I’ve been thinking about karma. Karmic action is active, which means any action we take in response to a situation or a person creates more karma. So, in karmic terms, it’s not the situation that matters but the level of consciousness from which we respond to situations and people. And to be aware of our level of consciousness in any given moment requires self-awareness. 

I am someone with a high degree of self-awareness and consciousness. And yet, I’m only human and sometimes react unhelpfully when I feel hurt or threatened. But when I consciously pause and respond rather than react, I experience positive shifts and find it easier to detach from external conditions, leading to greater peace.

Responding rather than reacting is a valuable skill that can lead to more mindful and thoughtful interactions. Here are some tips that help me:


1. Practice Self-Awareness

Pay attention to your emotional state and thought patterns. Notice when you feel triggered or emotionally charged. Self-awareness is the first step in recognizing the difference between reacting and responding.

2. Take a Pause

When faced with a situation that triggers a strong emotional response, take a moment to pause before responding. This brief moment can help you gain composure and prevent impulsive reactions.

3. Deep Breathing

Use deep breathing techniques to calm your nervous system during the pause. Take a few slow, deep breaths to activate the relaxation response and reduce stress.

4. Empathise and Seek Understanding

Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and try to understand their perspective. Empathy can help you approach the situation with more compassion and open-mindedness.

5. Reflect on Your Values

Consider how your response aligns with your values and principles. Responding in a way that reflects your core values can lead to more authentic and constructive interactions.

6. Listen Actively

Practice active listening when engaging with others. Give them your full attention and avoid interrupting. This allows you to understand their viewpoint better and respond thoughtfully.

7. Choose Your Words Wisely

Be mindful of the language you use when responding. Use clear and respectful language, avoiding harsh or offensive words that may escalate the situation.

8. Consider the Consequences

Think about the potential outcomes of your response. Will it contribute to a positive resolution or escalate the conflict? Choose a response that promotes understanding and cooperation.

9. Focus on Solutions

Instead of dwelling on the problem, focus on finding solutions. Respond with problem-solving in mind, seeking common ground and compromise.

10. Practice Empowerment

Recognise that you have the power to choose your response. Your emotions or circumstances ought not to control you. Embrace your ability to respond in a way that serves your higher purpose.

11. Learn from Mistakes

If you react impulsively in a situation, acknowledge and learn from it. Use it as an opportunity for growth and self-improvement.

12. Cultivate Mindfulness

Engage in mindfulness practices, such as meditation or mindfulness exercises, to develop greater presence and awareness in your daily life.

Many of us have good intentions to create a more peaceful and fair world, but unless we become more conscious, these intentions can have unintended negative consequences. So, we must align with the evolutionary impulse towards consciousness, fostering positive change in the world. Responding rather than reacting is a skill that takes time and practice to develop, but with practice and patience, it becomes easier. Remember that reacting to situations produces more karma, contributing to unconsciousness in the world. So if you want to contribute positively to the world, learn to respond and not react.