1st time Reactivity and ethical behavior

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					Reactivity and Ethical Behavior
By wali khan
Have you ever been in that situation where someone does something that
provokes you? You can feel the adrenaline rising from someplace deep
inside your body. Your thoughts go into an automatic reactivity mode. You
are upset and anger is closing in on you. " Macho man and macho woman"
hijack your brain and you are planning your revenge and power moves. You
are going to teach this so and so a lesson that he or she will never
forget. How dare that imbecile do this unspeakable thing to you! So, what
to do?

At some point, most people have been provoked to feelings of anger and
revenge by someone who just behaves despicably. You are not alone! But
let's face the facts. You have to come to grips with your own emotional
reactivity and thought processes. What do you do? You could act out and
give this sorry fellow one horrific punishing blow with your physical and
verbal prowess. We all know that you are a tough cookie and that in your
mind, you feel you have every right to put this person in their place.

Well, guess again! This is a test of the early warning mount Vesuvius
volcanic eruption system. Your killer instinct is about to be let loose.
But, wait just a second. What is this eruption going to do to you? You
most certainly could hurt and injure this other person. But, wouldn't you
be jeopardizing your own physical, emotional and spiritual well-being!?
Wouldn't you be cast into the lake of fire for doing something that is
harmful to another person and yourself? So, what is the solution? You
could take a long hard look and examine your own reactivity to someone
else's ridiculous behavior. What if you could catch your internal
reactivity in its early stages and modify and direct it to more
worthwhile and higher consequences. Why should you upset yourself over
someone else's obnoxious and ineffective strategies for dealing with life
and people? AHAHH! You say, "Easier said than done." Let's face it! When
that emotional tide starts rising to the surface, it is so tempting to
let yourself explode. After all! You're not going to let anyone get away
with mistreating you.

Somewhere, someone told you that you must express your righteous anger
and not hold it in. Oh! That's all well and good. You proved that you are
a tough guy and will not take anything off of anybody. But now, we are
faced with several counterbalancing imperatives. You don't like having to
be put into this kind of position where you either have to take it or
strike back. Reactivity demands that you do something. But, ethics
requires that you take a careful examination of what emotions and
thoughts are coming up inside of you.

The Ethical Imperative

Do you want to do what is right? I know that having thoughts of revenge
and retaliation have a certain effect upon you. Vengeful vendettas find
their sources deep in your emotional juices and they shape your mind into
vengeful angry thoughts. But, the ethical imperative comes into your
thinking from another part of your brain. Your conscience or your ethical
imperative tells you that vengeful vendettas will only cause harm to you
and your antagonist. We hear the biblical phrase, "Turn the other cheek.
Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord." They remind us that it is
destructive to return sin with another sin. When someone harms you and
you return the harm, you only create more harm. We are also told to pray
for your enemies and to bless those who curse you.

But what about your rights? You have every right to defend yourself in
ways that are ethical and consistent with higher spiritual values. "But,
I must do something", you say. Have you tried praying for your enemy,
your antagonist? Have you asked God to heal and cleanse you of your
murderous thoughts and evil inclinations? After all, you have been
injured and you have every right to expect God to heal you and to also
heal your antagonist. Praying for healing and redemption is doing
something about your unfortunate situation. But, you don't have to do
anything harmful to someone else. Perhaps, you can vigorously counter
your vendetta thinking with the old behavioral science technique of
saying, "Stop," to your thoughts. How about vigorously countering your
retaliatory thinking with requests of divine forgiveness for such evil
thoughts. How about this for a counter to an unwanted thought: "I will
not allow so and so to rob me of my joy and happiness. I will not allow a
thief to come in the middle of the night and steal God's gifts of joy and
happiness. The thief brings hatred, murder, vengeance, vendettas and
disturbances of all sorts. I will work on myself, my feelings and my
thoughts, in order to clear myself of these unwanted intrusions. I
created these thoughts and feelings. They were inside of me and I can let
them go. The other person merely triggered my reactions. But, I created
them and I can undo them! I choose to make ethical decisions."

