- Thoughts for inspired living

April 3, 2008

Who’s Responding?

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:31 am

Chances are you’ll run into a challenge today. We all do. It can run the gamut from insignificant to meaningful. The question is how will you respond? More to the point, who will respond?

We react to a certain stimuli with a certain behavior and once in a blue lunar cycle we throw in the clutch and take the time to choose a response – a more useful one than we first came up with. This is a wonderful practice that keeps you from being more than a stimulus/response robot.

The question you need to ask yourself when responding to one of life’s challenges is: “Who is responding, me or my ego?”

Chances are it’s the conditioned you, the ego, that’s responding with some pretty predictable behavior. If you are in a relationship, prove this predictability to yourself. Consider this: There is something that your partner, child, sister, brother, mother, father, friend or foe can say or do that has you respond in a certain way, every time. The converse is true as well. There is something you can say or do that will elicit the exact same response from them every time.

When you get this recognition, you’ll know it’s your ego responding. There is something to the old schoolyard ditty, “Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me.” Who’s hurt, you or your ego?

The conditioned you has built a set of patterns that run your life. Imagine for a moment, that an alien ship has landed in your backyard. You go out to greet the pilot and she speaks to you in a language you don’t understand. Unbeknown to you, she has just called you the vilest name you can think of. How hurt are you by that comment? You aren’t because you are not conditioned to it.

Your first, conditioned response to something sets off the machine in you and in the person you are interacting with. No longer is it a person to person conversation – it’s an ego to ego conversation – your conditioned patterns talking to theirs. You already know how this movie is going to turn out, so you would be served well to select another film in the giant Cineplex of your mind.

There are myriad responses after your first predictable one. When you recognize that you’re in such a situation again, throw in the clutch and select a response further down the line. This is the only time you will exercise free will in your life. Where’s the free will in an automated response?

I learned this exercise from Jerry Stocking and have written about it before but it’s always valuable to remind ourselves that we do have choices.

When you select a response that is further down the line, you have removed the ego from the equation and you offer something new to another. This will confuse them and also interrupt the machine to machine conversation you were about to have. You’ll get a different response from them by offering a different response and therefore have a real conversation – not one that’s been scripted.

By doing this, you also become the stimulus rather than the response and there is so much more aliveness in the conversation and it has a chance to go somewhere rather than the dead end it always winds up in.

I’m curious if you’ll begin the practice today of asking yourself, “Who’s responding?”

All the best,


Be Sociable, Share!