The original is in numbered blocks and my riff on them follows with regular formatting....
- Conditioned ResponseReactions To Life Events. Our experiences color everything. The events of the past can have a profound effect on how we see our lives now and what we choose to believe about our world.
- Our past experiences can also influence our emotional reactions and responses to present events. Each of us reacts to stimulus based on what we have learned in life. There is no right or wrong to it; it is simply the result of past experience.
- Later, when our strong feelings have passed, we may be surprised at our reactions. Yet when we face a similar situation, again our reactions may be the same. When we understand those experiences, we can come that much closer to understanding our reactions and consciously change them.
- Between stimulus and reaction exists a fleeting moment of thought. Often, that thought is based on something that has happened to you in the past. When presented with a similar situation later on, your natural impulse is to unconsciously regard it in a similar light. For example, if you survived a traumatic automobile accident as a youngster, the first thing you might feel upon witnessing even a minor collision between vehicles may be intense panic. If you harbor unpleasant associations with death from a past experience, you may find yourself unable to think about death as a gentle release or the next step toward a new kind of existence.
- You can, however, minimize the intensity of your reactions by identifying the momentary thought that inspires your reaction. Then, next time, replace that thought with a more positive one.
It is funny how one little article I wrote in the high school national writers competition predicted my life in recovery -- first, from my family and second, from alcoholism. The story concerned hitting the snags of life (aka Habits). Snags are the habits that catch us when we aren't looking. Imagine driving down the road and hitting a 35 pound pig. Disasterous for the pig, bad for the car and terribly upsetting to the folks in the car. Habits are as simple and as profound as that immediate reaction we have to something we like or dislike. They keep us stuck. Buddhism teaches me to hit the pause button -- hopefully before I hit the pig -- before I repeat habitual behavior. It stops me from cutting, drinking, throwing up, giving up and giving in. That pause is a powerful button.