Ten Ways of Studying and Transforming Reactivity or Dukkha

(Donald Rothberg, Winter Solstice 2015)

 

1.      We cultivate non-reactivity in order to study and transform reactivity.

a.      Mindfulness.

b.      Heart practices.

c.      Wisdom.

d.      Speech practice: How to be non-reactive interpersonally?

e.      Skillful work with conflict.

f.        Nonviolence: Non-reactivity with harm.

g.      Ethics and integrity.

 

2.      We study and learn about our main forms of reactivity and become very familiar with them. Identify them and know their nature. We become clear as to the level of reactivity (1-10) and act appropriately dependent on the level of reactivity.

 

3.      Practicing with “feeling-tone” (vedana): Tune into the unpleasant, pleasant, and neutral, watching for the tendencies for the experience of the unpleasant to move to aversion and pushing away, and the experience of the pleasant to move to wanting and grasping.

 

4.      Working with the Four Noble Truths.

a.      Be with suffering.

b.      What’s the root in grasping or pushing away?

c.      Can I let go?

d.      What helps me to let go?

 

5.      In reactivity, we “shoot the Second Arrow”; we learn not to shoot the Second Arrow.

 

6.      We see how in reactivity there is typically some mixed-in discernment or intelligence; we learn to separate these two components out.

 

7.      We get caught in papanca or mental proliferation when there is reactivity. We learn to let go of the papanca.

 

8.      In reactivity, we are not in our hearts; we learn to come back to our hearts.

 

9.      In reactivity we are lost and on automatic; we learn to come back from being lost. We need a repertoire of ways of coming back from being lost in reactivity.

 

10. Reactivity is ultimately driven by ignorance; we keep inquiring more deeply and transform the often hidden or unconscious roots of reactivity—personal, social, and universal.

 

The Buddha: "I have taught one thing and one thing only, dukkha and the cessation of dukkha.