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Communication and Conflict Newsletter, Issue #005, Would you rather be right or happy?
June 10, 2008
Newsletter - Right or Happy?
(or why responding to a personal conflict as if it is a competition can be a challenge but it won't bring us happiness)
Save that it avoids picking and choosing.
Only when you stop liking and disliking
Will all be clearly understood.
A split hair’s difference,
And Heaven and Earth are set apart!
If you want to get the plain truth,
Be not concerned with right and wrong.
The conflict between right and wrong
Is the sickness of the mind.
The Way of Zen by Alan Watts.
Zen Buddhism ..... is not religion or philosophy; it is not a psychology or a type of science. It is an example of what is known in India and China as a 'way of liberation'.
That appealed to me immensely. At the age of 18 I couldn't understand what the point was of so much dogma in all of the fields he listed. All it led to was competition between them. And I still don't understand it though of course I recognise it in myself at times and in other situations that I am involved in through my work.
No, We're right!
No, you're both wrong, we're right!
Why couldn't they see that in their own way, from a particular perspective they were all right? But unfortunately they were wrong in their assertion of being the only ones who were right.
In so many disputes we see clearly why both parties would consider themselves 'right', and we can understand their perspective when we are not caught up in it.
But for each to understand and accept that the other is also right - in terms of how they see it - is a major obstacle when their focus and determination is on winning.
And we see, from disputes about the position of a garden fence, to disputes about an international boundary the destructiveness of pursuing that goal.
I guess this is one of the reasons I love Byron Katie's approach to any difficulty through what she calls 'The Work'. She asks that we question the impact of having a thought or belief that we are sure is 'right'. She doesn't tell us it is 'wrong' and that we should believe otherwise. She just asks us to look at the consequences for us of holding on to that belief, and then to consider what our life would be like if we didn't.
1. Is it true?
2. Can you absolutely know that it's true?
3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
4. Who would you be without the thought?
Then turn it around (the concept you are questioning), and don't forget to find three genuine examples of each turnaround.
The Work helps us to make a choice about whether we would rather be right than be happy, but it does it through helping us to come to an understanding of the consequences for ourselves of believing we are right.
Our dispute with another does not have to come into it. We don't have to make the other wrong, and insist that they 'change', in order for us to be happy.
As Katie often says: 'Cut out the middle man, be happy'.
Ideas and Information
Connect with Alan on LinkedIn
or his Twitter page @alan_sharland
Follow @CAOS_Mediation on Twitter:
Connect with Alan on Google+
Some links that you may find interesting......Mediate.com is an excellent resource of information relating to mediation. There are articles, links to websites and blogs as well as the possibility of locating mediators in your area.
SelfGrowth.com- - SelfGrowth.com is a comprehensive guide to information about Self Improvement, Personal Growth and Self Help on the Internet. It is designed to be an organized directory, with articles and references to thousands of other Web Sites on the World Wide Web.
Transforming Conflict is an excellent organisation which works with young people, and adults, in educational settings, promoting restorative approaches to conflict.
So, how did you like it?
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