Are you struggling with relationships in your life and wondering why relationships are tough? You are not alone to think this way about relationships. Friction in relationships is inevitable because each one of us is a different person with different tastes, likes and dislikes. When 2 different people interact, arguments and disagreements tend to happen. How to handle these? Today, I am going to share with you a teaching I learned from one of my Masters. This helps me handle different phases of my relationships and I am sure it will help you as well. By the end of this article, you will know what to do when a relationship conflict happens.
My journey with Vipassana meditation:
The teaching I am going to share with you is a story I heard in my meditation class. I am quite passionate about meditation and meditated for more than 10,000 hours in my life. Meditation helps me connect with myself and takes me into an inward journey. It brings me inner calmness and helps me enjoy life. There are many different types of meditation and I practiced various kinds in my life. At some phase of my journey, I practiced Vipassana meditation, and in one of the courses, Goenka Ji – the teacher of Vipassana meditation – said a small story which taught me a profound lesson about relationships. The story goes like below.
Story of black seed:
A mother prepared kheer for her child with great love and care. Kheer is an Indian sweet dish. Mother, out of all her love, added ghee, dry fruits, lots of milk, and made the kheer. Kheer came out delicious. She gave it to the child. The child looks at the kheer to eat and he spots a black cardamom seed. He does not know how it tastes. He does not know the benefits of cardamom seed. To his sight, the black seed in kheer did not appeal and therefore he refused to eat the kheer.
The mother said it tastes good but the child is in no mood to listen. She said – “if you don’t like the black seed, just remove it” but the child is still adamant that he cannot eat the kheer because of this black seed. Now the black seed can be easily removed if the child does not like it. But because of the child’s focus on black seed, he missed the entire kheer, all the dry fruits and delicacy.
Isn’t the child foolish to refuse kheer just because of a small cardamom seed? Yes, the child is foolish but did you realize that we, adults, too take the same approach in our life when it comes to relationships?
Lessons from the story:
This story looks simple but it has an extraordinary message. When Goenka ji narrated this story in the Vipassana class, it left a deep impression on me and I thought it is a lesson I need to remember and apply in life. I observed that relationships would also have such black seeds like arguments, disagreements, mistakes etc. For example, in a work relationship, an argument can happen between you and your boss. In marriage or friendship, things will not be rosy all the time and misunderstandings may happen. When such situations occur in life, we have two choices.
Option 1: To focus on the argument or misunderstanding and ignore all the good things of the past.
Option 2: To focus on the good things of the past and clear the argument or misunderstanding.
When things go wrong, which option do we choose? Many of us choose Option 1. We tend to become emotional and focus on the things that went wrong. We think about such things for hours or days or sometimes years. Eventually, we build resentment, and sometimes, we even think of discarding the relationship in the spur of the moment because of one negative incident. We forget all the good moments of the past and focus on this one negative incident just like the child who refused to eat kheer because of a small black seed.
Option 2 is a better and wise choice because EVERY relationship in this world will have some level of imperfections. No one is perfect. No relationship is perfect. We are humans and tend to make mistakes. Arguments and misunderstandings tend to happen. When such things happen, we can ignore or resolve them instead of holding the resentment for years. When we learn to do this, we can enjoy the kheer called life and relationships.
How to apply this lesson in life?
Next time when an argument happens in a relationship, don’t hold resentment or think of quitting the relationship. Instead, try the below steps.
1. Think about the good things that happened between you both. Remember the happy and loving moments. Think of all the times this person went the extra mile for you.
2. Now, think of the current argument or misunderstanding and think about how to resolve the issue. There will always be a solution in life when you focus on finding a solution. So, take some time and think through. Are any changes needed from your side? Or is it just a plain misunderstanding that can be resolved through open communication?
When your focus is on good things that happened in a relationship, you will automatically find a way to resolve the issues. You will find a way to work with imperfections. We just need to shift our focus. Apply the lessons of this kheer story whenever you face a challenge in your job or personal relationships. Don’t let a small thing destroy your relationships or stop you from enjoying the kheer called life. Many of these issues don’t even matter to you after a few years.
Remember the kheer story and make wise choices in your life. I use this story in my life in various instances and it helps me rise above the arguments and imperfections. This story reminds me to see the big picture of relationships and appreciate them. My gratitude to the Vipassana class for teaching me this beautiful message. Want to learn more such tools on how to resolve relationship issues? Check out this fascinating book ‘Men are from Mars and women are from Venus’ here – https://amzn.to/3bALDic.
Wish you and your family love and peace!