The fight-of-flight reflex is throbbing when we argue with loved ones. Discover more about how couples can have constructive disagreements, rather than destructive conflicts, on our Wisdom Track podcast titled What’s Love Got to do with it? Live at 4pm on Saturday 24 October.
‘Is what most human beings would like to do a great deal of the time; and most especially during this time of confinement, from our present circumstances. Running away is the flight part of the ‘fight or flight’ deeply in our bodies and our past, it has been our protection, an evolutionary momentum and a biological memory deep in the human body that allowed our ancestors to survive to another day and bequeath to us, generations later, this day.
To want to run away is an essence of being human, it transforms any staying through the transfigurations of choice. To think about fleeing from circumstances, from a marriage, a relationship or from a work is part of the conversation itself and helps us understand the true distilled nature of our own reluctance, thus allowing us a deeper honesty and sense of presence.
Strangely, we are perhaps most fully incarnated as humans, when part of us does not want to be here, or doesn’t know how to be here.
Presence is only fully understood and realised through fully understanding our reluctance to show up.
To understand the part of us that wants nothing to do with the full necessities of work, of relationship, of loss, of doing what is necessary, is to learn humility, to cultivate self-compassion and to sharpen that sense of humour essential to a merciful perspective of both a self and another.
In the wild, the best response to dangerous circumstances is often not to run but to assume a profoundly attentive identity, to pay attention to what seems to threaten and in that attention, not to assume the identity of the victim.
Through being equal to fierce circumstances we make ourselves larger than the part of us that wants to flee while not losing its protective understandings about when it might be appropriate.
We decide not to run not only because there are many who would be left behind who cannot run as fast as we can, but also because in turning to the source of the fear we have the possibility of finding a different way forward, a larger good, through circumstances, rather than away from them in some supposedly safe area where threats no longer occur. We know intuitively that most of the time, we should not run, we should stay and look for a different way forward, despite the evolutionary necessity.
Rarely is it good to run, but we are wiser, more present, more mature, more understanding and more thoroughly human when we realise we can never flee from the need to run away.’
‘Run Away’ taken from Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words by David Whyte. Read Snake Bloomstrand’s take on relationship disagreements too right here.