MAX Mindfulness: Mindful Reactions

By Dave Wine, President & CEO

Although actually we have ‘one’ mind, the way our minds work we have at least two reactive types of mind.  There is the reptilian part of our brains, often called simply the ego (not to be confused with egotistical feelings).  And there is the more developed, ‘higher’ emotional state of the brain often called the Id or Super-ego depending on what psychology book you read.   What all of these ‘parts’ are called is not important but here is what is important!

Our ego part of the brain – the kind that is created to keep us out of danger and to react quickly- does just that.  It reacts.  It is the first response to any situation, anybody, any issue.  We could say it always speaks first!  And I might add, quite quickly and often quite loudly!   So if something or someone upsets us, our ego part of the brain reacts very quickly.  We have immediate reactions, emotions, and they are usually dominated by negative feelings and thoughts or a need to do something quickly to restore balance.

Here’s where mindfulness comes in.  The more evolved, higher part of the brain, and yes, I would say “spiritual” – the part that connects with God – speaks last!   That’s why, if confronted with situations and people that ‘yank our chain’, if we take time to give space to our feelings and our need to react, we often make much better decisions because we allow that other part of our mind, the part that is less reactive, to take more control.  So meditation, prayer, quiet time, reflection time become so very important to us in our ability to make quality decisions, restore balance before reacting, and allow us to meet people and situations with more grace and higher emotional intelligence. That’s why as kids we were often admonished to count to ten before reacting.  It can be as simple as that!

David WineDavid Wine

David is the President and CEO of the MAX enterprise, having served in that capacity since its formation in 2001.   He has forty plus years of leadership experience in the business and faith-based worlds, being an ordained minister, having been elected to the highest position in his denomination,  and receiving numerous awards and recognition for his leadership in the insurance industry. He currently serves on numerous boards in the church and insurance sectors.  His hobbies include hiking, biking, skiing and snowshoeing as well as being an avid reader.  David and his wife, Sharon, have three daughters, a son, and four grandchildren.