Ruzbeh N. Bharucha
Whether we like it or not, we are being manipulated often many times in a day. Whether we except it or not, our thoughts, words and actions are maneuvered, often many times in a day. Whether we want it or not, we hand over our power and peace of mind, to be crushed or mishandled, often many times in a day.
The sad part of all this is very often nobody is even aware of playing the role of the manipulator or being manipulated; enacting the alpha dog or the one playing the victim; handing over our power or becoming a tyrant.
Welcome to the art of creating hell for oneself. It is really simple in reality. Terribly and shamelessly natural. It comes forth from the self inflicted survival instinct, called the reflex philosophy.
There are certain physical points in the body, which if touched at the right place with the right force brings forth an involuntary and an automatic spontaneous response. The individual is not even part of the response, as everything happens automatically.
Like if you caress a dog at a certain point the quadruped fur-ball’s particular leg will begin to shake. Of course, the wagging of the tail is not a reflex. It is all heart. The reflex of the tail is imbedded in the heart strings and when the heart misses a beat the tail wags. When it experiences fear the tail goes between the legs. None of this is a reflex action. But whether a friend or a foe if a particular point on the dog’s body is touched or scratched, the poor mutt’s leg will begin to tap dance.
But I am not talking about the reflex action. I am talking about a very dangerous spontaneous response not associated with our body but worse associated with our mind and our tongue and then seeping into our heart, our consciousness and then into our very being.
If there is one thing that has the stamp of the very Devil then that thing is the….the soul crippling, the sanity obliterating, the happiness annihilating….. the self destructive knack nurtured and enhanced by all human beings; the sad genius like aptitude to react rather than act.
Take a look at our lives. Contemplate or remember occasions where you have lost the plot; where you behaved like an unwashed arse; where you went against everything logical and rational; where you indulged in a manner that you would never ever expect of yourself; that from the pinnacle of self respect you dived into the bowels of self loathing; and, and, and, nine out of ten times we will conclude that if only we had handled the situation a little more calmly, maturely, or just silently, all would have settled peacefully, with just a little dent to our self respect and also may be even to our advantage.
We react so often and so abruptly and so consistently that I wonder if there is a natural reactor safely tucked away in the rectal opening.
Please understand there is a colossal difference between acting and reacting.
When one acts in a situation, one is in control of one’s thoughts, words and actions. One initiates a proceeding, where one has already thought out the ramifications and reactions in others and knowing beforehand the consequences of one’s actions, one is ready with plan B, and so forth.
Even if one acts in anger, the anger is in one’s control and thus the anger fuels one’s passion, determination and helps the gush of adrenaline to flow in a manner that enhances one’s determination. Long and short of all this bashan is that the one who initiates an action is in complete control of himself or herself.
So one who initiates an action or one who acts, does so keeping the pros and cons in mind, keeping the plausible ramifications and outcomes in mind, and then decides which particular action justifies whatever has to follow. You are the master of your thoughts, words and actions and thus you are completely aware of the consequences, and you might achieve your objective or you might not but the chances of you falling professionally flat on your face are rather limited.
Remember when one acts, one has the use of all the senses and thus the chances of one to do something phenomenally self destructive is rather slim, as you have come forth from a place of calmness and centeredness and then whatever follows is going to be well thought of, even though success may not always be ensured; but the consolation is that I and only I am responsible for the consequences and if given another chance, in all probability I would still go about this situation in the same manner.
But when one reacts one is not in command of the situation. One is like a horny bull in a china shop. Various gaseous combustions happening from various openings in the anatomy.
When an individual reacts, s(h)e is not in control of his or her senses and as the action has not been well thought of, the ramification of one’s reaction is also left to chance, very often, not accruing well for the individual. S(h)e is being controlled by his or her reaction and thus nine out of ten times, one has lost the battle and the war even before the first shot has been fired. When one reacts, one is being consciously or unconsciously being manipulated by the other party as the individual is being led into the battlefield, with both arms tied at the back.
When, we react, we have sort of shut the door on calmness, centeredness and common sense. With the three Cs kept out of the battle, you have as much chance to come out smelling of roses, as a constipated yak has in solving a convoluted crossword puzzle.
This is because my reflex action is now either operating from my tongue or my fist, without the cooperation and assistance of one’s common sense, calm reasoning and silent deliberation and the worst part of it all is, I can be manipulated to react twenty times a day and the moment some wise maggot realises my tendency to keep reacting like a dog in heat, I can be manipulated as many times in any given situation, without even realising what a blasted buffoon I am making off myself and my life.
We react countless times. Very often stepping on one landmine after the other, as expected and manipulated by the opposite party. The worst part of playing this game of reaction is that we become pawns in the game of life. Those close to us can manipulate us to think, talk and act, according to their maneuvering, all through with the firm belief and certainty of us reacting in a particular manner.
It is like the one who acts has won half the battle over the one who reacts. Apart from making an idiot of oneself, one is bamboozled in front of our near and dear ones, time and again, through the process of reaction. Our sensitive emotional buttons are in the hands of those who can make us do eventually as they wish and you may go through little realising how badly you have been maneuvered all your life all because of the inability of not reacting. I know this might sound drastic but trust me there are innumerable people living their lives in a state of perpetual reactions.
Also understand that very often a person who only acts and does not react might appear to be reacting but the individual is operating from the space of having thought out the ifs and whys and whats of the situation and after all contemplation has decided to still go ahead, even if it means showcasing aggression and anger, but eventually the individual has taken this step not as a reaction but as a planned initiative.
How does one slowly get out of the clutches of reaction? Well frankly for that one needs to be in a state of constant awareness. It is like walking through a field of land mines. There are enough indications of landmines in this field, all one needs is to tread cautiously. If one does so the chances of stepping on a land mine and sort of indulging in the arithmetic of countless divisions would be sort of mitigated. For this one has to be clearly in the state of calmness or be in the moment or be one with the breath and with the promise that ‘thou shall not be violent, in thought, word or action, till one has counted slowly to twenty and then through silent contemplation come about one’s next step of action’.
I know this is all a bit too much for us. We are so used to wearing the boxing gloves that we might as well sleep with them still attached to our body. But I still feel we are missing out living a fulfilled life just because of us insisting to go through this process of reaction and then reacting through the reaction and it goes on and on.
If one does not want to be manipulated then it is best to restrict this thorny sinking sand of instant response. If you want to do something, it makes good sense to initiate that process rather than be maneuvered into it.
The process of reaction can be controlled. No religious book may have mentioned it but trust me, this sickness of reacting to one and all, has led more people to walk the path to damnation and to grief than a lot of the usual so called evils and sins that dot most pages of all religious books.
I mean if we have to go through grief and damnation, might as well make sure we have initiated that process than be manipulated into making an ape out of ourself.
Be blessed always.
Ruzbeh N. Bharucha