Focus not on the people, but on the issue, in any conflict.
In response to my blogpost yesterday, a reader reached out and said he didn’t quite understand how you can be untouched and unmoved while fighting the good fight, when being in battle. Let me elaborate.
In any situation, where there is a conflict, we often get to focus on the person involved than on the issue. First, let’s recognize that being in conflict really means there exist two opposing points of view to an issue. Second, when you look at the person with whom you have a conflict, you tend to bring a lot of emotion and drama into play: “How dare he or she do this to me?…I will teach her or him a lesson.” The other person too is experiencing you and these emotions similarly. So, in effect, the conflict now has only escalated. As the desire to avenge the other gets stronger and deep-rooted, the issue is always side-stepped or left unresolved. And in this process of dealing with a conflict, a lot of trauma is experienced by both parties – anger, grief, hatred, fear, insecurity, anxiety, jealousy. All these are debilitating emotions and they pin you down, hold you hostage. If they are around where’s the question of being at peace with yourself, where’s the opportunity to be happy?
Take, for instance, a broken marriage between a couple. The issue is that they don’t relate to each other. So they must separate. But the divorce proceedings turn messy because invariably they stop focusing on the separation and keep thinking of what each one did – or is doing – to the other. Or consider a situation when two business partners spar. Logically, they too must separate. And do what’s best for the business. But instead when they focus on each other, the business suffers, even as the two of them go through intense suffering owing to the conflict.
It is unlikely you can have a conflict-free Life. But each conflict can be resolved faster and with zero trauma or suffering if the issue – and not the people involved – is focused on. This is what I mean when I say choose to be unmoved or untouched by the fight you are involved in. At a spiritual level, it also means that you elevate the battle to a clinical, detached, plane – which is, you do what you have to do to make your point, stake your claim, but emotionally remain detached from the people involved and the outcome.
I have been through both experiences. I have lived a Life fighting pitched battles, steeped in anger and grief. And I have suffered intensely in those times. Then, when I learnt the art of being unmoved and untouched by training my mind by observing daily mouna (silence) sessions, I found myself stronger to battle situations. Because, I am now preserving myself; I am conserving my energy. Remember: lasting the course when in battle is as critical as winning it is. So, despite the chaos that conflict situations often throw up, my inner peace brings to play great focus and resilience. No matter what or who I have to face, my equanimity – my unmoved, untouched state – helps me immensely. And, let me tell you, I am lovin’ it, and myself, this way!
Fight only if you must. Sometimes, the best way to win a battle is not to fight at all.
Harsha Bhogle has been axed as commentator by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) from the IPL 9 Season. As is the case with most BCCI decisions, no reasons are forthcoming. Meanwhile, the rumor mills are working overtime to suggest that any of these three – or all – reasons may be valid: BCCI being ‘deeply influenced’ by innocuous (per me) Tweets by Amitabh Bachchan and M.S.Dhoni conveying their personal opinions on how commentators must commentate; Harsha’s run-in with a Vidarbha Cricket Association official in Nagpur over a common-sensical suggestion and how Shashank Manohar, the current BCCI President, stepped in and stood up for this official; or how players have begun to influence the BCCI on who should be chosen as commentators. But when news broke out on Saturday evening, when the first match of IPL 9 was being played between Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiants, that Harsha will not commentate, the man in the spotlight was off to watch a movie with his wife Anita in Mumbai. All he did was he tweeted his surprise at the turn of events.
I think this is a phenomenal quality that Harsha’s got – to not fight everything and everyone that comes in your way!
Though not among my personal favorites (L.Sivaramakrishnan and Danny Morrison are), Harsha is clearly a world-class cricket commentator. He’s worked hard to follow his bliss and he, deservedly, is very, very admired. Just the outpouring of sentiment in his favor, over his axing, is evidence of how much he’s loved. Yet, the landscape in which he plies his trade is fraught with BCCI’s mafia-like ‘control’ of the game and infested with intra-organizational, political landmines. And Harsha perhaps knows this better than anyone else. Hence his choice to not lose his dignity or sanity trying to stir an already confounded situation is commendable. Undoubtedly, the public – his fans and followers of the game – is with him.
There’s a learning here for all of us. When someone queers your pitch, just walk away. You don’t have to respond to every provocation or pick up every gauntlet that’s hurled at you. Some battles are best left unfought. People react to situations based on their own insecurities, perversions or justifications. Things happen in Life because that’s the way Life is – it keeps on happening, endlessly, often mindlessly. So, if you get embroiled in trying to bulldoze your way every single time someone or something becomes an obstacle, you will only be fighting inconsequential battles all your Life. Precious personal positive energy will get drained this way. Sometimes it is better to be silent and work around a problem person or situation than wanting to decimate an obstruction. Be stingy about where your energies go. Choose the good fight – where there’s a cause, where more than just you will be benefited, where there’s an opportunity that your victory can make the world better. For any other battle, not fighting is perhaps the best way to win!