“Between stimulus and response, there is a space.
In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

For most of us, the normal state in our life is not stopping, not awareness – but running.

We are running, telling ourselves we have no time, trying to be effective and go from one topic to the next, often unaware of our choices. We are acting from unconsciousness automatism, often with a lack of clarity, acting from immediate reactivity. This is the normal state in the jackal world we have been raised in and in which we live – most of the time for most of us.

The habit of running is also true for our parents and ancestors, who have all been running and who have transmitted to us this sense of – ‘there is not enough time’.

Giraffe consciousness requires us to stop running – we need to literally stop doing what we are doing, focus our intention on our inside and notice what is going on: in the body and in the mind. While this is possible to do, we actually do not do it. We forget, we are not used to be mindful

It takes a conscious choice to form a new habit of stopping. We can develop a practice of stopping. But it takes an intention and it takes a daily remembered intention to form a new habit.

A couple of practitioners tell their wisdom on how they approach the topic of stopping.

Story of the man on the horse

There is a Zen story about a man riding a horse that is galloping very quickly. Another man, standing alongside the road, yells at him, “Where are you going?” and the man on the horse yells back, “I don’t know. Ask the horse.

I think that is our situation. We are riding many horses that we cannot control.

― Thích Nhất Hạnh, Being Peace

Marshall Rosenberg on Stopping – Take Your Time

Brother Phap Dung – Stopping and Touching our Suffering

Brother Phap Hu tells a story about solidity and the ability to stop.

"Everything is going to be OK" | Encounters with a Zen Master

Learn about the Zero Step in NVC practice here.