I don’t mind what’s happening. –Krishnamurti
Although our species is fundamentally lacking in self-awareness, we are all capable of profound insights like that of Krishnamurti. In the Simple Reality Project we are collecting, synthesizing and disseminating these atypical insights from within a matrix from which our species can use create a new sustainable paradigm, a transformed identity and healthier behavior patterns. In this essay we focus on how to transform our self-destructive behavior into life-enhancing self-expression.
In the matrix of Simple Reality we have chosen the word “response” as our label for the True self “not resisting” or “accepting” what happens in life. “Reaction” then is the label for the behavior of the false self after it has been “triggered.” It is not hard to see that 7 billion mostly unconscious people “reacting” most of the time is a recipe for the catastrophe we experience unfolding around us every day.
There have been many insightful people over the millennia who have intuited this problem. However, it is possible to have a profound insight without fully realizing its importance. We have chosen Raymond Chip Tafrate, a clinical psychologist who specializes in the treatment of anger (a common trigger), to illustrate our point.
Realizing the power of response in creating a new identity and life-transforming behavior Tafrate begins by focusing on the implications of reactions for physical health. “The expression (and suppression) of anger is linked with increased health risks that include stroke, heart disease, pain and immune system problems.”
Anger not only affects the health of individuals but of human communities in a profound way. “Tafrate has spent most of his career working in criminal justice, where anger is often entangled with violence and substance abuse. Still, over and over, he has seen treatment work: parolees who stay out of prison by learning not to react to street provocations; abusive parents who become gentler. ‘These skills [how to respond] can save lives,’ he says.” [emphasis added]
Oh they can do much more than that!
Insight # 84: Nothing can oppose or retard the impulse of passion [a reaction] but a contrary impulse [a response]. –David Hume
- “Response and Reaction,” in this blog and also in the print version The ABC’s of Simple Reality: The Encyclopedia of Self-Transformation, Vol II (2018), by Roy Charles Henry, pages 173-178.
- Wollan, Malia. “How to Become Less Angry.” The New York Times Magazine. January 27, 2019, page 22.