Something that Emanuel Macron said right at the beginning of the COVID crisis remains ingrained in my mind. He congratulated his ministers on their excellent reactivity to the crisis.
Reactivity. How well they reacted. He seemed to think it is a good thing. But are those who govern supposed to react to situations? Or are they supposed to act?
What about us? Are we supposed to react to our own lives?
When I was young, I had excellent hand-eye coordination. But in table tennis, my friend would still run circles around me. His reactions were not as quick as mine. But he always seemed to have that extra second in which to place his shots. And I would spend most of my time, I would spend the game off balance, lunging from left to right.
Our lives are a lot like that. It might seem great to be able to react and adapt to changing situations. But in the end, we are just playing a rather bad game of table-tennis with our lives. And we spend most of that life off balance, lunging from left to right.
It is also one of the greatest reasons for stress-related problems.
This is the first thing Yoga taught me: how to stop reacting. And how to act.
Had Macron and his ministers acted instead of reacting to COVID, perhaps many lives could have been saved. Similarly, by acting, instead of reacting to our lives, we too can save ourselves many heartbreaks.
So how can we stop reacting to life? By taking that “one second more”. Take time to breathe. Take time to meditate. If you are sad, don’t jump into the first thing that makes you happy. If you are angry, don’t say the first thing that comes into your mind. Take a minute. Breathe. Contemplate. And then act.