We are, whether we realize it or not, always on the lookout for a threat. When something threatening happens, this experience is hardwired into our brains. This is not necessarily a memory per say, but a neurological event, which when triggered, stimulates a survival response.
The actions we take out of this need to survive depend on where it was in our early lives that we felt most threatened. Our challenge is to see where it is in our lives that we act out of a survival instinct that is no longer accurate.
For example, suppose as a child, you were (or believed yourself to be) ignored by your parents for some reason. It will be hardwired into your brain that being ignored is life-threatening.
As a child, this could be accurate. As an adult you “know” that this is not true. People are ignored all of the time and for all kinds of reasons. We can see rationally that no one dies from being ignored.
But if you allow yourself to feel deeply into the experience, you might catch yourself having a life-threatening response. Your pulse increases, you are on the lookout, your senses are heightened, you feel an electric jolt.
We can sometimes just pass this off and return ourselves to reality, but we frequently get stuck in the feeling of being threatened. Fear kicks in and before we know it we are acting out. Depending on each individual’s defense mechanism, this acting out could be an outright demand for attention, a passive- aggressive “ignoring back,” or a withdrawal from the other.
This can be very subtle or it can be the cause of tremendous upset. Either way, this feeling separates us from the other. If you watch your daily upsets, or subtle disharmonies, you may begin to detect a pattern.
We are all wired in a way that is particular to our systems and our environment from birth. In order to re-wire our brains so that we may respond to life in a way that brings more joy, happiness and freedom, we must first see and be responsible for how it is that we experience life. This is the challenge.