I am a person who dislikes conflict of any sort. Not surprising for one who grew up in a rather big family (considered small during the era of multi-generational dwellings: parents with 3 kids, plus grandparents and an aunt). It was a normal family with normal conflicts. Or so I thought. Until I spent time with people outside the country and saw how actual families actually relate to one another – no shouting or yelling at each other; no cold, silent treatment after a flare-up, no tension or stress from every family outing, no broken furniture from flying hammers! Instead, there was lots of joy and laughter, holding of hands and other public display of affection 🙂
To someone like me who had never seen my parents holding hands or even kissing, seeing that was a complete shock to my system. I suddenly had a realisation that I was growing up in a rather dysfunctional family! 😳 With so many people living under one roof of a single-storey link house with 1 bathroom and 1 toilet for all, things (or rather, emotions) can sometimes get out of hand, not to mention that we had also developed extreme control of our bladders and bowels, failing which, there were potties just outside the toilet for emergencies!
So after we moved out of that tiny house into a bigger one (a single-storey bungalow with a large garden – another plot for new conflicts (but that’s another story!) one would have expected the conflicts to abate. Unfortunately it kind of escalated instead. Blame it on the fengshui. But my parents did not believe in that😝 So this is proof that the source of conflict is in the MIND. And how we can resolve them is through SEEING THE MIND and CHANGING THE MINDSET.
We have the physical eyes to see external objects, and the mind’s eyes to see our mental objects – anger, worries, fear… Most of us have not trained our mind’s eyes to be aware of what is going on inside us. So we lash out verbally and physically at external objects and think that they are the source of our problems. Because that was how our parents and grandparents handled conflict, and that was the only way we knew how. But in reality, the source can be found from within. When we stop blaming others for our misery, when we stop acting out of fear or anger, when we stop being an asshole to others, or a perennial victim of circumstances, we will have a chance to change EVERYTHING. So the choice is in your hands – continue to lash out or STOP.
Stop feeding your anger. Stop feeding your fears. Stop feeding your ego. When you stop the conditions that feed more misery, misery will disappear. And what do you do instead? Start feeding your emotions with love instead. Start loving yourself a little more. Stop hating yourself (or your “enemy”). When there is genuine love, you will not have the capacity to cause hurt to yourself or to those close to you. When you embrace yourself wholeheartedly, you will be able to embrace others with the same love. Even the person you think you hate the most.
But it is so difficult, isn’t it? To love yourself when you have not been truly loved? All parents say they love their children. But most of them don’t know how to love. Instead, they actually do the opposite, and cause a lot of pain and misery. And when the kids grow up, they think that this is love. And they do the same to their kids and say, “I went through this when I was young, and I turned out alright. I’m doing this out of love for you!” No pain no gain. So you put your child through the most gruesome ordeals (think tuition after tuition, exams after exams, pressure on top of more pressure) so that she learns to cope with the realities of life. And this goes on and on, unless there is an AWAKENING.
An awakening occurs when you suddenly see your situation from a distance and realise this is so STUPID! All the anger and worries and anxiety. All the accusations, the judgmental comments, the nagging. They are all needless and unnecessary. IF everyone learns how to speak and communicate properly, and have a clear mindset about life and relationships, a mass awakening can happen. But more often than not, this usually takes a disaster of sorts to jolt people out of their ordinary existence.
Three questions that they do not teach in schools: “What is life? What are relationships?How to attain harmony?”
What is Life?
Life is a series of experiences – good, bad and neutral – that feeds and conditions our minds for better or worst. It is infinitely evolving yet the physical body has a shelf life that everyone tries to ignore or forget. We live our lives as if we were immortals. But as in all living things, there is life, and there is growth, and there is the expiration of life. Understanding this, we will have a very strong purpose to make full use of our present life here on earth, and leave a positive imprint behind, through our thoughts, speech and actions.
What are relationships?
Humans are ultimately social beings, no matter how solitary one thinks one is. And so we seek out companionships with others. And this is where problems arise. We want the good feelings minus the cumbersome problems. So we choose to abandon ship rather than staying put to deal with the problems. But children are not ships to be abandoned. They are little yaughts waiting to set sail into the BIG BIG WORLD. But if they are not crafted well, they will be bound to encounter lots of problems BEFORE they even set off into a lifetime of adventures ahead. Or if they were to set sail despite their lack of readiness, they will face the danger of sinking into the deepest ocean.
So we really really got to take our relationships with our fellow humans seriously and carefully. One has no right over the other, no matter what the relationship is – be it parental or spousal – to belittle, to swear, to hurt the other – especially NOT in the name of love. To love is to respect. To respect is to receive guidance. To receive guidance is to grow intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. We all need to learn these. They are becoming extinct in this world of selfish pursuits of materialistic acquirement, plunging humanity into deeper whirlpools of depression and despair.
We need to seek a harmonious balance of the yin and yang – our hedonistic part and our holistic heart. To do that, we have to retreat from the world by focusing inward – taking a calm and clear view of our heart – that is constantly in states of turmoil. Still the mind and you still the heart. There are various ways to achieve that. Just explore, just try it.
No matter what, we are all inter-connected beings in a vast interconnected space. The sooner we make peace with ourselves, the better our relationships with others become. We are but a tiny speck in the vast ocean of stars. But this tiny speck combined with thousands of others can become a giant light-force shining brightly in the sky.