I have always been experiencing problems with confrontations every now & then, be it at work or during the course of my personal life. Whenever an undesirable situation/circumstance encompasses me, my defense mechanism strikes me immediately, to the extent that it immobilizes my sense of awareness & I cease to take appropriate action/response to the circumstance at hand. Vulnerability sets in, & I end up resenting myself for doing something that is not in accordance with my feelings.
Take for example; I would end up doing something that is not within my scope of work, even though I knew I had a choice in rejecting what is demanded of me. The overwhelming thoughts in my head have prevented me from responding appropriately to my feelings. Negative thoughts have taken over me completely, & I ended up doing things that are not in accordance to what I felt, which results in an internal dilemma with myself. How do I overcome this?
Hi, thanks for your question.
Just noticing that this is happening and being willing to resolve it is already a lot of the work done.
I have ended up with quite a long response, so have broken it up with subtitles:
Awareness Is Still Here
It may seem as if your awareness is somehow immobilized, or awareness disappears, but awareness is always present. If you were not aware of all this happening, you would not be able to report it in such detail. An awareness is always there, always here. Even if the turbulence of negative thought or emotion takes grip, you are the awareness of the grip, and you are the awareness of that which is being gripped. The awareness is never affected.
It feels as if you get taken over by these reactions of the mind, but even this “me being taken over” or sense of “me being struck by an inner defence mechanism” is somehow observed. You are aware of it all happening. But the mind comes in and takes responsibility for all of it, claiming “me, mine” etc. Don’t identify with “me” or “I”.
Don’t Seek To Control
You may feel as if these reactions are too strong to control. However painful they are, to resist them or interfere with them only makes them worse. This is an excellent stage to be at, since you can now stop taking responsibility for them. The “me” (which is just a thought) and its related reactions flare up and come of their own accord. You can only watch.
Just watch. Don’t interfere or find fault with them. Become as comfortable with them as possible. Allow them, but do not identify, even if the feelings are full of identity. Don't wait for them to leave either. They will leave when they want, not when you want.
In the same way, don’t seek to control other people or their reactions. This is an impossible task. Let them be as they wish. Then whatever action needs to be taken through you, if required, will naturally arise.
No Voice Is You
Know that no voice in the head is ever who you are. You that which hears the voice. This will also be useful when the mind comes in after an event has passed, and begins the self-blame routine. This voice is not you. Let it speak, but listen without any judgement or interpretation. This will naturally loosen its grip over you.
The mind’s reactions belong to the mind. They are not your domain, so you can leave them alone. Don’t feel as if you are the “do-er” of any of it, as if you have a choice in them being there. All you can do is withdraw your belief in the mind’s interpretations, but allow them to be without expectation that they be different. As a result they will weaken.
Allow Vulnerability. If You Do, It Will Not Last.
Be vulnerable. Feel fully vulnerable. The mind’s defense mechanisms hold most strength when we fear and resist the feeling of vulnerability. This vulnerability is something that most of us carry, and all have a chance to transcend when we cease trying to cover it up with anything else. Of course the defense mechanism springs up by itself, but it will command less power if you fully allow the feeling of being vulnerable to be as it is. It does not belong to you, this vulnerable feeling, so give it space, allow it to rise up and shake the body if it has to. This may not seem easy from the mind’s perspective (since it loves to resist), but if you can get more and more comfortable with feeling vulnerable, without looking at it in a negative way, then it has space to be released and to be transcended.
Defending or covering up feelings of vulnerability (which serve no useful purpose), will mean that they will always stay inside your being. Expose them. Let them fend for themselves.
You may have also noticed that no amount of thinking will resolve these flare-ups of negativity. All self-blame etc of the mind is useless, it does not help. So notice the futility of self-resentment when it comes. It only serves to maintain a sense of time and personality, not to help you improve your actions.
No thought that arises is the absolute truth of anything. It’s always a limitation.
Don’t blame yourself any more, and no longer try to keep your feelings together. Relax. When you let everything flow, good or bad, you will not be so caught up in it. You just know it is happening. All are images, sensations and voices appearing before you. The awareness itself, which you are, is never affected. It is always just awareness.
What has happened can not be changed. Who knows what was for the best and what was not? No one really knows. But the mind claims to know. When the mind invites the past to be revisited, know that it is a pointless exercise. The past wishes to be left alone, so hurts you when you seek its company.
Presence Outside Of Challenges
All of this will be easier if you take the above approach to thoughts and emotions when you are not being challenged. When you are in a calmer setting, notice your breathing, notice the space that allows all inner and outer objects to be as it is. Feel your own sense of presence. Be the awareness of the thinker. Don’t seek any different feeling. Then you may find that your reactions to outer challenges are naturally weakened, non-existent, or that you are able to take a step back and simply observe the turbulence of thoughts take over the attention. Remain as a neutral, undisturbed witness.
No one ever teaches you that you have a right to remain undisturbed, even if the mind is suffering. If you have no expectation that your inner state be a certain way, but accept it as it is, then there is peace. From here, action will take care of itself, spontaneously.
Removing Power By Surrender
All this reactivity may not all leave you at once, but through surrender to these feelings, without trying to control them, you will not feel desperate for them to leave you. When you no longer fight them, but can allow them without any negative labels or interpretation, then their power over you is gone, and as a result they dissolve.
Ultimately reactivity will dissolve when you no longer react to your inner state. Have the attitude “let everything come. As the witness, I am unaffected. Whatever emotion arises must arise so that it can be released of its own accord”. Then you are free.
Instead of dreading these challenging situations arising, you can treat them as life’s way of exposing all of your inner fears and tendencies. Once exposed, they can be released as previously mentioned. Let it all happen. Just let it.
The most extreme confrontation is obviously a physical conflict. Even in this situation, to let the other person be, to be in full acceptance of what is happening (within and without) is the best state to be in. Even if fear floods every cell of the body, allow it. Then you are open to universal intelligence to guide your words and actions.
Leave your speech and action to be taken care of by the moment itself. Don’t claim any of it. You will see that when left to life, your speech and action will take on a spontaneous, non-conceptual intelligence of their own. No rehearsal needed.
Other people’s reactions and thoughts are not in your control. Let other people be as they are. Their reactions are not your burden to bear, so you need not try to cater for them. As much as the mind may like it to be otherwise, you can’t please everyone – so don’t even try.
Hope that helped in some way. If you have any further questions/comments, feel free to comment below.
All the best,
Comments for How To Deal With Confrontations Through Inner Peace?
(from previous website)
Jan 21, 2014
Really appreciate your effort in gathering such wholesome advice.
Jan 21, 2014
by: Adam - InnerPeaceNow.com