge. The pleasure center of my brain glows bright and I am washed in it’s warmth. I feel good.
But then, the rush wears off.

Have I actually proven my self-worth? Have I shown myself and the world that the other person is evil and deserved to suffer at my hands?

I start to wonder if I've actually brought myself down to the level of one who hurt me. I don't want to consdier this because I've already defined them as "bad".

I'm not like them!

The need to prove my self-worth is stronger than ever. In addition, now I have to live with the fear that the other person may exact revenge on me. I want everyone around me to see my side. Everytime someone tells me I'm right, I feel justified in my actions and relive a subtler version of the revenge-high.

Some time later, I'm still carrying around the fear and self-doubt. My own self-worth is wrapped up in the opinions of others and, like a junkie, I am craving that chemical rush. How far will I go to keep getting it?

The other possibility is Acting Consciously:

I say, No. I’m not going to let the other person control my life like that. I’m not going for that one-night-stand, even though I feel like crap.  

I'm so angry I can hardly breathe, but I look consciously at the feelings. I pick up a rubber bat and swing it at a big pillow, all alone in my basement. I yell out my anger,  all but demolishing that pillow, until I can't lift my arms, and then I sit on the floor and cry until I can’t cry anymore..

Now, with my body weary and my mind calm, I carefully consider my options. What steps do I need to take to be safe from this person in the future? I take action in the way that is in my best interest.

When I wake up the next morning, I remember the hurt, but I know I’m okay. I’m really okay… and I find I can let it go.

When I am reactive, it's just like a one-night-stand. I'm going to wake up in the morning and have to face the consequences of my actions, and any short-lived reward I got the night before is not going to seem worth it.

When I am acting consciously, I'm walking the life-path I'm meant to travel. It's going to have ups and downs, but I'm able to hear my inner guide, and therefore never feel alone. I'm peacefully enjoying the comfort of a long-term relationship with myself.

Reacting (doing) brings a momentary high, which we can come to crave, but acting consciously (being) brings serenity and self-love.


  1. You could not have put this more succinctly, Shen! I truly believe this is exactly how things work, if only we could act consciously in each and every situation with which we are faced. It takes practice and conscious effort.

  2. Thank you, Desiree - it really isn't easy, sometimes, is it? I think knowing this is the goal will help me be less reactive in future situations. When I was asked what I learned from the experiences I had last week I couldn't really come up with a response - but here it is. It was a lesson in listening to my inner guide and acting consciously. Sometimes it is in not doing what is in our best interest which is the best teacher.

    Now, if I can put this realization into action in my life... then I will have gained something.

  3. there is the moment after that makes the moment of revenge pathetic. Revenge should never be an option.
    Good thought provoking post

  4. Shen, what you said makes perfect sense. Revenge becomes less of an option when I know that there will be consequences for all of my actions. Like you, I don't want to be brought down to the level of my abusers. Thank you for sharing this example of how the mind works.

  5. Hi Shen I like the distinction between reacting and acting consciously.

    The way you contrast them is great too.


Please feel free to leave your thoughts in a comment.

Co Creation

Co Creation
We create the life we live

Love your inner child...

...for she holds the key...

...to your personal power.
A lesson is woven into each day.
Together they make up the tapestries of our lives.