Honoring Differences

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    Have you ever noticed what happens internally when someone says something you strongly disagree with? Next time it happens, take a moment to focus within before you speak.

    Looking within, you may notice that you have already decided that you are right and they are wrong. Or that they need to hear what you have to say, because what you have to say is so important. You may feel physically upset, because we often make unconscious assumptions that can lead us to feeling attacked, unloved or unseen.

    Stopping before speaking allows you to use the pause creatively. Simply noticing what’s happening, without feeding judgments of right and wrong, allows awareness to fill the space. Then, you can have freedom to respond with kindness.

    You may also realize that you can honor the other person’s right to feel differently, because when we’re aware, it’s okay to be different.

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    Try this the next time you are aware that you feel stressed and want to quiet down the inner chaos quickly. Walking, driving, standing still or sitting, quietly say while breathing in, "I am breathing in, and I am at peace." Say while breathing out, "I am breathing out, and I am at peace." Focus attention on what happens. If you become distracted, simply return your focus to your words and notice what's happening within. Repeat until you notice a shift, and are ready to stop. The cells of the body receive thought as instruction, and they are willing followers to whatever we think. Saying we are at peace allows the body to shift from feeling rushed around, to slowing down, so we can feel quieter inside. With the goal of maintaining balance in all things, use this practice with care, and let awareness be your guide. Sometimes this practice is helpful, and other times, it can be used to distract us from exploring mistaken beliefs that keep us rushing around. Remembering awareness is a gift to yourself and others.

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