Exploring more and more of the difference between the two…
“A reaction is unconscious behavior in which our energy is directed outward into the world in an attempt to defend ourselves or attack another. A reaction is a drama played out in an effort to sedate and control the cause of our upsetting experience. The theme of all reactive behavior is blame and revenge. When we react we “do something about what we perceive is happening to us.””
“A response is a conscious choice to contain and constructively internalize this surfacing energy with the intent of using it to integrate unconsciousness. The theme of responsive behavior is responsibility. We respond by “unconditionally feeling the emotional state unfolding within us, without projecting it outward onto others.”
A good metaphor for reactive behavior is the Marvel comic character, The Hulk, when the emotion of anger slips him into unconsciousness and into a wild “beast”. The man is shown to unable to contain the anger. “we are either in charge, or carrying a charge…”
and this next bit…
“If we remain true to our intent of responding to our experiences by keeping our unconditional attention on the felt-aspect of our encounters, any action that arises is likely to be responsive rather than reactive. It’s the nature of this work – work in which we experience all types of challenges designed to develop our emotional capacity – that sometimes we are called to “speak our truth” or verbally “draw our line in the sand.” Sometimes we are calle to do this to know that we can – and that, when we do, the world doesn’t end. There are no rules as to when such behavior is appropriate or not.
If we are being true to our experience by honoring the felt- aspect of any encounter, the consequences of any activity we take are likely to be beneficial for all involved.”