Doron S. Antrim: Activist/Change Agent, “Retired” Businessman & Entrepreneur,
Lifelong Seeker of Spiritual Truth, Philosopher, Engineer, Musician
Doron’s Ongoing Practices
Tara Brach, Buddhist teacher extraordinaire, psychologist, author, and founder of the flourishing Insight Meditation Center of Washington, gave me the gift of The Wedge during one of her audio talks that I downloaded and listened to at home. She relayed the powerful quotation by Victor Frankl. Then she described how to use a tool, a wedge, to insert into that split second between the stimulus and the response to create more time, more seconds for the mind to consider and, possibly, change the conditioned response that was generated automatically. The practice of using this image to stop and change responses has proven a powerful tool for my development as a human being and, particularly, in my relationships with others.
A simple example is from my practice to minimize judgmentalism. The stimulus could be my immediate reaction to a shabbily clad, unclean person who approaches me while I’m walking down a street. “Get away; avoid this person” enters my consciousness first. But then, before responding, the wedge pushes that response away and gives me time to realize that this is a practice opportunity, that I want to treat all human beings with respect and compassion. So I make welcoming eye contact with this person and find out that he has a simple question about directions to a destination.
I also use the wedge to control anger responses, responses that can wreak havoc with my relationships. There are countless situations in living with another, for example, that can trigger an immediate, angry response. If my partner says something that I take as an insult or a put down, my immediate response is to strike back. Or, anger may also arise when I discover that she has failed to do something important to me that we had agreed would be done. How rewarding it has been to our relationship (and to me) that I have learned how to apply the wedge to such situations, to defuse the anger and use a “Help me to understand . . . “ type response.
The Wedge is freeing me from the power of conditioned automatic responses to stimulate unwanted behaviors. And I find that the power, the voice of the conditioned responses, gets weaker and weaker as I use The Wedge to defeat them. What freedom that brings!
For information on Tara Brach: http://www.tarabrach.com/
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“Between the stimulus and response there is a space, and in that space lies our power and our freedom.”