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Posted By Opening the Heart

I live in Massachusetts, and this weekend find myself surrounded by a political hurricane as Martha Coakley tries to fend off the challenge of Scott Brown for the Senate seat left vacant by the death of Ted Kennedy. The Tea-Party-ers and Rudi Guliani have been in town. Barack will be here this afternoon. Its a brawl of a storm, but, unlike a natural hurricane, this one doesn't have any kind of a calm center. The TV news, the newspapers, FaceBook, the blogs, the ads and the tweets are gusting and debris is flying everywhere. Its really nasty weather!

How easy it is to get caught up in this kind of a tumult. Without notice it entrains our unexamined fears and aggressions. Our politicos and media pundits are experts in recruiting these barely buried traits. Like unsecured porch furniture in a gale our fears and angers are swept up to become dangerous weapons hurtling  out of control in all directions.

What to do?

I got to thinking about those animals that, when confronted with challenging situations, adopt behaviors of fight or flight.  I wondered: should we be getting out there and joining the fracas or should we put our collective heads under the covers and hide until its all over? And then I wondered if there might be another, alternative response - something between fight and flight, something not fueled by aggression or fear.

Its a kind of koan: 'What is the space between fight and flight?'

You have to provide your own answer. The only guidance I can give is that you examine your own fears and aggressive urges - your own aversions. What scares you? What threatens you? Who is the 'you' that is scared? Who is the 'you' that is threatened? I'm not pretending that this kind of self examination is easy. But not finding answers to questions like this is ultimately what ails our world.

Are you ready to take responsibility for securing your 'porch furniture'?


 
1 Comment(s):
Niall McShane said...
This is a great question! Really in the modern world there are not many situations that should elicit either repsonse. Most of the "dangers" we perceive are not real and hence just require us to be present, which should allow some gap between the stimulus and any reactive response. In this gap we have the chance to change or at least trial new behaviours.
January 17, 2010 06:58:57
 
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