Monday, December 20, 2010

Sarah Palin, FYI Reacting Precludes Responding

Mrs. Todd Palin, Hawaii December 2009, without makeup or hairstyling or wardrobe
For a long time quite a while ago I studied what is called the 4th Way.  Brought to the west by G.I. Gurdjieff, and transmitted by J.G. Bennett to the group who formed The Claymont Society, the teachings were designed to assist us in transforming ourselves. We learned that man could be said to have three centers: thinking (consciousness), feeling and moving (body).  These three centers each have their own brain, if you will—thus my domain name.  We also learned that we act, by and large, automatically.  We are asleep almost all of the time, even though we would say we are awake. To become what we can—and need to—become, we need to truly wake up.

Our moving brain is what allows us to drive a car and not have to pause to think before slamming on the brakes when the car in front of us suddenly stops.  We also do not have to remember to breathe, or to keep our hearts beating.  Learning how to type is great once it is automatic. Usually, this is all good, except when our feelings take over our bodies.

If we do not learn how to exert some sort of control over our feelings, our emotions run rampant. In a pique of anger or distress we can summon up enormous power that can equally help or destroy.  Where does the superhuman strength come from that allows us to lift heavy objects off a trapped loved one?  At the same time, from where does the ability or even planning to strike out at a perceived foe come?  Only when we can separate ourselves from our feelings do we have the possibility of choosing our next actions.

In our normal states our thinking brain simply serves as a storage system. We replay over and over the memories that tie in to our emotions, and more often than not, these are negative ones. Yet when we find ways to still our minds—perhaps through meditation—we can watch what the sensitive screen displays without letting any one event get caught in the instant replay. The ability to separate ourselves from this screen opens us up to new ideas, new possibilities and creative thought while giving us the possibility of true consciousness, even if briefly.

Mrs. Palin likes to proffer platitudes, but doesn't see that her own actions belie her words. This tweet by the bitter twitter is vitally important because it demonstrates that she has no idea that there is a world where people don't react, but instead, respond. She slams her famous guest, Kate, for failing to 'man up' and be a mighty meat-eating, rain- and cold-surviving matron like her.

Reacting is part and parcel of being asleep and acting automatically. We see, over and over again, how she simply reacts to things: perceived slights in particular. Life holds so much more! One needn't simply suffer from reacting which usually produces the opposite effect that one was after. If one takes the time to become aware of one's emotions, and thus rises above one's automatic thoughts and actions, one has a far better chance to guide the body (speech, gesture, dress, behavior) in a measured and positive response.

Life provides circumstances, and then we truly do have a choice of simply reacting to them (most often negatively) or taking the time to formulate a response.  I won't hold my breath waiting for Mrs. Palin to begin a study of anything, much less the 4th way. The good part is many people sense, inside themselves, that she misses the mark on even her most 'heartfelt' snipes.

[For a simple exercise of how much control we have over our bodies... try this:  hold both hands out in front of you.  Rotate your hands/arms in a clockwise direction, both of them.  Now, hold both arms so your fingertips are facing each other.  Again, try to rotate both hands in a clockwise direction... :)]
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