When we face a life-threatening situations such as the current pandemic, our inner fears can easily generate emotional reactions.
“This is so unfair!”
“I don’t like wearing a mask!”
“I won’t do it!”
A calm, measured response, on the other hand, is a very different animal. It’s a deliberate, unruffled response, born of a well-grounded, intuitive sense of what’s right.
Responsibility is the mature ability to respond realistically and usefully, instead of merely reacting.
“I may not like wearing a mask, but I want to help protect myself and others from the virus.”
“While it might not be the perfect answer, a mask in no way harms me, and may help us all.”
A responsible person is able to rise above self-involving emotions and find joy in being accountable for others.
Accountable persons are able to act independently, courageously, compassionately, with calm wisdom, wisely adapting to what’s known.
In situations that seem to be beyond our control, there’s an understandable but lamentable tendency to point fingers and look for somebody to blame.
In the present situation, while it certainly appears that ill-informed decisions have been made, righteous anger really does nothing to ameliorate the situation, much less promote realistic solutions.
What’s a good first step toward taking personal responsibility?
The first step is to understand that YOU are in charge of your life and health.
YOU are responsible for your feelings and actions.
It is up to YOU to consider the options, make wise decisions that will protect you and others, and change your actions as our understanding evolves.
And what about those very human instant knee-jerk reactions that try to overwhelm us, born of our fears?
A really good first response is to step back, acknowledge the emotions the situation is evoking in you, and engage in practices that will take you out of emotional reactivity into a state of balance.
The answer is in our brains. A study at Duke University some years ago found that raw emotions and calm, wise intuitive feelings are localized in two separate, mutually exclusive centers of the brain.
What this means is that if you can put all of your energy into the brain area where calmness, deep focus, and “solution-consciousness” reside, it will automatically draw energy out of the centers of raw reactive emotion.
Fortunately, there are excellent practices for shifting our energy toward calm maturity, at times when there no life-threatening challenges lie before us.
Mindfulness meditation is one such tool that can help you learn to observe your life calmly, and become less emotionally reactive.
Other powerful meditative practices make use of attention and the calming power of deliberate breathing. For example, Kriya Yoga very efficiently puts us in touch with our essential Self, which is beyond the reach of disturbing emotions and is ever calm, peaceful, loving and joyful.
These practical tools will teach you to live in the moment and wisely process the input from the world around you. They will develop your intuition and help you make wiser, “solution- consciousness” decisions.
As you become less reactive, you’ll naturally exert a calming influence on others who’ll enjoy bathing in your peaceful, accepting and compassionate aura.
When we gain deliberate access to the centers where calm concentration is localized in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, we find that we are much better able to form long-term plans and persevere in achieving them.
The coronavirus is transmitted through the air; thus social distancing, wearing masks, and wash hands are effective “superconscious” solutions.
It also makes good sense to prepare for tough times when medicines and other essential supplies might be in short order, by having on hand several months of any medications on which you are dependent, as well as a supply of kitchen staples.
On the other hand, stocking up on perishable items and hoarding what you don’t need makes little sense and is socially irresponsible.
Part of being responsible is to accept our circumstances as they are while working to improve them.
Small actions matter. You could call your congressman, make masks, support local small businesses, do the shopping for health-compromised or elderly neighbors, and share the bounty of your garden. Caring for others is a tremendously powerful path of action that will bring you a corresponding flow of joy.
For information about the services we offer at Pacific Naturopathic, please give us a call at 650-961-1660, use the convenient Contact Form to get in touch, or follow the link to: Consultations – Pacific Naturopathic. Thank you!