Exercise — Reacting to a Surprise Event

Exercise – An unexpected situation erupts: in your reaction is something being ignored, and in the order that you impose is something being added that has no real bearing?

Thinking back over a range of ‘surprise‘ situations, one of the most fundamental reactions below surface thinking is a judgmental tendency or gut feeling about whether the event is good or bad in relation to me. An immediate and significant separation occurs between the event and me. It involves a basic tendency to avoid or engage. For instance, I recently checked lottery numbers and realized I hit on 3 out of 5 Cash-Five games. Surprise! I won (a little) money! I will mentally engage this event!

My mind seems to process selectively, in that it sees what it wants to see or is comfortable with. Most everything else gets ignored or repressed, denied, and projected. So, all the goings on in the moments leading to, and happening simultaneous with the surprise of my little windfall were ignored (such as what I was thinking and focused on just before I decided to check my numbers), and everything else going on in the moment – that irrelevant content was denied because it had nothing to do with my winning tickets.

What was added were questions of whether to take the cash, or let the winnings ride and play new games? These questions were in the form of projections, imaginings of me in the scenario acting out those alternative possibilities, with further fantasies unfolding about what it would be like to hit a really big lottery worth millions. A whole new contextualization had begun with the eruption of this new ‘winning‘ event. The contextualizing that I was engaged in just prior to noticing the unchecked lottery tickets on the table was fading in memory and significance, as that new impulse to check the numbers had replaced it – all resulting from the eruption of an unexpected situation.

So I see what was being ignored in my reactive behavior, but what was being added that had no real bearing? Perhaps the fantasy aspect with daydreams of wealth and happiness in my own world, a la la land zone of imaginary delights. What bearing did those projections have on anything, really? There was an event, it seemed necessary to deal with it in the moment, to make decisions about future alternatives, but the daydreams seemed more like fluff, born out of the desire to freeze and prolong the feel of that ‘winning‘ moment.

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