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Reader comment on Adyashanti's passage ...

Response Vs. Reaction


On May 7, 2012 Vincent Vaz wrote:

  As a Counsellor, I recall somewhere in my personal notes it is mentioned that between Reaction and Response are two other Rs which many of us, knowingly or unknowingly use when we encounter uncomfortable/ harsh realities of our life.

The first R is Reflection – (showing them what they are) trying to create an awareness among those whom we hold responsible for the malady, of being responsible or being the cause, thus instilling in them a sense of guilt. Many activists and seekers of social justice fall into this trap when they raise red flags of protest against  people/persons/individuals rather than against wrong or unjust policies/decisions/actions. As activists, we need to make a dark line of distinction between the two and direct our corrective measures at actions rather than persons.

The second R is Reply – providing solutions. There are many social workers who provide solutions to social evils by investing their time, money and energy to ‘provide’. It looks like a noble, charitable and worthy act and is good to start with. However, it has two short-comings: (1) When we provide, we tend to get drained of our resources since it is a one-way flow i.e. from us to them and (2) We create a sense of dependency and instead of empowering the weak we end up crippling them.

Response, therefore, is the fourth R on the continuum: Reaction – Reflection – Reply - Response. A Response is the creation of an environment, by word, attitude and behaviour, wherein people begin to look at in themselves and appreciate in others the beauty and resourcefulness within, to be able to tap them to encounter the unpleasant/harsh realities of life. Each one of us can begin with our own self and invite people around us to explore within and soon we shall see unjust social structures crumbling by themselves. Tall order you may say, but if we believe it can happen, it will happen.



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