Focussing on issues, not people, leads to solutions

Focus on the issue on hand. Never on the people connected or on the sentiments they express.

Life’s full of challenges. Some of them involve the interactions we have with people. There are some whom we can never escape. Like a short-tempered boss. Or a temperamental adolescent. Or a depressive spouse. Or an irritating neighbor. When we start wondering why is so-and-so behaving in such a manner, we lose the plot__and therefore the opportunity to seek a resolution or find a win-win platform for both parties. Know that people are different. And it is in people’s nature to be the way they are. Each of us is created differently. And so is the person you are having a challenge interacting with. So, if you look at the person and grieve saying she or he does not meet your expectation, it is an exercise in futility. For example, if you expect your boss to be polite and dignified with you__when he is incapable of such niceties__you will suffer. Instead the issue you have is with the way you are being treated. And if you don’t like it, you must find yourself a new boss! Meaning, a new job. Simple! Don’t grieve over the current one. Similarly, a teenager behaving irresponsibly at home is reflective of her adolescence and not a sign of any disrespect to you nor is this pointing to your failing in your duty to bring her up well.

There’s a saying in cricket: “Play the ball, not the bowler.” And we will all do well to remember this in all situations in Life. When we respect the issue, the situation, and give it all the attention it deserves, irrespective of who is causing it, we will always find solutions __ and inner peace!

Celebrate the diversity in people

Learn to accept people for who they are. Don’t try to get them to fit into your idea of who you want them to be. Expecting people to be any different from what they are is a sure way of making yourself miserable. This particularly applies in a family context where people despite all the closeness still have some very different ways of thinking and living. Maturity demands that in such situations you simply let people be.
Yesterday a friend of mine said he was having serious challenges in “controlling” his 18-year-old son. The boy apparently had little interest in academics. And his parents’ paranoia was only making him more rebellious. I told my friend that the problem lay in him trying to “control” his son. I have found that as children grow up to be young adults, parents too must grow up. We have to recognize that our ‘kids’, when they are young adults, don’t need us to support or protect them. What they expect from us is that we respect their integrity, their intellect and their privacy. Being available to them is what they will value more than being there all the time all over, and around, them!
I have another friend who has a pretty interesting way of dealing with diversity in his immediate circle. Within his family, he has told everyone that they are free to do whatever they want as long as they don’t interfere with whatever he is doing. Everyone meets every quarter and reviews this arrangement in a mature manner and if there are new agreements to be arrived at, they do draw them up. Result: there’s complete peace and harmony even as people do their own stuff. For instance, my friend is either out trekking or racing in car rallies, while his wife undertakes pilgrimages even as she runs a business, and his children are busy building their own careers having chosen their companions without having to toe a ‘family’ line. The family does converge on common vacation times annually or simply gets together some weekends to goof off. But they do it more as friends than as people having to live under the influence or shadow of each other.
People, including children, don’t need to, and can’t, be controlled. They can only be conversed with. You can share a point of view. Either there can be agreement or disagreement. If you disagree, fine, agree to do so. Recognize that it is perfectly fine to disagree.  Just don’t grieve over the disagreement.
Let’s celebrate the diversity in people around us. This celebration is what will make living a pleasant experience!

Choose Compassion over Passion to Live Life Fully!

Love people and use things. People are to be understood and loved. Things are meant to be possessed and used. But if you look at how the world works today people are used and things are loved! Therein lies the answer to the incompleteness in our lives!

Almost all of us have either been used, or even abused in some cases, or we have too much attachment to material things, our possessions. So, we find, despite all the passion we have for things or what we do, something’s missing. That missing ingredient is compassion.

Passion is about ownership. It’s a drive that is powered subconsciously, biologically. If you are passionate about your lover or your child or your car, you will want to control her or it. Passion, of course, is critical to growth and progress__and in the context of success, ensures winning! But pure ownership and control makes, in the long term, you being possessed by what you try to own or control. Compassion on the other hand is pure, unadulterated love. There’s no possession here. There’s no biological dimension here. It is both conscious and spiritual. And therefore, there’s no ego, no jealousy, no insecurity. So compassion leads you to freedom. You may physically possess something but you will not grieve its loss because you are free from bondage. You are detached. Compassion is a great force. It helps you appreciate the diversity in Life, in people, helps you accept it and allows you to understand them better. Compassion is about loving and living wholesomely.

In order to transcend your passion and move into the realm of compassion, begin first by loving all the people in your circle of influence, unconditionally. Irrespective of who they are and what they have done to you. Don’t try to wish that they are different. Accept them for who they are. Wish them well and pray of their welfare even if they are trying to make Life miserable for you. Next, every time you feel attached to a thing, ponder over the impermanent nature of Life itself. Every single time bring your mind to attend over the tenure of your lifetime and remind yourself that you have come with an expiry date, except you don’t know what it is! So then, in the wake of understanding the fragility of your own Life, the object of your attachment will instantaneously cease to hold value or attract you anymore.

You will then see the clear distinction between people and things. And you will want to spend your Life, or whatever is left of it, loving Life, loving people and using things to the fullest!