Monday, December 19, 2011

Reflect on your Reflexes!

When i searched for the meaning of reflex on google, this is what i got :
"A reflex action, also known as a reflex, is an involuntary and nearly instantaneous movement in response to a stimulus."

Just the other day, i was meditating under a tree. The aim of my meditation was to accept everything happening around me. Any sound, any movement, any disturbances,were not to be questionned. They simply were to be accepted. What people were doing, slowly started making no difference to me. Was i really moving towards some great enlightenment or nirvana?!!
At that very moment a leaf from the tree above me fell right on my head. And in an instant i was shaken. i opened my eyes looked upwards and around. My heatbeat had become faster and my mind was no longer in the calm state that it was a few moments ago.
I realised that it was no big deal and i went back into my tranquilised state.
Can my action be called as a reflex action? Well of course, yes. if you look at the above definition we realise that i did make an involuntary and instantaneous movement in response to a stimulus (leaf falling on my head!)

When i was young, i had been taught in school that an example of reflex(involuntary) action is sneezing. But i think what they were trying to say was in biological terms because now when i deeply think about it, i realise that my life is surrounded by reflex actions all the time.
I am driving a car, someone tries to overtake me in a wrong way, i, in a reflex, swear.
Someone by mistake drops my valuable possession (say mobile), i, in a reflex get angry.
When someone doesnt speak something that i like, i, in a reflex respond without thinking.
When i hear bad news, i, in a reflex become really sad.

You see, our life is filled with reflex actions. And what is a reflex action? It is involuntary in nature. Involuntary means something that is not in our control. If so many of the actions that we perform are not in our control, then just imagine what haphazard and chaotic life we are living!

If you think about it, you will realise that a lot of times reflex actions have only caused damage in your life. You sweared at someone or you got really angry on them. The consequences are often grave. The opposite person sometimes gets hurt irrepairably or you lose a lot of time in making them understand that you didnt mean it.

It is true that the reflex actions like sneezing or when someone comes stealthily from behind and calls, you are alarmed, are unavoidable because biologically we are made in that way.
But what about the other reflex actions which makes us a completely different person for a few seconds than what we actually are!
Can we not try to bring them under control?

Because Its only when we can stop our reflex actions popping out at the inappropriate moment, can we say that we are truly in control of ourselves.

(PS: I dont like to write an article which just proposes a theory without giving some solution and hence i think the best way of preventing reflex actions is to go to a place and sit there with your eyes closed. Try and accept all that is going around you. All the noise, the bad smell or anything that irks you. A regular practise of this will (i think) reduce the occurence of reflex actions when they are not required!


  1. Nicely written and an amazingly simple way you have expressed your thoughts and explained the importance of self control ! Good Job..

  2. Nice one Sagar! :)