Don’t react, respond.


My Master once said:

Humanity is made up of angels with only one wing and for this reason humanity can only exist and make progress if every human embraces the other of himself; otherwise nobody flies and everything remains static and repressed.

When he was talking about humanity in this way, he was referring to the difference between “response” and “reaction”.

A response is a live element in a situation, while a reaction is a consequence of a habit.

What are the elements that can help me not to have reactions but responses in my life?

In our day-to-day actions, what plays a main role is ideology, which I’ve called the “system of beliefs” in some of my previous articles. Family, society, school, religion, politics and television are all elements that, whether consciously or not, define our “modus operandi”; in other words, the reason why we act in certain ways.

For example, I can be the type of person who is used to helping the elderly across the street. I can do this because my mother taught me to be nice to others; because I learned from the catechism in Sunday School that a good Christian should always help people in need; because I like to show my neighbours how good I am, that I’m a “good girl”. In each of the described situations, I am moved by my ego, because there is no emotion in what I do, it is rather simply the mechanical result of an action, the consequence of methodical behaviour.

Your behaviour is the result of a series of teachings and the way you act every day is the demonstration you give to the world, the proof that you’ve done your homework right.

Here your ego spreads itself all around your inner being, and you tell yourself that you’ve done a great job, a remarkable deed, but in reality you’ve lost the chance to respond spontaneously, to show spontaneous compassion. If your action had been a spontaneous response, something would have blossomed in you, a certain inner calm would have descended upon you and a sense of blessing would be felt throughout you.

When a response is spontaneous, this is the moment in which the conscience is awoken in all our actions. If you respond spontaneously to life, grace descends upon that moment and it’s not a habit and you do not do it because you are a good religious person. If your behaviour is forced and you lose the spontaneity of an action, it is better that you do not do it at all; it is better that you stop yourself from doing something that you do not feel.

The secret, if you want to call it, is to let your spontaneity guide your path. So, one day you will be able to help someone across the street, because this action will not be part of a routine but it will be your personal response to the desire you have to help unconditionally.

My Master said:

Respond, do not react. The formula is: no habits. It does not mean live in chaos but live spontaneously.

When you live the present moment for what it is and what it suggests to you, your actions turn into a pure manifestation of joy and love.

He continued saying:

It is not a lifestyle, it is not a habit, a conditioned reflex. The fewer habits you have, the more you are alive. When you are entirely free from routines, then you are perfectly alive. Learn flexibility. Is there violence in you? Kill the violence and nurture the non-violence. Always do the opposite of that which comes to you naturally and apply yourself in order that the contrary of what comes to you naturally gradually becomes second nature. Do not create conflicts inside of you, accept the opposites and, by accepting them, you will achieve transcendence*. It is not a victory, it is transcendence. In the Universal path there are no victories but only transcendences. You do not become non-violent in opposition to violence but you go beyond both and become a third: a testimony.

* The term transcendence comes from the Latin prefix “trans” which means: beyond, and the word “scandare” which means: to climb. Basically to achieve the transcendence status, it is necessary to go beyond your personal limitations and embrace the unknown to let it become known.


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