Weekly Contemplations to Ignite the Soul

No. 7: Reaction vs. Response

Do you remember the last time you were angry? Did the anger come on suddenly? What was the trigger?

There is a world of difference between a reaction to a given situation and a response to it. Reactivity is an instantaneous emotional uprising within oneself as a result of an outer stimulus while a response requires a moment’s pause and an element of thoughtfulness as you determine the most appropriate response.

In reacting, there is a loss of center. In responding, you maintain your center.

“Do not allow hatred to rise up in you
Nor ever in anger return blow for blow
But keep your mind turned to the self whose within
And strive to be free from the bondage of sin”
                                                     -Atma Gita
Ohm for response and not reaction

Spiritual Practice

Meditation: Calming the Emotions


One of the lessons I learned from the great Swami Veda Bharati is that a Heart Centered Meditation calms the emotions. It is a highly effective practice for those times when you find yourself emotionally off balance.

1. Find a seated position with an erect spine and both feel firmly planted on the ground. 

2. Focus on your nostril breathing and the mantra peace, harmony, well-being or So Ham until your mind begins to calm.

3. From the forehead center, look down into the cave of the heart and visualize a flame of light in the center of the hear chakra. Repeat your mantra as if it is emanating from the center of the flame. Dwell here.

4. After a few minutes bring the attention back up to the Ajna Chakra (forehead center). Rest here as you gaze within.