Spiritualizing our relationships 3 – Learning to separate people from their behavior
[Phone talk to everydaychant.com online sanga]
Transcription of summary
I talked about when we serve someone because of them, and when we serve someone in spite of them. That means that, whenever we interact with each other we see some good in some people and we see some bad in some people, and of course first we separate it… and some people who we look forward to we delight in it, and some people who we feel troubled by… some people bring happiness where they go, and some people bring happiness when they go.
So, I talked about how with our spiritual services also some services give us strength and some services takes away our strength. So, then if the overall strength balance is positive, that means the service that give us strength are more than the services that take away our strength, then we can function effectively. So, similarly in our life, in our relationships, if the relationships that gives us strength are more than the relationships that take away our strength, then we can be emotionally and relationally stable. So, now when we put both this together… that means in a person there is something which we like and that gives us strength, and there is something which we don’t like and takes away our strength. So, then what do we focus on? How do we get that emotional stability and relational stability? That will depend on what we focus on.
I talked about how the godly are averse to fault finding, whereas the ungodly delight in fault finding. They delight… they consider anger and harsh speech as their treasure… So, we all have anger but when we consider anger as strength, then it becomes a far greater problem. If I have anger and I recognize the anger as a problem, then it is lesser problem, it can be dealt with.
So, how can we have aversion to fault finding. We can’t be with closed eyes and not see the faults, but we can avoid focussing on the faults, we can avoid speaking only about the faults.
I talked about how… I give my example of writing and editing… that even when there is something that is faulty and even if I know that somebody has the service to find faults and improve my writings, still it is not easy to take only faults. So, if there are some appreciations and then some corrections are pointed out then it becomes easier to take, and also if I have trust that this person is overall my well-wisher and this person wants to become better, then it is easier to take faults, take corrections.
So, the more close the thing is to us, the more difficult it is to take its criticism. So, for my writing I am able to take criticism, but my behaviour if they criticize it will be more difficult. Just like if someone criticizes a distant nephew that doesn’t evoke as strong a reaction, as if somebody criticizes our own child. So, in order to may be understand this… and just as we find it difficult to take criticism, so others also find it difficult to take criticism.
So, when people have some problematic behaviour which needs to be corrected, we need to separate the person from the behaviour, and separating the person from the behaviour means that firstly there is understanding and there is appreciation. We understand that based on their conditionings this is difficult for them to do. It’s not that they are deliberately doing it to trouble us, it is difficult for them to do it. So, we appreciate their struggles, we appreciate their…whatever they are doing. First of all we understand and then… whatever is good in them we appreciate that, and then if the problematic behaviour has to be pointed out, rather than making it as a value judgement, ‘You are so irresponsible.’ We make it as an objective statement…. ‘When you did not come on time, then I got angry because one hour of my valuable time was wasted. I was just left stranded over there…. whatever.’
So, when we present things objectively, then there is a greater chance of resolving tensions and promoting understanding but if we just speak the faults and we… a value judgements… ‘You are so irresponsible, you are so lazy.’, and that’s all that people keep speaking… whenever we are interacting we just point out the faults, then people start doubting whether we are their well-wishers, people start doubting whether we are working together as a team or we are working against each other. Just like in a cricket team… the players may have some differences, they may not all like each other, but if the players start suspecting, ‘Is this player playing for us or is he playing against us?’, then the tension goes far, far higher. So, like that all relationships have a team-spirit, need to have and if there is constant criticism and they are especially delighting in fighting faults, then when the other person feeling that this person is not from my team, is against my team, then the relationship becomes almost dysfunctional. So, to avoid that we ourselves need to see, no matter how much of a fault that is there… how can we separate the person from the fault? By spiritual vision, by understanding that they are parts of Krishna, and as parts of Krishna they are pure.
So, I talked about knowledge in the mode of goodness, that means the focus is on the spiritual essence, not the other conditioning, not the external conditioning. Knowledge in the mode of passion means: we equate the people with their bodies. So, if in the bodily level they look very good, we think that they must be wonderful person. If the body doesn’t look good, they are no good; and knowledge in the mode of ignorance with respect to relationship means that we see a fault and define the person’s fault alone. Then our attitude towards them become negative. We level them mentally and then they also sense the negative vibrations and the relationship gets hurt… gets strained, may be break down.
So, appreciating can be done a service. Service doesn’t mean superficially, but service means that even if we don’t feel like doing it, we do it. Determination means that our actions continue even when our emotions don’t align with the actions, and of course we try to cultivate the positive emotions also by seeing the good in the other person.
So, sometimes we can love some people because of them, and because their good qualities are so evident for us, and in some cases we may have to love and serve people in spite of that. That means although their weakness are so apparent to us, we see beyond them, we see the spirituality, we see their Krishna connection and then continue the relationship. Of course if the bad qualities are hurting us, we may need to create the appropriate distance to protect ourselves, but we can do that without creating undue hostility. By keeping the spiritual vision in the centre we will find that our relationships can improve substantially from whatever they are right now.
Thank you very much. Hare Krishna.
(Transcription by Sadananda Krishnaprema Prabhu)