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We’re Responsible For How We Respond

October 19, 2020

During meditation this morning, John dropped something on the bed. It was probably his phone or notebook. Quite the benign action on his part — At least from his perspective.

From my heightened state of sensitivity, that action resulted in me experiencing a jarring effect. It almost felt aggressive. I wasn’t quite leaning against the bed, but my mid back touched the bed, and that slight connection allowed for the vibrations to disrupt my energy field in an abrupt way.

If I were to respond back to John to his simple, non-confrontational act with what the experience felt like, he would have been on the receiving end of aggression. That jolt felt aggressive to me.

However, from the heightened state of meditation it almost made me laugh to consider that John’s intention was to trigger my sensitivity in any way. Likely from his vantage point, him dropping a small item on the bed had no connection to me, despite me experiencing something to the contrary.

He was unconscious, unaware, and ignorant to my felt experience to his behavior. That being said, his intentions were completely pure.

I didn’t enjoy the experience, and I don’t want to experience that jarring, aggressive effect while meditating in the future. Here are some ways I could handle it:

  1. Respond with the same intensity of my perceived experience – I could have told John in an aggressive tone that him dropping whatever it was on the bed was intensely disturbing while I’m meditating. I could have attempted to elicit the same emotion in him that his behavior had upon me.
  2. Communicate in a calm tone about my experience – Because he is not me and in the same position and state of sensitivity, he was not aware of my experience. I can tell him what my experience was and request that he set his items down gently while meditating.
  3. Change my behavior so I’m not affected by items being dropped on the bed – Most of the time, I’m not touching the bed while meditating. I was feeling a bit lazy today, but during future meditations, I can separate myself from the bed.
  4. Don’t say anything, don’t change my behavior, and accept this experience – If I don’t want to have a conversation or take responsibility for making a change, I can accept the possibility that there will be times while meditating when something gets dropped on the bed. I can opt to allow this experience to bother me or do what I can to let it go.

As I continued to meditate following this experience, it became clear to me what has happened to our ability to communicate with one another. Our sensitivities are triggered, and we respond like is mentioned in the first example. We perceive others’ differences of opinions or experiences like they are attacks. The intent of the other must be malicious from a different vantage point.

We’ve become intolerant to differences of opinions from our polar vantage points. We dismiss that the experiences that led one to their vantage point are valid, furthering the divide between vantage points.

What if we valued relationships more than the need for our vantage point to be the correct option?

What if I could see that the aggressive experience felt through my heightened sensitivity did not come from a perspective of aggression? What if I could help John understand my experience by communicating from a place that was congruent with his intention versus from my felt experience?

I think it may be obvious that choosing options 2 and 3 are what will support our relationship. It is what will help strengthen our relationship versus create a division.

From my vantage point, we are responsible for how we respond. We can opt to converse from the place that another is arriving from the place of best intent or we can assume our perceived experience is their intent.

Even if we believe we were wronged, war can only exist with two sides. Are all these battles really worth it?

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