That Point Between Urge and Action

There are wonderful pictures in the Proverbs:

Better to meet a she-bear robbed of its cubs than to confront a fool immersed in folly. (Chapter 17)

You are scanning your social media feed. As unlikely as this sounds, you see a post from someone that is completely wrong. Using emotion-laden language, they describe an event totally made up. You feel a surge of righteous emotion, even anger. “I’ll set this right” you say to yourself as you begin to type.

Maybe you’ve forgotten about the she-bear. Maybe you remember what the writer of the Proverbs says shortly thereafter:

The beginning of strife is like letting out water; so stop before the quarrel breaks out.

TS Eliot wrote about the point, the still point, where the dance is. He didn’t mean this, exactly, but it fits. There is a moment between typing the response or speaking to the friend and clicking send or giving voice to the thought.

It is that moment that we must become sensitive to. That still point. There, we must become observers of ourselves. Recognizing that we are about to meet folly with folly, we stop.

We cannot control the genesis of our emotions. We must control the response. That is where awareness and tranquility of mind becomes the most important thing. At that moment, we breathe, we see, we become tranquil and quiet. Let it pass.

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