Getting Along with Others

Thanksgiving gives us the chance to offer thanks for our abundance (thanks-giving) and to celebrate our ability to give (thanks for giving.) 

Because we live this balance between gratitude and generosity in the often challenging environment of our extended families, I ’d like to offer 5 practices that can help us align our behavior with our ethical aspirations.

See the Process: Everything changes. The Buddha taught that much of our suffering comes when we see things as fixed and ignore their ever-changing nature. How might you apply this insight to those you consider adversaries? Rather than hang a sign on your adversary labeling them ‘difficult’ or ’stubborn’ or ‘jerk’ could you instead see that they are in the process of growth and change?

Give Away Control: When you identify and uphold your bottom-line principles, you have a firm spine. This then allows you to offer a soft front for incidental tussles that come along. How might living in the balance between a firm spine and a soft front allow you to be kind to your adversaries?

Let Go of Anger: Many of us carry anger about other's past behavior. We hope that our hard hearts will somehow punish or exclude them, but in reality, our anger harms only us. What would it be like to let go of your anger towards an adversary? How might you feel lighter and more free?

Help Your Adversaries Be More Beautiful: Everyone has a beautiful seed within them. We can choose to water those beautiful seeds or we can water seeds of conflict and strife. What are your adversary’s beautiful seeds? How might it change your relationship if you watered them?

Help Yourself Be More Beautiful: There’s only one you. We need you to be the most beautiful person you can be. What would it be like if you gave yourself permission to be beautiful right in the midst of difficulties? How might your beauty change the situation? How might it help others?

Please don’t wait for conflict to begin practicing these techniques. We can practice them in every moment so that, when conflict arises, we have confidence in our ability to embrace change, give up control and anger, and water beautiful seeds. 

Listen to Jon's talk on our Podcast HERE.

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