Dealing with disrespectful people using Buddha’s principles of observing sensations!
At work, few people are disrespectful in team meetings. I understand emotions arise due to
1] my dvesha [I do not have a powerful physical voice or authoritative position, etc].
2] my fear of “trump effect” that the authoritative figure is disrespecting, everyone will think, it’s ok to disrespect. My ‘identity’ is questioned.
I am struggling with self-management. Please guide me.
In such a situation there are 3 steps or 3 actions required:
Step 1: Internal action:
Observe & Recognize how the Vata [air element] causes restlessness as soon as it hears criticism irrespective of whether it is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. Recognize that the process went from Vinyana [consciousness] to Sanya [perception] to Vedana [sensation] to Sankhara [reaction of aversion] in a moment.
Step 2: Internal action:
Observe & Recognize that the ‘Sanya’ [perceiving mind] gets into the justification mode saying how you are right and he is wrong, blah…blah…blah.
Both steps 1 & 2 are for witnessing and not reacting. When you just witness, you withdraw from adding fuel. The fire slowly quietens down. When it is quietened, then only must you move to Step 3. For some people, it takes a moment to complete step 1 & 2, for some people it takes loads of practice. Whatever your stage, keep practicing witnessing.
Step 3: External action:
Talk calmly to the other person and explain the feelings generated within you because of his/her actions. This must be done very skillfully such that the other person’s Ego does not get into the defensive mode. Once he/she is in a defensive mode, his doors will be completely closed and there will be a ‘NO ENTRY’ sign there. Whatever you say, will fall on deaf ears.
What skills are to be used here?
1] The skill of communicating without poking the other person’s Ego is essential during problem-solving. Say ‘I felt this way when I heard these words’ instead of saying ‘You did wrong…You…You…You’.
2] Maintain a calm tone of voice even if the other raises his/her voice.
3] Be patient! Watch sensations and don’t react. The drama of sensations lasts a long long time.
The more you practice Buddha’s technique of observing sensations, you will see it happening automatically during such problematic situations too.
Non-reaction strengthens equanimity. Equanimity strengthens the ability to see reality as it is.
What is the meaning of ‘Seeing Reality as it IS?
For e.g. In this situation:
– Minds Fluff – ‘What will other people think about me?’
– Reality is – People are too caught with up with their own lives to think about others.
– Minds Fluff – People will disrespect me.
– Reality – People have the same inclination as you to avoid trouble.
You can go on analyzing every silly excuse the Ego comes up with for justifying its reactions. Once you have filtered out all the fluff, you will reach the final Reality. Examine yourself and reach that Reality.
Once you see reality, you do not have to fake-generate compassion. Instead, it will arise naturally;
– first for your own suffering mind because of the Ego’s reactions;
– then for the other individual who said all those things.
You will clearly notice that one can give only what one has. He only has agitation within him, that’s all he can give others. He is suffering within. He is boiling in his own agitated mind. Do you hate a suffering person or do you have compassion naturally? Compassion naturally arises from clearly ‘seeing’ his suffering, girl!
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Thank you for the beautiful explanation. I believe 60-70% problem are result of either immediate reaction or resultant mind fluff reaction. Grateful for the wisdom.