Mindfulness Activity #120
On Conflict with Others
Mingyur Rinpoche Tibetan Buddhist teacher has said that in order to deal skillfully with difficult people, we must work on our attention. He says that each of us has innate goodness or wisdom, but we often fail to notice it. He likens the experience to wearing a watch but never looking at your wrist to see the time…you cannot tell time unless you notice your watch. Just like this, we often have abilities we could use to deal skillfully with others, but we fail to see the good or skillful qualities in ourselves. If a person has 10 qualities, 9 might be wonderful qualities like caring, kindness, being bright, etc…and perhaps only one quality is problematic. We often pay attention most to this problematic part of ourselves. It becomes the loudest or the most obvious quality; it becomes magnified. We act on the negative urges, especially when we feel wronged by another person.
We also practice this selected attention when it comes to other people we find difficult. We hone in on their most negative qualities and fail to attend to their positive qualities. We get locked into conflict. We feel that the drama of our interactions negatively impacts us and causes us unhappiness. It is true that conflict is part of life. Being treated unkindly is also often part of life. But, drama is optional. Hitching our happiness onto another person is a choice.
So today’s practice is a Metta Meditation (a loving kindness meditation). You know this is my favorite version of this practice. If you want a different version, you can do any metta meditation on youtube. Before you begin, think about a quality in yourself you would like to recede and qualities you would like to grow. Think about others with whom you have frequent conflict. Decide that you will practice this metta mindfulness in order to wish good things to them in service of having less drama and stress in your life.
Sit tall and click the following link—don’t forget to breathe
This practice builds positive energy and loosens up conflict. Try it whenever you feel locked into an interpersonal struggle with someone.
Have a drama-free day!