In 1995, I went back to school to finish my BA I had started in Montreal a few years prior. I had studied psychology and dance and decided to add a few business courses.
I chose a program that gave me freedom. It was a “University Without Walls” format that allowed me to mix in online and in-person classes from anywhere. At the end, to complete the program, I had to submit a research paper that counted for 6 credits.
I was looking for a way to blend in all my interests including coaching, movement and psychology, which was not a small feat to attain.
I was fortunate to have the coolest guy ever as my a project adviser!
He rode his bicycle to the college, wore funky clothes and was pretty much open to anything, which completely fit my profile. Because of the nature of the research paper I had to “document” my thesis, I couldn’t just write “new age information”.
My adviser recommended a few books and among them was the book from Victor Frankl, “Man’s search for meaning”. Frankl had survived concentration camps and was alive to tell his story.
Man’s Search for Meaning is a 1946 book by Viktor Frankl chronicling his experiences as an Auschwitz concentration camp inmate during World War II. The book details his psychotherapeutic method, which involves identifying a purpose in life to feel positively about, and then immersively imagining that outcome.
The most important part of his message was that no matter what the circumstances, men/women’s freedom could not be taken away completely because we have the ability to choose our response. Even in the face of the worst atrocities, we can choose to respond humanely.
In lieu of the election and now post election events I have been, probably like everyone else, digging deep and asking myself where I stand and what to do in regards to our current reality. It seems the contrast is sharper than before. That applies to every situation in life, business, or work where we are called to make a choice.
We are being called to make choices, take action or not, in response to external circumstances.
To seek the answers to those questions and many others I follow the same trail.. I go inside my heart.
This is a time of awakening for a lot of us. I believe that no matter what the external circumstances, we always have a choice in our response. Yet, a distinction must be made between “reaction” and “response”.
Reaction Versus Response
Here are a couple of dictionary definitions.
Reaction– “an action performed or a feeling experienced in response to a situation or event”.
Response– “is a verbal or written answer to something”.
For me, the major distinction between them lay in the timing.
Having a reaction is usually something that happens quickly, hence the “knee jerk reaction” expression. Being able to react quickly in the face of danger is paramount.
Having a response literally means “having the ability to respond”. Being capable of thinking and feeling; then making a choice on the kind of response we want to offer.
Now bear with me.. a reaction comes in handy, especially if our life is threatened.
When things get tricky sometimes, things appear to be dangerous when in fact they are not.
It is not for me to say whether or not there is danger at the moment. I see people reacting as if there is danger.
Truth of the Highest Order
In the midst of that, I want to know what the truth is. Not the “little truth of the moment” but the TRUTH of the highest order.
I want to choose my response in relations to my higher truth, the truth of my heart.
Our “higher self”, our “heart center” knows what the Truth is. It holds both a deeper and more elevated perspective.
In order to hear or feel that truth, we need to quiet the mind and calm down the “knee jerk reactions” to fear, especially those generated by past experiences.
How do you do this?
Your body/mind has to get quiet.
Whatever you do to go deeper inside yourself, you must do; breathe deeply, practice yoga, meditate, walk in the woods, listen to quiet music, or dance your heart out. Whatever gets you to go deeper inside yourself, do it!
The winds may be blowing hard yet go find your “roots”. You know, because your “higher self” knows that “this too shall pass”.
You choose your response from your higher self’s perspective and then take action.
That is where true power lies!
We all must do what “feels right” for us. If marching feels “right”, then march. If getting involved in an organization committed to human rights feels “right” to you, then get involved.
If meditating and praying for world peace is what feels “right” to you, then meditate and pray.
One thing is for sure, this is a time of awakening.
Being courageous means standing for what we believe is true.
Only our heart can get us there..
When searching for meaning, are you ready to follow your heart?