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2) Let people be
Do not try to control other people. Much anxiety comes when we unconsciously want to control what someone else thinks about us or what we say. Give that up. You can not control it. All you can do is speak from the heart (or from a sense of awareness), and how people respond is not your business. Mind your own business. Stay inside yourself. No need to speculate about how you are perceived or what will happen. Habitual needs to control the way other people see you may rise, but this is witnessed, not judged, and not resisted.
No one has to agree with you. The individuals you mention seem to be so blinded by ego and “being right” as you say, that they are no longer debating the issue at hand, they are just trying to preserve themselves. You may have noticed a complete madness arise in them, where they are totally closed to any other opinion, even if the alternative view makes sense. In these situations you can see that discussion is pointless, so you can keep quiet and not waste your energy. It is ok to keep quiet. Most will tell you it is rude or that it is weakness, but that is because people want you to confirm their existence by talking to them or reacting to their views or actions.
Let silence be your foundation, from where actions or words arise spontaneously, if required.
When you let people be as they are, you do not give your power away. You become less reactive. When you no longer react to another ego who is looking for an argument, they will likely get confused, or even upset. You will speak if it is required, but allow the moment to be as it is (which includes the situation, people and your own thoughts and emotions). Then you do what is required, but without trauma. Letting the moment be means a greater intelligence takes over – you automatically speak if needed, keep quiet if not – there is no strategy involved, it is just natural.
Some people can not help but act out these argumentative traits. It is not even them, just their conditioning. It is as if someone is sleep walking. If your dad was sleep walking, came up to you and started an argument with you, you would likely not take it too personally, since you know he is not at all conscious. He is asleep. Ego is the same thing, the individual does not realise what they are doing, but from an outside point of view, it seems as if they do. This is the illusion.
Again, the pull of the argument or personal concepts may activate inside. Witness it, only be the observer of it. You may even enter a realm of totally spontaneous speaking, where words are being spoken from you, but it does not even feel as if you are doing it. It is just happening, impersonally. Don’t expect this spontaneity to come though. It will come of its own accord when you allow the moment to be as it is. If you give over your personal will about what a situation should be, the universal will - will take over. You need to take the first step by creating (or being aware of) the space for it – which comes with surrender to the present moment, being aware of inner and outer space, presence etc.
3) Not expecting to come to an agreement.
This follows on from point 2 – drop your expectations of what should happen. For two people to have a calm conversation, two people are required to adopt a certain state of consciousness. All you can do is be aware of your own inner state, and any transformative effects that has on the situation will occur by itself.
Be aware of your own reactions. All reactivity, fear, anxiety, frustration, defensiveness, personality, sense of “I” – all of these are witnessed by you. Stay inside. Mental garbage may come up for a while, but it needs to come up and be released. When all these things are kicking off inside, relinquish any opinion about how they should be. Don’t place expectation on what you should or should not feel. Allow, be the space or them. Notice that the space in which all thought and emotion arises, is an empty space. The space is not personal, is always here, and is unaffected by what arises in it. Be the space, not the things in space.
If you have no expectation about where the discussion leads, what can trouble you? Let it be. In this state you will naturally do or say what is required.
4) Presence outside debate.
When you are not in a challenging situation, let this be the foundation for presence. If you have no foundation of awareness, space, presence etc, then challenging events eg. with family or at uni will likely drag you in to negative reactivity.
As much as possible in your spare time, bring presence in. Thoughts are ok, but be the awareness of them. Listen to the voice in the head nonjudgementally. Be empty inside. Do not label the present moment or turn things into concepts. Be aware of space – inside or outside, direct attention away from thinking by being aware of the breath or feeling the body from within. All of these things help increase presence and a sense of peace, so when an external event triggers a reaction inside, it is easier to witness it, rather than being dragged in by it.
With all of this said, if it resonates with you, you will find the need for personal debate, as you have mentioned. You will certainly not feel a need to argue or convince someone else of something.
Yet, what you do say will come more from enthusiasm of a topic, rather than trying to just get “your opinion” across. You may even find things being said, “confrontation” arising, debates happening, but it will not feel so heavy inside. You will feel more space inside, less seriousness - so people can talk on the surface, but inside there is a more stable foundation/awareness of unchanging stillness.
Being fully present means you will be able to still be with the discussion and points being raised, but at the same time not to sucked in to the content of it all.
The last thing I feel to say is to give up your own self-judgments and opinions about who you are. You are not a concept. You are awareness. So if self-judgments do still arise, don’t give them any importance. They are only thoughts generated by ego. If you have no opinion of yourself, the opinion others have of you will seem quite meaningless.
All obsessive behaviour and speculative activity of the mind is only witnessed by you. It is not you. All concepts of yourself and others are only thoughts, not the reality.
Thanks for your question. If you would like to ask anything else, or if I missed anything, you can comment below or on page 1.
All the best
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