Do you ever find yourself reacting to some event or situation or person in a way that feels out of your control? Do you ever get caught in a domino run effect, where one little thing sets off a chain reaction that carries you along—usually with less-than-great results?
Our lives can all too easily become defined by how we bounce between reactions to things that happen to us. But if we want to live more fully, authentically, and courageously, we need to learn to stop the dominoes in our lives and pause. And then we can choose our response from within, rather than be controlled by forces from without.
In this podcast, we explore how the power of the pause can help us to stop the dominoes and master the world within us so that we can master the world around us.
I love domino runs! I’m so impressed by creators who spend hours carefully placing thousands of dominoes in the most creative and beautiful patterns. And then I love the way the fall of a single domino sets off a chain reaction that goes on and on creating the most wonderful shifting designs and colours. I could watch videos of domino runs for hours.
But as much as I love domino runs, I never want to live that way! And yet all too often I do. And I’m sure you do too.
I can go through bouncing between multiple emotions in reaction to things real or imagined that come into my world. And then I spend my life trying to create the external ingredients that will cause me to react in ways I consider pleasant or positive and avoid the ingredients that make me react in ways that are negative or feel unpleasant.
But when I live like this, I am out of control of my life. I can never live fully, authentically and courageously this way.
STOPPING THE DOMINOES
So how do we stop the dominoes? The key is to master the space between the spark—the stimulus, catalyst, or event—and the reaction. When we learn to pause in that space between what happens and our reaction—just enough to stop the reaction happening—we make it possible for us to choose our response and master our world. So how do we do that?
Stretch the space
The first step to mastering the space between the catalyst and our reaction is to stretch that space. And pausing is the simplest and most effective way to do that.
Old techniques like counting to ten can be helpful. Or we can slow down and deepen our breathing. Whatever strategy we may use, whenever we manage to stretch that space between catalyst and reaction, even just a little, it always makes a positive difference.
The second way we can actively pause between what happens to us and our reaction is to check out. This means to literally and physically step away from the situation. The benefit of this is that it makes it impossible for us to react in that moment or situation. And then, when we feel a bit more in control, we can return.
As we noted in the last episode, spiritual practice is designed to train us to live our fullest, most authentic and most courageous life. This means that we can use a regular spiritual practice to learn to break free of the domino run effect in our lives.
There is lots more that I can say about stopping our domino runs, but hopefully, this will get you started. If you want to go deeper, then I recommend that you join the EvoFaith Patreon where you get the full version of all my posts, extra bonus content from time to time, access to the EvoFaith Tribe online community, and exclusive discounts on all premium EvoFaith resources.
WHERE ARE YOUR DOMINOES?
What domino runs do you have to deal with in your life? What impact are they having on you and those around you? What difference would it make if you could stop the dominos and be more mindful, more responsive and less reactive?
I hope this has been helpful for you and that you’ll find that you can begin to opt out of the figurative domino runs that hurt you. Then, if you like them, you can relax and just enjoy the literal domino runs that add a bit of extra fun and beauty to your life!
To get deeper versions of this reflection, bonus content, and discounts on premium EvoFaith resources, sign up for our newsletter. Or follow us on social media so you never miss an EvoFaith post.
Discussion, robust debate, and respectful disagreement are encouraged. However, shaming, attacking, and trolling are not. Please keep the comments on topic, and kind. Any comments that violate this ethos will be removed.
EvoFaith is an online community rooted in evolutionary spirituality. To support this new evolution of spiritual community and to enjoy exclusive resources and offers, consider becoming a patron.