Do you get hit by the second arrow?

There is a buddhist story about the two arrows that fly with each misfortune. The first arrow is the actual event that may cause pain. The second arrow is our reaction TO the event. 

Interestingly enough, it's the second arrow that causes more pain than the first.

The second arrow is our choice. We choose our reaction and thus are in fact in charge of how much pain the second arrow will cause. So, ultimately we choose how much we suffer.

It goes back to that old phrase that I always heard from teachers, parents, & coaches growing up..."pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional."

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What's your knee jerk reaction?

We all have "this place" that our mind goes first when obstacles or challenges come up in our lives. The "place" is based on our own personal beliefs and our past experiences in life. 

A powerful exercise is to observe your immediate reaction to the things that happen in your life. Where does your mind go first? What's the story you tell yourself?

Let's say that you've been rear-ended in a car accident. What's your immediate reaction? Do you a) get angry - shouting obscenities and shaking your fists in the air? b) first worry about the people in the other car, wondering if they are okay? c) Are you immediately fearful that you did something wrong? or d) Do you keep things bottled up - showing absolutely no reaction at all...so the people in the car with you have NO idea what you are thinking?

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