The Heavenly Realm

When you set aside specific time every day, for spiritual, emotional and
mental work on yourself, you open the possibility for ascending into the
higher spiritual realms. By adopting such self-replenishing, disciplined
practices, you enter into this spiritual stratosphere. And when you
return from these higher planes of consciousness, you are much better
able to deal with the sins and misfortunes of the secular world. The
universe and the heavens are filled with infinite knowledge, wisdom and
healing. When you tap into and draw from this higher realm, you are
better equipped to eradicate your own evil inclinations and retaliatory
thinking. The spiritual cosmos can provide you with ethical solutions to
every problem; especially those where you make yourself and others

Proactivity Versus Acting Out

Proactivity is a concept that accepts the notion that in every situation
you have a choice as to how you will respond. Proactivity does not
support suppression or repression of feelings. It accepts the idea that
you can make an effective and ethical response to provocative situations
and people. Reactivity has its roots deep in the limbic system and the
amygdala. Its energies are based on flight/flight/freeze emergency
responses. Higher cortical responses require measured thinking combined
with ethical choices and inhibition of potentially harmful reactions. If
reactive emotions begin to emerge in the context of conflict, a well
disciplined and practiced sub cortical apparatus can slow down the action
and create a more responsible and productive response. This response
includes inhibition of potentially dangerous upwelling limbic reactions
and replacing them with more self-productive thoughts and actions. This
cortical measuring of your deeper emotional reactions is evolution's way
of improving our ability to adapt, survive and create. It separates us
from a beastial nature and allows us to understand our old mammalian ways
of handling crisis. Without this higher cortical ability, we could slip
into destructive acts of retaliation, revenge, murder and vendetta

Our ancient mammalian ancestors automatically reacted to each emotional
impulse, no matter how constructive or destructive. Since a higher
cortical center did not exist, they could not process and organize
incoming data as well as we modern humans. They would feel something and
act on it, regardless of the outcome. We still possess a considerable
amount of these ancient reactions. They may have well served our primate
ancestors. But, in a modern society, reactivity and acting out proves to
be detrimental to personal and common good. In the last 3000 years, we
have been trying to condition the cortex to adopt more ethical standards
of behavior and emotional responsiveness. But, we still have a long way
to go before the brain becomes sophisticated enough to inhibit
destructive, reactive impulses and replace them with ethical and moral,
proactive responses. Fortunately, if a proactive brain practices ethical
responses over a considerable length of time, there is a possibility that
such a messianic mutation could reach a critical mass in the human
population. Such a utopian outcome would pass beyond the realm of dreams
and wishful thinking and become reality. Perhaps, we are on the cutting
edge of such an evolutionary step forward and each step backwards may
just indicate a natural form of regression.

The Little Things

Petty annoyances occur everyday. Practicing ethical responsiveness does
not require that it be only conducted in the face of a monumental non-
ethical trigger. In the course of human interaction, petty annoyances are
inevitable. These situations require ethical responses just like major
transgressions. It is helpful to be able to refine your capability for
making ethical choices in the smaller circumstances. Not everything has
to be responded to as if it were a major crime. Disagreements occur in
every relationship and in every human interaction. If possible, take time
to get together with the other person and talk things out. Apply the
principal of Effective Problem Solving Solutions based on Mutually
Satisfying Agreements and you will have fulfilled the higher species
capability of cooperation. Exercising your human capability for
cooperation can help strengthen your bond with family and friends,
neighbors and business connections. Developing your human potential for
cooperation may actually increase your life span and even make you
younger in real age.

One antidote to unethical reactivity is the idea that social cooperation
based on reciprocal altruism, actually activates certain brain areas
associated with the processing of rewards. If you have ever practiced a
proactive ethical response to a potentially reactive trigger, you would
have noticed how good you felt. You will have also noticed how bad you
felt when you gave vent to your reactive emotions and impulses. When you
make an ethical response to the unethical actions of another person, you
activate a neural network that positively reinforces reciprocal altruism.
Your ethical responses can motivate the most diehard provocateur to
resist the temptation to act selfishly toward you. Remember the old
adage: Evil begets evil and good begets good!

MBO ( Motahida Bangash Organization )

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