As my qigong teacher, Zhen Dao, pulled into a parking space at the market, he heard someone in the car behind him yelling and cursing from his car window. The other driver had apparently been waiting for that spot. Zhen Dao said out of his window, “I’m so sorry! I didn’t see you. If I had known that you were waiting for this spot, I never would have parked here.” Then he started to pull out of the spot. The other driver, having lost his anger, waived his hand to tell Zhen Dao to stay there and he drove on.
Let me be clear that I am not advocating getting involved with an angry driver. I am using this as an example of how sometimes acknowledging another person’s feelings can diffuse the situation opening up the opportunity for a constructive discussion. Nothing gets resolved with an angry exchange. And again, I am not suggesting that there needed to be further discussion in this case.
Zhen Dao teaches that the way of the Taoist is to make harmony whenever possible, for harmony supports the emergence of authenticity. Some people need to argue and feel strife to feel alive. The true sage does not dominate or try to convince others of his ways. He shows up with all of his being for whatever is needed in each situation, evaluating with vulnerability and honesty and the appropriate amount of distance to make that evaluation possible. Since most aggression comes from a separation from one’s true nature, the warrior seeks to be an example of living in harmony with her true nature.
Do you have an example of when you needed to create harmony in order to further an open discussion? How did you do it?