The point of contention

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Kali yuga – the age of quarrel and hypocracy

The main quality I seek in people is self reflection. The ability to reflect on different situations and view oneself from perspectives that differ from one’s own. To look at a bad situation and see if one could have handled oneself differently. To view the other persons, make an assessment of who they are, what level they are at, the viewpoints they have and why. To come up with a different strategy if things goes awry.

I didn’t have these social skills at all during my childhood, adolescence and the twenties. I had parents with no social skills, so therefore I never had anybody who taught it to me. Fortunately or unfortunately, I’m a highly sensitive person, which mean I process more impulses than the average person. So I learned by people’s reaction to my actions. Of course, I didn’t understand their reaction then – I just saw it. I had to walk through depressions and burned outs before in the end of the twenties I begun to work on myself and slowly the puzzle began to take shape. I began to understand myself, my social skills began to evolve slowly, my ability to understand and (really) see other people evolved. There was a lot of self work involved.

The reason why I have so many opinions on how to deal with conflicts is because I’ve become good at it. I’m good at self reflection, and I’m good at dealing with other people. I’m able to take an argument and work on the other person. I might not see the change, but it’s usually there. I see it in the way we deal with each other afterwards. I see it in how the other persons dealings afterward with me. When I enter a conflict, I don’t enter the conflict itself – I start working on and with the other person (including myself if that is needed). Some may have a quarrel with me, but that doesn’t mean I have a quarrel with them. My goal is to teach and learn, and it also involves teaching people how to have an argument. I listen, really listen. And I give people resistance if it’s needed. Usually, people just need to he heard. Most people never ask for advice, so I just have to listen. It might sound strange, but I listen and perceive with my eyes, ears and skin. My whole body is involved. People never need judgment, but they do need resistance sometimes.

Kali yuga – the age of quarrel and hypocrisy. We take offense for the slightest misunderstanding and we expect more of others than of ourselves. Currently, me and a neighbor is in a disagreement about an area. The neighbor is struggling mentally and is not rational in her conduct, which manifests when we have a disagreement. So when she’s not rational, I call her out on it and explain why. When she began to utter a threat, I paid it no heed because I understood that underlying it was a lack of ability to come with rational arguments and solutions. She expects more of my social skills than she has herself and I take no offense to her conduct though it’s certainly unhealthy at times. It’s fine and in the end we are still amiable to each other.

Which is probably why I’m usually baffled with how devotees deal with conflicts. You would think that devotees have so much social skills, but instead I find devotees who have even less social skills than people in general. I’m beginning to understand why the view on conflicts seem to be childrens play. It’s because devotees are like children who have not learned how to deal with  conflicts and arguments – or even just proper conduct at times. No wonder the advices are on such a basic level. Sometimes during disagreements a devotee may say to another person that he will “do dandavats from a far”. I would never say something like that to another person. I would instead say that we disagree on this point and since we are not getting any further, just leave it at that. I have left arguments so many times because I see that the other person is unable to move further and see beyond his own world. I’m not even sure I have quarrels anymore, for me it’s just disagreements. When I display anger or negative feelings, it’s often a bit of acting behind it. My heart isn’t in it.

A conflict is a gateway to personal growth. Though it’s disheartening and sad to see the level people are at when conflicts arise.

Pratistha – we should avoid it like the stool of a pig

Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura

2 thoughts on “The point of contention

  1. I agree. Or we could quarrel about it.

    I definitely catch a blood thirst when conflicts arise. Sometimes that can be channeled into something useful. But more often I make a fool out of my self and sometimes hurt feelings. Before I even realize it, I have reacted without thinking.

    Yes, conflict is a good tester to see where everyone, including myself, is at.

  2. The instinctive reactions is what gets us into trouble. When we move past it, a world of opportunities awaits 🙂

    Definitely. The level of people are quickly revealed in conflicts.

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