Reactive Versus Emergent Operating Systems
Serving your timeless and aspirational qualities
At a silent weeklong retreat last week, we learned about the “reactive” operating system vs the “emergent” operating system.
The “reactive” operating system is the one usually in charge, and makes up what we perceive as our “personality.” Who we think we are, but isn’t truly who we are.
To discover the core of who we are, we practiced anapanasati, a central technique taught by the Buddha. The technique uses awareness of breathing to 1) recognize, 2) sense, and 3) release somatic tension in our bodies.
This tension release leads to piti, a sense of otherworldly joy to arise.
This sense of otherworldly joy allows yoniso manasikāra, or the “emergent” operating system to arise. It’s closer to who we truly are—the Pāli words can literally mean “the womb of wise attention.” It’s the source of our goodness.
A fellow retreatant posed a vital question for our teachers:
How can I tell whether my thoughts originate from the “reactive” or the “emergent” operating system? Sometimes feelings of righteousness arise, and I am not sure if I am just being reactive or if they are true to my values.
Gil Fronsdal gave us a useful heuristic: directives from the emergent operating system don't tend to have timelines. They have timeless and aspirational qualities.
May you find what is timeless and aspirational. Here’s a talk by Gil if you want to learn more:
I’m glad to be gifted with new words to describe what I love to do: with Kind Camp and individual coaching, I support emergent modes of being through writing.
Improving Free Versus Paid Content
I’m experimenting with a new way to share paid content that I hope will be more beneficial to both free and paid subscribers. Previously, I had done the usual thing where I placed the paywall after a brief preview. But I personally hate receiving paywalled content myself… 😂 Apologies to those of you who had to suffer through a few rounds!
In this new format, the “free” portion will have unabridged content as per above, and the paid portion will dive into personal tangents.
My “Emergent” Operating System Scares the Shit Out of Me
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Christin’s Newsletter to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.