We all have an internal map of reality, our own subjective experience and everybody is uniquely placed in their own world. If you agree, you will be much more accepting the uniqueness and difference of other people. And, this will allow you and others to be what they are with their attitudes, beliefs, patterns and ways of behaviour.
Normally, we presuppose that the other person is going to be difficult.
It all depends on how you think about it. If you set up a base that it is “conflict,” you will create conflict. You will create what you don’t want. Think of it as a magical opportunity of expanding yourself, possibility of being flexible, coming up with new creative solutions, then you don’t create the idea of it being a conflict. In all human communications, there are moments of tensions. If you shy away from that, that’s what you tend to create. Think of human relations as full of many different things. those moments when there isn’t an easy flow could be moments when you can learn the most, and come up with new ways of relating with people.
It works if you take the word conflict out. Imagine that your relationships are going to have moments of high energy and sometimes low energy. Then, it is not a problem.
Osho has a very good insight about conflict. He says, when we meet somebody, we carry a baggage of the history of that person. We are not fresh in the moment. We are responding to many previous stories about that person. So, it is not a meeting of two persons in the moment, it is a meeting of stories from history.
I have some frames that are helpful in dealing with difficult situations. One frame is to say, “I am responsible for my relationships with people. If there are difficulties, what can I do to be more flexible?” The difficulties arise because one person says that the others are wrong and he is right. So, the other should change. That is usually the basis for conflict. If you say that I am responsible for my relating, and I don’t necessarily say that I am right, and others are wrong, I say I have my position and others have their positions, where can there be a meeting? There can be a point of view where we can come together as a shared value; after this a lot of difficulties can go away. It is important to learn how you can build this frame into your communication. And, that needs practice.
You can practice it by what frame of glasses you wear when you approach your relationships. What you do inside when you start relating to somebody can lead to difficulties or create possibilities. And, a lot of that literally is the belief you start with. If you believe that you are right and the other is wrong, very quickly you can get into difficulties. Each of us lives in his/her own unique world and there is no right or wrong. If you believe that you are right and the other believes that he is right, then the two rights hit each other and emotions come up quickly. Both feel hurt, offended and it does get into conflict and out of control.
Beliefs play a major part in beginning or ending conflicts. If you believe that there are no difficult people, it is you who has to be more flexible; the communication starts on a different level. If you step out of this belief and say that we are different, and meet and share values, then difficulties clear up. Everybody has to see how I am creating the conflict before I have even gone to see this person. With awareness you will find that you have set up that s/he is going to be difficult, and s/he sure will be!
The meaning of communication is the response that is created in the other. So, if you intend to be polite to somebody, you speak in a nice way, and yet they react in an angry way, you can either blame them or say “I was responsible for my communication. If I have to put a particular message across, I need to put it in a way that that person will understand. If they don’t understand it, all that it means is that the way I went about it is not appropriate. I drop the way I behave and do something else.” It is a great responsibility. It is important not to blame others and not to beat yourself.
Communication with people is a possibility of learning something new, developing new capabilities; time will come when what you call difficulties will be opportunities to learn. Instead of putting the energy in blaming others or blaming yourself, say, “Oh! It didn’t work, let me try another way.” When you have this attitude of learning, you develop more and more flexibility in human relationships.
Imagine that you have many coloured glasses – wear yellow glasses for one mood, wear green ones for the other. Now, see how your vision changes. This is a very delightful game you can play with yourself. You will enjoy it secretly and nobody will know about it.
I want my boss to support my project, but whenever I approach him with this kind of demand, the answer is “No!” Now, the traditional way is to blame the boss. The new way will be to try to look at your own ways: What time I choose to approach him? How do I stand in front of his table? Can’t I ask him to come for coffee and approach in a more cordial atmosphere? So, you are now being creative about your own patterns of behaviour. Normally, if you look at your conflict it is the same old pattern repeated over and over again. Garbage in; garbage out. We keep doing the same thing; we keep getting the same response.
And, it’s the same situation with lovers. You normally find conflicts between lovers because it is the same physiology, same gestures, same words, same tone of voice. How could we do something different to get a different response? But, I tell you, sometimes conflict is good! In relationships, sometimes, it is good not to use your communication skills. Have a good fight, instead. It cleanses the system!
So, the keys to good communication are: accepting yourself and others, rejoicing in your weakness, going beyond right and wrong, celebrating your own unique world, and allowing others to live in their world.
Positive Outlook to Life
Each one of us is made of various physical, vital, and mental parts. There is our physical body and its organs, muscles, and the vital being with its sensations, emotions and feelings, and the mental part with its thoughts, memories, reasoning power, beliefs, etc., Somewhere between our emotions and our thought processing lies our attitudes – our emotional perceptions about life, about others, even towards our own selves. Attitudes generally express positively and negatively. Interestingly, if we can identify a bad attitude and make the effort to change it, we will find that life will co-operate with our inner efforts, bringing us instances of sudden good fortune. So, the next time things start going wrong, wrong, wrong, just stop and ask; what is my attitude right now? Is it optimistic? Is it hopeful? Is it rude? When we change our attitudes, or otherwise elevate our consciousness, life quickly responds with miraculouslike instances of good fortune.
Amrit Sadhana, a long time Osho meditator, is editor Osho Times International. A member of the management team, she also writes for various magazines propagating the Osho vision, and conducts workshops and self-development courses. She lives in the Osho International Meditation Resort, Pune