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Stephen Mayo | Part of the Territory

Part of the Territory

June 5, 2022

If I took a broomstick and impaled it into my leg, the neurons in my leg would probably protest vigorously. It would hurt, a lot.

But there’s already a similar-shaped object (a human bone) embedded in my leg. How come that doesn’t hurt? 

My body has become conditioned to expect and tolerate it.  My leg muscles and tissues know that bone belongs there.  

When treating a gunshot victim, doctors sometimes choose to leave pieces of a bullet embedded inside the person permanently, because to remove the pieces would risk greater damage than leaving them there.  If the doctors can prevent infection, then over time the body will accept the bullet, recognize that it’s part of the territory now, and no longer react to it.

Much of what we react to in life, is a function of what we’ve conditioned ourselves to react to.  When a driver cuts you off, or your boss won’t listen or your child throws a tantrum, you can react to it like an unwelcome, unwanted intruder.  But from this state, it’s unlikely you’ll have access to the most compassionate, prudent and creative version of yourself.

Or, you can accept that these behaviors by others are part of the territory, and say, I see what’s happening. Now, what shall I do about this?

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