How often do we get the feeling that others are stubbornly stuck in their views ? And of course that also happens to us, doesn't it...?
Why is that ? Why do we cling so strongly to our thinking, our beliefs ?
According to our experience and recent advances in neurosciences, there might be 2 major reasons behind this attitude :
we feel (often unconsciously) that either ourselves, or our position in the group, is under threat, and we defensively respond to this perceived external aggression. We get into stress, and a very primitive and instinctive mechanism kicks in that makes us think, live emotions and behave in a one of the traditional survival strategies : fleeing, fighting our freezing. In this particular case, it is the fighting mode that is activated. We become rigid, our vision tends to be very "binary", our beliefs become "the truth", we only see the experiences that validates what we think.... In short, our view becomes more and more narrow and our heart shuts down... as long as the stress is there.
for those of us that instinctively tend to take a dominant position in a group, we aggressively respond to restore a perceived risk in the balance of power. Here the stress is triggered because we are confronted with the very archaic, gregarious fear of all dominant positions : being inferior. In addition to becoming narrow-minded because of the stress, we may also become aggressively offensive to restore the hierarchy.
When we are caught in situations like that, Mindfulness practices can help us in many ways :
To reduce our level of stress
To find some relief emotionally
To become more conscious of what is going on. That includes distinguishing whether we are in a stress response to a perceived aggression or in a power struggle
To stop and not feed the mechanism further
To restore some kindness for ourselves, all stakeholders and the situation
With a clearer mind, to gradually re-open towards more acceptance, flexibility and openness to alternative views and possibilities.
Stay tuned for some mindfulness practices tips in the short future.