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  • Rene Frey-Jennings

'Knee-jerk' reactions

I can honestly say the periods in my life in which I’ve experienced the most consistent level of emotional balance were times when I was involved in a regular practice of mindfulness and meditation. In the not-so-balanced periods it was a different story. When I found displeasure or disappointment in the world I’d typically be taken over by my knee-jerk reactions which usually resulted in me blaming, in making demands, reciting expectations or criticising someone for their bad behaviour. The effect of sharing my inner chaos with the outer world always ended in me ruminating over the event and leaving me with crippling feelings of doubt, guilt or shame for having such a knee-jerk reaction. (Incidentally, I’ve just realised how the phrase ‘knee-jerk reaction’ probably gave birth to the idea of someone being a ‘jerk’).

So this begs the question, “Why, when I was committed to a practice of extended concentration and sustained focus on the breath, did it somehow enable the capacity within me to allow the tiniest flutter of inner balance to creep into my consciousness before my being caught in an impulsive diatribe resulting in my making a fool of myself and regretting it?”

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