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December 19, 2005

Positive Engagement

Attendees: Prasad, Jags, Kamla, Manju, Vijay, Dinesh, Manisha, Vinoda.
Session highlights by Vijay.

As this was possibly the last meeting of the year 2005 (because Prasad and Ragu would be traveling during next 2-3 weeks), the meeting started with some notes of thanks from Prasad and others. Prasad was thankful that he had a lot of grace in his life. If he ever encountered a closed door, he simply turned around and found that the whole world was wide open to him. Prasad likened himself to a flute: he is neither the player nor the sound, but simply a medium through which the sound energy is channeled. Dinesh remarked that "at every moment you have everything you need at that moment."

Somebody asked how one should resolve a conflict, say, between mother and wife, or between wife and daughter. Prasad responded that rather than trying to "resolve" the conflict, one should try to "rise above" it.

Someone gave a concrete example: If you are waiting at a red light, and your wife wants you to turn right (and go to destination A) and your daughter wants you to turn left (and go to destination B), how would you decide which way to go, especially given that the traffic light is about to turn green very soon?

Prasad replied that first of all, do not let the timing of the traffic light rush you into a decision or action. Simply move to the side of the road and stop (or put your hazard lights on if necessary). Secondly, do not make a decision for your wife and daughter. Instead, provide "divine guidance" to them until they reach a common decision (turn right, turn left, or perhaps do neither).

Kamla suggested going to destination A today and to B tomorrow. Prasad said that that would be a compromise (not recommended).

From what perspective should the husband/father deal with the conflict? If he deals with it from a position of power or control, it would be a lose/lose approach. Similarly, he should avoid the temptation to be judgmental, arrogant, selfish, or righteous. Nor should he disengage himself from the conflict. Rather, he must remain engaged as an active observer without becoming attached to the outcome.

More specifically, he should try to understand the aspirations of his wife and daughter that underlie their choices. He may ask questions that probe these aspirations ("Is this what you are really trying to accomplish?"). Then he should articulate/communicate those aspirations as best as he can. This approach will not always work, but it is a positive/constructive approach.

Another important point is to maintain a deep respect for the wife and daughter for who they are rather than whom they show up as (during the conflict). Jags noted that the conflict is not between persons, but between "products" of persons. When you have deep respect for the persons, you will not be misled by their products (you will stay "centered").

Finally, you should not try to promote your agenda/goals here. As another example, when Prasad tried to push his expectations (regarding tennis) onto his son, it did not work. Prasad used to always beat his son in tennis 6-0. But when he finally let go of his expectations, and decided to play for fun, his son suddenly discovered his hidden talent, and eventually beat Prasad.

In summary, the key is to stay engaged positively without getting bogged down by expectations or a desire for a particular outcome.

Posted by pkaipa at December 19, 2005 10:08 AM

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