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A Reactive Mind Will Remain In The Dark - Grasshopper

As long as our reactions remain patterned, there's no room for anything new to shine through.

It's been demonstrated to me that the more you move away from your patterns, the closer you get to waking up. Patterns keep you asleep; noticing your patterns stirs you towards waking.

Jerry Stocking has a long history of waking people up. One of the exercises he has you do towards that goal is to start noticing that there is more than one response to a stimulus. He'll have you partner up with another person and one of you will say a word that comes to your mind. The other person is to give you their 5th response to the word. That means they notice their patterned response, which is generally 1st, and let it go by. Then they notice their 2nd, 3rd, and 4th responses and let them go by. Then they offer you back their 5th response. You at that point take the word they offer you and do the same routine: notice and let your first four responses go by and then offer them back the fifth. Then you switch to another number for a response like three or seven or fourteen. This goes back and forth until the time for the exercise expires.

Best as I can tell, the exercise has two purposes:

  1. To show you that you have more options when it comes to responding which allows you to be much more flexible in any situation, thereby having you become the stimulus rather than the response.

  2. To move you away from the darkness of your tightly packed patterns to an area where much more light is available. The light helps wake you up.

There are plenty of uses for reactive patterns - jumping out of the way of an oncoming bus comes to mind. But, for the most part, our reactive, patterned mind keeps us stuck right where we are constantly getting us run over in life.

You can wake up a little bit more each time you notice you are about to offer a patterned reaction and then wait for another response further down the line and offer it instead.

Jerry likens patterned reactions to a lizard on a log, flicking its tongue out and capturing a fly every time one comes by. They only have one response. If you only have one response in life, life will become very confining and very stale. When you start to wake up, you find there's a lot more on the menu than shoofly pie.

Moving away from your patterns is a way of unwinding them and making them more porous and open to light. Noticing your patterns is the first step. When you start noticing your patterned reactions, you recognize how predictable and robotic you are. This noticing becomes a stepping-stone to expanding your options by choosing a response rather than being lizard-like again.

If you want more light in your life, notice that your reactions will only get you the same thing they got you last time. Then start moving away from your reactions by moving down the line and choosing a response. It's a refreshing way to wake up.

All the best,

John



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