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Working with Reactivity

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Episode No. 24

Emotional reactivity indicates that we are being compelled by karma. How does our spiritual practice help us to gain more freedom from acting out in habitual and unkind ways?


FIRST WORDS FROM THE PODCAST

Since I can remember, from the time I was a very little girl, I felt a lot of discomfort and pain and just upsetness when people are unkind to each other. The tradition tells us how to work with our impulses that cause us to be deliberately unkind to other people. The only reason we’re deliberately unkind to other people is for our own satisfaction. We either get immediate pleasure out of being unkind to someone because we get to run our energy, and it feels good to just experience that energy of being unkind to someone.

So, there can be an immediate sensory karmic reward from being unkind. We make someone else feel bad and we feel good. We are aggressive toward someone and we feel good. We deliberately try to say something hurtful and we feel good. There’s an energetic quality in those situations that goes above and beyond the psychological that is an immediate reward for our karmic senses.

And then sometimes there are more delayed rewards. We feel that we are getting the better of some situation or somebody, or we’re going to get some other reward that’s more long-term. We’re more strategically unkind, strategically dishonest, strategically aggressive, strategically manipulative, and that’s all unkindness and there’s some longer term reward to that. But make no mistake that when you are unkind to people you are doing it for your own pleasure. Period.