I rarely watch the news or read the paper. I haven’t done so for years. But when I do, I’m always struck by how much fighting is going on. I’m not just talking about wars and civil unrest, I’m talking about the corporate takeovers, the law suits, the backstabbing and infighting. Ordinary people bearing grudges against their family members, bosses, colleagues and friends. Are we humans just an argumentative species? Are we just wired to fight with each other, or is there a way to transcend the argument?
Why do we even fight in the first place? There are some global beliefs (vibrations that have been adopted by the majority of the world) that seem to affect most of us: First, we have a need to be right. We have a need to be heard. We have a fear of and at the same time a huge desire to be seen for who we really are. And when another person disagrees with our truth, with how we see things, it makes us feel rejected, in a way. Secondly, we believe (not always rationally, mind you) that in order for us to be right, everyone who disagrees with us must be wrong. In order for us to win, they have to lose. You’re either with us, or against us.
Let’s look at an example. Two children are coloring at a table with some paper and crayons. One child chooses a red crayon and one child chooses a green one. Each child feels very strongly that their choice is the best one. They begin to tell each other why their crayon choice is really superior to all other crayons. And they begin to argue, then fight. Each will not give in. Their crayon is the best color, damn it, and no one can change their mind.
Of course, in that scenario, the children wouldn’t fight over the crayons. They’d each be happy with their choice, knowing that it was the right one, for them. And the other child’s choice would in no way diminish theirs. But, we adults do this exact thing all the time. If someone disagrees with us, we feel attacked. It doesn’t even have to be anything big, or life changing. People have gotten so upset over the tiniest thing that they’ve even forgotten what they were upset about, but kept fighting anyway. The need to be right was much bigger than the actual issue.
We don’t want to be wrong. We can’t stand it. It’s an ugly, ugly feeling. But why? Because we’re not, and Who We Really Are knows it. Our choices are never wrong, if they feel intuitively right to us. Our arguments are valid and our reasons sound. The only thing we’re missing is the realization that someone else’s opinion has absolutely no impact on how right we are. Because they’re right, too. There doesn’t have to be a winner and a loser. Life doesn’t have to be adversarial. One child can color their horsey red and the other one can color it green. We’re each right in our own reality.
So, how does this translate to bigger issues? I’ll use an example from my own life. A few months ago, I was speaking with a fellow spiritual teacher. He was explaining his philosophy to me, and it differed greatly to mine. Whereas I believe that all is ultimately well and that we really can never get it wrong, he was teaching a message of doom and gloom. If we don’t do something to change the world by a specific date, all kinds of horrible things will be visited upon us. It was a cross between war of the worlds and the Old Testament. I chose this example, because more lives have been lost over spiritual and religious disagreements than anything else. People will kill each other over a disagreement of the slightest of details, even if they basically agree on everything else.
I was taking a break from doing some pretty heavy duty spiritual growth in the Peruvian Rainforest at the time, and was wide open. My vibration was incredibly high. So, there I was, being lectured by someone with a philosophy which, on the surface, looked pretty much opposite to mine. And while in that high vibrational state, something amazing happened: I felt no need to defend my point of view. I didn’t even feel any need to tell him that I disagreed with his. I just listened to him tell his story. I made mental notes of the things I disagreed with, instantly understanding that doing so helped me to clarify my own stance. And I was able to just let the stuff that I didn’t agree with go. Then, when he finished his lecture, I realized that the destination of his philosophy was the exact same as mine. He was, in his own way, aiming to wake people up and help them remember who they really were. His message was a lot more hard core than mine and used the doom and gloom approach, but some people love the drama of it all and need a bit of a fire under their butts to get them going in the very direction they actually want to go in. His message was perfect for those that resonated with it. And mine was perfect for me.
This was a pretty special moment for me. I’ve always loved a good debate. People that know me will tell you that I can talk an auctioneer into the ground. So when someone seemingly disagreed with the philosophy I was about to base my life’s purpose on, and I was able to react in such a Zen manner, it really got my attention. Perhaps this was just a one-off, an aberration caused by being in just the right place at just the right time in just the right emotional state. But I’ve come to understand that there are no coincidences or aberrations. This had been no mistake. I was supposed to learn something here.
Once I got back to the real world and my normal life, I began to see if my newfound Zen-like attitude still worked. Could I continue to resist the urge to be right? It turns out, that yes, I could. I’d realized that 1.) Someone else disagreeing with me had nothing to do with me, it was their opinion and mine was my own; it in no way negated my point of view and 2.) if you avoid shutting down the second you hear a detail you don’t agree with and keep listening, you’ll often discover that you’re both essentially saying the same thing. You might be getting there on vastly different roads, but your destination is the same. And once those realizations hit, once I “got” it, my reaction to every confrontational situation changed. I just didn’t see the point of fighting someone in order to arrogantly convince them that I knew which opinion (mine!) was best for them.
You are right. Always. So am I. So is everyone. We are all right from our own point of view, in our own reality. How you react when someone disagrees with you really says more about you than them. Why do you need to defend your point of view? How have they diminished your belief system? Let the other kid have his green crayon while you use the red one.
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